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Tuesday? Yeah, It’s Tuesday.

gravedigger_small_colorWelcome back!

Started reading a new book last night – The Bishop of Port Victoria. It’s a New Pulp collection published by Pro Se and written by D. Alan Lewis. It’s early but so far, so good.

Also wrote some more on the crossover novel. Shocking, I know. Currently the headquarters of Assistance Unlimited is under assault and the only two people available to defend it are… Gravedigger and The Dark Gentleman? Weird! Trust me, it all makes sense when you read it.

Or, at least, I hope it does.

Anyway, I’ve just started looking through something that might lead to more writing work in conjunction with another author. With how busy my schedule is, I’m not sure how wise it is to try and squeeze in another project but it is mighty tempting. We’ll see.

A brief new review went up on Amazon recently. It’s courtesy of a reader named Richard T. and it was for The Avenger: Justice Inc., which I contributed to. Here’s what Richard had to say:

I bought these books in the 70’s because of their covers and then began to enjoy them as fantastic pulp fiction. This new collection honors and extends the legacy of Justice Inc.

Thanks, Richard! My story “The Devil’s Workmen” was a dream to write as  I grew up loving The Avenger. I’m still proud to say that it won the Pulp Ark Award for Best Short Story in 2012. I was lucky enough to get to come back for the following Avenger volume, too.

Our art today is once again from the amazing George Sellas. It was the very first piece he ever did for Gravedigger and solidified our mutual view of her costume. Still a dazzling shot, I think.

Take care, folks! I’ll see you again tomorrow.

Friday Fun

lady_writerIt’s Friday! The weeks have been very long for me lately, with a lot of information being driven into my brain on a daily basis. As such, I’ve been looking forward to the weekends — I’m still studying on Saturday and Sunday but I can still relax a little bit more than during the week.

Got an interesting job offer yesterday — a chance to work with a writer that I really respect. We’ll see if it comes together but it might help introduce me to a new audience and seems like a potentially fun experience. I’ll have to take a few days to look over some things to see if it’s something that we could bring together but… possibilities.

Added a little more to the crossover novel and things are going well, if very slowly.

I should be getting the new Chris Batista image any day now and I will eventually share it with all of you… not sure if I’ll do it right away or make you guys wait.

Yes, I’m a tease!

I’ve gotten a number of requests lately to bring my Ki-Gor stories back into print. I’ll approach Tommy Hancock and see if Pro Se might have any interest in this — maybe as part of their eBook line? We’ll see.

I hope everyone has a great weekend out there! Take care and have some fun.

Some Of My Favorite Comics Stories

jla-200Welcome back to Ye Olde Blog!

I continue to struggle with finding time to work on the crossover novel. When I do have a free minute, I’m so exhausted that I just don’t have much in the way of enthusiasm for the project. I still hope to finish it in 2014 but there’s virtually no chance it will see print before the end of the year. That’s not to say you won’t see things in my universe, though — Gravedigger Volume Two and Lazarus Gray Volume Five should both see print before we switch from ’14 to ’15 on the calendar.

I do apologize for the delays but they simply can’t be helped.

I thought I’d take a few minutes to talk about some of my favorite comic book stories today — some are storylines/epics, others are one-off issues. Most of them come from my younger days because nostalgia rules us all, don’t you know?

Here are a few of my faves:

JLA/Avengers by Kurt Busiek & George Perez – I was gutted when the original was scuttled back in the Eighties but this was a worthy substitute and I still pull it out to re-read on occasion. Great art and a wonderful story.

JLA 200 – This was an all-star extravaganza with a wonderful wraparound cover by George Perez. Basically, the original 7 Leaguers are mind-controlled and forced to fight the newer members of the League, with each chapter drawn by a different superstar artist (like Brian Bolland & Jim Aparo!). This was the gold standard anniversary issue to which I hold all others. Written by Gerry Conway.

The Great Darkness Saga by Paul Levitz and Keith Giffen. Amazing artwork, a tense story and the greatest use of Darkseid EVER. I was already a Legion fan but this put me over the top.

New Teen Titans by Marv Wolfman & George Perez. The whole damned thing.

Excalibur by Chris Claremont and/or Alan Davis. See New Teen Titans.

Sinestro Corps War by Geoff Johns. Loved it and it flowed smoothly into the later (also excellent) Blackest Night.

The FF/Nova crossover by Marv Wolfman. I really dug this when I was a kid, all the way up to the amazing Galactus/Sphinx battle.

