Liberty Girl (Icons Writeup)

Liberty Girl
aka Elena Hunter

lg_figure

Prowess 5
Coordination 5
Strength 7
Intellect 4
Awareness 4
Willpower 7

Stamina 14

Powers
* Flight 6
* Force Field 5
* Resistance [Limit: Magic Only] 3

Specialties
Aerial Combat (+1 bonus), Athletics (+1 bonus)

Qualities
America’s Bronze Goddess of Freedom

Inspirational

A Lot to Live Up To

Background

The daughter of a classic pulp hero, Elena gained her powers after exposure to a strange form of radioactive gold. Now she is able to manipulate the ‘psycho-organic’ energy that’s housed within her body. Active in the years 1938-1956, Liberty Girl was an inspirational figure to all those who believed in the American ideals. When she vanished in the mid-Fifties, it was as if something beautiful and shining had been snuffed out. Her return from the abyss in 2006 was recognized the world over as an opportunity to remember the heroism and ideals of the past. As Liberty Girl, Elena tries to uphold the high standards of her father and inspire others to be the best they can be.

I was lucky enough to be given the chance to novelize the original graphic novel. You can buy a copy of the book here.

New Pulp Recommendations: Terror Times Three by Lou Mougin

terrorTerror Times Three is a League of Champions novel published by Pro Se Productions, as part of their licensing deal with Heroic Comics. The League of Champions features the likes of Icestar, Flare and The Huntsman, all characters that have their origins in the roleplaying game world of the Champions line of games. I’ve played the game many times and remember when these characters and others appeared in the gaming books before their leap to comics. I’ve also read many of their comics and even wrote an adaptation of the early Liberty Girl stories for Pro Se.

This particular book features three stories, all set during the first President Bush’s time in office. I kind of liked having the book set in that time frame instead of the modern day. The first story features the team going up against the forces of DEMON, while the second is an in-depth look at their old enemy Makano while the third is similar to those day in the life issues that comics have between the big epics. Overall, Lou does a great job of making this feel like a comic book come to prose and I’d kinda like to see a whole series of these with subplots running through them.

Lou really shines on the Mekano story and he emphasizes what makes this character so different from the likes of Ultron. In fact, I found the scenes from Mekano’s point of view the best of the entire book.

This isn’t high literature and it’s not pretending to be. It’s just a good read with a bunch of superheroes doing super stuff. I recommend it if you’re looking for an enjoyable bit of escapist entertainment.

A Short (But Sweet!) Liberty Girl Review

LibertyGirl_CoverMock-upProphecy Jones left another Amazon.com review of my work this month — this time looking at Liberty Girl, an adaptation that I wrote of the Heroic Comics series. Let’s see what he had to say:

A very good short adventure novel that is another solid outing from Barry Reese. Barry Reese does a great job mixing modern sensibilities with classic style adventure. Reese stands tall as a writer of new pulp adventure and superhero prose and this is another good outing for him. The adventurer Liberty Girl stands as a strong female character, and all supporting characters are drawn well above a perfunctory level. It’s a good, well thought out plot. Enjoyable short read.

Thanks, Prophecy! I had fun working on the book. Some of the plot was certainly not what I would have come up with on my own (I was adapting a comic book script and adding detail to it) but it was fun and I do really like the character.

Much appreciated.

Liberty Girl Gets A New Five Star Review!

Raven posted the following review of Liberty Girl on Amazon:

Liberty Girl by Barry Reese Based on the work of Dennis Mallonee

The Liberty Girl is in reality Elena Hunter, daughter of a certain bronze skinned adventurer of the 30’s and 40’s. Once part of a group of super-powered adventures known as The Vanguard of Freedom; The Liberty Girl has been missing in action for fifty years. Until today—

Senator Ted Brooks, once a famous lawyer and member of Elena’s father’s Fabulous Five, has been looking for signs of the return of Elena or her father for decades. When a storm of unknown power rips through a US Army monitoring base in Yucca Flats, Lt. Colonel Jacqueline Daniels knows the implications. Either Elena or her father has returned. It turns out to be Elena. The date is July 4, 2006.

