Tag: Thunder Jim Wade

Another 5-Star Review for Satan’s Circus!

lg4_cover_final_paint_smallReader Jose Rivera posted a review of The Adventures of Lazarus Gray Volume Four: Satan’s Circus on Amazon.com. He gave the book five stars out of five, which means that so far we’ve gotten five reviews and all have given the book a full 5-star rating! Nice!

Here’s what Jose had to say:

Volume 4 of Lazarus Gray does not disappoint!

The first story “Leviathan Rising” has Lazarus and Assistance Unlimited teaming up with Thunder Jim Wade and his crew to take on the threat of a being known as “Leviathan” I wasn’t too familiar with Thunder Jim Wade and his associates, but Reese gives just enough details that even someone like me could grasp and enjoy. I loved the interplay between the two teams. This felt like a fantastic pulp adventure!

The second story “Satan’s Circus” really deals with threads from previous volumes such as: The Darkling, Eidolon, Dr. Satan, what happened to Abby Cross, Satan’s Circus and even has some nice callbacks to events in Reese’s Gravedigger stories. If you’re just picking this up randomly, you might be confused at first, but Reese makes it VERY accessible to new readers. I really enjoyed this story and I love that there’s options for certain characters at the end.

If you’re new to the world of Sovereign City and Lazarus Gray/Assistance Unlimited, this is very new ready friendly and if you’re a longtime fan, you’re going to get some really nice winks, nods and payoffs to things long since gestating in the world of Lazarus Gray!

Thanks, Jose! I’m glad you enjoyed it. I was well aware of how “continuity-heavy” the second story in this volume was going to be so I wanted to make it accessible to people who were picking this one up for the very first time. It’s a difficult balancing act but I’m glad that you thought it worked.

I really appreciate it when you guys take the time to post reviews — gives me a  lot of needed feedback and fires me up to continue the series.

Take care, my friends!

New Reviews!

tales2Pulp superfan Michael Brown has posted a couple of new reviews on Amazon so I’m sharing them here. Thanks, Michael!

Let’s see what he had to say about The Adventures of Lazarus Gray Volume Four: Satan’s Circus:

Lazarus Gray is a New Pulp character from writer Barry Reese. I have been reading his Rook series. (He has other works as well, but those are the ones I’ve been reading), but also enjoy Lazarus Gray as well as Gravedigger.

Gray is sort of inspired by the classic pulp hero The Avenger. He has setup a group similar to the Avenger’s called Assistance, Unlimited. He is set in a fictional town called Sovereign City (created by Pro Se Press publisher Tommy Hancock), and is part of the larger Sovereign City Project. He is also set in the same universe as Barry’s other characters, so has crossed over with them.

This volume, “The Adventures of Lazarus Gray, Vol. 4: Satan’s Circle,” is a collection of three items. First up is a short, two-page comic story that gives the background of who Lazarus Gray is, which first appeared in the 3rd volume. A good intro for new readers. The bulk of the volume is two novellas.

First up, we have a teamup with Lazarus Gray and friends with Thunder Jim Wade when both are attacked by a new villain called Leviathan. For those not aware, Thunder Jim Wade was a short-lived pulp hero inspired by Doc Savage. He was an science adventurer raised by a lost colony of Minoans located in Africa, and had their scientific secrets, which he used to create his vehicle, the Thunderbug, a combined plane-tank-submarine. He has two aids who provide the Ham-Monk dynamic. A reprint of the original series was done by Altus Press, and Pro Se Press did a collection of new stories. I thought this was a good story, and Wade was handled correctly. Reese is familiar with the character, having provided a new Wade story for Pro Se’s recent collection. Maybe this will lead to occasional reappearances of Wade in future Reese stories.

The second story closes out the Eidolon and Darkling storyline started in prior volumes. The classic pulp villain Doctor Satan, whom Reese has used very effectively in past stories, is the main catalyst for a showdown that bring back Lazarus and his friends, along with Abigail Cross, Eidolon and the Darkling. We also learn more about the Darkling in this story. After the ramifications of this story, it will be interesting to see what the future lies for Abigail, Eidolon and the Darkling in the Reese universe.

