Emily Grace

barry-reese-1Folks know that the Grace family have formed part of the heroic backbone of the Reese Unlimited Universe – we’ve seen Samantha Grace as part of Assistance Unlimited; Charity Grace has fought crime as Gravedigger; Eobard Grace has adventured on both Earth and The World of Shadows. There are others that have popped here and there, as well… and when I decided to tell a story set in the Sixties with Assistance Unlimited, I knew there would have to be at least one Grace on center stage. That turned out to be the daughter of the villainous Nemesis and our beloved Samantha.

The task of designing Emily fell to Chris Batista, a talented artist who not only delivered the covers to The Adventures of Lazarus Gray Volume Five and Götterdämmerung  but he’s also done work on JLA, The Flashand Booster Gold. I’ve known Chris for awhile and trusted him to take my notes and come up with something special. And, boy, did he ever!

Broken Empire – Assistance Unlimited: The Silver Age is available now!

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Musing about awards…

grave3So the Pulp Factory Awards nominee list was revealed today and, once again, it’s heavily weighted towards Airship 27. 18 of the 23 nominations went to Airship and the ones that didn’t still feature writers that also work for Airship. This is not surprising given that the only people that can make nominations are members of the Pulp Factory Mailing List, which is overseen by Ron Fortier, who just so happens to run Airship 27. Airship 27 membership is open to anyone as long as Ron approves them but I’d guess that at least 95% of its membership also does work for Airship. A few years back, I had a conversation with a fellow New Pulp writer about how the Pulp Factory Awards were basically the Airship 27 Awards and he had a lot to say on the subject… then he decided that the best way to get nominated was to offer to work on putting the awards together. Suddenly he was a regular part of the nominee list! It’s amazing how that happened… and now he is a staunch defender of the Awards themselves.

Look, I’m not saying that anyone is out to deliberately mislead the public… but it makes sense that a mailing list composed of people that primarily (or, at least, partially) work with one single publisher are going to skew the nominees towards that publisher. That makes sense — but it also means that these awards are not as “open” to everyone as you might think.

I confess that there are some sour grapes here. I’ve been writing New Pulp for nearly 14 years… I’ve won tons of awards… but it wasn’t until 2018 that I even received a nomination for an Airship 27 award.

And guess what?

It was for a Captain Action novel… that I wrote for (wait for it)… Airship 27.

IMG_2098This year, the final book in my Gravedigger series was one that I would have thought might have gotten a nomination – at least for the amazing cover by George Sellas. But all the covers nominated are for Airship 27. Likewise, Christ Batista did some amazing interior art… but, once again, all the interior artists nominated were for Airship 27 books.

Oh, well. I went and voted for the people I believe deserve to win off the nominees list. I just hate for anyone to look at that list and believe that they’re seeing a representative sample of what New Pulp has to offer. There are great things on there but there’s a lot more to be found, as well.

Gravedigger Carves Up a 5-Star Review!

IMG_2098ChickJ is back, having posted a review of the third Gravedigger book over at Amazon.com. He gave this one 5 stars and this is what he had to say:

An excellent ending to this trilogy. I love seeing The Dark Gentleman showing up. This time there are lots of new ideas but the characters you love are evolving. A few surprises this time. To get the full impact you really need to read the whole series. It is worth reading, a must for all pulp lovers.

Thanks for the review! I remember you gave book 2 only 3 stars so I was pleased to see that you felt the final book was a satisfying completion to the series. I definitely wanted to push the characters forward since this would be the last time you would be seeing most of them. Glad it felt like I succeeded.

Our art today is one of the interior pieces from Gravedigger Volume Three – the artist is the incomparable Chris Batista.

What’s Happening, Barry?

gravedigger_small_colorWell, thanks for asking! I’ll let you know…

Looked over the galley for The Adventures of Gravedigger Volume 3 yesterday. This one will feature another stunning cover from George Sellas and interior art by Chris Batista. I think you guys will really like it.

Working on the final story for the eighth volume of Lazarus and I hope to finish it in the next week or so… then I have to put the pedal to the metal and finish off the first book in a new shared-universe series for Pro Se.

