The Dark Society

While I try to be relatively spoiler-free, there ARE some slight spoilers to be found here – so read on at your own risk!

As with many things that are supernatural, the origins of the Dark Society had their roots in Grove’s Folly, the sleepy hamlet located just down the road from Sovereign City. Grove’s Folly is chiefly famous for two things: its massive Pumpkin Festival held every Halloween and the fact that it was host to one of the bloodiest — and most unusual — battles of the American Revolutionary War.

In recent years, a viral video of the cryptid known as the Straw-Man has given Grove’s Folly a new revenue stream: a surge in tourism related to monster and ghost hunters. Though few know that the city was built atop an open pit to Hell (known as a Hellmouth), the arrival of the Straw-Man has coincided with a number of supernatural sightings and events. The Straw-Man (in actually a gestalt being formed of a young local man named Samuel Hain and Gwydion fab Dôn, a magician, hero and trickster of Welsh mythology) also kicked off a new generation of heroes within the area. In addition to the Straw-Man, several other heroes frequented the area to team up with the Straw-Man or, in some cases, to fight him: Jupiter, Catalyst, Singularity, and the American Crusader.

When a cult attempted to use the Large Hadron Collider at CERN to open portals to both Heaven and Hell in an attempt to bring about the supposed end of days, a collection of heroes came together to oppose this plan. In addition to the heroes named above, Geist, Babylon, and Calavera journeyed to Geneva. In the end, the group saved the world — but at great cost: Babylon was seemingly destroyed in the conflict. In the aftermath, the team swore to come together again if needed.

All of the above is depicted in The Dark Society Book One: Calavera.

Later in the same year, the Dark Society established a headquarters in Romania. It was dubbed The Dark House. They were soon caught up in the machinations of August Messenger, who sought the resurrection of Cthulhu. The Society teamed up with The Peregrine for the adventure, which is shown in The Dark Society Book Two: August Messenger.

If you want more information about the individual members of the team, follow the links to roleplaying game writeups of each — and be on the lookout for the Dark Society tomes, which should be released after the first three Straw-Man titles are released.

Our art is by Gilbert Monsanto.

Timeline of the Reese Unlimited Universe – Updated 12/23/2022

Major Events specific to certain stories and novels are included in brackets. Some of this information contains SPOILERS for The Peregrine, Lazarus Gray, Gravedigger and other stories. 

~ 800 – Viking warrior Grimarr dies of disease but is resurrected as the Sword of Hel. He adventures for some time as Hel’s agent on Earth. [The Sword of Hel]. 

~ 1620 – Gwydion fab Dôn is captured by the witch Rhianna in France. She punishes him by binding his spirit to a bundle of rags. [“Gwydion,” The Adventures of the Straw-Man Volume One]

1748 – Johann Adam Weishaupt is born. 

Continue reading Timeline of the Reese Unlimited Universe – Updated 12/23/2022

Timeline of the Reese Unlimited Universe – Updated 11/12/2022

Major Events specific to certain stories and novels are included in brackets. Some of this information contains SPOILERS for The Peregrine, Lazarus Gray, Gravedigger and other stories. 

~ 800 – Viking warrior Grimarr dies of disease but is resurrected as the Sword of Hel. He adventures for some time as Hel’s agent on Earth. [The Sword of Hel]. 

~ 1620 – Gwydion fab Dôn is captured by the witch Rhianna in France. She punishes him by binding his spirit to a bundle of rags. [“Gwydion,” The Adventures of the Straw-Man Volume One]

1748 – Johann Adam Weishaupt is born. 

Continue reading Timeline of the Reese Unlimited Universe – Updated 11/12/2022

The Strange Tale of… Catalyst!

Catalyst, at least in the form of Nathaniel Caine, is one of my oldest characters. I created him way back in 1985 and he went through several permutations, popping up in various stories, comic book scripts, fanfiction and roleplaying campaigns over the years. When I finally became a professional writer, it was only a matter of time before Nathaniel would enter my Reese Unlimited universe. Why does he still linger, when so many of my other characters from my youth have fallen by the wayside? I’m not sure. He was the first creation of mine that I felt was worthy of saving… plus I always loved his green color scheme. Credit has to go to Cari Reese for taking my original (and very derivative) costume designs and merging them with the Kirby-esque Asgardian and New Gods looks that I desired. Other artists have depicted him since then but all of them have used her costume design.

So who or what is… The Catalyst?

The Gifted is the name given to humans that possess the natural ability to tap into the most primal forces in existence – the stuff that normal humans called Magic. The Catalyst is the High Mage of his era and generally there is only one per century, though their tenure sometimes varied in length and occasionally overlapped. They could be recognized not only by their power but by a peculiar uniform that went along with the responsibility of wielding that much magical ability… an emerald set of clothing that changed appearance with the times but always bore a similar look.

Historically, the first Catalyst that we’ve seen in my universe is actually Andre Thierry, the Catalyst of the 19th century. A creole sorcerer, Thierry’s first recorded activity involved brokering a peace between local farmers and a subterranean race of monsters known as The Shamblers. This treaty took place in 1853 and was mentioned in the story “It Wants To Kill You” that appeared in the eighth volume of The Adventures of Lazarus Gray. In 1903, Thierry died in mystical combat but he used a spell powered by his will to retain his corporeal nature. In this form, he remained on earth, combating evil into the 1930s. In 1937, he journeyed to Sovereign City and aided Lazarus Gray in defeating The Three Sisters (aka Selene, Fiona and Phoebe). These events are shown in “Immortals,” a story that appeared in The Adventures of Lazarus Gray Volume 5. In that same volume, he helped make sure that Lazarus and Kelly’s wedding went off without interruption by any of their enemies (“Wedding Bells”). Less than a year later, in 1938, Thierry’s time as Catalyst came to an end, as his spirit was destroyed during the events depicted in the novel Götterdämmerung.

With Thierry dead, the time was right for a new Catalyst to emerge.

Nathaniel Caine was a police officer in England during this time and he’d fallen into a deep depression following the murder of his girlfriend by a killer known as Tweedledum in 1936. Caine distrusted vigilantes due to the fact that Dan Daring had failed to stop the murder. By 1942, he was a frustrated man, ready to call it quits on his career. That was when he met The Peregrine and a young psychic named Rachel Winters, embarking on a bizarre adventure involving a Nazi experiment called The Un-Earth. Nathaniel and Rachel became lovers, he took on the role of Catalyst and Rachel became his partner, known to the public as Esper. All of this was depicted in “Catalyst,” which appears in The Peregrine Omnibus Volume One.

