The Man Death Fears

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I was going to work on this a bit more, the text is a little rough, but since it’s Barry Reese’s birthday…

…I’m going to just go with it.

Let’s see who’s next on the DOUBLE DARE list?

Ahhhh…

…the Super Human.

This guy and I have been occupying head space forever…

I came up with CITIZEN SILVER after being exposed to JUSTICE, INC. in paperbacks. Yes he looks like The Avenger but that’s because he’s albino not freaked out with nerve damage and pigmentation issues related to shock. Samir “Samuel” Silver is your standard pulp hero: demented scientist/biologist parents who tried to “cure” his albinism which was something that had more physical issues involving light sensitivity and sun exposure. Between experiments and a physical and mental regimen suggested to them by other scientists doing similar experiments they got a kid whose skin and hair turned chalk white…

So he did what most guys in the 1930s with odd skin conditions did in a pulp setting…

Now, let’s see exactly what that was…

Oh, Barry Reese connection?

He’s a big fan of JUSTICE INC. and THE AVENGER…

Don’t believe me?

Then you obviously haven’t kept up with THE ADVENTURES OF LAZARUS GRAY…

If you really want to show Barry some love, you’ll buy all of those now.

You won’t regret it.

Now, on with the show…

*****

The world may have changed, but he was changeless. His life, his mission also remained unchanged in all the years he had lived. He answered to many names in his life: to parents he was Sam, to heads of business and state he was Mr. Silver, the press dubbed him Citizen Silver when he began adventuring, but the name he earned in his many escapades was the one he admittedly enjoyed more than any other…

…The Man Death Fears.

The last title was actually one his parents had made closer to the truth when, in trying to make him “normal” a quirk in their genetic tampering not only bleached his skin and hair white as snow, somehow his physical and mental aging had slowed to a crawl. By the time his assistants were slowing down and retiring from the life, he continued on as vital and youthful as ever. Eventually the Silver Circle went from a team, to a firm, to an organization to a global security entity that long ago exceeded his expectations in his war against crime. Long ago he put patents on his equipment and began to mass produce equipment for law enforcement that reduced lethal engagements in the field and aided in the fields of investigation and forensics. It also allowed for Silver to continue his work and disappear for extended periods of time.

Tonight though, his first night back from the Fold and the war that had once again returned to his home world, Citizen Silver was revisiting old haunts of one of those who they had chased here, one of his old foes who had taken advantage of the gifts of La’sua C’nu and the Fold to keep himself young and vital. As he raced across the muddy rail yards, the moist earth and sludge sucking at the soles of his feet, Silver recalled a different land and a different war all those years ago; battlefields and trenches and Death raining down from every direction, her cool hand stroking the cheeks of boys, barely men, screaming in the night as their innocence died and the blood of that innocence seeped deeply into the few feet of mud that was meaningless except for that moment in time.

He earned his title then, long before the world and underworld were aware that Samir Silver ever existed. His foes like his allies in those long forgotten trenches weren’t more than boys either which didn’t stop Silver from delivering the death that avoided him to others. When he walked out of that purgatory back into the world, he began to develop weapons that would curtail or disable but not kill. War had brought him his fill of killing. At least that’s what he believed and told himself at the beginning.

He hadn’t realized then that he was thinking as a boy still.

There would always be evils that might force a re-evaluation of what one held as a solid belief.

Though this reverie was a momentary distraction, it nearly put to the test wether or not Death still feared Silver after all these years. Reflex, more than conscious thought, had him in motion as a pair of giant circular saws blossomed from the ground where he stood, their metallic whine interrupted by the cough of long unused motors choking on some of the silt that spattered into them as the saws broke ground. Rolling to a crouch, Silver had only now begun to process that the vibration of the ground beneath his feet as the saws began to spin triggered his reflexes. The teachings and training in the Method, begun by his parents, had once again saved him from harm. He knew what would probably come next and palmed a pair of spheres that looked like slightly larger than average marbles. He closed his fist tight and shook the spheres like a pair of dice, letting the warmth of his hand and the kinetic force of the spheres activate a reaction before tossing the spheres at the saws. Silver dove for cover behind a storage car on a side track, as the spheres flew across the distance. The saws had cleared their housing and were rotating on extended metal arms towards Silver’s general direction; the high pitched whine of the blades gnashing through the air with their banshee cries. The spheres struck at the base of the extended arm of the nearest saw with two small pops lost beneath the roar of the saws. Silver didn’t have long to wait, the metal of the base began to change from a dull gray to a rust like color and in seconds the whine of the saws were drowned out by a scream of creaking metal as the weight of the saw collapsed its weakened support, both blades cutting into one another making a cacophony that got the attention of workers in the active parts of the rail yard. Silver, in the meantime, moved around the dueling metallic mess towards the small shack that used to be an operations office.

