Sunday Morning Thoughts

RobbieWilliamsIt’s been an odd week around Ye Olde Blog, as I’ve been spending most of my time hanging out with my son while my wife is away on a trip. We’ve explored all over the place and had a good time, though we definitely miss having the third member of our family trio around.

I posted another installment of The Shadow Fan’s Podcast the other day, focusing on the wrap-up to Dynamite’s MASKS series. To be honest, I didn’t really like the issue or the series. I also replied to some Listener Feedback. Definitely check it out if you’re a fan of The Shadow (and if you’re NOT a fan of The Shadow, why the heck not?!).

Work continues on Gravedigger Volume Two as we’ve reached the midway point of the novel. Our villains are united and their evil schemes are in motion… while our heroes are suffering through a number of emotional upheavals. Good stuff, if I do say so myself.

Reviews continue to be positive for my most recent releases, The Adventures of Gravedigger and The Adventures of Lazarus Gray Volume Three: Eidolon. Please, if you’ve read these books, do post a review on Amazon. Even if it’s not a positive one, I’d still appreciate the effort. Reviews really do help boost sales!

I hope that all of you have a wonderful day today — and I’d like to encourage everyone to spend a little less time complaining about things you don’t enjoy and a little more time spreading the word about the things you love. It only takes a small change in your attitude to have a major impact on not just yourself but those around you.

Our image today is a combative shot of Robbie Williams, one of my favorite musical artists. I like the picture so I’m sharing it.

New Pulp Recommendations: Green Lama Unbound by Adam L. Garcia

UNBOUNDEvery Friday I focus on a New Pulp work that I think merits your attention. Sometimes it will be something that’s brand new, other times I’ll look at something that’s a few years old. This week, I’m encouraging you to check out Green Lama Unbound by Adam Lance Garcia.

Before we talk about the book itself, let’s see how the publisher describes it:

A brand new, full length novel starring the Master of the Mystic arts, the Green Lama. Written by Adam Lance Garcia, with cover and illustrations by Mike Fyles, this wall to wall pulp adventure pits the Green Lama and his friends against the Nazis of the Third Reich and an ancient evil from beyond the stars. Soon to become a true pulp classic, this is a book that belongs in every true pulp fan’s library. Produced by Airship 27.

Brief and to-the-point, right? I’m always of two minds when it comes to publisher description. I hate the ones that tell you key parts of the book but on the other hand, I’m not a fan of the ones that speak in generalizations, either. Anyway, this publisher description says that the title is “soon to become a true pulp classic,” which is high praise, indeed.

But it was quite accurate!

For those of you who don’t know, The Green Lama was a major pulp and comics character back in the day and he’s been revived numerous times since, mostly by comics companies who take tremendous license with his appearance and motivations. The Green Lama, or at least a version of him, is currently appearing in the MASKS crossover event from Dynamite Comics — but he’s such a cipher there that it’s difficult to even compare him to the version on display in this novel.

The author takes a mostly B-Level character and molds him into something more. Hell, the Green Lama is pitted against the hordes of the C’thulhu Mythos in this one! And Adam displays a deft hand at balancing action with characterization. I particularly liked the supporting characters in this one: Caraway, Jean and Ken all stole quite a few scenes from the emerald-wearing hero. In fact, I’d say that the way they orbited the hero was quite well done and pretty classic, in my opinion. Even in the old Doc Savage series, Doc was pretty staid compared to the bickering of Monk and Ham. Adam makes these characters more than worthy of carrying scenes without the title hero and, in fact, I wouldn’t mind reading stories about the supporting characters.

There are several Easter eggs in the story that made me smile, especially the reference to the rampaging ape in the early chapters. It shows that Adam has a clear grasp on the audience who will be reading this.

The art is quite nice by Mike Fyles and really suits the mood of the story.

This book is a terrific, fast-paced read that features believable characters that you grow to care about. It’s a wonderful introduction to The Green Lama and definitely positions Adam Garcia as a leading voice in the New Pulp movement. Adam has written more stories with the Lama, both for Airship 27 and for Altus Press and I believe he has more in the pipeline. That’s great news because his work on the Lama puts the character into the rarefied air currently occupied by Will Murray’s Doc Savage & CJ Henderson and Martin Powell’s The Spider as being the very best pulp revivals currently going on in New Pulp.

By the way, this book is labeled “Volume Two” but you don’t need to read the first book to enjoy this. The first volume was an anthology but this one is a novel.

If you haven’t read Green Lama Unbound, you need to hurry and do so — NOW!

Another Thrilling Tuesday!

cover-3Welcome back to Ye Olde Blog!

