Tag: The Avenger

Moonstone Monday

TREE_smallWelcome back to Ye Olde Blog! We’re starting a new week and I have high hopes that it will be a good one. I’m still working away on my Box Thirteen story and at present, I’m a little over 3,300 words into it. I’m going to try and do my very best to finish this one before Friday. Since it only has to be 10,000 words long, I think I can do that. Fingers crossed! Once I’ve put this one to bed, I might be able to squeeze in a day or two of work on the fifth volume of Lazarus Gray before I have to begin my Pulse Fiction story for Pro Se Press.

I’ve been reading all kinds of things lately as I try to make a serious run at clearing off my “To Read” shelf. At one time, that shelf actually spanned about three different shelves but now I’m down to about 20 books. With luck and perseverance, I might actually end up with no books sitting around to be read. Every book in in my collection will have been read.

Obviously, that means I need to go and buy some new books, right?

Since I teased my upcoming G-8 story that will be published by Moonstone last week, I had someone ask me exactly what things I’d written for the longtime comics and New Pulp publisher. The answer? Not all that much, really! But here’s what they’ve published by me:

The Green Hornet Casefiles (2011) contains my story “Summer of Death”

The Avenger: The Justice Inc. Files (2011) contains my story “The Devil’s Workmen” which won the 2012 Pulp Ark Award for Best Short Story

The Avenger: Roaring Heart of the Crucible (2013) contains my story “The Box of Flesh”

In addition, I’ve written the aforementioned G-8 story and a Johnny Dollar story, both of which are still waiting to be printed by Moonstone. So eventually we’ll be able to add those books to the list. Working with Moonstone has been a real honor, especially since it gave me the chance to work on The Avenger, who has always been one of my favorite pulp heroes.

Our art today is by Anthony Castrillo and depicts one of the evil villains from The Rook Volume Five. Spooky stuff, eh?

Hope you guys have a happy and productive Monday!

Lots O’ Stuff!

Strange-Trails-coverMy weird western tale has been published by Mechanoid Press in their newest release, Strange Trails. Here’s how the publisher describes the book:

Strange tales from the Weird West

A mechanical Pinkerton man…a comely ghost…a lady knight errant in search of adventure…a mummy on the loose aboard a speeding train…these are just a few of the colorful characters you’ll meet in Strange Trails. Come with us now on a ride through a West that never was, where dangerous gunslingers encounter steam-powered robots, and Native Americans do battle with Lovecraftian entities. All brought to you by the hottest names in New Pulp.

So saddle up with Josh Reynolds (Mr. Brass), Tommy Hancock and Morgan Minor, Barry Reese (The Rook), Joel Jenkins (Dire Planet), Edward M. Erdelac (Merkabah Rider) and editor James Palmer (Monster Earth) as they take you on a wild ride through the Weird West as only they can guide you.

So what are you waiting for, partner? Put on your spurs, grab your six-shooter, prime your ray gun and get ready to ride off into the sunset with these six incredible tales of the Weird Wild West!

I had a lot of fun writing it and there’s actually a teeny-tiny connection to my ongoing pulp adventure universe… but none of you will be able to spot it until Lazarus Gray Volume 5 comes out (which probably won’t be until 2015!). Anyway, check it out — those other authors listed above are all high-quality entertainers.

The 42nd episode of The Shadow Fan’s Podcast was uploaded earlier today. This week I talk about a recent Will Murray interview where he mentioned the possibility of a Doc Savage/Shadow novel. I also review two books – Destination: Moon (1967) and the fourth issue of Dynamite’s Year One series. Good stuff!

An Amazon reviewer by the name of Randy Grim posted a brief review of The Avenger: Roaring Heart of the Crucible. Here’s what he had to say:

For those of us who have been long time fans of the Avenger this book as well as the first two short story collections has been thoroughly enjoyable. I am confident that anyone who enjoys the pulp heroes will find this a satisfying return to that thrilling era of yesteryear and for those who are curious about the character a fast paced and accurate introduction.

Thanks, Randy! I love The Avenger and I’m glad that you enjoyed the book. It was definitely an honor to work on the character for a second time.

On another topic, I have begun writing my Box Thirteen story. It’s off to a good start but it’s definitely in it the infancy stages.

I’ll be back tomorrow with more pulp goodness!

