Geist (ICONS Writeup)

Geist
Mordecai Gray
created by Barry Reese

Prowess 6
Coordination 5
Strength 5
Intellect 4
Awareness 5
Willpower 5

Stamina 10

Powers
All powers are derived from his suit and equipment:
*Damage Resistance 5
*Binding 4
*Strike 6 (Taser Gloves)
*Gadgets 4

Specialties
Athletics, Drive, Investigation, Leadership, Martial Arts, Military, Pilot, Stealth, Weapons – Handguns (Expert +2)

Qualities
“I’m a better hero than I am a father.”
Unusual family
A man of action

Background: Mordecai Gray is the grandson of Lazarus Gray, the founder of Assistance Unlimited. Mordecai was trained from a young age to be a dangerous fighter and when he reached adulthood, he quickly became one of Assistance Unlimited’s most capable agents. To honor a close family friend – Jakob Sporrenberg, a former member of his grandfather’s team – he chose to use an identity and costume similar to that of a 1930s hero known as Eidolon. As Geist, Mordecai has spent most of his adult life battling villains all over the globe, though he has rarely been mentioned in the media. He tried in vain to keep his daughter Valerie from entering the family business and this caused a severe rift in their relationship. After her transformation into the hero known as Calavera, they have both made attempts to mend the wounds in their family. He’s middle-aged now and may have lost a step over the years but he’s still quite dangerous.

Singularity (ICONS Writeup)

Singularity
Dr. Gail Sanders
created by Barry Reese

Prowess 2
Coordination 3
Strength 3
Intellect 6
Awareness 8
Willpower 5

Stamina 8

Powers
*Cosmic Power 8 (Extras: Blast, Dazzle, Flight, Force Field, Life Support, Phasing, Transmutation)

Specialties
Science – Physics (Expert +2)

Qualities
Science is my religion
Don’t call me a superhero
I have three Master’s degrees and a PhD – but my mom thinks I’m a disappointment because I’m still single

Background: Gail Sanders was a scientist working at the Atom Valley Nuclear Power Facility when she witnessed something incredible: a being dressed in red entering her universe from another. He alternately referred to himself as Phil and as MOTA, telling her that he had traveled through hundreds of universes and in nearly all of them he was always drawn to variants of her. Sometimes she had different names or slightly different appearances but she was always brilliant, capable, and (in his eyes) beautiful. After exploring more of the universe, MOTA returned to say goodbye to her — he gave her a kiss, accidentally transferring a small amount of his essence to her. Shortly thereafter, Gail was at CERN when the Large Hadron Collider was used to open doorways into both Heaven and Hell. She was confronted by beings known as the Ophanim, who sensed a ‘spark of the Divine’ within her. She unwittingly tapped into the power given her by MOTA and used it to help a number of other heroes, including Catalyst, the Straw-Man, Jupiter, and Calavera, to save the world. Since then, she has occasionally used her powers to help protect the planet, though she prefers to avoid the limelight.

Catalyst (ICONS Writeup)

Catalyst
Logan Jenkins
created by Barry Reese

Prowess 3
Coordination 3
Strength 3
Intellect 5
Awareness 7
Willpower 8

Stamina 11

Powers
*Magic 8 (Extras-Mastery: Blast, Flight, Healing)

Specialties
Occult (Expert +2)

Qualities
Sorceress Supreme
I’d rather talk this out than have to fight you
I don’t like to talk about my past

Background: The title of Catalyst is given to the most powerful magician in the world during each century. Logan received the role after her predecessor, Nathaniel Caine, finally passed away. She is still relatively new to the position but with time, she has the potential to surpass those that have come before her – in fact, her Magic rating of 8 is bound to increase before long. At the moment, her power levels reflect her inexperience more than anything else.

She runs a magic and curiosity shop called Jenks (pronounced “Jinx”) that’s based in Grove’s Folly, a small town that’s home to a surprising amount of supernatural activity. She is close to a number of other heroes, including the Straw-Man (she was romantically involved with him for a time), the American Crusader, and Calavera. If there is anything of an occult nature threatening to the world, it’s safe to assume that Catalyst will end up taking an interest in it.