Liberty Girl’s return is soon tested by a being known as Daemon Kruze. But the barriers Elena’s father placed around an entrance to hell still hold. But another super-powered villain appears, as Zachary Telsa uses his grandfather’s Zapper costume to endeavor to get revenge for the old man’s death at the hands of Liberty girl decades before.

And so it goes. Life in a post 9/11 world is far different than the world Elena is used to. The press is more demanding. Every move that she makes, no matter how heroic, is viewed under the microscope of public opinion. Other powerful enemies arise. Through it all, Liberty Girl must stay true to herself. She is a champion of liberty. Friends die. Bad guys cause havoc. But she must stay the course of truth, justice, and the American way.

Barry Reese (The Rook, Lazarus Gray, Gravedigger) does a wonderful job of presenting this tale of the Liberty Girl. With his usual flare for pulp action, he makes every page interesting; every paragraph a building block for the story he is creating.

I give his book a perfect five stars out of five for pure pulp action and madness! I can hardly wait for other books Barry Reese has announced to be released! Encore!

Quoth the Raven…

Thanks, Raven! It was fun working on this project and I look forward to whatever future books Pro Se releases with the character!

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Liberty Girl gets another thumbs up!

LibertyGirl_CoverMock-upAmazon user Lou Mougin posted a review of Liberty Girl. This was an adaptation of the Heroic Comics’ series and was a fun little thing to do.

Let’s see what Lou thought about the book:

Fun stuff! Pretty good New Pulp fiction. LG is a good heroine with long-missed patriotic / religious leanings. Good job on this one. 4 out of 5 stars.

Thanks, Lou! It was a very interesting experience as I’d never translated something from one medium to another before.

Maybe someday I’ll get to write Elena again!

Thanks again to everyone who posts reviews of my work.

Various Things

lg08_samantha_grace_smallWelcome back to Ye Olde Blog!

Pro Se Press announced an open call for a Liberty Girl anthology this weekend. I had a nice time writing the character but I have no plans to pitch anything for this follow-up book. For one thing, I have no time. And I think I’ve probably said most of what I wanted to say with Elena. I look forward to reading some great stories from others now. Pro Se also had an announcement about a horror anthology that did pique my interest but, again, the lack of time prevents me from taking part.

I continue to get very strong feedback about the fourth volume in the Lazarus Gray series and I appreciate all the kind words. It’s really nice when you feel positive about something you’ve done and the readers provide affirmation. Sometimes you get so close to a project that you think it’s great or that it sucks and the reaction from others is a surprise. But I like it best when I’m proud of it *and* people like it!

Work on the crossover novel… I add a little bit each week but not very much, to be honest. I try to squeeze it in when I can.

I expect to get a peek at Chris Batista’s new image sometime this week and I’m looking forward to it. I expect it to meet the usual high standards that he’s set in the past.

On a sad note, Jamie Dallessandro (“Jamie D”) of the Comic Book Geek Speak Podcast passed away last week. I’ve been a longtime fan of the show and really enjoyed Jamie D’s contributions. My warmest thoughts to his family and friends.

Our art today is from George Sellas and featured the lovely Samantha Grace, a member of Assistance Unlimited.

Lazarus Gray vs. The Polar Vortex

Cute-Girl-Portrait-Frame-Winter-Snow-Nature-HD-WallpaperHello Again!

Things are a tiny bit warmer around here today and I was able to make it into the office, though it was a chilly commute. My son did get to go about crushing ice beneath his boots yesterday afternoon so some good definitely came of the wintry storm.

My heart was warmed slightly by a new review of The Adventures of Gravedigger that was posted over at the Smashwords site. A reader by the name of Brandon Burkholder posted the following:

Fun stuff. One of my favorite pulp characters in a while. I can easily see myself getting sucked into Barry’s universe. Can’t wait for more Gravedigger. My only complaint is a few minor typos.

