Timeline of my pulp adventure universe (updated 12/09/17)

lg6_02_small_bwMajor Events specific to certain stories and novels are included in brackets. Some of this information contains SPOILERS for The Peregrine, Lazarus Gray, Gravedigger and other stories.

~ 800 Viking warrior Grimarr dies of disease but is resurrected as the Sword of Hel. He adventures for some time as Hel’s agent on Earth. [“Dogs of War” and “In the Name of Hel,” Tales of the Norse Gods].

1748 – Johann Adam Weishaupt is born.

1750 – Guan-Yin embarks on a quest to find her lost father, which takes her to Skull Island [Guan-Yin and the Horrors of Skull Island].

1776 – Johann Adam Weishaupt forms The Illuminati. He adopts the guise of the original Lazarus Gray in group meetings, reflecting his “rebirth” and the “moral ambiguity” of the group. In Sovereign City, a Hessian soldier dies in battle, his spirit resurrected as an headless warrior.

Continue reading “Timeline of my pulp adventure universe (updated 12/09/17)”

How Far Is Too Far?

I keep most of my New Pulp writing in the PG-13 range but I’ve been known to cross “the line” on occasion… some of you may remember when Sun Koh mutilated a rapist in an old Peregrine story, for instance. And my novel Rabbit Heart is basically a study in excess! Whenever I thought that I might be pushing the envelope too far in that book, I went ahead and tore it open.

But when is it *really* too far?

I’ve kept hardcore sex and violence out of Lazarus Gray, for instance, but there’s an element of subjectivity there, as with all artistic endeavors. When I wrote The Damned Thing, there was a scene early on that involved oral sex. To be honest, I’d forgotten about it by the time it saw print — it was just a brief character moment and believe it or not, not every scene sticks in the mind of the person who wrote it (I write a lot of scenes…). So when it came out, I had a reader who went on and on about that scene and how much it disturbed them. I didn’t even remember what they were talking about! See, for them, that was shocking and extremely memorable. For me, it was no big deal. So you never know how folks will respond.

But there are times when even I know that I might be going into territory that would be best left undisturbed. I’ve mentioned before that I started writing a sequel to Rabbit Heart — it was going to be titled Starstruck. In fact, I wrote about 12,000 words on it, meaning it’s about 20% complete. But even as I was writing the opening scenes of Starstruck, I knew that this probably couldn’t see print. Despite how far I’d gone with Rabbit Heart, I went a lot further into the disturbing territory with just the first 12,000 words on Starstruck. There is at least one scene in there that I think would be hard for people to get out of their heads when they thought of me… and I’m not quite sure I want to go there.

Nobody’s read Starstruck – not even people who’ve really begged & pleaded! I’ve thought about finishing it but it’s so dark and if I didn’t publish it, what would be the point? I’ve considered completing it and then sticking it in a box with a note to say that it could be published after I was dead & gone but then I’d miss the perverse pleasure of seeing people freak out!

On the other hand, I don’t want to tone the story down, either. If I’m going to write disgusting smut then by God, I’m going to write disgusting smut!

Anyway, I think that I’ll continue staying on the PG-13 path for most of my New Pulp work – I often try to craft stories that will appeal to adolescent boys the way that classic pulp did me when I was that age. A little titillation is fine but I try not to veer too far into adult territory. Of course, sometimes the characters demand their course of action (like Sun Koh did in that Peregrine story) and often what I consider PG-13 isn’t what someone else would. In fact, I had one lady tell me she’d never let her 15 year old son read my books because they contained too many “demonic” elements.

In the end, the work puts whatever restrictions on itself that feel appropriate. When I’m writing The Peregrine, there’s a certain feeling to the world that lets me know the basic parameters, even if I sometimes bump against the guard rails.

Timeline of my pulp adventure universe (updated 10/20/2017)

allstarsquadron_homage_clean_smallMajor Events specific to certain stories and novels are included in brackets. Some of this information contains SPOILERS for The Peregrine, Lazarus Gray, Gravedigger and other stories.

~ 800 Viking warrior Grimarr dies of disease but is resurrected as the Sword of Hel. He adventures for some time as Hel’s agent on Earth. [“Dogs of War” and “In the Name of Hel,” Tales of the Norse Gods].

1748 – Johann Adam Weishaupt is born.

1750 – Guan-Yin embarks on a quest to find her lost father, which takes her to Skull Island [Guan-Yin and the Horrors of Skull Island].

1776 – Johann Adam Weishaupt forms The Illuminati. He adopts the guise of the original Lazarus Gray in group meetings, reflecting his “rebirth” and the “moral ambiguity” of the group. In Sovereign City, a Hessian soldier dies in battle, his spirit resurrected as an headless warrior.

Continue reading “Timeline of my pulp adventure universe (updated 10/20/2017)”

A Fun Little Thing…

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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!

You Can’t Please ‘Em All…

So, over on Amazon I received a new review on The Adventures of Lazarus Gray. The previous 25 reviews were all 4 or 5 stars but this one… this one will bring the overall average down a bit. James A. Pappas, Jr. gave the book 2 stars and said the following:

D-R-I-N-K-Y-O-U-R-O-V-A-L-T-I-N-E!