American Crusader (ICONS Writeup)

American Crusader
Jada Grant
Original American Crusader is public domain;
Jada Grant version created by Barry Reese

Prowess 4
Coordination 3
Strength 8
Intellect 3
Awareness 3
Willpower 4

Stamina 12

Powers
*Flight 6
*Damage Resistance 6

Specialties
Aerial Combat, Art (fashion design)

Qualities
Legacy Hero
There’s not much I can’t solve by hitting things.
It’s time for someone to remind America of what makes it great… might as well be me.

Background: Once upon a time, there had been a man named Archie Masters. A shy, timid astronomy professor, Archie had mistakenly believed that he had discovered the existence of a new planet, one located near Uranus. Excited to share his news with a colleague, Archie had mistakenly wandered into the middle of an atom smasher experiment. His close proximity to the atom smasher had unexpected results, rewriting Archie’s DNA. He became the most powerful being of his era, able to fly, smash tanks with his bare hands, and bounce bullets off his pectorals. As the American Crusader, he fought first on the homefront and then in Europe. From 1941-1943, he became a household name… and then, as quickly as he had burst onto the public consciousness, he was gone.

Archie had vanished in ‘43 and popped up next in 2021… on Jada Grant’s couch, no less. The twenty-three year-old college student had wandered out from her bathroom, wrapped up in a towel, and found a wizened old white man on her couch, his shrunken form wrapped up in what she considered one ugly-ass costume. She had screamed, punched him twice right in the face, and then screamed again when she realized that she had just broken her hand. 

Archie hadn’t taken any offense to the attack. He had reached out to her with one trembling hand, opened his mouth in a toothless grin, and said the words that she’d never forget, “Jada Grant… You have been chosen. Eat of my flesh and gain my powers.”

Jada had not been made any calmer by his request that she ‘eat of his flesh.’ Though he’d never told her exactly how he’d been transported through time, Archie did reveal that he knew somehow that she was going to be his successor… and he further explained that she didn’t need to eat all of him… just a small part. After much prompting and convincing, she followed his instructions on how to prepare a small section of his flesh after he had used his own incredible strength to remove it. Immediately upon ingesting it, she had been altered, gaining the same powers that Archie had used as a hero. Now, the crotchety old man serves as her mentor as she protects her hometown and the world from threats of all types. She knows that he believes that whatever dispatched him through time might return and she hopes that he shares the details with her before it arrives.

She is currently dating Samuel Hain, the human host of the Straw-Man. Jada is sassy, bold, and confident — and she’s increasingly proud of being the American Crusader, weird costume design choices and all.

Straw-Man (Icons Writeup)

Straw-Man
Samuel Hain/Gwydion fab Dôn
Created by Barry Reese

Prowess 6
Coordination 4
Strength 5
Intellect 5
Awareness 6
Willpower 6

Stamina 11

Powers
*Extra Body Parts – Elongation 4 (The Straw-Man can grow pumpkin vines out of his back)
*Immortality 3
*Life Support 10
*Magic 5 (Limit: Spells must be nature-based and require the Straw-Man to ask the spirits of nature to assist him by lending their powers)
*Regeneration 6
*Damage Resistance 3
*Strike – Sickle 8 (Extra: the Sickle is a magical artifact and may be summoned back to its owner’s hand)

Note – When transformed back into Sam he has no powers and his stats are as follows:
Prowess 2 Coordination 2 Strength 3 Intellect 4 Awareness 4 Willpower 3 Stamina 6

Specialties
Investigation, Occult (Expert +2), Weapon – Scythe (Expert +2)

Qualities
Distrusts any kind of formalized group – churches, governments, teams.
Prone to exaggeration
Protector of Grove’s Folly

Background: The Straw-Man is made up of two very different entities: a young man named Samuel Hain and the spirit of Gwydion fab Dôn, a magician, hero, and trickster whose exploits had been highly fictionalized in Welsh mythology. Gwydion was apprentice and lover to a powerful witch during the middle ages… she taught him nature magic but when her lust for power grew to fightening levels, they parted on bad terms. Eventually she tracked him down and cursed him, destroying his physical form and binding his spirit to a set of tattered rags. Those rags survived through the centuries, eventually ending up atop a scarecrow that came to rest in Grove’s Folly, a sleepy little town located just outside Sovereign City.