After *that*, I might be able to finally start coming up with ideas for the next Captain Action book from Airship 27. No matter what, it’s going to be another busy year for Reese Unlimited. I hope you’ll be along for the ride with me!

Assistance Unlimited: The Silver Age

barry-reese-1To celebrate the fact that I started work on this today, I’m going to re-post the original press release about Assistance Unlimited: The Silver Age!

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Pro Se Productions and Reese Unlimited are proud to announce a new series that will continue the proud tradition of New Pulp excitement!

In 2018, the best-selling series The Adventures of Lazarus Gray will receive its first spin-off as Assistance Unlimited goes global!

ASSISTANCE UNLIMITED: THE SILVER AGE will launch a brand-new ongoing series of novels set in 1964 and starring another member of the long-running Grace family. Emily Grace is the daughter of Samantha Grace (one of the starring members of the Lazarus Gray series) and she makes her debut in the final chapter of The Adventures of Gravedigger Volume 3, which will also be published sometime in 2017.

The new series not only stars Emily Grace but also Benjamin Falk (a former Secret Service agent that was present for Kennedy’s assassination), an aged Lazarus Gray and several more familiar faces that will appeal to both long-time readers and new fans.

“As we move into the Sixties, I’ll be tackling global espionage and high-adventure,” author Barry Reese states. “Think James Bond, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., I Spy and The Avengers. It’s definitely still New Pulp but there will be some tweaks to our storytelling that I think will make the series quite fresh. By the time THE SILVER AGE begins, Assistance Unlimited has gone global, offering their unique brand of help to citizens around the world.”

assistanceunlimited_cvr_smlAlong for the ride with book one is cover artist Steven Novak and interior artist Chris Batista. Batista has been a contributor to the Reese Unlimited line for quite awhile, having worked on The Adventures of Lazarus Gray Volume Five and Gotterdamerung. Batista worked closely with Reese in designing the look of the main character and he has contributed multiple images that will run as illustrations for book one.

Reese wants to caution fans that the spin-off project does not mean the end of the main Lazarus Gray series. “Volume seven of the Lazarus series should be out in a month or two and volume eight is currently scheduled for a 2018 release. We’ll continue detailing the ‘Golden Age’ adventures of Lazarus and his friends in the years to come but the Silver Age books will allow us to look at the characters and their world in a different light. As usual, I’ll be striving to make the new series completely accessible to those that are unfamiliar with the other books that have come before.”

Look for Assistance Unlimited: The Silver Age Volume One – Broken Empire in early 2018!

What’s Going On?

dc-ca-2Welcome back to Ye Olde Blog, my friends! I wanted to update you on a few outstanding projects:

THE ADVENTURES OF LAZARUS GRAY VOLUME SIX is (I promise!) on the way soon. Sean Ali is doing his usual amazing formatting job on it and I should be getting final galleys to approve in the next few days. I think you guys will like it!

THE ADVENTURES OF GRAVEDIGGER VOLUME THREE is now complete! The story’s written, interior art by Chris Batista is in and George Sellas has just finished off the cover — if you loved his work on the first two books, prepare to be blown away again by his work on this one. As amazing as George has been over the years, I think his Gravedigger covers are his best work and that’s saying a lot.

I’m still working away on CAPTAIN ACTION VOLUME THREE and expect to finish it in the next two weeks. It’s been a blast working on this classic hero with Jim Beard and I hope that fans of CA will get a kick out of what we’ve come up with… it’s both a totally new adventure and a continuation of the plot points from the first two books. Our art today is from the DC Comics’ series published in the 1960s — gotta love that Gil Kane artwork!

As soon as I’m finished with CA, I’m submitting a plot to Pro Se for my Nightveil novel and then I’m diving right into that. With luck I’ll finish off Nightveil before the end of March, leaving me to split time for awhile between the first book in the ASSISTANCE UNLIMITED: THE SILVER AGE series and THE ADVENTURES OF LAZARUS GRAY VOLUME EIGHT.

We’ll be having another “Ask the Author” blog post soon if you want to ask me about anything, let me know in the comments to this post — anything is fair game!