Crisis on Infinite Earths — the greatest “crossover” of all time. When the first issue came out, I was so excited that I asked my mom to run out and buy it as soon as it hit the stands. I bought two issues of every issue — one to save and one to read. My “reader” copies were read so much they fell to pieces.

Action Comics by Marv Wolfman & Gil Kane. I was a huge fan of this run at the time and I was thrilled when it was reprinted in a big glossy hardcover.

The Hobgoblin Saga by Roger Stern. This blew me away as a kid and I still re-read it (and Stern’s return with Hobgoblin Lives!). Great stuff with some awesome JR Jr artwork.

The Generations Saga by Roy Thomas and Jerry Ordway — As a major fan of the Earth-Two heroes, I was psyched beyond belief to see the JSA and their kids interacting. Classic stuff.

All-Star Comics – The entire 1970s run by Gerry Conway and Paul Levitz. I adore it. I treasure it. It rocks so hard. That first issue with the cover announcing the arrival of the “All-Star Super Squad” is one of the greatest memories I have as a young comics fan.

What are some of your favorites?

Author Q & A

Every now and then I let some of the questions I’m asked pile up so I can answer them all at once.

Here’s the latest batch! And if you want to play along, just send me a question by replying here, sending me a message via Twitter or through Facebook! Heck, you can even ask me something via Tumblr! I do aim to please.

Let’s started:

When will we see a new Rook volume?

Volume six appeared in 2011 and since then, we’ve gotten re-releases of the earlier books and two Tales of The Rook volumes. In the past I’ve teased that Tommy Hancock was going to be writing a trilogy of Rook novels that would comprise volumes 7-9 but with his schedule, that may or may not be the case any longer. I don’t have any definitive plans to write a new Rook novel myself, either, but I can tell you that he plays a  major role in Götterdämmerung, the crossover novel that I’m currently writing. He’ll be teaming up with Gravedigger and Lazarus Gray in that one!

So don’t give up hope… I may do a new one at some point.

Which of your characters is your favorite?

I always have trouble answering this one. They’re all special to me in some way… I guess I’d lean towards Lazarus Gray as of today but Gravedigger, Fiona Chapman and The Rook will always be dear to me, as well. Hell, they all are!

I can’t answer that.

Next!

Any chance of you and George Sellas doing a comic together about one of your characters?

Maybe? We’d both be interested but it’s a matter of logistics and finances. To get something published through Image, for instance, would cost a couple of thousand per issue in addition to the creative costs. There’s always the self-publishing route via IndyPlanet or something but there’s smaller chance of something catching on there.

I’d love to see a book about the villains/the members of Assistance Unlimited/Leonid Kaslov! Could it happen?

I’m lumping all three of those together because I get asked them so frequently. All are possibilities and I’d like to see all of them happen, either spearheaded by me or someone else. I only have so many hours in the day, though! I’d also like to see a Handbook of my universe but, again, when would I do it? Anybody out there want to volunteer their services to help out? I’m game.

Who should play The Rook in a movie?

Anybody! Nah, seriously… I used to say Nathan Fillion, during his Firefly days. Now that he’s gotten older, I lean towards Matt Damon… but I could be swayed in other directions. I never play the casting game too often.

Why aren’t you writing any Shadow stuff for Dynamite?

They won’t let me? 🙂

I did send in a couple of inquiries as instructed on their website but I never got any response back from them so I assume they’re well-stocked on writers for the character. Given that they’re working with folks like Michael Uslan and Matt Wagner, they probably don’t need me.

Our image today is of the iconic Michael Caine. Enjoy!

 

Wednesday Musings

michael-fassbender

Welcome back to Ye Olde Blog, my friends!

I received the edits for The Adventures of Gravedigger Volume Two: The Silver Skull and I’m making my way through them — but it’s slow going since I’m reeeeeally busy in my day-to-day life. Starting a new career is time-consuming, my friends!

Still, I haven’t forgotten my pulp obligations and I hope you’re all excited about the upcoming debut of The Dark Gentleman’s e-book series. I think you’ll enjoy what I’ve got planned… it will definitely fit into my greater pulp adventure universe but be its own thing, as well.

I’m hoping to get a Guest Blog out of Tommy Hancock sometime soon, so stay tuned for that.

I also got an idea for a new project yesterday but I have no time at present. I’m stuck halfway through the crossover novel with no time to work on it and I still have to get cranking on The Dark Gentleman… perhaps someday you’ll see that idea of mine in some form but not any time soon, I’m afraid.