Nathaniel made his first visit to the United States in 1943 when he was contacted by members of Assistance Unlimited. Lazarus Gray was experiencing a spiritual crisis and the team needed Catalyst’s help in returning Gray to the dimension known as Dread Carcosa. After aiding Lazarus in this affair, Catalyst returned to England. These events are depicted in The Adventures of Lazarus Gray Volume Twelve.

In 1944, Catalyst and Esper were recruited by The Peregrine into a strikeforce known The Claws of The Peregrine. Based out of Atlanta, Georgia, the group initially consisted of Catalyst, Esper, Revenant and Frankenstein’s Monster. As a team, they successfully took part in two adventures during this year – “The Diabolical Mr. Dee” and “A Plague of Wicked Men”, both of which are in The Peregrine Omnibus Volume Two.

The Claws of The Peregrine next appear in 1946’s “The Ivory Machine” which is also in The Peregrine Omnibus Volume Two. The group added several new members following this adventure but Catalyst and Esper remained key players in their activities.

It’s unknown how long the group remained active — we do know that by 2006, Rachel was dead but Nathaniel was still operating as Catalyst.

He aided the Ian Morris version of the Peregrine in dealing with the rise and fall of The Black Mass Barrier. He also aided Babylon in dealing with a mystical assault in London in 2011. Shortly after 2012, he finally passed on, leaving the door open for Logan Jenkins to assume the role.

Much of Logan’s past is still unknown but her mother – a Japanese witch named Kyoko – operated as a magical terrorist under the name of Lady Grimdark. While her mother was madly in love with a master villain named Lord Grimdark, she had gotten pregnant with Logan during a one-night stand — not only did this cause problems between the Gimdarks but it led to a lifelong resentment that Kyoko felt towards her daughter.

As Catalyst, Logan moved to Grove’s Folly where she opened a curiosity shop called Jenks (pronounced Jinx). She has become extremely close to the Straw-Man and, alongside him and several others, founded the team known as The Dark Society.

Calavera (ICONS Writeup)

Calavera
Valerie Gray
created by Barry Reese

Prowess 3
Coordination 3
Strength 3
Intellect 4
Awareness 4
Willpower 6

Stamina 9

Powers
*Blast 8 (Extra: Magical)
*Immortality 1
*Servant 5 (Valerie can raise the dead, which function as shambling warriors at her control)
*Postcognition – Speak with the Dead 8 (Valerie can revive the recently deceased – they are compelled to answer her questions until the time limit (generally around 5 minutes) expires, after which they cannot be revived)
*Telepathy 6 (Limit: Only works with ravens)
*Life Support 10

Specialties
Art – Writing (Expert +2), Occult

Qualities
Creepy – she makes people who are ‘sensitive’ very uncomfortable
“I really shouldn’t be enjoying all this death and mayhem so much, should I?”
Sometimes gets unwanted visions of people’s deaths

Background: Valerie Gray is the great-granddaughter of famed hero Lazarus Gray. Her grandmother was also the daughter of Gravedigger, another famed hero of the past. As such, is the product of multiple heroic legacies and was seemingly destined for greatness from birth — however, her father (the hero known as Geist) did everything in his power to drive her away from the family business. As such, she grew up thinking her father was an absolute jerk. Eventually Valerie became a successful mystery novelist, working under a pseudonym and trying to keep everyone from knowing of her connection to Lazarus Gray. When a massive conspiracy targeted her on the brink of the apocalypse, Valerie found herself dealing with attempts on her life, even as she was dealing with the death of her beloved grandmother. Unwittingly, she had exposed herself to a set of sugar skulls that had belonged to her Gran — these sugar skulls were portals to Deadworld, a gateway between the living and the death. As a result, Valerie is ‘partially dead’ – meaning that she no longer ages, she’s unnaturally pale, her skin is cold to the touch, and people get a bad ‘vibe’ from her. These energies also transformed her into the hero Calavera and she was essential to saving the world from the forces of Heaven and Hell. Though not the most powerful hero, she has a strong sense of purpose and always seems to find herself in the right place at the right time.

Singularity (ICONS Writeup)

Singularity
Dr. Gail Sanders
created by Barry Reese

Prowess 2
Coordination 3
Strength 3
Intellect 6
Awareness 8
Willpower 5

Stamina 8

Powers
*Cosmic Power 8 (Extras: Blast, Dazzle, Flight, Force Field, Life Support, Phasing, Transmutation)

Specialties
Science – Physics (Expert +2)

Qualities
Science is my religion
Don’t call me a superhero
I have three Master’s degrees and a PhD – but my mom thinks I’m a disappointment because I’m still single

Background: Gail Sanders was a scientist working at the Atom Valley Nuclear Power Facility when she witnessed something incredible: a being dressed in red entering her universe from another. He alternately referred to himself as Phil and as MOTA, telling her that he had traveled through hundreds of universes and in nearly all of them he was always drawn to variants of her. Sometimes she had different names or slightly different appearances but she was always brilliant, capable, and (in his eyes) beautiful. After exploring more of the universe, MOTA returned to say goodbye to her — he gave her a kiss, accidentally transferring a small amount of his essence to her. Shortly thereafter, Gail was at CERN when the Large Hadron Collider was used to open doorways into both Heaven and Hell. She was confronted by beings known as the Ophanim, who sensed a ‘spark of the Divine’ within her. She unwittingly tapped into the power given her by MOTA and used it to help a number of other heroes, including Catalyst, the Straw-Man, Jupiter, and Calavera, to save the world. Since then, she has occasionally used her powers to help protect the planet, though she prefers to avoid the limelight.

