New Pulp Reviews

GRVSHWPROMOIMAGEA trio of reviews this time, starting off with:

GRENDEL VS. THE SHADOW – Given that I love both Hunter Rose and The Shadow, this pairing excited me from day one. Add the fact that Matt Wagner was writing and drawing it… and you had the makings of a classic. This three-issue series lived up to its billing, showing exactly how a crossover should be done. Both characters got a chance to sign and their face-to-face confrontations crackled with energy and emotion. The artwork was beautiful all the way through and I liked the way that Wagner contrasted the two lead characters. The only stumble, for me, was that the time travel contrivance felt a bit too convenient and I’m not 100% onboard with the way Wagner portrays The Shadow/Margo relationship. Even so, I adored this series and will pick it up in trade. While not everything Dynamite has published with their pulp heroes has been to my liking, I’d rank this series, The Shadow: Year One and The Shadow/Green Hornet: Dark Nights as being among the best Shadow comics ever published.

Knight From Hell by David White: I’ve been a fan of David White’s writing for quite awhile. He’s got a straight-forward style that’s perfect for New Pulp stories. His works have that same breakneck pace that the classic pulp series did but he incorporates modern characterization and mature elements seamlessly.

This particular story is not for the easily offended. If the notion of angels fornicating and committing adultery doesn’t sit well with you, you might want to give it a pass. But if you’re willing to approach it with an open mind, you’ll find an intriguing protagonist that mixes the hard-boiled P.I. type with some fantasy elements.

Characters are briskly but vividly described and the tale manages to feel dense despite the small page count. Can’t wait for the follow-up!

Justice, Inc # 4: I think Michael Uslan is, along with Matt Wagner, one of the best Shadow writers working for Dynamite right now. This particular series reveals an alternate universe take on The Avenger, pairing him with both Doc Savage and The Shadow. The two “big” heroes are perfectly portrayed but The Avenger’s voice still feels slightly off to me — I’m going with the fact that he’s still so new and that this is a slightly different version to explain it. A pair of classic villains – John Sunlight and The Voodoo Master — are working together in this one and I love Voodoo’s scenery-chewing dialogue. It was odd not seeing Sunlight in his trademark monochromatic clothing, though. Art-wise, this is the best work I’ve ever seen from Giovanni Timpano. It’s solid throughout with nice facial expression. When all is said and done, I think this will stand beside Uslan’s Dark Nights as a wonderful addition to Shadow lore.

Wednesday Weirdness

frenz_shadowHowdy, folks!

Just uploaded episode 59 of The Shadow Fan’s Podcast. This week we talk about a 1934 novel (“The Circle of Death”) and the 19th issue of Dynamite’s comic book series. I also get into some of the rumors surrounding a possible Will Murray-penned Doc Savage/Shadow novel and take a look at the October 2013 sales figures for Dynamite’s various Shadow offerings. If you love The Shadow (and if you don’t, what’s wrong with you??), hopefully you’ll enjoy the episode.

Work continues on the current Lazarus Gray story — I’ve introduced a new supporting character in this one and I really, really like her. I’m planning to possibly do something terribly, terribly mean to her, too.

I’ve settled on a title for the big crossover novel that’s coming out in 2014, too, but I’m not ready to share it yet. You guys have already seen the awesome Chris Bastista cover, which brings together The Rook, Gravedigger and Lazarus Gray — now I just have to ensure that the story itself is as good as that cover! That’s no small order, I’m afraid. We’ll also see a brand new menace introduced in this book, one that is big enough to threaten not only our three heroes but all of creation.

Recently, I was deeply honored to get a quote from Michael Uslan for use on my future books. Mr. Uslan is a legend in several fields and his words definitely touched me. I’ve shared them on various social media sites but it occurred to me that I hadn’t done so here. Please forgive me for squealing a bit like a schoolgirl! Here’s what he had to say: “Barry Reese is not only an exceptional author who vividly captures the thrill-a-minute essence of pulp fiction in his work from The Rook to Gravedigger to Lazarus Gray, but he’s also clearly a fan at heart who loves what he’s doing. That passion seeps into every spine-tingling chapter he writes. Bravo!” – Michael Uslan, Executive Producer of all the Batman movies from “Batman” to The Dark Knight Trilogy and author of his memoir, The Boy Who Loved Batman.

Wow, right?

And to think that all the great things that have happened to me arose from my love of the great pulp heroes of the past!

Good times.

The artwork that accompanies this post is by Ron Frenz and, of course, shows off The Shadow. My buddy Pat Casey sends me lots of awesome Shadow artwork and this was one of them. Thanks, Pat!

Wednesday Chatter

lazarus_coverIt’s Hump Day! Yes, we’re moving closer to the weekend and I’m very excited about the prospect.