Silver didn’t bother with ceremony, he laid a solid foot into the door and it snapped open the ancient lock succumbing easily. He was about to plunge through when the Method touched his senses once again as he realized he wasn’t alone.

“Step out” Silver said without looking up. “I will not repeat the request.”

“Mr. Silver. It’s been a while.”

Silver whirled, certain the for the first time ever the Method had misled him. A nearby shadow tore itself away from a rusting passenger car and assumed the shape of a man. Not any man though, because the voice and Silver’s senses told him it was a man who, by all rights, should be dead.

“Peregrine,” Silver said.

Max Davies extended a hand. “You seem as surprised to see me as I am to see you.”

“I am,” Silver replied taking and shaking the gloved hand that was offered. “Good to see you’re still in the fight.”

It was Max’s turn to be surprised. “So you accept that it’s me just like that?”

“I could ask the same, Peregrine”, Silver replied. “You know my abilities. If you weren’t you, regardless of the improbability of the circumstances, I would know and have reacted accordingly. I also presume since we aren’t locked in combat with me trying to convince you I am who I am, I assume you’re aware of some of my story.”

Max smiled. “If I wasn’t certain, that’s the convincer. Who’s downstairs?”

“The Deathsmith”, Silver answered. Max’s expression must have betrayed his disbelief. Silver added, “It’s a long story.”

Max checked his pistol. “I expect to hear all about it at Donovan’s when we have time.”

“Donovan’s?” Silver asked lifting a trapdoor at the rear of the shack. The pit below was pitch black but the cool air rising from it suggested some kind of tunnel was below. “They’re still around?”

“You’d be amazed what’s managed to survive.” Max made sure his weapons were in reach and followed Silver who had already found a ladder and began to descend.

“No, Peregrine”, Silver said softly. “I wouldn’t be surprised by the things that managed to survive at all.”

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The Return of Thunderfoot Jenkins

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You guys want another glimpse at the characters in DOUBLE DARE?

I’m gonna pretend like you said yeah, okay?

Earlier you got a glimpse of THE SECRET from the story that wasn’t: THE ARMAGEDDON AGENDA and while they may not show up any place any time soon, they’re my kids and I hope you don’t mind my showing them off just a little.

First up, if I follow the list, the spaceman: THUNDERFOOT JENKINS…

Yeah, I know. The name is intentional.

Theodore “Thunderfoot” Jenkins is my nod to the most influential space hero ever…

…Larry “Buster” Crabbe. Anyone who grew up in my generation got to see Crabbe in the role he’s chiefly remembered by: Flash Gordon, but he was also Buck Rogers so dude was really the first major sci-fi movie star. Of course Thunderfoot is based on Crabbe’s Flash Gordon character, but he’s also an Olympic level athlete who had aspirations of acting despite the times and attitudes dealing with race as a part of his backstory. He also draws nods to Lando Calrissian (thanks, Billy Dee Williams) and he was lounging around, content being a half formed idea when Tommy Hancock showed up…

Yeah, you know Tommy as the EIC, boy publisher, and urbane man-about-town now, but back in day he would grind out these stories over in fan-fic land with these great concepts and occasionally he’d do independent characters trying to find an audience which is where I met up with his take on Flash Gordon: Johnny Crimson.

I tell you now, it was only one chapter. Never saw a follow up. Had a couple of tries to get back on the horse, but Johnny hasn’t hit the comeback trail. But Johnny C?

Oh yeah, dude was the spark that took nameless space serial guy and made him a thing: a title!

Hey, baby steps – which isn’t the title, this is:

“Whatever Happened to Lightningfoot Jenkins?”

I know, the name got changed recently. I’ve got my reasons.

Changed everything. Instead of being a clean cut, well known athlete who was probably well off in the mid 1930s, he wasn’t. He was an athlete, he was well known, but he was black too. That just made him interesting enough to keep going. And of all these kids, Thunderfoot Jenkins probably has my attention the most.