Catalyst (ICONS Writeup)

Catalyst
Logan Jenkins
created by Barry Reese

Prowess 3
Coordination 3
Strength 3
Intellect 5
Awareness 7
Willpower 8

Stamina 11

Powers
*Magic 8 (Extras-Mastery: Blast, Flight, Healing)

Specialties
Occult (Expert +2)

Qualities
Sorceress Supreme
I’d rather talk this out than have to fight you
I don’t like to talk about my past

Background: The title of Catalyst is given to the most powerful magician in the world during each century. Logan received the role after her predecessor, Nathaniel Caine, finally passed away. She is still relatively new to the position but with time, she has the potential to surpass those that have come before her – in fact, her Magic rating of 8 is bound to increase before long. At the moment, her power levels reflect her inexperience more than anything else.

She runs a magic and curiosity shop called Jenks (pronounced “Jinx”) that’s based in Grove’s Folly, a small town that’s home to a surprising amount of supernatural activity. She is close to a number of other heroes, including the Straw-Man (she was romantically involved with him for a time), the American Crusader, and Calavera. If there is anything of an occult nature threatening to the world, it’s safe to assume that Catalyst will end up taking an interest in it.

Calavera

So I’ve been working hard on the debut novel featuring Calavera, which has turned into a crossover novel for many of the characters that exist in my modern-day. Several years back, I had all my World War II-era characters meet up and this is similar but with the likes of Calavera, Babylon, Catalyst (the 21st century version), the Straw-Man, Jupiter and more all uniting to take on the forces of Heaven and Hell. You’ll also get to meet Lazarus Gray’s grandson, the Reese Unlimited version of Miss Fury and a whole lot more.

I’m over 40,000 words into the novel at the moment and to celebrate how well it’s going I’m going to debut the world’s first look at our heroine — Calavera! Art is by Luis Filipe and he did a wonderful job transforming my ideas into reality! Hope you find her as beautiful and intriguing as I do.

Reese Unlimited Timeline (1/13/2022)

Major Events specific to certain stories and novels are included in brackets. Some of this information contains SPOILERS for The Peregrine, Lazarus Gray, Gravedigger and other stories. 

~ 800 – Viking warrior Grimarr dies of disease but is resurrected as the Sword of Hel. He adventures for some time as Hel’s agent on Earth. [The Sword of Hel]. 

~ 1620 – Gwydion fab Dôn is captured by the witch Rhianna in France. She punishes him by binding his spirit to a bundle of rags. [“Gwydion,” The Adventures of the Straw-Man Volume One]

1748 – Johann Adam Weishaupt is born. 

1750 – Guan-Yin embarks on a quest to find her lost father, which takes her to Skull Island [Guan-Yin and the Horrors of Skull Island]. 

1774 – On June 23, 1774, General Benjamin Grove led the British forces through the air en route to Sovereign. What he did not know was that several local militia groups lay in wait for him. The resulting battle had been ferocious and deadly for both sides — in the end, only two men were left, one representing each side of the conflict: General Grove himself and a local youth by the name of Emmett Hain. [“The Choice,” The Adventures of the Straw-Man Volume One]

1776 – Johann Adam Weishaupt forms The Illuminati. He adopts the guise of the original Lazarus Gray in group meetings, reflecting his “rebirth” and the “moral ambiguity” of the group. In Sovereign City, a Hessian soldier dies in battle, his spirit resurrected as a headless warrior. 

1782 – The man that would eventually be known as Gideon Black is born. [The Second Book of Babylon] 

1793 – Mortimer Quinn comes to Sovereign City, investigating the tales of a Headless Horseman [Gravedigger Volume One] 

1802 – Gideon Black’s son is born and the chain of events that leads to Gideon being bonded with a suit of armor forged in Hell begins. Gideon is transformed into Babylon, a force for cosmic retribution. [The Second Book of Babylon] 

1835 – Lucy Hale goes to work at Mendicott Hall. She meets Byron Mendicott and Lilith. [The Chronicles of Lilith] 

1865 – Eobard Grace returns home from his actions in the American Civil War. Takes possession of the Book of Shadows from his uncle Frederick. [“The World of Shadow,” The Family Grace: An Extraordinary History] 

1877 – Eobard Grace is summoned to the World of Shadows, where he battles Uris-Kor and fathers a son, Korben. [“The World of Shadow,” The Family Grace: An Extraordinary History] 

1885 – Along with his niece Miriam and her paramour Ian Sinclair, Eobard returns to the World of Shadows to halt the merging of that world with Earth. [“The Flesh Wheel,” The Family Grace: An Extraordinary History] 

1890 – Eobard fathers a second son, Leopold. 

1893 – Eobard Grace successfully steals the Thirty Pieces of Silver that was paid to Judas for his betrayal of Jesus from The Illuminati. He melts the coins down into mystically-empowered silver and helps a friend forge these into bullets. They remain hidden in Atlanta, Georgia until the Forties. [The Adventures of Lazarus Gray Volume 11] 

1895 – Felix Cole (The Bookbinder) is born. 

1900 – Max Davies is born to publisher Warren Davies and his wife, heiress Margaret Davies. 

1901 – Leonid Kaslov is born. 

1905 – Richard Winthrop is born in San Francisco. 

1908 – Warren Davies is murdered by Ted Grossett, a killer nicknamed “Death’s Head”. [“Lucifer’s Cage”, the Peregrine Volume One, more details shown in “Origins,” the Peregrine Volume One] Hans Merkel kills his own father. [“Blitzkrieg,” the Peregrine Volume One]. Abigail Cross is born in Tennessee. 

1910 – Evelyn Gould is born. 

1912 – Byron Mendicott travels to France to kill Lucy Hale. [The Chronicles of Lilith] 

1913 – Felix Cole meets the Cockroach Man and becomes part of The Great Work. [“The Great Work,” The Family Grace: An Extraordinary History] Bart Hill is born in Sovereign City [Revealed in The Adventures of Lazarus Gray Volume 14]

1914 – Margaret Davies passes away in her sleep. Max is adopted by his uncle Reginald. 

1915 – Felix Cole marries Charlotte Grace, Eobard Grace’s cousin. 

1916 – Leonid Kaslov’s father Nikolai becomes involved in the plot to assassinate Rasputin. 

1917 – Betsy Cole is born to Felix and Charlotte Grace Cole. Nikolai Kaslov is murdered. 

1918 – Max Davies begins wandering the world. Richard Winthrop’s parents die in an accident. 

1922 – Warlike Manchu tutors Max Davies in Kyoto. 

1925 – Max Davies becomes the Peregrine, operating throughout Europe. 