Riffing On the Classics

dillon-piratesOccasionally, I’ll see fans of classic pulp dismiss New Pulp as being nothing more than a bunch of pastiches (or, less kindly, “rip-offs”) of the original heroes. “Oh, all they’re doing is changing the names — Doc this-or-that. How come they can’t do anything NEW?”

Well, pardon my French, but if that’s what you think of New Pulp, then you’re a freakin’ idiot.

Are there are pastiches out there? Of course! Many people grew up wanting to write Doc Savage, The Shadow, Tarzan, etc. Those heroes made them pulp fans to begin with — and, with the exception of Doc Savage and a few of the heroes who have fallen into public domain, most of the classic heroes are not getting new prose stories right now. So if you want to see new adventures of, say, The Shadow, in prose… then you’ve got to create your own version. Some people adhere to the original template more than others. I don’t begrudge anyone for doing a pastiche — I’ve done more than a few myself. If I have a kick-ass Doc Savage story and I know I’ll never get the chance to write that character for real, why not make a few changes and go from there? Hell, Brendan Fraser’s character in The Mummy is only a few degrees from being Indiana Jones — but both sets of movies are great in their own right.

Sometimes a pastiche can be mighty fine reading.

And if you don’t care for pastiches, don’t read them. There’s plenty of NEW, ORIGINAL concepts in New Pulp.

How about The Black Centipede? You can’t possibly tell me that there was anything like that character in the original days of pulp. It’s a heady brew of PJ Farmer and HP Lovecraft, along with a dash of pure inventiveness.

Derrick Ferguson’s Dillon may have its feet planted in classic pulp roots but it’s also so different and unique from those that it’s light years away from being a pastiche.

To me, it’s like saying “I don’t read comics anymore because when you get down to it, all superheroes are variations of Superman, Batman or Spider-Man.” Well, most of them sure — they’re archetypes for a reason, moron. Those characters are primal and speak to us on a basic human level — that’s why people go back to them. Also, it’s writer shorthand… if you see a Superman analogue, you automatically have a set of expectations that I either want to reinforce or turn on their head. But you need to READ it to find out which. I get the feeling that a lot of these guys don’t do that. They see “Doc Daye” and go “Oh, another Doc Savage clone. How boring.” They never bother to read the actual stories and see that, name aside, he doesn’t have much to do with Doc Savage.

Look, if you’re one of those who refuse to try New Pulp because “I haven’t finished collecting all these stories from 100 years ago!” then I can’t help you. You’ve chosen your fandom and you’re just plain going to miss out on new stories that you’d probably enjoy.

But if you’re going to call New Pulp as a whole derivative and a rip-off, then you look like a fool. Are there derivative and rip-off concepts out there? Sure. But I would say that number gets less and less every year.

Why people who should be embracing the things we all love and share try to put up barriers between each other is beyond me. Celebrate what you love! If you really dig urban avengers, try some of the new guys… if you think nobody could possibly ever top Walter Gibson, stick to the classics. But if you’re not going to read Lazarus Gray, don’t call it a rip-off of The Avenger. Because all you’re doing is showing your own ignorance.

Our accompanying artwork today is from Dillon and the Pirates of Xonira, one of those rip-off books that some folks are too snooty to have read.

From the Roaring Heart of the Crucible: A New Review!

roaringheartStephen Kempton posted a review of Moonstone’s latest Avenger anthology on Amazon.com and I thought I’d share his comments with you. Let’s see what he had to say:

This is Moonstone’s third book of short Avenger stories. All range from Good to Excellent. The fourteen adventures all fall in the 20 to 25 page range with a few exceptions. The stories are as follows:

1) The Moth Murders by the excellent Will Murray starts the collection off with a bang. Will does a fantastic job of emulating the writing style of Paul Ernst and the mystery is exciting too.

2)The Blood Eaters by Justin Chambers is also very good with it’s take on a vampire story.

3) Ghost Of Thunder Isle by John Allen Small has a strange origin being a sequel to not an Avenger story or even a Doc Savage novel, but a follow up to a comic story from the black and white Doc Savage comic magazine Marvel put out in the 70’s. That said reading that story is not necessary and I quite enjoyed it.

4)According To The Plan Of The One-Eyed Trickster by Win Scott Eckert is a fun cross-over with Domino Lady. But while reading this I had the feeling I was missing out on something. I did some research and found out this is third in a Trilogy of stories. I don’t mind they did this but a comment in the introduction like they did with the previous story would have been helpful.