Closing out the volume, we get an updated chronology of the “Reese Universe” in the back of the book that places both the Lazarus Gray stories (including the next volume), plus the Rook stories and a few others by Reese. I believe the 5th volume is largely finished and we may see it later this year. Can’t wait, as I’ve really been enjoying the Lazarus Gray series. 5 Stars out of 5.

And here’s his review of Tales of The Rook Volume Two:

The Rook is a New Pulp character created by Barry Reese. The Rook fights crime and evil in the ’30s and ’40s (and later). He’s actually one of several New Pulp characters Barry has created, along with Lazarus Gray and Gravedigger, which have their own books..

In his seven Rook novels, Barry mixes in pulp hero, comic book and comic strip characters, along with occult horror/weird menace angles, and does a good job. He also adds in a love interest who will marry him (pulp heroes usually never do that, which is different). The Rook goes up against traditional villains, pulp super-foes and occult horrors, and is assisted by characters based on pulp heroes and comic book/comic strip characters (some original, other done as pastiches or homages to other characters).

Tales of the Rook, of which this is the second volume, is a little different. Here Barry allows others to write Rook tales, tho all are “canonical” and are usually included in Barry’s overall timeline of his characters, an updated version of which is included in the back (which strangely doesn’t include these stories). There are 5 stories in this volume.

Russ Anderson writes about the Rook’s encounters with a minor hero named Keystone, now dead. An interesting little story.

James Palmer’s story is set in the future, where a new person takes up the mantle of The Rook to confront a new evil. While the “future” stories of the Rook have been told, we are also told that they could be in a different time line. So this may allow for different takes on “future Rooks”.

David White has a story set during the Rook’s earlier period in Atlanta, were he confronts a new occult evil. We are also introduced, if briefly, to a new associate. Who knows if this new associate will re-appear, or the meaning regarding what happens at the end of the story.

Sean Taylor’s story focuses on the third Rook. the daughter of the first, as she works to rescue her friend Kayla Kaslov (daughter of Leonid Kaslov, the “Russian Doc Savage” pastiche that Reese created).

Adam Lance Garcia also has a story about the third Rook, but this is set when her brother is still the Rook and she winds up working with her father and they both come up against and old foe of the Rook.

As a bonus, we get a script for a proposed (but not created) animated story of the Rook by Barry Reese.

Rounding out the volume is an interview with Reese.

Overall, for any fan of the Rook, another great volume. I have no idea when Reese will come out with the next volume of Rook stories, as he seems to be focused right now on the next volumes of his other characters.

Again, thanks so much for the feedback, Michael!

Satan’s Circus Gets Reviewed!

lg4_cover_final_paint_smallThe Adventures of Lazarus Gray Volume Four: Satan’s Circus has received its first review! Our old friend Raven Dark posted the following:

The story definitely begins with this beautiful cover! 5 out of 5 stars

The story really begins with the awesome cover art that gives the reader who has been keeping up with the tales a glimpse as what is to come. For the reader who is just starting with this book, the cover will invoke questions that possibly will send them searching for the previous volumes. Great shot, George Sellas!

The first part of the volume is a short graphic novel introduction to the character of Lazarus Gray.

The next part, Leviathan Rising, is the final part of a story arc that has being running through volumes II and III. The identity of the man behind the monster, the true face of Leviathan is revealed at last. And behind Leviathan is revealed a being that has used the monster for its own purposes.

First the forces of Leviathan attack Thunder Island, the secret headquarters of Thunder Jim Wade. The attackers are repulsed, but they commit suicide in a manner that chills the blood in service to their dark lord. Wade’s assistants, Dirk Marat and Red Argyle are also attacked by minions of similar fanatic service to Leviathan.