1926 – Charlotte Grace dies. Richard Winthrop has a brief romance with exchange student Sarah Dumas. 

1927 – Richard Winthrop graduates from Yale. On the night of his graduation, he is recruited into The Illuminati. Max and Leopold Grace battle the Red Lord in Paris. Richard Winthrop meets Miya Shimada in Japan, where he purchases The McGuinness Obelisk for The Illuminati. Bart Hill begins adventuring as a teenaged Daredevil. 

1928 – The Peregrine returns to Boston. Dexter van Melkebeek [later to be known as The Darkling] receives his training in Tibet from Tenzin. Sheridan Masters loses his fiance Carmen in a terrible mystic storm in Egypt. He is trapped in Carcosa for several years. 

1929 – Max Davies is one of the judges for the Miss Beantown contest [“The Miss Beantown Affair,” The Peregrine Volume Three]. Richard Winthrop destroys a coven of vampires in Mexico. 

1930 – Richard Winthrop pursues The Devil’s Heart in Peru [“Eidolon,” Lazarus Gray Volume Three]. 

1932 – The Peregrine hunts down his father’s killer [“Origins,” the Peregrine Volume One]. The Darkling returns to the United States. 

1933 – Jacob Trench uncovers Lucifer’s Cage. [“Lucifer’s Cage”, the Peregrine Volume One] The Peregrine battles Doctor York [All-Star Pulp Comics # 1] After a failed attempt at betraying The Illuminati, Richard Winthrop wakes up on the shores of Sovereign City with no memory of his name or past. He has only one clue to his past in his possession: a small medallion adorned with the words Lazarus Gray and the image of a naked man with the head of a lion. [“The Girl With the Phantom Eyes,” Lazarus Gray Volume One]. The man who would eventually call himself Paul Alfred Müller-Murnau arrives in Sovereign on the same night as Lazarus Gray. [“Nemesis, “Lazarus Gray Volume Six]. 

1934 – Now calling himself Lazarus Gray, Richard Winthrop forms Assistance Unlimited in Sovereign City. He recruits Samantha Grace, Morgan Watts and Eun Jiwon [“The Girl With the Phantom Eyes,” Lazarus Gray Volume One] Walther Lunt aids German scientists in unleashing the power of Die Glocke, which in turn frees the demonic forces of Satan’s Circus [“Die Glocke,” Lazarus Gray Volume Two]. The entity who will become known as The Black Terror is created [“The Making of a Hero,” Lazarus Gray Volume Two]. 

1935 – Felix Cole and his daughter Betsy seek out the Book of Eibon. [“The Great Work,” The Family Grace: An Extraordinary History] Assistance Unlimited undertakes a number of missions, defeating the likes of Walther Lunt, Doc Pemberley, Malcolm Goodwill & Black Heart, Princess Femi & The Undying, Mr. Skull, The Axeman and The Yellow Claw [“The Girl With the Phantom Eyes,” “The Devil’s Bible,” “The Corpse Screams at Midnight,” “The Burning Skull,” “The Axeman of Sovereign City,” and “The God of Hate,” Lazarus Gray Volume One] The Peregrine journeys to Sovereign City and teams up with Assistance Unlimited to battle Devil Face. They also encounter a new hero – The Dark Gentleman. [“Darkness, Spreading Its Wings of Black,” The Peregrine Volume Two and Lazarus Gray Volume One]. Lazarus Gray and Assistance Unlimited become embroiled in the search for Die Glocke [“Die Glocke,” Lazarus Gray Volume Two] 

1936 – Assistance Unlimited completes their hunt for Die Glocke and confronts the threat of Jack-In-Irons. Abigail Cross and Jakob Sporrenberg join Assistance Unlimited [“Die Glocke,” Lazarus Gray Volume Two]. The Peregrine moves to Atlanta and recovers the Dagger of Elohim from Felix Darkholme. The Peregrine meets Evelyn Gould. The Peregrine battles Jacob Trench. [“Lucifer’s Cage”, the Peregrine Volume One]. Reed Barrows revives Camilla. [“Kingdom of Blood,” The Peregrine Volume One]. Kevin Atwill is abandoned in the Amazonian jungle by his friends, a victim of the Gorgon legacy. [“The Gorgon Conspiracy,” The Peregrine Volume One]. Nathaniel Caine’s lover is killed by Tweedledum while Dan Daring looks on [“Catalyst,” The Peregrine Volume One] Assistance Unlimited teams up with The Black Terror to battle Prometheus and The Titan in South America [“The Making of a Hero,” Lazarus Gray Volume Two]. Doc Pemberley allies himself with Abraham Klee, Stanley Davis and Constance Majestros to form Murder Unlimited. Lazarus Gray is able to defeat this confederation of evil and Pemberley finds himself the victim of Doctor Satan’s machinations [“Murder Unlimited,” Lazarus Gray Volume Three]. Lazarus Gray is forced to compete with The Darkling for possession of a set of demonic bones. During the course of this, a member of Assistance Unlimited becomes Eidolon. [“Eidolon,” Lazarus Gray Volume Three]. Charity Grace dies and is reborn as the first female Gravedigger. [Gravedigger Volume One]. Dr. York attempts to revive Princess Femi so that she can aid him in battling The Peregrine [“The Peregrine Animated Script,” The Peregrine Volume Three]. The Dark Gentleman confronts The Shadow Court and brings them to justice. [“The Judgment of the Shadow Court,” The Adventures of The Dark Gentleman Book One]. A few weeks later, The Dark Gentleman learns the truth about Amadeus Crouch [“The Silver Room,” The Adventures of The Dark Gentleman Book Two]. 