5)Call Of The Arctic Siren by Mathew P. Mayo was one of my favorites creating a very cool female villain only to dispatch with her way too fast in a story that was over way too soon.

6)The Snarling Man by Christopher Sequeira with C J Henderson is a good story about a nasty Brit with a permanent scowl.

7)Terror From The Depths by David White features more “Sex & Violence” then I am used to in an Avenger story. With an Asian villainess dressed all in tight black leather with a whip. And poor Nellie Gray (The Avenger’s Gal Friday) gets whipped across her chest.

8)An Excellent Beauty by C J Henerson is next. The Avenger’s aide Cole Wilson gets “no respect”. It seems nobody likes this Avenger aide who was fashioned late in the series to be the younger, dashing, heart throb replacing Benson in a lot of the action. Well, C J Henderson seems to like the lad. Cole is only featured in two stories one from CJ and the other co-written by him. This story is a solo Cole Wilson story and it is excellent and features a storyline that makes since for Cole to be in.

9)Ashen To Ashes by Greg Cox, whose last name is missing from inside credits is tight little story about cremation.

10)The Box Of Flesh by Barry Reese. Barry has been making a name for himself in the world of New Pulp and now I see why. This is an excellent story about a silkie.

11)Lone Justice by Bobby Nash is a good story about the Avenger trying to protect a murder witness. Nothing special but well written.

12)The Murderous Scarecrow written by Matthew May is a very cool concept and a great story, but again over too quicklly.

13)Last Stop,USA by Mel Odum is surprisingly the longest story and my least favorite. It is not a bad story by any means just a little bit generic and bloated. Setting a story in a specific place in history is not enough to make it interesting in it’s own right.

14)The Iron Phantom by Mathew Baugh finishes things off with a flourish. It is a very fun play on the haunted house story with two great guest stars. A dashing lawyer with a sword cane and an agile simian looking gent.

While I own all three of these books this was my first read. I will soon be consuming the rest and look forward to the three Avenger novels coming soon from Mooonstone.

Highly Recommended.

Thanks so much for the review, Stephen! I’m glad you enjoyed my story, which was a sequel to “Satan’s Workmen,” from the previous volume. I appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts on the collection.

A New Avenger Review — And the Usual News & Nonsense

lg07_morgan_watts_smallWelcome to Tuesday at Ye Olde Blog!

I was pleased to see that a new review of The Avenger: Roaring Heart of the Crucible had been posted on Amazon. Our old friend Darkendale has been keeping up with his New Pulp reading, as we saw with his review of The Adventures of Lazarus Gray Volume Three: Eidolon the other day. Here’s what he had to say about The Avenger:

I eagerly awaited my copy of this book and I can tell you, it was worth the wait. We find Richard Henry Benson and Justice, Inc. back in the business of seeing criminal masterminds destroy themselves in their own clever traps.We can enjoy stories by such pulp word slingers as Will Murray, Win Scott Eckart, CJ Henderson, Barry Reese, and Greg Cox. all of these diverse and skilled writers manage to echo the style of Paul Ernst. Occasionally, a bit of Ron Goulart creeps in but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

My favorites tales from this third volume of hard hitting Avenger pulp are.

The Moth Murders – Will Murray
The Box Of Flesh by Barry Reese
The Snarling Man – Christopher Sequeira with C J Henderson
An Excellent Beauty – C J Henderson
and last but definitely not least, Terror From The Depths – David White

Here’s to more offerings (I hope, fingers crossed!) from the authors and more, and from Moonstone, the very best in New Pulp Fiction!

I’m very glad that he enjoyed the book and I sincerely thank him for specifically mentioning my contribution. I’ll be honest in saying that I haven’t had time to read through the entire book myself yet but I fully expect to love it — the previous volumes from Moonstone have been of the highest standard.

On another note, I managed to write close to 2,000 words on Gravedigger Volume Two yesterday, which means that I’m closing in on 12,000 words. Since most of my novels fall in the 60,000 word range, this means that I’m about 20% through the first draft. I consider this to be pretty good progress. I plan to ride this momentum for awhile yet before moving to work on the second story for Lazarus Gray Volume Five.