Posted The Shadow Fan’s Podcast Episode 28 this morning. I cover a classic novel from 1934, a great story arc from the 1987 Shadow comic series… and then I go off on a huge rant about Dynamite’s Masks # 5. Now I’m all hoarse from talking for so long. I think that’s why people need co-hosts – it’s somebody else who can talk for awhile! Anyway, if you love The Shadow, I hope you’ll enjoy the show. By the way, if you’re not a member of The Shadow Knows group on Facebook, you’re really missing out. Lots of great chatter about The Shadow and it comes from such luminaries as Anthony Tollin, Ralph Grasso, Jim Beard and David White! Lots of hardcore Shadow fans and many professional authors.

I’ve written a couple thousand words on the first story for Lazarus Gray Volume 5. My plan is for Volume 5 to contain 4-6 short stories, much as the first book did. With books 2-4, I did two novellas in each one and all three of those books contained an overarching storyline, meaning that in the end, I see 2-4 as long story. Since that story ends in 4, Volume 5 is a chance for us all to take our collective breath and just enjoy some “ordinary” adventures… of course, with Lazarus Gray, nothing’s ever ordinary! After I write the first story, I’ll try to finish off the weird west tale I owe Mechanoid and then maybe I’ll start Gravedigger Volume 2…. then it’s back to Lazarus Gray.

Our art today is from a really obscure source. Wayne Skiver created a character named Prof. Stone that was quite popular in the early days of the modern New Pulp movement – his adventures were originally published by Wild Cat Books and sales were strong enough that a magazine called Prof. Stone Adventures was introduced, featuring prose and comics. Issue 3 featured “The Gorgon Conspiracy,” a classic adventure of The Rook that later appeared in The Rook Volume Two. The cover brought The Rook & Prof. Stone together for the first time in print… Prof. Stone later appeared in The Rook Volume Five as a guest-star. This issue is very hard to come by! If you can track down any of the issues of the magazine or the Prof. Stone collection, you should do so. Pulpy fun, indeed!

On a much more serious note, I want to acknowledge the horrors that occurred in Boston yesterday. There are days that I really wish the heroes I write about were real people so they could bring the bad guys to justice. But we live in the real world — and there are plenty of *real* heroes to pick up the slack. My thoughts are with all those affected by the bombings and I hope the good guys are on the trail of those responsible.

Spring Fever

mellisa_clarke_14_007The weather has been warming up around here and I think everybody’s getting a case of Spring Fever. Like everyone else, I want to be outside, going places… and visions of the beach are dancing in my head.

From my perspective, I’ve been bouncing around on various projects, unable to focus on any of them for very long. I’m over halfway through with the weird west tale that’s due on June 1 but I got sidetracked by a return to the Rabbit Heart sequel. But I didn’t get too far on that one because I got distracted by a great idea I had for the opening to Lazarus Gray Volume 5… Hopefully I’ll be able to pick one and stick with it for awhile. I *can* work on multiple projects but I tend to get frustrated with all of them when I do that, feeling that none of them are making adequate progress.

I *think* I’ll focus on Lazarus Gray for the next few days but if something shiny catches my attention, I might end up working on Gravedigger Volume 2 or something lol

Anyway, the Pulp Factory Awards were given out at the Windy City Con this weekend — congrats to the various winners. George Sellas was up for Best Interior Art but he didn’t win a Pulp Factory Award to match the one he picked up in the Pulp Ark Awards this year.

This week’s episode of The Shadow Fan should be a packed episode — I’ll be talking “The Spoils of The Shadow” (a classic novel), Masks # 5 from Dynamite *and* the first storyline from the Andy Helfer Shadow series that DC published back in the late Eighties. I will say this about Masks… I love issue one but every issue since has been worse than the one before. It makes me very worried for Chris Roberson’s upcoming run on The Shadow comic book. Based upon issue 1 and a couple of pulp-related interviews that I had read, I was excited about his tenure. Now, I’m not so sure.

For dedicated followers of the blog – are there are any regular features that you’d like to see? Right now I do a New Pulp Recommendations on Friday and a Saturday Matinee on (duh) Saturdays. I’ve noticed that the New Pulp Recommendations hits have been extremely variable on Fridays – some weeks they’re through the roof and sometimes my site hits crash on that day. Saturday Matinee, on the other hand, has proven surprisingly popular! But would you like to see more of that kind of thing? Marvel Heroic RPG Wednesdays? A regular movie review feature? Or do you prefer when I just shoot the breeze every day?