Our image today is of the amazing Michael Fassbender, who would be my choice to star in a Shadow film if I were casting it. He’s capable of pulling off Lamont Cranston, while having the penetrating gaze of The Shadow.

Are you listening, Hollywood?

I’ll be back with more tomorrow — until then, grab a classic pulp off the shelf and spend some time with an old friend or two, why don’t you? Remind yourself of why we love this crazy little slice of the action/adventure field.

See you soon!

 

 

The Dark Gentleman

dark_gentlemanHello, My Friends!

As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve continued working on Götterdämmerung, the big crossover novel that will pair up most of my major heroes. I’d been planning to use The Phantom Detective in the book, bringing him into my pulp adventure universe. But after reading a half dozen novels and perusing The Phantom Detective Companion, I’ve decided against it. The character is just soooooo boring. I could change him up, of course, but why keep the name if I was going to do that? Instead, I’ll be using The Dark Gentleman, who was kind of a Phantom Detective analogue that I introduced in “Darkness, Spreading Its Wings of Black,” the story that appeared in both The Rook Volume Six and The Adventures of Lazarus Gray Volume One. The Dark Gentleman has been mentioned repeatedly since then but he hasn’t had any other appearances. That story was set in 1935 and the crossover novel is set in 1938 so he should be a much more capable hero by that time. I think it’s going to work much better this way.

So who is The Dark Gentleman?

He’s Michael Groseclose, born in 1911. He’s 24 when we meet him in “Darkness,” so he’s be 27 in 1938. His father is Theodore Groseclose, the publisher of The Sovereign Gazette. Michael trained for months before putting on the mask but on his very first night, he ran afoul of Assistance Unlimited, who took him to be a criminal. He eventually proved his innocence and then helped Lazarus Gray and The Rook defeat the killer known as Devil Face.

In the story, we see him have a powerful argument with his father — during which, he gives strong clues as to his motivations:

“You know what, dad? I’ve had enough of you, too. You sit in your office and you print your stories but what do you really know about life in this city? Have you walked its streets? Have you seen all the joy and happiness sucked out of its people because they can’t believe in the system anymore? Do you know that there are dozens of mobs out there, all vying for power? And that the men in charge turn a blind eye to it because they’re too scared or to crooked to do what’s right?” Michael yanked his arm free. “Oh, but you would know about that last part, wouldn’t you? You’re the one keeping it quiet that good people are being out on the street so your buddies can build their high-rises.”

Obviously, The Dark Gentleman is driven by a need to clean up Sovereign and he despises the hypocrisy that he sees in his father. Unlike The Rook or Lazarus Gray, he’s just an ordinary man… intelligent, brave and athletic, to be sure, but there are no powers or secret societies in his origin story. He’s just doing what he thinks is right.

How does he dress? Here’s the description we get of him, complete with Eun Jiwon’s erroneous assumption about his villainy:

This man wore a white shirt covered by a gray vest, black tie and an ebony jacket. Over all of this was slung a dark opera-style cape that was clasped about his neck. With black slacks and shoes, as well as leather gloves and a top hat, the figure looked like he might on his way to a fancy ball. But the presence of an automatic in his right hand and a large domino-style mask made it quite clear to Eun that the man’s presence was a sinister one.

So The Dark Gentleman basically looks like the way cover artists usually depicted The Phantom Detective (as opposed to how The Phantom Detective actually appeared in the stories).

The Dark Gentleman will not only be one of the stars in the crossover novel – he’ll also be featured in a series of eBook releases, coming as part of the Pro Se initiative announced in this blog yesterday!

So there you have it — our newest Sovereign hero to get the spotlight will be a guy introduced several years ago!

Our image today is of The Phantom Detective but it works equally well for The Dark Gentleman!

Götterdämmerung Updates

Welcome back!

I hope everyone enjoyed Ralph Grasso’s guest blog yesterday — I think it’s fun to turn over the controls from time to time and see what folks want to talk about. In the case of the movie he discussed, I confess that I haven’t seen either version! It’s been added to my “must watch” list, though.

Work continues on the current novel and I think it’s turning out very well. Some people has asked who will appearing in the book and I can give you this list at the present time but keep in mind that some of these folks only turn up in a cameo or are just name-dropped. Also, I’m only halfway through the writing of the story so more might be squeezed in later. But so far we have: Lazarus Gray & Assistance Unlimited, Gravedigger, The Rook, Catalyst, Leonid Kaslov, The Black Bat, Doc Daye, Thunder Jim Wade, The Domino Lady, The Darkling and The Dark Gentleman. Believe me, that’s been plenty…! And then we have all the villains, of which there are more than a few.