Saw a truly stunning piece of promo work from Sean Ali and George Sellas the other day but I can’t share it yet — not until it’s been run in various other channels first. But trust me — it’ll make you very excited about the Reese Unlimited imprint. Hell, I authored all of the books on the ad and it made me want to read them! Sean is one of the most amazing graphic designers I’ve ever seen and his work makes Pro Se far and away the best-looking publisher in the field. And, of course, George’s artwork is always stellar!

All the stories for Tales of The Rook Volume Two are in so that one will probably be placed on the schedule at some point soon. Despite all the problems I had with getting this one together, I’ve been kicking around ideas about some sort of Lazarus Gray anthology… maybe one where each member of Assistance Unlimited got a turn in the spotlight. Any interest in that? Or do you prefer to see them all written as a team, under my hand?

Our art today depicts Morgan Watts, the oldest member of Assistance Unlimited — it is, of course, by the incredible George Sellas.

See you guys tomorrow!

Characters I Love # 9: Seekay

seekay_coverEvery Wednesday, I focus on a character from adventure fiction (film, comics & prose) that I simply adore. This week we’re talking about: Seekay. This pulp hero is relatively obscure, having appeared in only five stories, published in 1937 & ’38. Written by Paul Ernst (the genius behind the original Avenger novels and the Doctor Satan series), Seekay’s entire series has been reprinted by Altus Press in the volume The Casebook of Seekay and Other Prototypes of The Avenger. It’s a $29.95 paperback, which is a bit steep, but it’s well worth the price and you can probably do some shopping around to get it for less.

Seekay is a private detective who wears a plastic mask to hide his disfigurement. There was a whole trend of “defective detectives” who suffered from some form of ailment, be it physical, emotional or mental — and Seekay is one of the best of those. The first two of his stories appeared, appropriately enough, in “Stange Detective Stories” before the rest of the series switched to “Detective Tales.” While the full truth about his disfigurement is never detailed, we do get some tantalizing hints. In the very first story, he aids a young woman who goes on to become his secretary and sidekick in adventure — she yearns to know more about him and there’s some nice romantic tension as she struggles with what is obviously a growing crush on the tragic hero.

While Seekay’s success rate isn’t focused upon, we have to assume that he’s doing quite well for himself, since he’s able to pick and choose his cases. If they intrigue him, he takes them on — but if not, he refuses to even hear them out.

As with all Ernst stories, the characterization is spot-on and I’m continually amazed at how he’s able to make you feel for his characters while never losing the pace of the story. As with The Avenger, Seekay is perfectly willing to let his enemies engineer their own demise, as well.

I am genuinely sad that there’s only five of these stories out there as I think he could have had a long and interesting run. At one point, I was told the character was in the public domain but I’ve since learned that’s not true. It’s a shame in some ways as I would love to have the opportunity to write Seekay or at least read what others would do with him.

Definitely seek out the Altus Press book and see why I’m so high on this character!

Bullet Points – Kapow!

rook_v2_domino_lady_rough It’s another day here at Ye Olde Blog so let’s jump right in to the various things that are running through my head:

So… I had hoped to be finished with my Weird Western tale yesterday but that didn’t happen. Will today be the lucky day? We’ll see!

I’ve been quite enjoying my new Tumblr account. It’s mostly a collection of quotes and pictures that happen to inspire my muse, so you get to see lots of comic book art, some pulp stuff, tons of pretty girls and quotes that have special meaning to or inspire me. If you’re a tumblr kind of person, feel free to look me up.

Supposed to be a guest on The White Rocket Podcast later today — Van Plexico usually records these a couple of weeks before they’re released so I’ll keep all of you appraised of its actual release date. I’ve know Van since the late Nineties so I’m sure the discussion will be an interesting one.

My newest work on The Avenger is now available through all online retailers – The Avenger: Roaring Heart of the Crucible contains a story entitled “The Box of Flesh” which is a sequel of sorts to my Pulp Ark Award-winning “The Devil’s Workmen” from 2011’s The Avenger: The Justice. Inc. Files. Writing The Avenger was one of my lifelong dreams – now if I could only get my hands on The Shadow, I’d have accomplished all my pulp fiction fantasies. Are you listening, Conde Nast?

Our art today is by the incredible George Sellas and comes from The Rook Volume Two Special Edition – it features the lovely but dangerous Domino Lady! I hope you enjoy it.