Tag: Gravedigger

Gravedigger 3 gets reviewed!

Pulp Super-Fan Michael Brown is back with a review of The Adventures of Gravedigger Volume 3. He gave the book 5 stars and said the following:

Finally Barry Reese gives us the third and final volume of his latest New Pulp hero(ine): Gravedigger.

For those are not familiar with Gravedigger, she is a hero with a mission. One of a long line of sinners who have died and been given a second chance of redemption, Charity Grace has three years to take out bad guys or be condemned to hell. Set in the fictional Sovereign City (created by Pro-Se Press publisher Tommy Hancock), she has plenty to work with.

She is aided in this by a small group of agents she has pulled together, which included a past Gravedigger who mentored her. These characters are also part of the storyline as their activities with Charity are shown.

With The Adventures of Gravedigger, Vol. 3, we get the conclusion of the storyline. Charity will finish her three years as a Gravedigger, though we may (probably?) see another (or several?) Gravedigger in Barry’s universe of stories. At the end, Charity will be judged: She will either go to hell, or be allowed to move on to heaven. And like a few past Gravediggers, she may choose to stay on Earth, maybe helping a future Gravedigger. What happens? You’ll need to read this volume.

In the meantime, several things happen in this volume, which has one novel. Gravedigger goes up against a villain known as The King. The outcome of this mission leaves her associates in disarray, and The Dark Gentleman, Barry’s Phantom Detective pastiche, is killed. In the wake of this, Charity learns more about The Voice (we basically get the “origin” of the Gravediggers), the being or force that charged her as a Gravedigger, and stands in judgement.

So I’m glad this trilogy is concluded, but sadden to see the last of this character. But it will be interesting to see if we get another Gravedigger in future stories.

From the updated timeline in this volume, we should see an eighth Lazarus Gray volume, and looks like we will be getting a series of volumes focused on Gray’s group, Assistance Unlimited, but set in the “future” of the 1960s. There are also notations for a volume titled The Second Book of Babylon that looks interesting, as well as another. No idea when these volumes will appear, but I hope soon. No sight of any additional Peregrine volumes.

Thanks for the kind words, Michael! It was bittersweet ending Charity’s series but I think it turned out well. I’m glad you enjoyed the book and the overall trilogy.

The Warlike Manchu

rook_v1_manchu_smallIn classic pulp hero tradition, most of The Peregrine’s enemies don’t make return appearances. But The Warlike Manchu is the exception to the rule — in fact, he appeared in each of The Peregrine’s omnibus editions! Obviously inspired by Sax Rohmer’s classic Fu Manchu, The Warlike Manchu does not consider himself a villain at all. He’s out to rule the world with an iron hand because that’s how humanity needs to be governed, lest our baser natures get the best of us. The Warlike Manchu was one of Max Davies’ tutors during his time preparing for his role as The Peregrine but when he learned of the Manchu’s connections to organized crime, Max refused the offer to rule at the Manchu’s side.

Aided by a group of assassins dubbed The Ten Fingers, The Warlike Manchu controls every manner of vice in Asia and eyes expanding his empire to the West. Though Chinese by birth, my take on The Warlike Manchu incorporates elements of various Asian mythologies to play up The Warlike Manchu as the ultimate “yellow menace” from the old pulps. He hates the Japanese but is willing to use their trappings and folklore to his own advantage, for instance.

The Peregrine and The Warlike Manchu have become the most bitter of enemies, clashing again and again. The highlights of their feud include:

“The Abomination” – In this story set in 1939, The Warlike Manchu re-enters The Peregrine’s life for the first time since they parted ways in 1922. Allied with an Egyptian necromancer named Ibis, The Manchu revives an ancient entity of pure destruction known as The Abomination. The Peregrine foils their plans for world domination but The Manchu escapes.

“Blitzkrieg” –  Set in 1940, The Warlike Manchu returns with a new pupil, a German named Hans Merkel, who has adopted the guise of the Japanese god of death, Shinigami. Merkel is The Peregrine’s true opposite number — like Max, he is haunted by the spirit of his dead father but in Merkel’s case, he slew his own father and enslaved his spirit. In this story, The Warlike Manchu kidnaps Max’s son, forcing The Peregrine to unite with the Manchu’s daughter in an attempt to stop the madman. Shinigami is killed and The Manchu’s immortality formula fails, reducing him to dust.

Death lasts only about two years, however, as The Warlike Manchu is revived in 1942’s “The Resurrection Gambit”. In this story, The Manchu embarks on a quest to find the Philosopher’s Stone, a search that leads both he and The Peregrine on a global chase. In the end, The Manchu escapes once more, swearing revenge on his most hated of enemies.