Not sure if I’ve mentioned it on the blog (I know I did on Twitter) but I’ve received the first Origins page from George Sellas. The ‘cursed’ Lazarus Gray Origins project has been discussed at length before – originally it was going to be Anthony Castrillo working on it, then it was Mark Propst, then it was Castrillo, then it was Sellas, then it was Propst and now it’s back to Sellas. Instead of doing the original five pages, George will be taking just the Lazarus page and expanding it into two pages. The other pages of the script (origins for Samantha, Morgan, Eun & Assistance Unlimited) will hopefully appear at some future date.

Long story short, page one looks INCREDIBLE. You guys will *really* like this!

Our model today is Mellisa Clarke, a glamor model who was one of the visual inspirations for Charity Grace (aka Gravedigger).

Midweek Rambling

DarkNights001-Cov-CassadayWell, the reaction to yesterday’s news that I’m working on Starstruck has been quite nice — I must have gotten at least a half dozen comments from people via the blog, Facebook & Twitter, which is pretty good. I’m still debating about how it will see print… it may be added on to the end of RABBIT HEART when that one is reprinted by Pro Se Press. Then people who have bought the Wild Cat version will have a reason to buy the new edition — because it will contain an all-new adventure. Reading over and revising what I’d written previously has reminded me of how much I did like the Fiona Chapman/Ascott Keane pairing. They play off each other very well, I think.

Speaking of pairings, Dynamite announced that Michael Uslan will be writing a crossover between The Shadow and The Green Hornet, debuting in July. Entitled Dark Nights, the series appears to be unrelated to the heroes’ meeting in MASKS, which is a little disappointing. I hope time won’t be wasted on them getting to know one another again. Of course, I could be wrong and it spins right out of MASKS. We’ll see. Regardless, I’ll be buying it since The Shadow is in it… I did have the opportunity to write The Green Hornet myself a few years back. The Green Hornet Casefiles contains my story “Summer of Death” in which The Green Hornet and Kato visit San Francisco during the Summer of Love. I enjoyed writing such classic characters and the experience made me more of a fan of the property than I had been previously.

The one downside to me picking up the Starstruck pieces is that I’ve had to set the weird western story on the back-burner. It’s not due until June 1, though, so I have time to play around with Fiona. I did receive the outline for my “other” project, that’s due October 1. I’m not sure how much I can talk about that one but it’s for a publisher that I haven’t worked with before and I’ll be adapting an outline into a 15,000 word story. The story and characters all belong to the publisher so it’s simply a work-for-hire situation on my end. Still, it looks like it will be fun.

Currently reading Rick Lai’s translation/adaption of Judex — quite enjoyable.

Take care, folks. It’s a dangerous world out there.


Psst-Masked-GirlI feel awful today. Started getting sick yesterday and woke up around 2:30 this morning, feeling like I had one foot in the grave. I managed to get myself up and dressed but we’ll see if I can manage a full day of work or not. I did record The Shadow Fan Episode 24 and it’s now live, so you can download it and hear me talk about Dynamite’s upcoming comics, Masks # 4 and 1937’s “Foxhound” by Theodore Tinsley.

I’m finishing up the last of the edits on The Rook Volume Two Special Edition today and then I’ll send them back to my editor. Hopefully that one will be in the hopper soon. I also received the edits on the first story for Lazarus Gray Volume 3 and will start looking through those.

My Weird West story is going well though my illness might slow me on it just a bit. The character that I’m introducing here is one that intrigues me. I didn’t want to create another series for myself and I think I’ll be able to avoid the temptation but I do have ideas for what other adventures Miss Anna Holst could have… Hell, her background is fascinating enough to merit delving into, as well.

No! Must show willpower and not give in! I have enough series to occupy me.

Pulp-wise, I’m currently re-reading The Golden Master, which is the first appearance of Shiwan Khan in The Shadow series.Good stuff but different than the usual Walter Gibson material. I will, of course, be reviewing it on next week’s episode of The Shadow Fan.

I learned that Sedat Ozgen will be the artist on my G-8 story coming from Moonstone. This will be in the format of “one page of text, one splash page” that they sometimes do with their books. G-8 battles zombie pilots in my tale so you know it’s gonna be fun! Sedat is a talented guy who has worked on The Phantom: The Ghost Who Walks, Airfighters and Captain Action. I can’t wait to see what he comes up with!

The Monday Grumps

robert_downeyHad a pretty good weekend — watched Wreck-It Ralph again, which is a great kids’ flick, and tried to come up with an idea for the Weird West story I’m supposed to be writing. I’ve set my Rook tale on the back-burner for now. It’s not that the story is going poorly — it’s actually off to a fine start. I just don’t feel like writing about Max Davies at the moment. Or the near future. If I get the two new stories from the latest Tales of The Rook recruits (one being David White, the other still a potential surprise), that would give me five stories without one from me… and we might just go with that.  I’ve learned to never say never when it comes to giving up a series & I recently wrote The Rook as a guest-star in Gravedigger… and quite enjoyed doing that. But I really don’t feel the connection to those characters the way I do Lazarus Gray & Gravedigger at the moment.