The monster goes after Lazarus Gray in an attack that mirrors the attacks on Thunder Jim Wade and company. The two heroes join forces to battle the threat of Leviathan and the horrible being holding his chain. The story roars to its climax through a haze of devil fire and death as Leviathan is defeated and his handler curbed at least for the moment.

The story ends with a soft clue as to the start of the next story. And hints are given that we may not have seen the end of Leviathan after all… A most definite five out of five tale!

The next story, Satan’s Circus, sees the return of scarlet wearing occult Doctor Satan. He comes prepared for battle with not only the members of The Devil’s Circus, now Satan’s Circus, old enemies long thought defeated now magically returned with a vengeance.

Also the identity of The Darkling and the secrets of his origin are given at last, an old friend resurfaces that Lazarus thought dead, and Eidolon returns to battle beside his old teammates against Doctor Satan and his forces.

The story starts out at a dead run and maintains the pace all the way to the end. The end does leave questions that I feel sure Barry Reese has already answered in unpublished as yet volumes, of will do so in the near future.

This story also is a solid five out of five. The book from cover to the end probably ranks an eight on a scale of five! Great job all around, Barry! Looking for more encores!

Quoth the Raven…

Thanks for the excellent review, Raven! I’m really glad that you enjoyed the book. I consider Satan’s Circus to be the real conclusion to the story arc that ran through books 2-4, with Leviathan Rising another chapter in that tale. It’s always fun to handle classic pulp characters like Thunder Jim Wade and Doctor Satan so the chance to work with both in this tome was fantastic — and I always enjoyed writing The Darkling!

I have high hopes that you’ll enjoy the fifth book in the series — hopefully you’ll see it before the end of 2014!

Satan’s Circus Comes to Town

v4coverPRESS RELEASE

One of the most popular characters in the New Pulp Movement returns in an all-new volume from Pro Se Productions. Reese Unlimited, Pro Se’s first author centered imprint, announced today the release of THE ADVENTURES OF LAZARUS GRAY VOLUME FOUR: SATAN’S CIRCUS.

“Lazarus Gray,” says Tommy Hancock, Editor in Chief of and Partner in Pro Se Productions, “has definitely struck a chord with readers. He and Assistance Unlimited have crossed boundaries, reaching fans outside of the general Pulp or Genre Fiction niche and that is always good. Barry has a great world he’s built here, one that allows for not only growth of his own cast, but to bring in characters from the Public Domain and other arenas. Also, he has explored some pretty heady themes behind the mask of Pulp Fiction and that adds an extra punch to not only SATAN’S CIRCUS, but to all the Lazarus Gray volumes.”

SATAN’S CIRCUS once again returns Lazarus Gray to the field of battle. The only clue to his identity was a small medallion with the words ‘Lazarus Gray’ stamped on it. He took that name and became one of Sovereign City’s greatest heroes, forming an alliance with other lost souls like himself. Together, they are Assistance Unlimited… and now they face their greatest threats ever!

From Award-winning author Barry Reese comes two pulse-pounding tales of pulp adventure: in the first, Lazarus Gray unites with the mighty Thunder Jim Wade to confront a menace from his past and in the second, the mysterious pair of vigilantes known as The Darkling and Eidolon return in a dark tale that reveals hidden secrets that will shake the world of Lazarus Gray to its very core!

Also included is SECRETS OF THE DEAD, a comic-strip origin sequence by Reese and artist George Sellas, also providing cover and illustrations! Learn the Origin of the man behind Assistance Unlimited.

“Satan’s Circus,” says Reese, “is the culmination of so many plot lines and character arcs… I’ve had the hardest time keeping all of its secrets while waiting for it to go through the publishing process! I’m thrilled that fans will finally see all the payoff that I’ve been promising. I think it’s a pretty rousing adventure and both of the stories it contains are real game-changers for the series.”

THE ADVENTURES OF LAZARUS GRAY VOLUME FOUR: SATAN’S CIRCUS features cover design and formatting by Sean E. Ali and the upcoming eBooks feature design and formatting by Russ Anderson. SATAN’S CIRCUS is available now in print from Amazon and soon from other outlets. EBook editions of the latest Reese Unlimited volume are coming soon!