1937 – Max and Evelyn marry. Camilla attempts to create the Kingdom of Blood. World’s ancient vampires awaken and the Peregrine is ‘marked’ by Nyarlathotep. Gerhard Klempt’s experiments are halted. William McKenzie becomes Chief of Police in Atlanta. The Peregrine meets Benson, who clears his record with the police. [“Kingdom of Blood,” the Peregrine Volume One]. Lazarus Gray and Assistance Unlimited teams up with Thunder Jim Wade to confront the deadly threat of Leviathan [“Leviathan Rising”, Lazarus Gray Volume Four]. Hank Wilbon is murdered, leading to his eventual resurrection as the Reaper. [“Kaslov’s Fire, “The Peregrine Volume One]. The Peregrine and Evelyn become unwelcome guests of Baron Werner Prescott, eventually foiling his attempts to create an artificial island and a weather-controlling weapon for the Nazis [“The Killing Games, ” The Peregrine Volume Three] Gravedigger confronts a series of terrible threats in Sovereign City, including Thanatos, a gender-swapping satanic cult and The Headless Horseman. Charity and Samantha Grace make peace about their status as half-sisters. [Gravedigger Volume One] Lazarus Gray teams with Eidolon and The Darkling to combat Doctor Satan [“Satan’s Circus,” Lazarus Gray Volume Four]. Lazarus Gray battles the forces of Wilson Brisk and Skyrider. The Three Sisters are unleashed upon Sovereign City [“The Felonious Financier,” Lazarus Gray Volume Five]. Gravedigger confronts the twin threats of Hiroshi Tamaki and the immortal known as Pandora [Gravedigger Volume Two]. Lazarus Gray travels to Cape Noire to investigate the mysterious vigilante known as Brother Bones /”Shadows and Phantoms, “Lazarus Gray Volume Five]. The villain known as The Basilisk attempts to seize control of Sovereign City’s underworld [“Stare of The Basilisk,” Lazarus Gray Volume Five]. The Three Sisters unite with Princess Femi to combat Assistance Unlimited. Sobek’s attempt to destroy Femi helps lead young Madison Montgomery into a role as Femi’s handmaiden. Lazarus gets engaged to Kelly Emerson [“Immortals,” Lazarus Gray Volume Five]. Lazarus and Kelly are married. [“Wedding Bells,” Lazarus Gray Volume Five] 

1938 – The Peregrine travels to Great City to aid the Moon Man in battling Lycos and his Gasping Death. The Peregrine destroys the physical shell of Nyarlathotep and gains his trademark signet ring. [“The Gasping Death,” The Peregrine Volume One]. The jungle hero known as the Revenant is killed [“Death from the Jungle,” The Peregrine Volume Two]. Gravedigger, Lazarus Gray and The Peregrine come together to confront the terrible events known as Götterdämmerung. Many other heroes – including The Black Bat, The Black Terror, The Darkling and Leonid Kaslov are caught up in the events, as well. The insane villain Mr. Death is created. [Götterdämmerung]. Three months after Götterdämmerung, Assistance Unlimited battles The Librarian and adds The Black Terror to the team. [“The Affair of the Familiar Corpse,” Lazarus Gray Volume Six]. Assistance Unlimited journeys to Europe where they reunite with Eidolon and Abby. The group then teams up with a Berlin-based hero known as Nakam to battle Mr. Death and The Torch. Lazarus Gray confronts the spirit of Walther Lunt and Baba Yaga. [“The Strands of Fate,” Lazarus Gray Volume Six]. Mortimer Quinn is elected mayor of Sovereign City. Paul Alfred Müller-Murnau learns of his role as Nemesis and becomes an ally of Princess Femi and Madison Montgomery. Femi gains possession of the fabled Emerald Tablet. Abby becomes warden of Tartarus. [“Nemesis, ” Lazarus Gray Volume Six]. Assistance Unlimited battles an out-of-control Golem and an agent of the OFP codenamed Heidi Von Sinn. Kelly’s pregnancy takes an odd turn after exposure to an Aryan idol. [“Tapestry,” Lazarus Gray Volume Six]. Daniel Higgins bonds with the Hell-forged armor and becomes Babylon. His sister Stella is killed. [The Second Book of Babylon] 

1939 – Ibis and the Warlike Manchu revive the Abomination. Evelyn becomes pregnant and gives birth to their first child, a boy named William. [“Abominations, ” The Peregrine Volume One]. The Peregrine allies himself with Leonid Kaslov to stop the Reaper’s attacks and to foil the plans of Rasputin. [“Kaslov’s Fire,” the Peregrine Volume One] Violet Cambridge and Will McKenzie become embroiled in the hunt for a mystical item known as The Damned Thing [The Damned Thing] Assistance Unlimited teams up with Sheridan Masters to investigate a deadly alliance between Femi and a masked villain called El Demonio. The evils summon Hastur, the King In Yellow, and Lazarus is forced to travel to Carcosa. Kelly learns that their unborn child is infused with Vril energy. Femi and Madison Montgomery are both apparently destroyed. [Lazarus Gray Volume Seven]. Gravedigger engages in a war of wits with The King, a battle that leaves The Dark Gentleman dead and her forces in disarray. She uncovers the connection between The Voice and Nestorius – then stands for judgment before Anubis. [Gravedigger Volume Three]. Lazarus and Kelly Gray become the parents of Ezekiel Gray, Samantha Grace learns she’s pregnant [“The Santa Slaying”, Lazarus Gray Volume Eight]. 

1940-Samantha discovers that Paul Alfred Müller-Murnau is responsible for her mystic pregnancy. Müller-Murnau forms a new version of Murder Unlimited alongside Bushido, Brick, Vixen and Alloy. [“As Above, So Below,” Lazarus Gray Volume Eight]. The Warlike Manchu returns with a new pupil — Hans Merkel, aka Shinigami. The Warlike Manchu kidnaps William Davies but the Peregrine and Leonid Kaslov manage to rescue the boy. [“Blitzkrieg, “the Peregrine Volume One] The Peregrine journeys to Germany alongside the Domino Lady and Will McKenzie to combat the demonic organization known as Bloodwerks. [“Bloodwerks,” the Peregrine Volume One] Lazarus Gray encounters Gravedigger and a heroine from another universe while in Istanbul. The trio end up battling an alliance between Princess Femi and a villain from another world. A loosely-affiliated grouping of female heroes consisting of Lady Peregrine [Evelyn Davies], Jet Girl, Fantomah and Kitten is formed. [Worlds Apart]. Samantha Grace gives birth to her daughter Emily. Assistance Unlimited battle a werewolf and free a young woman whose dreams are incredibly powerful {“The Girl That Dreamed, “Lazarus Gray Volume Eight]. Kevin Atwill seeks revenge against his former friends, bringing him into conflict with the Peregrine [“The Gorgon Conspiracy,” The Peregrine Volume One]. The Peregrine takes a young vampire under his care, protecting him from a cult that worships a race of beings known as The Shambling Ones. With the aid of Leonid Kazlov, the cult is destroyed /“The Shambling Ones,” The Peregrine Volume One]. Daniel Higgins and his sister Stella stumble onto a mob killing and Stella is badly injured. Daniel finds a strange suit of armor and bonds with it, becoming transformed into Babylon [The Second Book of Babylon]. Lazarus Gray and Assistance Unlimited travel to Kentucky to investigate the disappearance of a young girl. Eidolon quits the team after a debate about how to resolve the crisis [“It Wants To Kill You,” Lazarus Gray Volume Eight]. Nemesis and Bushido join up with the Occult Forces Project to resurrect The Speaker from the Stars. They are opposed and ultimately foiled by Assistance Unlimited and The Golden Amazon [“The Speaker from the Stars,” Lazarus Gray Volume Eight]. 

