Sunday Thoughts

Early reactions to Worlds Apart, the crossover novel between the heroes of the Femforce comics and my Reese Unlimited imprint, have been positive — and I heard from Sean Ali, the formatting genius who’s working on the 11th volume of Lazarus Gray. He said that he was genuinely shocked and thrilled by the ending to that book. Volume twelve has to do a lot of work explaining and dealing with what happens at the end of eleven… but Mike Hintze, who edited that one, said that he was impressed with how I resolved it all. Fingers crossed that everyone else agrees.

I’m working away on the first short story in the third Straw-Man book. This one brings in my modern-day updating of the American Crusader. She might stick around as a supporting character. We’ll see.

Our art today is by George Sellas and features The Peregrine making an emergency exit.

Worlds Apart!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

EPIC CROSSOVER ACTION! NIGHTVEIL AND LAZARUS GRAY! BARRY REESE’S ‘WORLDS APART’ DEBUTS!

The heroes of two universes come together to face a threat to all reality! For the first time ever, AC Comics and Pro Se Productions’ author imprint Reese Unlimited cross over in Barry Reese’s WORLDS APART! Now available in print and digital formats and starring AC Comics’ Nightveil and Reese Unlimited’s New Pulp heroes Lazarus Gray and Gravedigger!

Nightveil, Femforce’s mistress of magic, is brought together with Assistance Unlimited’s founder, Lazarus Gray, to investigate an alliance between two of their greatest foes! And no universe may survive!

With guest appearances by a host of other heroes, this tour de force by award-winning author Barry Reese is a genre-breaking classic in the making! From Pro Se Productions, Reese Unlimited, and AC Comics!

Featuring an excellent cover by George Sellas and print formatting and logo design by Sean E. Ali, WORLDS APART is available for 7.99 via Amazon at https://tinyurl.com/mw94n2h7.

Formatted by lo Iaocono, this epic crossover is available as an ebook for only 99 cents for a limited time from Amazon at https://tinyurl.com/bdfmb5wv. Kindle Unlimited members can read for free!

Barry Reese’s THE ADVENTURES OF LAZARUS GRAY and THE ADVENTURES OF GRAVEDIGGER are available on Amazon from Pro Se Productions.

Nightveil leads the adventures in THE QUIET GIRLS by Barry Reese and CRISIS AT THE CROSSROADS OF INFINITY by Bobby Nash, both available on Amazon from Pro Se Productions and AC Comics.

For more information on this title, interviews with the author, or digital copies for review, email editorinchief@prose-press.com.
To learn more about Pro Se Productions, go to http://www.prose-press.com. Like Pro Se on Facebook at Pro Se Productions.

Another Lazarus Review!

Pat Casey has posted a new review of The Adventures of Lazarus Gray Volume Ten on Amazon. He gave the book 5 stars and had the following to say:

The newest adventure of Assistance Unlimited has arrived. Barry Reese has given his readers another double barreled shot of pulpy goodness!

This volume consists of two adventures. The first is a short tale introducing a new super hero team called “The Heroes” (hopefully Mr. Reese will change their team name to something a little more memorable!). The connection to Gray being the Black Terror(a member of Gray’s Assistance Unlimited) joining three other public domain heroes to take on Dr. Satan.

Mr. Reese is able to take public domain characters to their full potential on every occasion. An obscure villian like Dr. Satan turns into the next Doctor Doom under Mr. Reese’s guidance. I’m hoping to see this team again in the future and possibly broaden their membership with more PD heroes.


The second story is a full on Assistance Unlimited action tale that takes Lazarus Gray to his physical limit. The team is aided by Babylon, another original character created by Mr. Reese.

The story begins during the attack on Pearl Harbour and we see Gray and his associates agree to take on missions for the U.S. Govt in an official capacity with the newly formed Project: Cicada.


The ancient goddess of discourse makes her presence known trying to ensure continued world wide strife. She recruits and empowers a troubled young man who soon believes her twisted worldview and competes with Assistance Unlimited to obtain a weapon of incredible destructive force.


Gray’s past as a member of the Illuminati is spotlighted as Reese introduces characters that hold a personal vendetta against Lazarus Gray and want revenge for betraying their secret order.