Thanks, Brandon! I can say that the eagle-eyed editors of Pro Se Press try their best to find all the little errors that creep into the text but nobody’s perfect, I’m afraid. I’m glad that didn’t stop you from enjoying the book as a whole. I had a ton of fun writing the first Gravedigger and I’ve already completed the second novel so you should see it sometime in 2014.

But wait! That’s not the only new review that went up in recent days!

Over on Amazon, TC posted the following words about Liberty Girl:

Excellent book for fans of Golden Age comics. My only criticism is that it was way too short. Look forward to more books on this character and others in this universe.

Thanks, TC! The length was based on Pro Se’s decision to run it as part of their digest line of titles, which means a shorter word count than their normal books. In this case, I think it worked well in terms of translating the comic books into prose. I’m glad you enjoyed it and hopefully Pro Se will have plenty more to do with Liberty Girl in the future.

In other news, I plan to wrap up the writing on Lazarus Gray Volume 5 by early next week. I’m always excited to end a project but there’s never much downtime before I have to start the next. Still… can’t wait to type THE END!

If you’re looking to follow me on social media, please don’t forget that I’m on Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr. My tumblr account is probably the least “on-topic” of the three, as I mainly just post pictures and quotes that inspire me. Twitter is where you find most of my rants about things!

Anyway, stay safe out there, my friends!

Recent Reviews

monstersA bunch of reviews were recently added to Amazon — two positive, one not-so-much and one that I’m unclear on. Let’s see what they had to say, shall we?

Monster Aces was reviewed by Dave Brzeski:

This review is based on an advance review pdf, supplied by the publisher.

Jim Beard (‘Sgt. Janus, Spirit Breaker’, ‘Captain Action: Riddle of the Glowing Men’) is the brains behind the concept, so it was always going to be pulpy fun.

He contributed two of the stories in the book himself. The first introduces us to his team of “Monster Aces”, led by the enigmatic ‘Cap’n’, they include: ‘Joker’, the charming smooth talker of the group, so essential for smoothing their relationship with “civilians”; ‘Digger’, the powerful gentle giant of a man, who strangely also happens to be their stealth expert and ‘Gats’, the weapons expert. If any monster claimed to be immune to mortal weaponry, well Gats was there to put that theory to the test. They travelled and more or less lived on a massive sea vessel called ‘The Whale’, which was piloted by a man known only as ‘Mariner’. Then there’s ‘Trill’, unofficial member of the team. Enigmatic and pretty, almost ethereal in nature. Appearing and disappearing with no warning, she could be a nuisance but was often of immeasurable help. In fact she often as not was responsible for leading the team to wherever they were needed.

They hunted monsters and destroyed them. It was their sole raison d’etre. Cap’n was single-minded in this mission and no monster was looked upon with any sympathy… ever! This could and would lend a certain moral ambiguity to their mission.

In Jim Beard’s first story, ‘The Devil’s Clutch’, the people of the village of Nacht are being hunted. There’s an ancient legend, fearful, uncooperative villagers, a good soul damned and someone who delves into secrets that should have remained buried. It sets the tone for the series, somewhere between 30s pulp fiction and 60s Hammer movies.

Next up is ‘The Swamp People’, by Barry Reese (‘The Rook’, ‘The Adventures of Lazarus Gray’). It involves an innocent teenage girl, her typically stupid boyfriend, a carnival and an ancient race of ‘monsters’, who have been driven to extinction by the spread of humankind. The moral ambiguity of the Aces work is brought into sharper focus in this one.

The next story reminded me somewhat of the classic alien monster stories by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby in the pre-superhero tales of Marvel-Atlas comics. In, ‘The River of Deceit’, by Van Allen Plexico, our intrepid monster hunters encounter a weird and powerful Alien being on the shores of an uncharted tributary of the Amazon. As the story progresses the question of just who is the monster here is brought into sharp focus once again.