1941 – Philip Gallagher, a journalist, uncovers the Peregrine’s secret identity but chooses to become an ally of the vigilante rather than reveal it to the world [“Origins,” the Peregrine Volume One]. The Peregrine teams with the Black Bat and Ascott Keane, as well as a reluctant Doctor Satan, in defeating the plans of the sorcerer Arias [“The Bleeding Hells”, The Peregrine Volume One]. The Peregrine rescues McKenzie from the Iron Maiden [“The Iron Maiden,” The Peregrine Volume One]. Asgard falls and Thor’s hammer ends up in the hands of his daughter, whose spirit is hidden away in the body of a young woman on Earth. Loki and his assistant Durok end up working alongside Murder Unlimited [Nemesis, Bushido, The Golden Amazon and Eidolon] to try and flood the world so that it can remade along Loki’s wishes. In the hidden world of Vorium, Assistance Unlimited teams with The Fighting Yank to foil their plans. The Golden Amazon and The Fighting Yank both become occasional members of Assistance Unlimited. Nemesis and Bushido are both killed. [“The Sinking World,” Lazarus Gray Volume Nine]. In November, The Golden Amazon, The Fighting Yank and The Black Terror journey to Manhattan to team with Olga Mesmer to stop a plot by Doctor Satan and his consort [Lady Satan]. The foursome remain together as The Heroes, an offshoot organization of Assistance Unlimited. The Black Terror agrees to serve as a liaison between the teams. [“Satan’s Lair”, Lazarus Gray Volume Ten]. Tommy McDuff is injured during the attack on Pearl Harbor – he is taken from the military hospital by Eris, the Goddess of Discord. She gave him great power but at the cost of his sanity – as Phasma, he embarked on a scheme to use ‘The Torch of Ç’thalpa to tear down many of the institutions of power. He worked with Rosemary Lunt [the daughter of Walther Lunt] and was opposed by Assistance Unlimited and Babylon. The villainous Billhook releases damaging information about Assistance Unlimited to the press. Lazarus Gray agrees to work with Major Caruso and Project: Cicada. [Lazarus Gray Volume Ten]. 

1942 – The Peregrine battles a Nazi super agent known as the Grim Reaper, who is attempting to gather the Crystal Skulls [“The Three Skulls,” The Peregrine Volume One]. The Peregrine becomes embroiled in a plot by Sun Koh and a group of Axis killers known as The Furies. The Peregrine and Sun Koh end up in a deadly battle on the banks of the Potomac River. [“The Scorched God,” The Peregrine Volume Two]. In London, the Peregrine and Evelyn meet Nathaniel Caine [aka the Catalyst] and Rachel Winters, who are involved in stopping the Nazis from creating the Un Earth. They battle Doctor Satan and the Black Zeppelin [“Catalyst,” The Peregrine Volume One]. Evelyn learns she’s pregnant with a second child. The Peregrine solves the mystery of the Roanoke Colony [“The Lost Colony,” The Peregrine Volume One]. The Peregrine battles against an arsonist in the employ of Bennecio Tommasso [“Where There’s Smoke”, The Peregrine Volume Three]. The Warlike Manchu is revived and embarks upon a search for the Philosopher’s Stone [“The Resurrection Gambit,” The Peregrine Volume One]. Joseph Williams is born [son of Mitchell and Charity]. Assistance Unlimited is forced to work with Nakam and Lilith [leader of the Crimson Ladies] to stop a plot formulated by a mystic named Woland and The Black Terror’s archenemy, The Puzzler. The dead are raised in Sovereign City but Lazarus and his allies are able to eventually turn the tide with an assist from The Revenant and Baba Yaga. In the end, a shocking revelation is made that alters Morgan Watts’ life forever. [The Adventures of Lazarus Gray Volume Eleven]. 

1943 – The Peregrine teams with Xander to deal with the Onyx Raven [“The Onyx Raven”, The Peregrine Volume Three]. The Peregrine is confronted by the twin threats of Fernando Pasarin and the undead pirate Hendrik van der Decken [“The Phantom Vessel,” The Peregrine Volume Two]. Evelyn and Max become the parents of a second child, Emma Davies. The Peregrine teams with the daughter of the Revenant to battle Hermann Krupp and the Golden Goblin [“Death from the Jungle,” The Peregrine Volume Two] The Peregrine battles Doctor Satan over possession of an ancient Mayan tablet [“The Four Peregrines,” The Peregrine Volume Two]. The Peregrine travels to Peru to battle an undead magician called The Spook [“Spook,” The Peregrine Volume Two]. The Peregrine clashes with Doctor Death, who briefly takes possession of Will McKenzie [“The Peregrine Nevermore,” The Peregrine Volume Three]. Baron Rudolph Gustav gains possession of the Rod of Aaron and kidnaps Evelyn, forcing the Peregrine into an uneasy alliance with the Warlike Manchu [“Dead of Night,” The Peregrine Volume Two]. Doctor Satan flees to the hidden land of Vorium, where the Peregrine allies with Frankenstein’s Monster to bring him to justice [“Satan’s Trial,” The Peregrine Volume Two]. Tim Roland is recruited by The Flame and Miss Masque [“The Ivory Machine,” The Peregrine Volume Two]. The Black Terror investigates a German attempt to replicate his powers and becomes friends with a scientist named Clarke [“Terrors”, The Peregrine Volume Two]. Assistance Unlimited and The Heroes come together to work with L’Homme Fantastique in returning Lazarus Gray to normalcy. El Demonio and a return visit to Carcosa are involved [Lazarus Gray Volume 12]. Rama-Memnon, Teddy Pumpkins, and Rose Dorcas lay waste to Sovereign City but are defeated by the combined forces of Assistance Unlimited, Nature Boy, Eidolon and Wynona Jones. Jakob Sporrenberg transitions from Eidolon to being The Observer. [Lazarus Gray Volume 13]. 