Assistance Unlimited will need the help of Babylon and The Heroes in order to stop the world from being burned to a cinder. But will their combined efforts be enough?

In true pulp fashion the plot is action packed and moves forward at a quick pace. It’s not hard to tell that Barry Reese has a particular fondness for Gray and his team which is often passed on to the reader. The characters never remain stagnant and new life changing challenges are often introduced by the author in each new volume.

Lazarus Gray and Assistance Unlimited are characters that could easily be brought to life in graphic novels and Mr. Reese has the talent to make it happen.

If I’m not mistaken the editors of Pro Se have recently purchased the intellectual properties of the “Reese Unlimited” universe and some changes have been made. As I’ve mentioned in other reviews, the most recurring is the lack of interior black & white spot illustrations. These were often used in previous volumes and harken back to the fun of pulp adventure magazines. There are only two illustrations in this volume but i suspect they may have been older pieces included by the author. The second being the cover art by Jeffrey Hayes. Although a very talented cover artist (his work on “The Bishop of Port Victoria” and “The Mask of Beelzebub” being two of my favorites) the move from the unique style of George Sellas is off target. Whether its budgetary reasons or trying to shift audience perceptions of what these books represent I find the changes put forth lacking and hopefully veer back to their previous course.

This volume was another great addition to my Lazarus Gray collection and I’m looking forward to reading the next installment. If you are a fan of traditional pulp magazines/characters or new to the world of “new-age pulp” I would give any book featured in the Reese Universe a try.

Thanks for the thoughtful review, Pat! I’m glad you enjoyed the book overall – I agree that The Heroes is a rather boring name but that was actually what I was going for lol

Hopefully you’ll enjoy volume eleven when it drops!

Lazarus Gray & Nightveil

A few years ago I got the honor of writing a novel featuring AC’s Nightveil character. The book, The Quiet Girls, turned out really well and I’m still extremely proud of it. Nightveil’s creator, Bill Black, mentioned to me that he would like to see some of his characters meet some of mine… and that sparked the idea that eventually turned into a novel pairing Lazarus Gray and Nightveil (and Gravedigger!). We deal with dopplegangers between characters in each universe, get to see one of Gray’s arch-enemies team up with one of Nightveil’s… and a whole lot more. I’m bringing it up because the novel has finally made it through the approval process and entered the formatting phase. Hopefully it’ll be released in the next couple of months!

Today you get to see a sneak preview of the cover of said novel, by my old partner, George Sellas. If that doesn’t get you excited for this, I don’t know what will!

What A Month!

Two books released in December! It’s been an exciting time around Reese Unlimited and hopefully a few folks will end up with one or both of them under the Christmas tree. One of them is a new addition to my long-running Lazarus Gray series while the other is a one-off starring a sword and sorcery character. It’s amazing that I’ve reached the point in my life when I can write all sorts of things and people embrace them all. I appreciate the support of my fans and hope to continue entertaining you for many years to come.

Our image today comes from artist George Sellas and features The Peregrine’s wife with a vampiric foe.

Grave Matters

The following is an essay that ran in the first Gravedigger book. It’s an interesting look at the steps to the character’s creation and serves as a sort of literary time capsule. Hope you find it interesting!

GRAVE MATTERS
OR…
HOW I CAME TO WRITE THIS BOOK

Hello, Faithful Readers! I hope you enjoyed the introduction to Gravedigger, the newest member of my New Pulp universe that began with the arrival of The Peregrine. Since The Peregrine’s first flight back in 2008, I’ve added to the universe with Lazarus Gray, The Dark Gentleman, Guan-Yin, The Claws of The Peregrine and many more.

But none of them are quite like Gravedigger.

To understand how and why I created the character, we first have to go back to the misty past. It was a time of optimism and a surging economy. We were well on the way to electing the first Democratic President since Jimmy Carter. Grunge was filtering its way into the public consciousness. 

It was 1992. I was 20 years old and in college, where I was working towards an undergraduate degree in Psychology. Then, as now, I was a huge comic book fan. Then, as now, I was a huge fan of the Valiant Universe. I loved the tight continuity it possessed and the way that little background events and characters would float from book to book, building a cohesive universe. 