A Year Of Assistance Unlimited!

lazarus_batista_smallIf you’re a fan of Lazarus Gray and the heroes of Assistance Unlimited, 2017 is going to be an exciting one for you! Six years ago we saw volume one hit the market and during that time, these characters have become favorites of so many people… I’m honored that you guys enjoy them as much as I like writing them!

I returned the edits on the sixth volume of Lazarus Gray a few days ago so I fully expect that you’ll be able to buy it before the end of the month! This one picks up where the crossover novel left off — and if you’ve read that one, you know that Lazarus was in a very interesting state when last seen. This book features several short stories that combine into a larger narrative.

Volume seven has already been written, as well. That’s a novel-length tale and is expected to drop sometime in the early summer of 2017. Volume eight will feature five interconnected stories, the first of which has been completed.

We’ll also see the debut of Assistance Unlimited: The Silver Age this year. The main character will make her first appearance in the third Gravedigger volume, which should come out in the latter part of the 2017. I expect the first book in the Silver Age series to be published in 2018.

There’s been talk of an anthology that would feature new stories of Gravedigger, Lazarus Gray and The Peregrine by other writers — is this something you guys would like to see? Let me know!

Our art today is the original penciled version of Volume Five’s cover by Chris Batista!

 

My Ten Favorite Comic Book Artists

perezYeah, I like lists.

Anyway, in the past I’ve listed out my favorite Spider-Man writers, my favorite Spidey villains, my favorite classic and new pulp heroes & villains… heck, I even listed out my ten favorite pulp-inspired comics.

Today we’re looking at my top 10 favorite comic book artists. These are guys who always excite me when I hear their names are attached to various projects.

So let’s go!

10. Steve Rude – The Dude first came to my attention when he was working on Nexus. Loved the way he depicted the entire cast and he’s really underrated in the way that he draws facial expressions. The guy’s a master, period.

9. Jim Aparo – Aparo was the definitive Batman artist for me in the Seventies and I enjoyed his work on the Batman and the Outsiders series a lot. He also did great work on Aquaman over the years and in Brave and the Bold, he got to draw just about everybody!

8. Keith Giffen – If I had made this list in the 80s, Giffen would have been much, much higher. I adored his work on Legion of Super-Heroes but eventually his style became much more manic. I still enjoy it a lot (especially on Kirby-influenced projects) but there are times it comes off as a hot mess. Still, I’m always curious when I see his name attached to a project.

7. Will Meugniot – Will became one of my faves when he was doing DNAgents back in the 80s but I have continued to follow him through his work on Vanity and Femforce. He’s a remarkably talented guy and I’ve loved that I’ve had the chance to work with him on my own books.

6. Gene Colan – Colan was a master of atmosphere. I adored his pencils on Tomb of Dracula, Batman and Night Force. His work on other titles was sometimes a little odd in ways but I still loved his work. I mean, I would never have put him on Iron Man or Daredevil, for instance, and yet his pencils were so awesome that I didn’t even mind that he wasn’t a traditional superhero artist. He did work well on Batman, though.

5. Ivan Reis – The newest name on my list, Reis has really impressed me with his work on titles like Blackest Night, Green Lantern, Justice League and Aquaman. He’s amazing!

4. Chris Batista – I first noticed him on Legion of Super-Heroes and he’s actually my favorite Legion artist because he’s able to perfectly capture their youthful nature. I also really dug his work on Booster Gold and an all-too-brief run on Justice League. Why DC or Marvel hasn’t snatched him up for a major title is beyond me. I think he’d really rock on a New Gods revival, too.

3. John Byrne – Back in the day, Byrne was a stud. I followed him from X-Men to Fantastic Four to Alpha Flight to Superman… At some point, I think his work became somewhat less appealing to me but I still enjoy it. Aside from his work on Fantastic Four, I generally prefer him as an artist and not a writer but he’s capable of doing fine work on both sides of the creative fence.