We stay in Kirby territory for Ron Fortier’s ‘The Ghoul’. He has our heroes arrive in an armoured vehicle to take on a Ghoul, which in this world is a demon, who possesses a human victim. When the demon comes forth the hapless host transforms into an eight foot tall rampaging monster with greyish skin. It reminded me of those classic Marvel, or DC war comics, with their squads of misfit soldiers, in this case taking on a creature reminiscent of a certain Marvel Comics monster who has occasionally been portrayed with grey skin. Thankfully, for the Aces, this monster wasn’t quite THAT strong! I’ve read quite a few publications from Ron Fortier’s own Airship 27 productions, but this is the first time I’ve had the pleasure to read any of his own writing. It won’t be the last.

Finally we come to Jim Beard’s second story in the book, ‘Hands of the Monster’, in which the Aces kidnap a famous fictional doctor to help them deal with probably the most infamous monster of them all. It was never going to go according to plan.

There have been many monster hunters in fiction in the past. In fact there are quite a few around now, but these guys are more hardcore than most. They all get seriously injured on a regular basis. I would suggest that the Cap’n look into adding a regular medic to the support team.

This is a very enjoyable book. I look forward to learning more about the Aces in future volumes.

Glad you enjoyed the book, Dave! I definitely tried to focus on the group’s somewhat cloudy moral stance and I’m glad you picked up on that. I haven’t been asked back for any future Monster Aces volumes but I wouldn’t mind taking another swing at the characters.

Liberty Girl was reviewed by DelosJ:

Reads like juvenile lit. Many, many proofreading errors throughout. Almost no character development. At least it is an inexpensive buy and a short book.

Sorry you didn’t care for the book, Delos! I think I did an accurate job of translating the comic book into prose so I’m not sure if your faults lie with my own work or with the original. Nonetheless, sorry it wasn’t your cup of tea. I’ll make sure that Pro Se knows about your proofreading complaints.

Liberty Girl was also reviewed by Paul Sponaugle:

Excellent stand-alone novel that pays winking tribute to another 40’s pulp hero in an fun way. Even without that sly nod, the novel is an excellent two-age story of one person, Liberty Girl, who has to come to grips with something very unusual that happens to her. How it affects her and those around her drives the story without making it a one-gimmick plot. Wonderful story-telling!

Thanks, Paul! Much appreciated.

And, finally, Strange Trails was reviewed by cedarlili:

I prefer my stories a bit tighter, overall. The first one wasn’t too bad, but some suffered from a surfeit of descriptive passages taht detracted from the action. I’d rather have more left to the imagination, and this collection at 535 pages long is a hefty chunk of stories, which could have been pared down and still kept the tales intact.

The collection opens with Mr. Brass and the Master of Serpents, set in what seems to be an alternate history of the Old West. Aliens have done dreadful things to the Earth, and Mr. Brass himself was a pinkerton man before his death, revival in a mechanical body, and now he is still tracking down the evil cultists who would awaken Old Gods and destroy civilization. I really liked the old sheriff in this tale, he reminded me of the heroes of Westerns gone bye, doing what was best for his town, even if it killed him.

Sin and Lillies, by Tommy Hancock and Morgan Minor, is a ghost story, rambling, perhaps over-elaborate in descriptions, and the Lillie of the title (it’s not a misspelling) is a woman bound to her knucklebones which ride in the pocket of an evil man from town to town. The sheriff in this story falls for the beautiful woman only he and her keeper can see, and tries to win her freedom, so she can die fully.

When I started The Mechanical Heart: A Tale of Julia Holst and the Weird West, by Barry Reese, I had to stop and go look up Julia Holst. I was curious if she was some famous figure I hadn’t heard of. I didn’t see anything, so perhaps this is just an attempt to make the story look old-fashioned. The tale of a historically improbable figure, the author plops a blonde-cheerleader type into the role of gunfighter and she has a pet horse, and a sword. Sure, why not, these stories are odd enough, a sword that fell from Mars to Earth, and was owned by Attila the Hun fits right in with Conan, or Burrough’s Pellucidar stories. A clockwork man found in a defunct mine sets her off on a peculiar quest.

