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

Timeline of the Reese Unlimited Universe (Updated 9/13/2022)

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. 

Continue reading Timeline of the Reese Unlimited Universe (Updated 9/13/2022)

Reese Unlimited Timeline (Updated 6/1/2022)

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 Reese Unlimited Timeline (Updated 6/1/2022)

Worlds Collide Review

Dale Russell gave the Reese Unlimited/AC Comics crossover a 5-star review. Here’s what he had to say:

1940 – Laura Wright – also known as Nightveil finds herself torn through time and cast into a time – and a body – not her own. Powers diminished; she has teamed up with Charity Grace who has survived her time of redemption as the supernaturally powered Gravedigger. After their latest battle, they have begun the travel home when serendipity brings them into the company of Lazarus Gray, returning from a mission performed at the behest of the French Government. But, as is the world’s wont, no good deeds go unpunished and soon the three heroes find themselves fighting against a demon from Nightveil’s world…one who magically restores a long thought dead enemy of Gray and Co. Soon, the friends become enemies and a new group of heroes is thrown into the conflict…the only hope to destroy the evil before it destroys them all.

Here is a great new entry in Pro Se Productions publishing the expanding universe of REESE UNLIMITED, created and populated by the fertile mind and storytelling of Barry Reese. Combining his iconic hero, Lazarus Gray, with the Gravedigger – another hero populating his world – and teaming them up with Nightveil – perhaps the strongest and long-lived of AC Comics FemForce, Reese delivers another fun and exciting story that readers of his books and one of comic fandoms’ favorite comic book run.

If you’re looking for great New Pulp adventures and fan-hoped for genre crossovers, this is the one.

Thanks for the kind words, Dale. This digest-sized story was a lot of fun to write. Nightveil is such a rich character and she fits right into my fictional world. Hopefully I’ll get to write the character again someday.

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.

Anticipation!

Everyone at the Reese Unlimited HQ is waiting on pins and needles — WORLDS APART, the crossover novel featuring characters from my pulp adventure universe and the heroes from AC Comics’ Femforce series, is expected go live at any moment. Currently the Kindle version has been approved by Amazon but we’re still waiting on the physical copy to do the same. Can’t wait to share the cover here, which features Lazarus Gray, Gravedigger, and Nightveil! It’s a fantastic image by our old pal, George Sellas.

Stay tuned, true believers.

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 (Fictional) Women In My Life

I’m mostly known for my male creations — The Peregrine & Lazarus Gray, for instance — but I’ve spent a good bit of my career writing female leads. The Damned Thing, Rabbit Heart and Gravedigger all feature strong female characters. I’m proud of those books, especially since the pulp field is still so testosterone-heavy. New Pulp does have The Pulptress, Elisa Hill and Callie but those are still just a drop in the bucket.

I’ve tried to add to the diversity of characters within the field while not making too big of a deal about it. The Lazarus Gray series not only features Samantha Grace as a major part of the storyline but I also have Eun Jiwon, a member of the team who is both homosexual and Korean. In Gravedigger, we have Li Yuchun, a Chinese American, and Mitchell, a British hero of African descent. I’m not doing this to make any kind of point, really — I simply want to reflect the real world, which the original pulps didn’t always do.

But I’m proudest of my female heroes. I think they’re all very well-rounded individuals, worthy of standing toe-to-toe with the classic heroes of yore. They’re not defined by their gender, either. I treat them as people first — they just happen to be women. Guan-Yin is brave and daring, driven by a need to prove herself and to find out what happened to her missing father. Fiona Grace (Rabbit Heart) is part of a deadly game played by immortals, forced into an archetypal role that she simultaneously embraces and fights against. Violet Cambridge (The Damned Thing) is a tough-as-nails woman in a gritty noir adventure, caught up in the mystery of who’s killed both her husband and her partner. Charity Grace (Gravedigger) is given three years to redeem her soul, after a lifetime of sin. On the Claws of The Peregrine team, we have Revenant and Esper, both of whom are just as essential to the group’s success as the male members. And, of course, I could never forget Evelyn Davies, The Peregrine’s wife and frequent adventuring partner.

All of them are beautiful, yes — but this is adventure fiction. The women are beautiful and the men are handsome. I never try to objectify my female characters any more than I do the male ones — in other words, I do objectify them in the sense that they’re attractive and this is mentioned… but they’re far more than that. Pulp is escapism and part of the appeal is that our heroes (male & female) are larger-than-life. They’re gorgeous, they’re brave and they’re heroic. They’re idealized. Even in Rabbit Heart, which is highly charged with sex and violence, I don’t think I treat the women in the story any different than I do the males — some of them are very emotionally unstable, some are promiscuous and some are just downright nasty… but that’s true of both genders in the story. And Fiona Grace, though driven by powerful needs, is still an idealized heroine who rises above it all. Yes, Fiona’s outfit on the cover is risque — but if you read the story, you’ll know there’s a major reason why it’s shown that way. The story deals with archetypes and the way society views them — and Fiona is forced to play that part, to a degree.

The projects I have coming from Pro Se over the next few years will see a lot of new female leads – I’ve written a novel starring Lilith, for instance – so hopefully you’ll be pleased with my continuing efforts to create strong female characters.

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.

Casting My Various Series

One thing that every writer does is perform a ‘dream casting’ in their head. For my Gravedigger series, I’d go with actress Ana de Armas for Charity Grace. She’s beautiful and has the physicality for the role. As for Lazarus Gray, he was initially based on a young Kirk Douglas but if I had to find a modern day actor to embody the role, I’d go with actor Mark Strong. He could embody the stoic bravery that the role requires. For the Peregrine, I used to think that Nathan Fillion would be perfect but he’s aged out of the role a bit so I’d go with Oscar Isaacs at the moment.