2. Alan Davis – Captain Britain. Excalibur. The Nail. Batman. X-Men. Superboy’s Legion. I could go on and on. I am mad about his artwork. It’s fun, it’s sleek, it’s everything I want from a superhero artist. I’ve bought books simply because he drew them, even when I knew I’d dislike the story. He’s simply that good.

1. George Perez – The king of superhero artists in my opinion. He’s known for his crowd scenes — and they are awesome — but he’s also a fine character-based storyteller. Look at his run on New Teen Titans or Wonder Woman for proof. And unlike some artists, I find his later work to be just as good as the older stuff… Legion of 3 Worlds, his Avengers run with Kurt Busiek and his work on Worlds’ Finest are all fine examples of his more recent books that I think are great. For me, I’ll always associate him with the Titans first and foremost, then his work on Crisis. He also drew a fine, fine run of JLA.

ASSISTANCE UNLIMITED: THE SILVER AGE

barry-reese-1Pro Se Productions and Reese Unlimited are proud to announce a new series that will continue the proud tradition of New Pulp excitement!

In 2017, the best-selling series The Adventures of Lazarus Gray will receive its first spin-off as Assistance Unlimited goes global!

ASSISTANCE UNLIMITED: THE SILVER AGE will launch a brand-new ongoing series of novels set in 1964 and starring another member of the long-running Grace family. Emily Grace is the daughter of Samantha Grace (one of the starring members of the Lazarus Gray series) and she makes her debut in the final chapter of The Adventures of Gravedigger Volume 3, which will also be published sometime in 2017.

The new series not only stars Emily Grace but also Benjamin Falk (a former Secret Service agent that was present for Kennedy’s assassination), an aged Lazarus Gray and several more familiar faces that will appeal to both long-time readers and new fans.

“As we move into the Sixties, I’ll be tackling global espionage and high-adventure,” author Barry Reese states. “Think James Bond, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., I Spy and The Avengers. It’s definitely still New Pulp but there will be some tweaks to our storytelling that I think will make the series quite fresh. By the time THE SILVER AGE begins, Assistance Unlimited has gone global, offering their unique brand of help to citizens around the world.”

assistanceunlimited_cvr_smlAlong for the ride with book one is cover artist Steven Novak and interior artist Chris Batista. Batista has been a contributor to the Reese Unlimited line for quite awhile, having worked on The Adventures of Lazarus Gray Volume Five and Gotterdamerung. Batista worked closely with Reese in designing the look of the main character and he has contributed multiple images that will run as illustrations for book one.

Reese wants to caution fans that the spin-off project does not mean the end of the main Lazarus Gray series. “Volume six of the Lazarus series should be out in a month or two and volume seven is currently scheduled for a summer 2017 release. Both are completely written and are undergoing editing and formatting right now. We’ll continue detailing the ‘Golden Age’ adventures of Lazarus and his friends in the years to come but the Silver Age books will allow us to look at the characters and their world in a different light. As usual, I’ll be striving to make the new series completely accessible to those that are unfamiliar with the other books that have come before.”

Look for Assistance Unlimited: The Silver Age Volume One – Broken Empire in 2017!

Updates!

gravedigger_05I’m over 35,000 words into the final Gravedigger novel and I hope to finish it before the end of November. This one is going very well but it’s bittersweet… a few characters die and we get to see a number of mysteries explained in full. Given the nature of the Gravedigger legacy, there are still tales that could be told about Charity and others but I do want to finish up the essential plot of Charity’s redemption with this one. George Sellas will be returning to do the cover, as he did with the first two books.

I’m also working a bit on a Babylon story that will introduce a spacefaring hero to my pulp adventure universe. The character was designed by George Sellas and I have Steven Wilcox doing some interior pieces for it.

Before the end of the year, I want to post a free Lazarus Gray Christmas story as my way of thanking all of you for your support.

And after all that… a new series will launch, one that’s set in 1964. It will be a sequel of sorts to to another of my continuing series but this one will be steeped in the high-adventure spy genre popularized by James Bond, the Man from UNCLE, etc. — character designs and interior art is by Chris Batista with a great Steven Novak cover. More details to come on that one soon! I’m very excited about it!

Our art today comes from the first Gravedigger book and is by Will Meugnio.