But for the purposes of the non story plot, I worked out some of the hows and whys of what he was going through, how he got to be a space opera hero…

…and why he looks like he hasn’t aged a day over nearly 90 years.

It’s such a strange trip, I thought, for kicks, it might be kind of fun to see how he sees it…

Though I guess it should be noted things may get graphic if the telling of the journey is going to be accurate to the time and place from whence our hero came…

***

“So you ran?” Dillon asked. His voice seemed to half echo through the corridors of this… ship, though the word seemed an understatement of vessel’s purpose. It wasn’t some craft built of cold metals and dead plastics; the ship seemed to breathe and thrum with a pulse. There was a gentle, rhythmic hum coursing throughout the thing that vaguely reminded Dillon of his mother humming some unnamed melody that brought a wistful smile to her face. An unconscious action yielding unnoticed happiness and warmth. The hum was like that: a touchstone to someone who symbolizes warmth, love and protection from everything that would dare to presume to harm you.

“Son,” his host replied, “I was the prettiest negro God ever put into Creation caught buck naked and ass deep in a single white woman’s bedroom in the heart of Louisiana, in the spring of 1932 by a bunch of good ol’ boys dragging a Johnny Reb on the back of their truck: Y’goddamn right I ran.” Theodore “Thunderfoot” Jenkins smiled. “At the time I counted myself lucky because I was able to grab my clothes as I lit out the window.”

“So you found someplace to get dressed then.” Somehow this wasn’t what he was expecting from this contradictory youthful ancient who had apparently traveled the stars and seen things that even Dillon, with all his experiences, could only imagine.

“They called me ‘Thunderfoot’, young man, not ‘Thunderpants’” Jenkins replied.

Despite himself, the situation and their current surroundings, Dillon erupted into roaring belly laugh. Jenkins chuckled as well. “I felt the same way, friend.

That is until they caught up to me and lynched me and murdered me.” Jenkins stopped before what looked like a blank wall and made a gesture. A floating command panel made of light formed and Jenkins consulted it.

As he did that Dillon’s mouth snapped shut with an audible click of teeth coming together that cut the air out from the laughter’s slow subsiding to an immediate silence brought on by surprise of Jenkins’ last statement. “Wait, say what now?”

Jenkins tried suppress a shudder that caused his shoulders to bunch just so. It was a small motion but Dillon noted that whatever memory flickered to the surface of Jenkins’ mind, it was one that was still intensely fresh. Jenkins fixed a practiced calm to his features and nodded. “Oh yeah, son, a negro driving around in the altogether gets noticed and those white boys put the word out and had me caught in under an hour with the sheriff himself leading the mob, rope in hand.

“Quick as Kodak, they snatched me out my car, beat my ass serious and well, blew off both my kneecaps, with a sawed-off shotgun and broke an eye socket.

“Then they got mean about things, stripped naked and cut off my johnson.”

“Say what?” It was rare that Dillon allowed himself to be stricken, but Jenkins casual, breezy description of what had to be torture beyond endurance threw him. What threw him more was the man before him seemed whole.

Jenkins seemed to nod at the unasked question. “Trust me, son, you don’t forget something like that. They were cooking it when those good ol’ boys chopped open my guts because I wasn’t screaming enough. Mid hell they tossed the noose over my neck and I’m kicking my own intestines. That’s when I saw the light I heard would come and died.”

Dillon was familiar with history as it pertained to the African American experience, including lynching. Somehow though, Jenkins’ casual delivery was still disorienting. “So you died” Dillon said. “And…?”

“At least that’s what I thought until I opened my eyes and found myself in La’sua C’nu whole and everything thankfully in place.” Jenkins checked a monitor that appeared from a wall. “Looks like we found the masked man you ran into earlier.”

“The Peregrine.” Dillon stared at the screen but couldn’t decipher the glyphs. “LahsueaCenu?”

Jenkins’ expression loosened some and he smiled again. “La’sua C’nu. Think of it more like breathing instead phonetically. Trust me even then you and I are both butchering the way it’s pronounced. If you hear it there from the originals it’s almost singing. Before you ask it’s located in something that’s called the Fold. It’s space and time and energy and a bunch of other things I couldn’t describe no matter how many tools you give me: it just is.

And around the time I was being murdered, they were pulling me to them.”

“Okay,” Dillon said. “But for what exactly?”

“To lead a fight.” Jenkins replied. “Though they didn’t know it at the time, they needed me to help win a revolution.”