1944 – The Peregrine organizes a strike force composed of Revenant, Frankenstein’s Monster, Catalyst and Esper. The group is known as The Claws of the Peregrine and they take part in two notable adventures in this year: against the diabolical Mr. Dee and then later against an alliance between Doctor Satan and the Warlike Manchu [“The Diabolical Mr. Dee” and “A Plague of Wicked Men”, The Peregrine Volume Two]. Daredevil [Bart Hill] is recruited to join Assistance Unlimited [Lazarus Gray Volume 14] 

1946 – The Peregrine discovers that Adolph Hitler is still alive and has become a vampire in service to Dracula. In an attempt to stop the villains from using the Holy Lance to take over the world, the Peregrine allies with the Claws of the Peregrine, a time traveler named Jenny Everywhere, a thief called Belladonna and Leonid Kaslov. The villains are defeated and Max’s future is revealed to still be in doubt. Events shown from 2006 on are just a possible future. The Peregrine also has several encounters with a demonically powered killer known as Stickman. [“The Devil’s Spear,” The Peregrine Omnibus Volume Two]. The Peregrine encounters a madman named Samuel Garibaldi [aka Rainman] and his ally, Dr. Gottlieb Hochmuller. The Peregrine and his Claws team defeat the villainous duo and several new heroes join the ranks of the Claws team — Miss Masque, Black Terror & Tim and The Flame. [“The Ivory Machine,” The Peregrine Volume Two] 

1947 — The Peregrine and Lady Peregrine do battle with Dr. York once more, as the madman attempts to revive the elder gods. [“The Murder Mansion,” The Peregrine Volume 7] 

1948 — SIGIL [Supreme International Group for Illegal Liaisons] is formed out of the remnants of the Nazis and The Illuminati. [Assistance Unlimited: The Silver Age – Broken Empire]

1953 – The Peregrine acquires the Looking Glass from Lu Chang. [“Black Mass,” The Peregrine Volume One] 

1961 – Max’s son William becomes the second Peregrine. [“The Four Peregrines,” The Peregrine Volume Two] 

1964 – Mitchell Williams passes away from cancer. Charity Grace is invited to join Assistance Unlimited by her niece, Emily. [Gravedigger Volume Three]. Benjamin Falk, a former Secret Service Agent, is recruited into Assistance Unlimited. Alongside Emily Grace, Sato Shinji, Ezekiel Gray and Bart Hill, he assists in defeating an attempted Fourth Reich led by Marvin Levin and his clone army. Emily and Ezekiel then lead a battle with the forces of SIGIL [Supreme International Group for Illegal Liaisons] and a would-be god named Helios. [Assistance Unlimited: The Silver Age – Broken Empire] 

1967 – The second Peregrine battles and defeats the Warlike Manchu, who is in possession of the Mayan Tablet that Doctor Satan coveted in ’43. Evelyn Davies dies. [“The Four Peregrines,” The Peregrine Volume Two] 

1970 – William Davies [the second Peregrine] commits suicide by jumping from a Manhattan rooftop. Emma Davies [Max’s daughter and William’s sister] becomes the Peregrine one week later, in February. [“The Four Peregrines, ” The Peregrine Volume Two] 

1973 – The third Peregrine is accompanied by Kayla Kaslov [daughter of Leonid Kaslov] on a trip to Brazil, where the two women defeat the Black Annis and claim the Mayan Tablet that’s popped up over the course of three decades. Emma gives it to her father, who in turn passes it on to Catalyst [Nathaniel Caine] [“The Four Peregrines,” The Peregrine Volume Two] 

1977 – Project: Cicada is mothballed and both Nature Boy & Nature Girl are locked away in suspended animation. [Omnium Gatherum] 

~1985 – Max resumes operating as the Peregrine, adventuring sporadically. Due to various magical events, he remains far more active than most men his age. The reasons for Emma giving up the role are unknown at this time. 

2006 – The Black Mass Barrier rises, enveloping the world in a magical field. The World of Shadows merges with Earth. Fiona Grace [descended from Eobard] becomes a worldwide celebrity, partially due to her failure to stop the Black Mass Barrier. [“Black Mass,” The Peregrine Volume One]. An alien race known as Phantasma begins a stealth invasion of Earth. [Omnium Gatherum] 

2009 – Ian Morris meets Max Davies and becomes the new Peregrine. He meets Fiona Grace. Max dies at some point immediately following this. [“Black Mass,” The Peregrine Volume One] 

2010 – The Ian Morris Peregrine and Fiona Grace deal with the threat of Baron Samedi [“The Curse of Baron Samedi,” The Peregrine Volume Three]. Ian Morris briefly battles a confused Gideon Black in New York [The Second Book of Babylon] The Shining One murders actor Michael York [Omnium Gatherum] 

2011 – Gideon Black, Daniel Higgins, Jennifer Black, Topaz and Johnny Galahad become embroiled in a series of strange events in London. Jennifer temporarily becomes the host for the Spirit of Retribution and engages in a deadly war of wills with Damien, the son of Lucifer, and several of his agents, including The Furious and Dr. York. In the end, Daniel is restored to life and resumes his role as Babylon’s host. [The Second Book of Babylon]

2012 – The fourth Peregrine (Ian Morris) receives the Mayan Tablet from Catalyst, who tells him that the world will end on December 21, 2012 unless something is done. Using the tablet, Ian attempts to take control of the magic spell that will end the world. Aided by the spirits of the three previous Peregrines, he succeeds, though it costs him his life. He is survived by his lover [Fiona Grace] and their unborn child. Max Davies is reborn as a man in his late twenties and becomes the Peregrine again. [“The Four Peregrines,” The Peregrine Volume Two] 

2014 – The Black Mass Barrier falls and magic slowly begins to recede back to its pre-2006 levels. 