Old timey – like reading the script of a radio play contemporaneous with The Shadow or Charlie Chan, but in a bad way. Seriously, everyone in this universe is a martial-arts master or a gum-snapping moxie or both. There’s Eun, who is a “master of martial arts” and “Korean”, but that’s pretty much all we know about him. How’d he get so good at them martial arts, what do those martial arts look like in practice? We don’t know, and never find out, and everyone seems to be able to punch a demon into unconsciousness, no matter what flavor of fisticuffs they favor. Morgan is a former wiseguy of some sort, who shoots stuff, punches stuff and generally knows people named Lefty, Muggsy, or Bugsy. Samantha is a total fox, we are told, who is also a master of martial arts, and doesn’t realize how attractive she is (seriously that could be a verbatim description from the book).

The title character, Lazarus Gray, is a kind of Doc Savage-type, a mystical pugilist or something, who seemingly knows everything about everything, even though he starts as –sigh– an amnesiac on a beach. It hurt me to type that last bit out. Every so often when we need the plot to advance without killing a good guy, Lazarus will “recall” the necessary plot information and solve the whole caper with some fiddly bit of ritual magic or ritual magic interference. Every villain is some sort of cabalist, illuminati, demon, witch or what-have-you mystical hoodlum. There’s a character named The Peregrine who is a millionaire in Soveriegn city and also a masked vigilante who, wait for it, saw his parents gunned down as a child.

This sort of thing was original and engaging maybe the first few times Alan Moore or Warren Ellis did it in comic form, now it’s just another tired cliche by an author who couldn’t produce one original thought in 400 pages of stilted chop-socky.
+1 star for it being 99 cents. Give it a pass.

Well, James, I’m sorry that the book didn’t please you. Sometimes you stumble upon something that you really enjoy and sometimes you end up with a dud. I’m pretty proud of the Lazarus Gray series but it’s obviously not what you were looking for.

Better luck next time!

A New Review of The Peregrine Volume 2

Amazon user ChickJ is back and he’s given the second Peregrine Omnibus a 5-star review. Here’s what he had to say:

And I thought I loved the first book the best. Silly me. This book is much better. I was wondering about the Black Mass and The Four Peregrines answered it. Satan’s Trial and The Diabolical Mr. Dee are just pure wonderful pulp. A Plague of Wicked Men was great, but my favorite was The Devil’s Spear. The only thing about the book was The Scorched God. It was very enjoyable but it should have been put much earlier in the book. It had a few so-called surprises which were already explained in previous tales. Still this book, along with Peregrine One, is a must read for lovers of pulp. The future of pulp has arrived.

Glad you enjoyed the book! It’s funny that you cite The Devil’s Spear as your favorite – as a writer, I felt like that one got away from a bit and I’ve never thought of it as one of my best. You never know how readers will respond to something!

As for The Scorched God, you’re right that chronologically it occurs before some of the other stories in this Volume. It was decided to run it in order of publication but we honestly could have gone either way with it. I really enjoyed writing The Furies and Sun Koh.

Thanks again!

The Diabolical Dr. York!

yorkMost of the villains in my pulp adventure universe are of the done-in-one variety: they pop up, bedevil our hero and then get killed. The Warlike Manchu, Doctor Satan and Princess Femi are probably the biggest exceptions to that rule.

But what about the deadly Doctor York? Why doesn’t this bad guy get the credit he deserves as one of the big bads of my universe?

Who’s that, you say? You’ve read almost all of my books and aren’t familiar with Doctor York?

That’s because he’s faced The Peregrine multiple times but never done so in prose (at least, not yet!).

York first appeared in All-Star Pulp Comics (2011) # 1, in a story written by me and drawn by by Craig Wilson. Set during The Peregrine’s days in Boston (1933), this tale introduces us to our would-be master villain. York is a former scientist that is now in service to the Elder Gods. His body is the receptacle for dark energies that have had the unfortunate side-effect of altering his appearance. His brain now floats in a clear glass dome above his torso… York has plans to sacrifice the daughter of one of The Peregrine’s friends but our hero manages to foil the scheme and York is dragged off to the nether-realms by his angry masters.

Case closed, right?

Not quite!

Illustration 4York returned in The Peregrine Animated Script that was recently reprinted in The Peregrine Omnibus Volume Three. In this story (set somewhere in the 1936-1937 period), York has managed to acquire the body of Princess Femi, the immortal enemy of Lazarus Gray. York revives her in hopes that she’ll aid him in destroying The Peregrine but once again he is dispatched back to Hell. How did he survive his prior defeat? We’re told that York was persuasive enough to convince the Elder Gods that he deserved a second chance. I imagine they weren’t so forgiving after yet another defeat.

In the upcoming novel The Second Book of Babylon, we get to see York make his debut in prose form — he’ll be clashing with the titular hero of the book. Those events are set in 2011 and while we won’t be told right away what York’s been up to between 1937 and 2011, I’m sure we’ll get more details as time passes.

I originally created York because in both the comic book and proposed animated adventure I wanted someone with a really strong visual. He turned out to be quite fun and I have a feeling that he’ll continue to bedevil our heroes in years to come.

Image # 1 is by Craig Wilson and appeared in All-Star Pulp Comics # 1. Image # 2 is by Steven Wilcox and will appear in The Second Book of Babylon.