In 1943, The Warlike Manchu and The Peregrine are forced into an uneasy alliance, as both men seek to foil the plans of the Nazi vampire Baron Randolph Gustav. It’s clear that The Manchu respects Max greatly and would still seek an alliance between the two — but he also has come to believe that The Peregrine’s opposition to his plans has renewed the spark of life in his wretched heart. This is chronicled in “Dead of Night.”

1944 finds The Warlike Manchu teaming with Doctor Satan and Moriarty in “A Plague of Wicked Men,” one of the first adventures of The Claws of the Peregrine. The Manchu is apparently killed when the island he’s on sinks beneath the waves.

Once again, death seemed incapable of stopping The Warlike Manchu. At some point, he returned to bedevil Max Davies and his family — but his final defeat seems to have stuck. In 1967, William Davies (Max’s son) battled and defeated The Warlike Manchu, killing him while battling for possession of a magical Mayan tablet (“The Four Peregrines”).

No details about The Manchu’s activities between 1944 and 1967 are known — and given how many times he cheated death before, it’s conceivable that he has at least one more resurrection in store, even post ’67.

In addition to The Warlike Manchu’s appearances in The Peregrine’s series, The Ten Fingers have been name-dropped in both Gravedigger and Lazarus Gray, as The Manchu’s forces have infiltrated Sovereign City in the Thirties. In 1938, Lazarus met the Warlike Manchu face-to-face and managed to convince the villain that it would be in his best interests to avoid Sovereign in the future (“Tapestry,” Lazarus Gray Volume 6). It is unknown at this point if they had any later encounters.

Our image today is courtesy of George Sellas.

Timeline of my Pulp Adventure Universe (Updated 11/26/2018)

OfficeDepot1 copy 2Major 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. [“Dogs of War” and “In the Name of Hel,” Tales of the Norse Gods].

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].

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 an headless warrior.

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A Spooky Time of Year

hands.jpgHalloween is almost here and the crisp bite of Autumn is definitely noticeable in my neck of the woods.

I just got a hardback copy of The Adventures of Gravedigger Volume 3 and it’s a beauty. This is the first time I’ve seen one of my books in hardcover – well, some of the anthologies I’ve contributed to have had hardcover releases but this is my first solo work that’s gotten the treatment.

Work continues on the tenth volume of Lazarus Gray – closing in on 30,000 words. I might take an extended break from Lazarus after this. I’m not tiring of the character, it’s just that volume 7 is the last one to see print from Pro Se and having three full books in the can is a bit silly. I think I’ll wait to write more until at least volume 8 is in print!

The Johnny Dollar collection from Moonstone should be the next book of mine to come out – I have no idea when The Second Book of Babylon will come out from Pro Se. Soon, I hope.

Once I’m done with this book, I’m not sure what to work on next. I have a new female hero in mind that I might do something with… or there’s Nature Boy, a character that Pro Se recently got the license for. I find him interesting and plan to pitch something once they open up that anthology. I might also do something with the AC/Femforce characters… heck, I have a fully written Lazarus Gray/Nightveil/Gravedigger book that needs to see print at some point! There’s a lot of material out there waiting for publication!

Hope everyone has a nice, spooky time tomorrow – and save some of that candy for yourself!

 

The (fictional) women of my life

Rachel-Weisz-rachel-weisz-120258_800_1101I’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 and I’ve also written a couple of stories featuring Nightveil, from AC Comics’ comic book universe. 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.

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Reese Unlimited Updates

Ava Gardner 1Things are always percolating at Reese Unlimited HQ – work continues on the 10th volume of Lazarus Gray, which will take our heroes into World War II. It’s a little strange for me, knowing that you guys haven’t seen anything past volume 7… publishing is a strange beast! You should expect to see 8 & 9 sometime in the first half of 2019 so you won’t see 10 until 2020, most likely.

Gravedigger Volume 3 continues to sell well and all the reviews thus far have been very positive – but there’s only been four reviews! This means that a lot of people have read the book and not shared their opinion… so if you’ve read the book, please post a review somewhere. Even if it’s not positive, reviews help build a book’s visibility!

Sometime soon we should see The Second Book of Babylon released by Pro Se and I’m anxious to see if you guys take to this very odd little novel.  You should also be looking forward to Assistance Unlimited: The Silver Age, which will explore what our universe is like in the Sixties.

Once I’m done with Lazarus Gray Volume 10, I’m planning to do something very different from what I’ve been writing for the past few years. It’s still in the pulp realm but I’m ready to move past the supernatural stuff that I’ve become known for.