The final story, a novella by the length of it, I believe, was The Eye of Ulutoth, by Joel Jenkins. Reminiscent of Jack London’s tales of the South Seas, this saga takes place on a ship, which a cowboy and his Sux-Gun Susannah board, in search of dire Ulutoth, whom they hope to hill before he wakens to bathe in the blood and destruction of humanity. Only one of them will return to solid ground…

Stories of grave-robbing gone wrong, stories populated with magicians, albinos, strange creatures both earthly and aethereal, this collection has it all. For fans of the Weird West, it will doubtless be an enjoyable addition to the small but burgeoning genre. I know I learned a lot, reading it, and things I won’t soon forget. Like if you are seeking the Ankh of Ra, forget about it, lest you wind up on The Mummy Train. If you want to make a quick buck, listen to your gut and don’t tunnel sideways into a man’s grave, when that man was known for his uncanny goings-on.

So did you like my story? I’m unclear on that. I assume the title is what led you to think that Julia Holst was a real person? Wasn’t my intention… she’s simply the main character and I like to sometimes subtitle my stories in such a way. Ah, well. It does sound like you were pleased with the book overall, even with a few caveats. Thanks for the review!

2013 In Review

20130609-173120.jpgIt’s been another productive year for me as a professional writer — by my count, I was published six times (not counting reissues of various works). That’s actually one publication more than I had in 2012… so that puts some pressure on for 2014 😉

Here’s what I had published this year:

The Adventures of Lazarus Gray Volume Three: Eidolon – This one furthered the big meta-storyline that’s running through books 2-4 and introduces Darkling and Eidolon, two characters that I’m very proud of. Darkling is probably the closest I’ll ever get to writing The Shadow so I had a blast handling him.

The Adventures of Gravedigger – Charity Grace joined my pulp adventure universe this year and I’ve been thrilled with the response to her first novel. Featuring my all-time favorite George Sellas cover, Gravedigger quickly cemented her spot as the third “big hero” in my universe and I fell in love with her and the supporting cast.

The Avenger: Roaring Heart of the Crucible – Writing The Avenger once was a dream come true… to do it a second time?! Amazing! Even better, I got to make it a sequel to my 2011 story. I was very happy with how it turned out.

Strange Trails – My first work for Mechanoid Press. I introduced a new heroine here and had a good time with the experience. It’s odd that I don’t like westerns but I’ve actually written a handful of them now.

Shadowman: The Red Sash – My first foray into Amazon’s Kindle Worlds program, this allowed me the chance to write Shadowman. I managed to do a very pulp-heavy story for it and I like to think it’s a fun little adventure.

Liberty Girl – Adapting a graphic novel to prose was a new experience for me but it was also one of the most rewarding. I enjoyed handling The Liberty Girl and response has been very strong to the finished product.

If you add in all the re-issued works, I had something being published almost every month: Rook Volume Two, Rabbit Heart, the new Single Shot releases from Pro Se, etc.

Next year should bring new volumes for Lazarus Gray and Gravedigger, plus a few other stories and books that should be coming from Moonstone, Pro Se and elsewhere.

None of this would be possible without your support, my friends. Thank you so much.

A New Liberty Girl Review!

coverOver at Amazon, a user by the name of Paul Sponaugle left the Liberty Girl a 5-star review. Here’s what he had to say:

Excellent stand-alone novel that pays winking tribute to another 40’s pulp hero in an fun way. Even without that sly nod, the novel is an excellent two-age story of one person, Liberty Girl, who has to come to grips with something very unusual that happens to her. How it affects her and those around her drives the story without making it a one-gimmick plot. Wonderful story-telling!

Thanks, Paul! I really appreciate the review. It was fun to dance around the topic of her father’s identity and I’m pleased to see most pulp fans have picked up on it. I had a blast writing the story and I can’t wait to see what Pro Se does with the character next!

I had a reader ask me if there were any plans for the Heroic heroes to cross over with any of the other Pro Se characters (they specifically mentioned Liberty Girl vs. The Bone Queen or Liberty Girl meeting The Rook)… not that I know of! But be sure to pester Pro Se head honcho Tommy Hancock if you think it’s a good idea!