One of my favorite characters in that universe was Shadowman, who debuted in May 1992. A supernatural hero, Jack Boniface was poisoned by an alien, allowing him to “die” before being resurrected as an avenger of the night. We would later find out that he was only the latest in a long line of Shadowmen. I loved the concept and the series but it eventually faded away with the rest of the Valiant Universe. 

But like all good things, it would not stay dead. Shadowman and the rest of the Valiant heroes were recently revived by a new Valiant. The promo art by Patrick Zircher floated around for months before the first issue actually debuted and I adored the revised look of the hero. It got me to thinking… Perhaps I needed to add a new title to my pulp hero collection, one that would serve as a “connector” series. It would have ties to all that had come before and would be the place where fans of The Rook or Lazarus Gray could come to get a taste of the greater universe. 

I decided I wanted to make the new character a female, to balance out the male-heavy universe that I already had, and that I wanted her to be heavily supernatural as a nod to Shadowman. Like Jack, she would be the latest in a long line of heroes and, as with Shadowman and Lazarus Gray, rebirth would factor large in her origin.

From there, artist George Sellas and I tossed a few ideas back and forth. I had the name Gravedigger but I was afraid it was too masculine for Charity. He convinced me that it could be a neat twist on the name and concept. I told him my idea of tying Charity’s past to Samantha Grace’s origin, which he liked. It not only provided a link to the Lazarus series but also furthered the Grace family’s role in the overall universe. 

Once I’d come up with the full origin and George had done his initial character sketch, I thought it would be fun to have a “hand-off” in the story. When I wrote my first Lazarus Gray collection, The Peregrine appeared, as if giving his stamp of approval on the new arrival. With this one, I wanted to have both The Rook and Lazarus appear in ways that would bolster Gravedigger but not detract from her starring role. I was inspired by the way Star Trek used to do this – Dr. McCoy from the original series was on the first episode of Next Generation, then Captain Picard from The Next Generation appeared on the first episode of Deep Space Nine, while that space station was a jumping-off point for Star Trek: Voyager when that series began. I thought was a nice wink and nod to the fans.

The decision to use The Headless Horseman in the book came about because I recycle everything. A few years ago, I wrote nearly 20,000 words on a novel I was going to call “Headless.” It was going to be a sequel to Washington Irving’s classic and would introduce a new hero of mine, Mortimer Quinn. I eventually abandoned the project but I always wanted to use parts of that story… so it ended up here. Tying Mortimer to the Gravedigger legacy was easy enough and allowed me to bring the Horseman into the story.

As for Charity’s allies… one thing that I learned from the Lazarus Gray series is that I like having a steady cast of characters to supplement my protagonist. But I didn’t want to create another Assistance Unlimited, who was inspired by Justice, Inc. Instead, I looked to another favorite pulp hero of mine – The Shadow. While Lazarus has a group of partners, The Shadow had a group of agents. There was never any doubt that Harry Vincent and Burbank were lower-ranking than The Shadow. That’s what I set out to do here – Mitchell, Cedric and Li all get their ‘origins’ here and we see what skills they bring to the table. All of them, however, are agents – not partners. Our heroine is the one that stands on center stage during the final conflict. 

So where do we go from here? Obviously, the arrival of Mortimer on the last page suggests that there are more stories to be told here. This first Gravedigger novel will appear in 2013 and I hope to follow with a second volume in 2014, if the fates are with me. I hope to continue to update her adventures regularly, just as I have with Lazarus and The Peregrine.

Stop by my blog (http://www.barryreese.net) to keep up with the goings-on in all my pulp stories, as well as take a gander at exclusive artwork. 

Speaking of artwork, I have to say thank you to George Sellas, for designing Gravedigger’s look and for the incredibly awesome cover he whipped up. Also, Will Meugniot’s interior illustrations perfectly captured the mood of the story, pairing Charity’s obvious beauty with her deadly nature.  Thanks, guys.

Lock your doors, everyone. Gravedigger is hitting the streets.