For digital review copies of THE ADVENTURES OF LAZARUS GRAY VOLUME FOUR: SATAN’S CIRCUS, interviews with the author, or further information about the book, contact Morgan Minor, Pro Se’s Director of Corporate Operations at directorofcorporateoperations@prose-press.com.

To learn more about Pro Se Productions, go to www.prose-press.com and like Pro Se on Facebook at www.facebook.com/ProSeProductions.

So Close…!

lg11_lazarus_graveyard_smallLazarus Gray Volume Four is almost here, my friends… and the excitement is building! What can you expect in this one? Well…

Thunder Jim Wade!

Leviathan!

Doctor Satan!

The full origin of The Darkling!

The return of Eidolon!

And the final fate of Abigail Winters!

I’ve heard from a few people who have actually held off on reading volumes 2 & 3 until the release of this one so they can read the entire trilogy at once. I admire your patience and hope the payoff is worth it! Personally, I had a blast writing this book and think it’s a worthy addition to the saga.

Stay tuned… an announcement will be coming very, very soon.

It’s Almost Here… Satan’s Circus!

leviathan_smallWelcome back, one and all, to the show that never ends!

The fourth volume of Lazarus Gray will be out sometime over the next week or so and I’m thrilled! I can’t wait for you guys to see the final chapter in the storyline that I started with book 2. When all is said and done, you’ll see that Die Glocke, Eidolon and Satan’s Circus are all one sprawling story that redefines what Assistance Unlimited is and can be. I’m pretty darned proud of the result.

I’ve already written the fifth volume and I like to think it’s a fine follow-up to all of that, too!

And, of course, I’m currently writing Lazarus Gray and friends in the crossover novel Götterdämmerung, so it’s not like I’m really taking a break from them at all.

The funny thing is that the first Lazarus book was published in 2011 and the series has already spanned five volumes (three of them published at this point). The Rook is my longest-running series and has six books (plus two anthologies). At this rate, Lazarus should catch and pass The Rook before too long.

Writing Max Davies in the crossover novel has made me wonder if I should return to the character for a novel, though.

We’ll see.

In the meantime, let’s take a look at one of the villains of Volume Four — the evil Leviathan! What awful secret does he hold that’s related to the past of Lazarus Gray? Wait until you find out–! Some of you may remember this villain from my story that appeared in The New Adventures of Thunder Jim Wade. Turns out that was only part of the story. You’ll see it expanded to twice its size in this book and see what *really* happened!

My Favorite Pulp Heroes

1759222-conan_the_cimmerian_by_frank_choI’ve read a lot of pulp.

I mean, a lot.

So over the years I’ve found myself drawn to certain characters more than others — it’s natural, right? Not every series will connect with you in the same way. So I figured I’d list my ten favorite pulp heroes, counting down from 10-1. Some of them are from completely different genres than each other but that’s okay.

For the sake of the list, I kept it to ‘classic’ pulp heroes — so nothing from New Pulp is on this list.

Here we go:

10. The Spider
9. Thunder Jim Wade
8. Doc Savage
7. Norgil the Magician
6. Tarzan
5. John Carter
4. Conan
3. Seekay
2. The Avenger
1. The Shadow

For years, I would have put The Avenger at # 1 and The Shadow at # 2 but the sheer weight of Shadow stories and their excellence throughout has moved him into the top spot. I read every Avenger story years ago and I’m still reading Shadow stories for the first time (there’s over 300 novels!) so I think that has a lot to do with it. Seekay and The Avenger, it should be pointed out, are both written by Paul Ernst (though other people also contributed to later Avengers)… who happens to have also been the guy behind the evil Doctor Satan, one of my favorite villains. Ernst is right up there with Walter Gibson and Robert E. Howard as my favorite pulp authors.

What would your list be like?