2019 – Lilith journeys to Atlanta where she teams with The Peregrine and Pam Shields to combat The Caretaker. [The Chronicles of Lilith] 

2020 – Sam Hain merges with Gwydion to form the Straw-Man. Together, they combat a series of threats, including The Midnight Goblin, Jupiter, Beltane, and Seraph. [The Adventures of the Straw-Man Volume One]

2021 – Nature Boy and Nature Girl are revived and become affiliated with E-Force, a team of enhanced young people that fight against the forces of Phantasma. Nature Boy and Nature Girl merge with Jimmy and Jazlyn Tompkins. [Omnium Gatherum] . Straw-Man continues to defend Grove’s Folly, battling the likes of the Grave Master, Rhiannon, and Ladybird. Straw-Man accepts honorary membership in the International Hero Corps, alongside Jupiter, Spook, Hush, and Thrud. [The Adventures of the Straw-Man Volume Two]

The Claws of the Peregrine

After I’d finished several stories in The Peregrine series, it occurred to me that I’d introduced quite a few supporting characters that were worthy of stories in their own right: Leonid Kaslov, Catalyst, Revenant, Rachel Winters, Frankenstein’s Monster, etc. I decided it would make perfect sense to throw some of those characters together and create a spinoff project from The Peregrine Chronicles. I decided to leave out Kaslov and focus on the other four heroes I just mentioned, allowing The Peregrine to serve as their funding agent. I wanted to do the pulp equivalent of the old Batman and the Outsiders series: Batman brought together heroes to serve as his private strike force, handling things he didn’t have the time to do.

This strike force would be known as The Claws of The Peregrine, or simply “The Claws.”

The Claws of the Peregrine were originally meant to be introduced in their own volume. The Peregrine would appear in a major fashion in the first story, then fade into the background, to be used as needed. The first story (“The Diabolical Mr. Dee”) was written and I think it turned out fairly well, though I was obviously still finding my footing with the series.

Then came “A Plague of Wicked Men.”

I forget who came up with the idea of teaming the various Wild Cat Books heroes into one story but I know that Don Lee, Wayne Skiver, the Carney brothers, Ron Hanna and I were all involved in the plotting of the story, which would pit the heroes against a grouping of evil villains. Ron and Wayne wanted to kick the story off by killing an established pulp hero and they chose to make Captain Hazzard the sacrifice. I was worried about how this would look, since Hazzard was very closely identified with the editor-in-chief of one of Wild Cat’s major rivals but I wasn’t really the mover and shaker in the plotting. A scene (by Wayne) was written in which Hazzard was killed and I know Don Lee wrote a scene where the villains first came together.

Then, as is common in these sorts of things, the writers began flaking out. One person had legal issues, another had concerns about the plot, etc.

The project seemed dead.

Then I asked if I could take the plot and twist it into a Claws of The Peregrine plot, rewriting the scenes already completed and tweaking it all into something that I felt I could handle on my own. Everyone seemed fine with that and Wayne was gracious enough to allow me to keep his character Prof. Stone in the story. I threw in the Black Bat, Ascott Keane and Ki-Gor to make it even bigger. The story turned out fairly well, though it struggled a bit under its own weight. There were elements of the original plot that I was asked to keep that I would have preferred to jettison but I worked with what I had.

There were now two Claws tales…

And then the decision was made to scuttle the Claws spinoff. Sales on the most recent volume of The Peregrine had been weaker than expected and it was decided to not dilute the brand at this point.

So what to do? I didn’t want to just shelve those stories but at the same time I was feeling burned out on The Peregrine and didn’t really feel like doing a solo Peregrine collection, either.

It was decided to take the two Claws stories and put them into The Peregrine Volume Five. A couple more Claws/Peregrine stories were added to flesh out the volume and voila, we had a book.

But it wasn’t a very good book, in my opinion. It suffered from the fact that you had a book entitled The Peregrine that spent a lot of time with The Peregrine not in it — I was fleshing out characters for their own series, remember, so I had deliberately tried to push The Peregrine into the background of those stories.

It was published, people seemed to regard it as weaker than its predecessors but still good.

Here’s where all the individual members of the team first appeared:

  • Catalyst (Nathaniel Caine) first appeared in “Catalyst.” The story is set in 1942. A predecessor named Andre Theirry also used the Catalyst identity in a series of adventures alongside Lazarus Gray in the 1937-1938 period of time.
  • Esper (Rachel Winters, later Rachel Caine) also first appeared in “Catalyst”. As stated before, the story is set in ’42.
  • Revenant (Sally Pence) first appeared in “Death From the Jungle”. The story is set in 1943.
  • Vincent (aka Frankenstein’s Monster) first appeared in “Satan’s Trial”. This story occurs in late 1943, after “Death From the Jungle.”

The group comes together as The Claws of the Peregrine in 1944, operating out of a two-story house on Peachtree Street nicknamed The Aerie. The group’s meeting room was in the finished basement and there was an extensive library and armory on the second floor. The team first appeared together in “The Diabolical Mr. Dee” before teaming up with several other pulp heroes in “A Plague of Wicked Men.” Both of those adventures were set in ’44. In 1946, they took part in the missions dubbed “The Devil’s Spear” and “The Ivory Machine.” During the latter story, their ranks swelled with the additions of The Black Terror and his partner Tim, Miss Masque, and The Flame. All of those stories are now available in The Peregrine Omnibus Volume Two.

Nothing is known about the majority of the members past ’46, though in one possible future (“The Four Peregrines”), we see that Catalyst is still alive into the 21st Century, having outlived his wife. Given that everything shown in the series post 2006 is just a potential future, it’s not carved in stone that this is anyone’s ultimate fate, however.

We also know that The Black Terror is still alive in 1964 as he plays a role in ASSISTANCE UNLIMITED: THE SILVER AGE.

I sometimes miss these characters but I’m uncertain if anybody would really want to see them revived. If I do, I’m not certain that the public domain heroes like The Black Terror and Miss Masque will remain with the group — I’d suspect that they’ll become secondary members, who might pop up if needed. I’d probably keep the focus on the main four (plus The Peregrine).

What do you guys say? Anybody want to see these heroes return?