Perhaps the particular muse that inspires me to do The Rook will return soon.

I also read a stack of comics & finished reading Foxhound, an old Shadow novel written by Theodore Tinsley. I’ll be reviewing it and Masks # 4 on The Shadow Fan Podcast this week.

I might have to turn in my Geek card. I’m done with The Walking Dead, Doctor Who & Game of Thrones. I plan to replace them with Defiance & Under the Dome, when those series start, so I’m gonna keep trying genre television… but I’m not coming back to Who until Matt Smith’s character hits the big regeneration moment. TWD is just a stupid, amoral show. And GoT… Given how each book in the series is not as good as the one before, I just think it’s time to bail before they get to all the stuff I really disliked from the novels. When’s True Blood coming back? I’m looking forward to its return. And The Newsroom (though that’s not really a geeky kind of show, I still love it).

Almost forgot — there was a HUGE article about me in the local newspaper, talking about my recent Best Novel win in the Pulp Ark Awards. Very flattering and I was really thrilled with the amount of coverage it gave. In lieu of huge checks, attention is always nice. 😉

Today’s picture is of Robert Downey,  Jr. Why? Because it’s Robert Downey, Jr., that’s why!


Tales of The Rook, Pulp Comics & More!

img-thingRead the second of the submitted Tales of The Rook stories last night (this one was by James Palmer) and it really rocked. This volume should be quite interesting, in that we have a couple of classic Max Davies tales, one starring his daughter Emma and another set in the far future, where the legacy of The Rook is being reborn. The first book was focused almost entirely on the ‘classic’ Rook, with the exception being Percival Constantine’s Pulp Ark nominated short story, which starred the Ian Morris Rook. This one will really show the full range of The Rook’s little slice of my pulp universe and that’s a good thing, I think.

The section of New Pulp that’s based in the comic book world continues to grow. I’ve been doing reviews of Dynamite’s Shadow series, as well as the crossover title Masks, over on The Shadow Fan Podcast but there’s a lot more out there. Dynamite has seemingly replaced Moonstone as the New Pulp publisher of choice, with series devoted to The Shadow, The Spider, Tarzan, John Carter and (soon) The Black Bat. They’re also pushing Miss Fury as a pulp title, given her placement in Masks. Obviously, she was never published in pulp mags back in the day but they’re going with the broader definition of pulp. Most of these books have been very good and certainly better than the abomination that was First Wave. Now, they’re not *perfect* (as listeners of my podcast know, I’m not too keen on certain elements of Dynamite’s Shadow revival) but I’m enjoying them nonetheless. I would never encourage anyone to buy something “just to support it” — comics are way too expensive for that. But if you love pulp, I would say “try them.” If you like them, give them your hard earned dollars. If you don’t, you gave it a fair try.

I’ve been getting several sketches from George Sellas in recent days, which will be pieces designed for The Rook Special Edition Volume Three. As always, they are *gorgeous*. He sent me the cover sketch last night and I’m seriously in love with it. Give me a couple of days and I’ll provide you with a sneak peek.

People keep asking when Reese Unlimited next release will be out and my answer is still the same — I’ve been told that March, April & May are the three months where your budget’s going to be stretched thin. Either Lazarus Gray Volume Three: Eidolon or Gravedigger will be out in March, followed by the other in April. May will see The Rook Special Edition Volume Two. I realize that volumes 3-6 are not available in eBook format at present and unfortunately, you’ll have to wait for the Special Editions to be rolled out in order to get them. I’m hoping that by the end of 2013, you’ll have Volume 1-4 all back in print. Fingers crossed….


My Favorite Comics of the Moment

allnewxmen_5_coverEveryone knows I love comics just as much as I love pulp novels. So what are my current faves? Read on! The list is broken down by publisher, ’cause I roll like that.

Note: I actually buy more than just these titles… but these are my favorites.

DC Comics
Green Lantern
Worlds’ Finest
Legion of Super-Heroes

Marvel Comics
Scarlet Spider
Iron Man
Uncanny Avengers
All-New X-Men
Superior Spider-Man

Mars Attacks
Judge Dredd

X-O Manowar

Abstract Studios
Rachel Rising

The Shadow

Not out yet but I’m looking forward to: The Shadow Year One, Judge Dredd Year One

What are you guys reading?