My hope is that people will read the novel and come away going “That was fun.” I’m not looking to redefine New Pulp or anything like that. I just want to put all these characters through their paces and let you see them interact in a way that leaves a smile on your face.

In other words, I’m treating it like every other book that I write!

Given the plethora of characters I’m talking about, I figured today’s image was appropriate. It’s from Will Meugniot and appeared in The Adventures of Gravedigger Volume One. He won the Best Interior Art Award in the 2014 New Pulp Awards and it was well-deserved!

 

 

Monday!

lr-kalutashadowGood morning, my friends!

It’s the start of a whole new week and hopefully it’s going to be a great one. Tomorrow we’re going to have a special guest blog from pulp fan Ralph Grasso — I think it’s fun to let different voices get out there and Ralph has decided to talk about one of his favorite movies so I hope you’ll give a read when it’s posted.

Speaking of posting, I uploaded the 65th episode of The Shadow Fan’s Podcast this morning — we review The Spy Ring (1940) and The White Column (1941). I get to briefly talk about my love of the Myra Reldon character (again) and I also discuss some upcoming comics stuff that Dynamite will be publishing. If you love The Shadow, I hope you’re giving it a listen.

Work continues on the current novel, with is closing in the midway point. I’ve been really enjoying it but I’m anxious to reach the end and move on to some other projects, too. The bane of the writer, I suppose.

Last week I teased a couple of announcements — one of them will be delayed by a couple of months because of some stuff on the back end. Not my fault! As for the other announcement, I’m hoping it will be coming later this week. Fingers crossed!

Next week will be spring break around here so I might be running some classic posts from the past, putting up art, etc. If there’s anything from the vaults that you’d like to see again, let me know!

Our art today is by the amazing Michael Kaluta!

Best New Character!

awardIt’s Wednesday, the midpoint of the week, and I’m proud to show you a picture of the plaque given by the New Pulp Awards in recognition of Gravedigger being voted Best New Character. I really do appreciate everyone who voted for this — when I created Gravedigger, I felt like I had really stumbled upon something special and I’m glad that so many who read the first volume seemed to agree. Later this year you’ll get to see the sequel and eventually you’ll be able to watch as Charity Grace takes part in the big crossover novel, Götterdämmerung.

Speaking of which, I’m over 22,000 words into the story so we’re moving forward at a good clip.

Coming soon will be announcements about a project I did for Radio Archives and also something really fun that’s brewing at Pro Se Press. I think people will be really intrigued by that latter one as it ties into the shared universe I have and, in some important ways, is tied to the crossover novel.

I’m such a tease, aren’t I?

It’s been awhile since we had a guest contributor to the blog so I’m going to be seeing if I can recruit someone to do a new one soon. Any requests in terms of people or topics?

Hope everyone has a wonderful day out there — and if things get too tense for you, sneak away and grab a good book. Escapism isn’t a dirty word at all, my friends.

Monday, Monday…

ru-proof-r11.jpgWelcome back to Ye Olde Blog, my friends!

We have a few things to discuss but let’s start with a brand new review that’s been released for The Adventures of Lazarus Gray Volume One. Posted on Amazon.com by Michael H. Campbell, this is what our reader had to say:

Good Collection of Stories – 4 Stars out of 5

I enjoyed getting to know Lazarus Gray and his Assistance Unlimited team. Barry Reese has created an interesting universe and it’s well worth reading. I also read The Rook volume one and enjoyed it. If you enjoy The Avenger pulp stories you’ll love Lazarus Gray!

Thanks, Michael! I’m really pleased that you enjoyed the book. Hopefully you’ll get just as much enjoyment out of the rest of the series!

In other news, I’m continuing work on the crossover novel (Götterdämmerung) and I’ve reached the 1/3 mark on the book. I think people will really enjoy it… at this point, all of our main heroes have been brought together and they’re splitting up into teams to combat the massive threat that our villains are posing. All of the villains in this book are brand new so you won’t see The Warlike Manchu, Princess Femi or any of the old standbys. Hopefully some of these guys will become new favorites.

Just finished reading the first Nero Wolfe novel. Never read one before! I really enjoyed it though I did think it dragged a bit in the second half. I’m now reading the second published Wolfe story and if I enjoy that, I might keep going. We’ll see!

I’ll be back tomorrow with more pulpy goodness, I promise.