The duo bonded after Gwydion’s former lover attempted to kill Sam — since then they have battled the forces of Heaven, Hell, and everything in-between. Gwydion has a habit of adding to his own legend by falsely claiming to have inspired the likes of Loki and Anansi but he’s certainly done many things that are verifiably amazing. Despite the fact that he is now spiritually bonded to a teenager, he is making the most of his new existence – as the Straw-Man, he is involved with Logan Jenkins (Catalyst) and he has formed partnerships with several other heroes such as the new American Crusader and the International Hero Corps. Grove’s Folly has become his adopted home and he protects it from all threats.

Calavera

So I’ve been working hard on the debut novel featuring Calavera, which has turned into a crossover novel for many of the characters that exist in my modern-day. Several years back, I had all my World War II-era characters meet up and this is similar but with the likes of Calavera, Babylon, Catalyst (the 21st century version), the Straw-Man, Jupiter and more all uniting to take on the forces of Heaven and Hell. You’ll also get to meet Lazarus Gray’s grandson, the Reese Unlimited version of Miss Fury and a whole lot more.

I’m over 40,000 words into the novel at the moment and to celebrate how well it’s going I’m going to debut the world’s first look at our heroine — Calavera! Art is by Luis Filipe and he did a wonderful job transforming my ideas into reality! Hope you find her as beautiful and intriguing as I do.

Recommended Link

If you’re a dedicated follower of this blog, chances are that you’re also a fan of classic and/or new pulp. If so, you owe it to yourself to check out ThePulp.Net. This site not only has news and reviews, it also has some great blogs (including my personal favorite, the Pulp Super-Fan). I’m not making anything off this referrel but while you’re there and commenting on the latest post, let ’em know that I sent ya!

Our image today is by artist Gilbert Monsanto and depicts a character named Ephemera. She’ll be appearing in a volume of the Straw-Man series that’s launching soon. Enjoy this sneak peek!

Reese Unlimited Timeline (Updated 6/1/2022)

Major 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. [The Sword of Hel]. 

~ 1620 – Gwydion fab Dôn is captured by the witch Rhianna in France. She punishes him by binding his spirit to a bundle of rags. [“Gwydion,” The Adventures of the Straw-Man Volume One]

1748 – Johann Adam Weishaupt is born. 

Continue reading Reese Unlimited Timeline (Updated 6/1/2022)

Busy Little Bee

Sorry for the long pause between blog postings – it’s the end of the school year and that means testing, special events, and lots more. As a result, I’ve been exhausted most evenings when I get home. I have been writing, though, and I approved edits on Omnium Gatherum so hopefully that novel will see the light of day at some point.

Reading-wise, I recently completed Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill and was blown away. Seriously, one of the best books I’ve ever read. I’ll be finishing Diablo Mesa by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child today and it’s been a fun addition to the Pendergast Universe (it’s part of the spinoff series starring Corrie Swanson and Nora Kelly).

In terms of my writing, I’m currently working on the final story for the third volume in the Straw-Man series. In volume two, I did one story that featured the supporting characters, without the Straw-Man even showing up and this story for volume 3 is much the same. It features a ‘stealth crossover’ with one of my favorite fictional characters but I can’t really name him. It’ll make sense when you read it.

Writing Updates

So things have been busy around the Reese Unlimited headquarters — we’re approaching the end of the school year so in my “day job,” there’s been testing galore, of course, but on the writing front, I’ve recently approved edits on OMNIUM GATHERUM and I’ve been working hard on volume three of the Straw-Man series. OMNIUM GATHERUM is a really odd novel but my editor seemed to enjoy it and the parts of it I’ve shared with various friends have been met with equal parts hilarity and acceptance so maybe my faithful readers will get a kick out of it. I can say that it’s an homage to BATTLE OF THE PLANETS, the films of Michael York, and that it also features the public domain heroes Nature Boy and Nature Girl!

Yeah, it’s strange.

The Straw-Man book is going well – just wrapped up a big story and now I’m moving on to what should be the final short story in volume three. As with the first two volumes, I’m trying really hard to create lots of new concepts rather than going back to the well of previously established characters and locations. In this volume alone, I’ve introduced an all-new heroine, debuted the new 21st century Catalyst, brought the American Crusader into the universe, and created a good half-dozen new villains.

Once I’m done with the Straw-Man book… I don’t know what I’ll be working on. It feels too soon to dive into Lazarus Gray Volume 15, I don’t have any immediate ideas for Straw-Man volume 4, and I haven’t stumbled onto a new concept, either. Of course, typing these words means I’m likely to come up with the ideas for two or three different novels later today lol