Barry Reese writes pulp-style adventure novels,. Here's the RevSF review of his series The Rook. RevSF interviewed the writer of "beer and pretzels fiction."
1. Describe your work in 25 words or less. It's OK to include the word "awesome."
My work is amiable nonsense. It’s beer-and-pretzels fiction. It’s the greatest thing since sliced bread and that squeeze cheese that comes in a can.
2. What's the appeal of the pulp era?
Pulp is fun because you can be over the top and nobody blinks an eye. Want your villain to pilot a zeppelin and drop elephant-sized bombs on New York City, releasing a gas that turns everyone into goose-stepping Nazi zombies? People not only think that’s okay: They think it’s cool.
Hell, I think it’s cool. That may be the plot of the next Rook book!
3. Who's your favorite pulp-era character?
Richard Henry Benson, aka
The Avenger. I love quite a few of the pulp heroes, Doc Savage, John Carter, The Shadow, Conan, but The Avenger stands at the top of the pile.
I was invited to write an Avenger story for Moonstone Books for an upcoming Avenger Chronicles volume and that was, hands down, the coolest thing I’ve ever had the opportunity to do.
4. You made up your own pulp-style hero in The Rook, but you've written several guys you didn't create.
True. I’ve handled several public domain heroes in the past and a few licensed ones, too. I love the concept of public domain; that after a period of time has passed, these characters can become part of the fabric of our modern mythology. I think it’s helped spark a revival of some forgotten characters who are real gems.
I’ve been able to get my hands on The Black Bat, Ascott Keane & his enemy Doctor Satan, Ravenwood and several more who are now in the public domain.
On the licensed front, I’ve written The Green Hornet and The Avenger for Moonstone. As much fun as it is to create your own characters, it’s an incredible honor to add something to the legacy of characters who were around long before you were even born.
5. You've been doing pulp style stories for a few years. Now Marvel and DC and other comics companies are reviving old-timey superheroes and doing noir versions and such. Feel free to claim that you had the idea first.
I think there’s a quiet but growing pulp revival out there. People are realizing that it’s okay to enjoy something that’s purely escapist.
I always tell people that there’s no major “point” to a Doc Savage story. And that’s okay! The point of Doc Savage is that if you build a crazy weather-controlling machine and try to take over the world, Doc Savage is going to come and kick your ass. That’s the point. Deal with it.
6. In The Rook vol. 4, you wrote a story where Rook fights a Nazi vampire. You have a good story about how that story happened.
Yeah, there’s kind of a funny story there. I’d written volume four and had asked Norm Breyfogle to do the cover for it. Norm’s a legend so I knew he’d come up with something wonderful -- and he did!
He returned a sketch of The Rook (in ultimate badass form, dropping from the sky with gun and knife in hand!) about to lay down with a vampire Nazi. I loved it! The only problem was, there were no Nazi vampires in my book.
I definitely wanted to use the image but didn’t want to bait-and-switch all the Nazi vampire fans who might pick up the book, expecting to see The Fuehrer hobnobbing with the living dead.
So I went back and wrote a novella depicting the cover’s scene and stuck it into volume four. Never let it be said that I don’t cater to my fans.
7. Pimp your upcoming stuff.
2010 will be another busy year for me but after year of dealing with various publishers, I’ve learned to never trust a promised release date. So all I can tell you is that this stuff will be out eventually:
Killer Smile: The Short Fiction of Barry Reese (Age of Adventure)
The Damned Thing An occult noir story set in 1930s Atlanta (
Wild Cat Books)
The Rook Volume Five (Wild Cat Books)
My Green Hornet and Avenger stories will see print someday from (
The Rook Volume Six: I'm writing this one right now. It’s a novel titled “The Scorched God” and pits The Rook against the Nazi Doc Savage, Sun Koh. (Wild Cat Books)
8. Who would win: Doc Savage or the Shadow?
Tough one. Ultimately, I’d go with Doc Savage, though. Or The Avenger.