Earlier this morning, I uploaded Episode 58 of The Shadow Fan’s Podcast. This week we talk about the end of Michael Uslan’s Dark Nights limited series and the beginning of the Noir book. I’m definitely sad to see Dark Nights go but I’ll pick up the collection when it comes out and give it a re-read then. Good stuff.

I had planned to incorporate my Sherlock Holmes pulp novella into my established universe but that appears to be on hold. My thinking had been to tie it all into “A Plague of Wicked Men,” a Rook story that appeared in Volume Five of that series. In that story, Holmes makes a surprise appearance and he’s actually the man who defeats The Warlike Manchu. “The Eleventh Finger” would have pitted Holmes against The Warlike Manchu & his followers (collectively known as The Ten Fingers) and given the backstory for why their rematch in A Plague of Wicked Men had such importance. I’m going to have to rework that idea, though.

In the meantime, I think I might work a bit on the fourth story that will run Lazarus Gray Volume Five. As I’ve mentioned before, the fifth book will contain five short stories in a return to the format I used in Volume One. I’m pretty excited about it and I think folks will enjoy it. It’s a deliberate change of pace from the large-scale story that ran in Volumes 2-4. Plus, you’ll get to see Lazarus go toe-to-toe with Ron Fortier’s Brother Bones! A New Pulp classic in the making, I like to think.

For fun, I’m sharing with you today Anthony Castrillo’s initial sketch for what would become the cover to The Adventures of Lazarus Gray Volume One. You can compare it to the finished product to see how it evolved. Good stuff, eh?

Friday Fun

lg04_walther_lunt_smallHello Everyone!

Earlier today I uploaded the 50th episode of The Shadow Fan’s Podcast. I interview legendary writer/producer Michael Uslan on this one and it was a great time. I really enjoyed talking to him and I think that even if you’re not a fan of The Shadow, you’ll find something to enjoy — he talks about producing the Batman movies, writing the current Shadow/Green Hornet series for Dynamite and even gets into the nitty-gritty about what his favorite Shadow novels and characters are. I hope you’ll give it a listen!

The past few days have seen this site getting a lot more hits than usual. Not sure what’s driving the increased traffic but I appreciate the folks who come back every day to read my ramblings. Thanks so much for supporting this site.

Also, thanks to everyone who has checked out my Kindle Worlds story featuring Valiant’s Shadowman character. It’s currently # 3 in Kindle World’s Action/Adventure category, as of 9 am EST! It’s called Shadowman: The Red Sash and I hope that folks who are fans of Shadowman or just my own writing will enjoy it.

Currently working on my Pulse Fiction story for Pro Se and I’m having a ball with it so far. These characters were given to me in pretty broad form so I’m getting to do a lot in the way of defining them and they’re definitely the kind of characters I would have created on my own, which makes the process easier and far more fun.

My guest blogger is still working on his post but I hope to be able to run it sometime soon. I think people will really find it interesting. I know I keep teasing it but it will be worth it, I assure you.

Our art today is of the evil Walther Lunt, one of Lazarus Gray’s arch-foes. It’s by the amazingly talented George Sellas.

I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Monday Morning Stuff

emma-stone-gangster-squad-379x302Welcome, folks, to the show that never ends — Ye Olde Blog continues to roll along, week after week.

Finished reading The Complete Adventures of the Secret 6 from Altus Press. I enjoyed it but it’s safe to say I’ll never reread these stories. Some good moments but long stretches in each story where I felt things were being stretched thin plot-wise. Definitely get the cheaper eBook edition.

I’m currently reading The Shadow Legion by Tom Deja. I’m about 25% of the way through (can you tell I’m reading the Kindle version?) and I’m enjoying it a lot so far. In terms of taking superhero elements and blending them with the supernatural, it feels like it could be very much at home in my own pulp adventure universe. Maybe I need to talk to Tom about a crossover… I definitely recommend it, though I haven’t even reached the halfway mark yet. It’s good fun.

Episode 49 of The Shadow Fan’s Podcast went live this morning which means that the Michael Uslan interview I recorded for Episode 50 will be posted later this week. Can’t wait for folks to listen to it — it was amazingly to speak to Mr. Uslan and I had a wonderful talk with him. The conversation stays focused on The Shadow for the most part but we do venture into discussions about movie production and so forth — even if you’re not a fan of The Shadow, you should give it a listen, I think.

Still working on my Shadowman story for Kindle Worlds — I was in meetings most of last week so I didn’t get to add much to the tale. I’m over 10,000 words into it at present and I hope to finish this short sometime this week. Then, assuming I can figure out how to upload to Amazon, it should be for sale shortly thereafter. Wish me luck!

Once I’m done with that, I have a few pressing deadlines to meet and then I can return to work on Lazarus Gray Volume Five. I’ve written two of the projected five stories that will comprise that book.

Next release from Reese Unlimited will be the new edition of Rabbit Heart — hopefully in time for Halloween!

Our picture today is the ravishing Emma Stone, looking all pulp-appropriate in Gangster Squad.