To the left is an image by Mark Propst, showing some of the heroes of my Reese Unlimited imprint in a fantasy story where they’d be teaming up with the Justice Society of America and The Invaders, all united against a cosmic cube wielding Red Skull! It’s an homage to Justice League of American # 209.
I really love it and appreciate Mark taking the time to do it. Hope you get as big a kick out of it as I did!
I started writing Gotterdammerung back in late 2013 and during the course of its creation I had a number of different artists attached to it. The cover was drawn by Chris Batista, one of my favorite comic artists, and was completed long before the writing was finished. He nailed our three leads perfectly and then Tom Smith added colors to it, making it one of my favorite Reese Unlimited images.
Mark Propst was originally going to do interiors for the book but had to bow out for personal reasons – though he later returned and did some sketches for it. I also considered my long-time collaborator George Sellas, of course, and even had a complete newcomer that would have made his professional debut with some of the interior pieces.
In the end, though, we were lucky enough to snag Mitch Ballard! Mitch has a style that’s clearly influenced by George Perez and that’s hardly a bad thing. Perez is the master of the crossover comic and Mitch brought that sensibility to this, my own little Crisis on Infinite Earths pulp novel. Mitch contributed solo images of Gravedigger, The Peregrine, The Black Terror and Lazarus Gray – and he’s also working on a group Assistance Unlimited shot that will probably appear in volume 7 of that series.
While I hope that the story will find approval from all of my fans, I have no doubt that the artwork will please even the most jaded of pulp readers. Batista and Ballard knocked it out of the park and – along with the excellent design work provided by the Pro Se staff – the book LOOKS gorgeous, no matter how it reads!
So yesterday saw my “mystery project” finally reach the press release stage. I’m adapting Liberty Girl Volume 1: The Return into a digest-sized novel for Pro Se. It’s going to kick off their Heroic Prose imprint, which will feature adaptations and new adventures starring Liberty Girl, Flare and Eternity Smith. Once I’m done with The Return, I’m not sure what my next role will be with regards to the imprint — do I have more Liberty Girl tales to tell? Possibly but I also have quite a few commitments that I’d have to deal with first.
I first encountered the Heroic characters long before they had that designation. As an avid roleplaying game, I was familiar with Champions early on and when Eclipse Comics published a limited series based on the game, I bought it. Later on, the characters from that comic series were revived in further adventures and I kept in touch with them off-and-on over the years. I also read some of the things Roy Thomas did for the company, such as Captain Thunder and Blue Bolt & Anthem.
But I found myself very interested in a character they introduced by the name of Liberty Girl. This “Bronze Goddess of Freedom” was strongly intimated to the daughter of a major pulp hero, which piqued my curiosity right away. Some nicely illustrated stories by the likes of Mark Sparacio, Billy Tucci, Daerick Gross and Mark Propst, among others, further cemented my interest. When the opportunity arose to move the character into a new medium, I was excited.
It’s a new process for me — I’ve never adapted something from a visual medium like comics into prose before. I also find it interesting to delve deeply into the psyche of these characters and yet not really be able to move them where I might like. I’m following the storyline laid out in the graphic novel, adding tweaks and subtext here and there, but I’m not controlling the destinies of the hero and her friends.
Ultimately, I hope to introduce myself to fans of Liberty Girl and Heroic… and introduce Liberty Girl to New Pulp fans. If it all works out, it could be a win-win for everybody. My goal is write this adaptation this month — I should be able to finish it up by the end of December — and then move on to the next project.
But there’s a good chance that I’m not 100% finished with Liberty Girl.
So I figured I’d let you guys know about the status of the Lazarus Gray Origins project. For those of you with good memories, you’ll remember that this was to be a five page comic, detailing the origins of Lazarus Gray and Assistance Unlimited. Each page would be a whole entity unto itself — the idea came to me based on the DC origins they ran in the back of their series 52. Originally I asked Anthony Castrillo to do these pages and he turned in a great series of layouts. I approved them and we were off… I did this back in October 2011. The due date was February 2012. That time came and went, with no further artwork coming in. I inquired what was going on and kept getting assurances that the pages would be in my hands within days or even hours. This never happened.
So I talked to George Sellas about taking over but he felt that the layouts as shown were a little “large” for traditional comics pages. In his opinion, we needed to break some of them into two pages. We talked for a little while, with Anthony briefly returning to say he was still working on the pages but then he missed the next set of deadlines, too….
So then stepped in Mark Propst, who was originally supposed to do the art on The Adventures of Lazarus Gray Volume One before he vanished off Facebook for a time. In his absence, George Sellas had stepped in and really defined the look of Lazarus in a way that I really, truly love. But now Mark was back and he wanted to do some work for me… so I showed him the layouts that Anthony had done and sent him the script. He said he could do it as laid out — but first he had to finish off some work for DC’s Action Comics.
That’s where we stand now. I have the five pages of layouts done by Anthony… Mark is supposed to take them and start work at some point, but I don’t know when.
If they are ever completed, I think that they may run first in Pro Se Presents, just so you can see them at a larger size… and then they’ll be shrunk and run in future Lazarus Gray volumes as a quick “refresher” for folks.
It’s Saturday and I’m still busily working away on my various projects. The Rook Volume One will be released soon from Pro Se, with an all-new cover, interior art and a fresh edit. George Sellas will be doing the covers for the re-released Volumes 1-5 and will do interiors for 1-4, with Will Meugniot (comics and animation legend) doing the interiors for Volume Five. With those rolling out on a regular basis and with Tales of The Rook coming your way — *plus* the new Rook trilogy written by Tommy Hancock — you’re in a heck of a great time if you’re a fan of Max Davies and his friends.
I’m also very excited for everybody to see Lazarus Gray Volumes 3 & 4 – Volume 3 is completed and has been sent to Pro Se, while Volume Four is about half finished.
And *then* there’s Gravedigger. Our newest hero will make her debut in 2013 — I’m about 1/4 of the way finished with her debut. As with most of my books, George Sellas is attached to that one as artist.
Lazarus Gray: Origins… Mark Propst is working on this. He’s backed up with work for DC Comics’ Action Comics series right now but he’s promised me that he’ll be producing pages soon.
With Lazarus, Gravedigger and The Rook we’ll have a pretty strong triumvirate of characters based in the 1930s and 1940s.
Which means it might be time to introduce a character who will most definitely NOT fit into that time period.
Just started reading THE GREAT PULP HEROES by Don Hutchison. I’ve read lots of pulp resource books but this is one has slipped under my radar until now. So far, so good.
Working on Gravedigger the past few days. It’s still going well but I’m feeling anxious to be done with both it and Lazarus Gray Volume Four. A long way to go on each, though. It’s rare for me to write two books at once and the resulting increase in length of time it’s taking to complete them is making me antsy.
Sorry for the brevity in some of my posts lately — there hasn’t been much in the New Pulp field that’s gotten me excited or anxious to voice my opinions on it so I’ve been forced to look around for other things to talk about. I will say that some of the plots I’ve received so far for Tales of The Rook Volume Two are quite exciting, though. I look forward to reading the stories and then sharing them with all of you later on.
I inquired recently if anyone had any topics they wanted me to address but nobody responded so I assume you’re all happy with me rambling about whatever is on my mind at the time. If there is something you want me to cover, please drop me a line.
For those wondering about the Lazarus Gray Origins project, it’s still alive with artist Mark Propst. Maybe someday….
Our art today is by Norm Breyfogle. One of my favorite Rook images ever!