“I’m assuming this is part of it.” Dillon had dozens of questions but he was used to the arcane not aliens. Monsters, curses, talismans, madmen were all in Dillon’s purview but a man who really has gone where no else has was legitimately outside his experience.

“No”, Jenkins said. “That fight came and went and came again a few times over. This is unfinished business from an invasion from the Fold to Earth.”

“And that’s why you and the others came together?” Dillon asked. “You guys formed a group to fight these others from your Fold?”

Jenkins reached forward and a panel of light appeared before him. His fingers passed over the panels and lights rotated and changed colors before the panel folded in on itself and vanished. “There, we’re on our way to the Peregrine and one of my people.” Jenkins turned and paced towards the end of the corridor. “And no son, we didn’t get together to stop the Fold…

…they got together to stop me. I was the guy leading the invasion.”

Dillon tensed and unconsciously assumed a fighting stance.

“I told you things were complicated, son.”

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DOUBLE DARE ADVENTURES: Concept and proposal by Sean E. Ali

So, I promised you guys… something.

Oh, you think I won’t do this?

Go ahead: dare me.

In fact: DOUBLE DARE me.

Before we go there, here’s how we got here.

I have a lot of mulch sitting my head. There are a bunch of images that pass through and occasionally there’s an image or two…

…or several hundred…

…that politely ask me to find some time to make them a thing. One of my favorite sections of mulch in the mind cave involves a standard of the Silver Age of Comics: Team-Ups. When they were around, I was that kid that picked up those books. The Brave and the Bold, Marvel Two-In-One, Marvel Team-Up, DC Comics Presents, World’s Finest and Super-Team Family to name more than a few. You grab at least a pair of heroes, present them a problem and set them off on a case to find an answer to said problem. One of my favorite team ups involved two pulp heroes who always struggled to take a foothold in that medium, but hit all the right notes in this instance: The Shadow and Doc Savage in “ The Conflagration Man”. The Shadow and Doc approach a case from separate avenues, cross swords and personnel, and then work the case together (sort of) to its conclusion. Good stuff.

There are others, but I recently found myself rereading that adventure which pushed one of those images from the polite asking to a demand involving Pro Se characters and Dillon that kicked in before the International Instigator hopped on board. In fact, the idea just sort of hopped in my head while I was working on a DILLON AND THE VOICE OF ODIN and an edition of THE PEREGRINE OMNIBUS, featuring Barry Reese’s creation Max Davies (among others) aka The Peregrine, that showed up in the same production cycle. I thought then “wouldn’t it be fun if…?”

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Today’s free Fun Fact: Did you know if you look at the back of most REESE UNLIMITED books that Barry puts out there’s a handy dandy timeline? For readers (and I’m sure for the author) it keeps things straight and keeps Barry honest. If you don’t see it on the timeline, it hasn’t happened yet. And because Barry is obsessively updating that bad boy it’s easy to find a slot and slip in a point where you can do the fan thing and say “here’s what I think Max was doing in…”, but it also lets you say “hey, nothing happened here of note” and speculate on the possibilities. For me, I said to myself, “it’s a damn shame what went down in 1975 when so-and-so found a discarded Peregrine mask and had to stop a riot with…”

And that thought came with a visual. Unfortunately for me, I took my pretend Peregrine out of her epic Pam Grier Afro and recycled mask updated her and sent her off to find another mask belonging to some guy named Amiri under the name Coco Brown. The visual stuck though and eventually someone else stepped in from an old fan-fic idea and auditioned for the role. I told character there wasn’t a story involved, just a visual and they were cool with that. Then a bunch of other guys stepped in begging for a slot, so I gave them time and said what the hell.

I was left with a cast for a story that didn’t exist: a spaceman, a superhuman, a spy, a street crusader, and a science hero. I also had a sleuth, a scoundrel and a soldier, but ran out of real estate. But in case I was asked, I gave these guys a situation just so my rounding up a bunch of random characters to practice my skills in Adobe Illustrator and get some mulch out had a reason for being together. Plus, if you team up two guys, they need something to work on.

So while the stuff below reads like I put thought into it: I didn’t. This is off the cuff, mostly written while I was working out this morning. Any shortcomings in the passage are due to my apparent need for complicating the simple with unnecessary words to accompany what are hopefully pretty pictures.

As to the inspiration of why I did a nonexistent team up cover (okay, COVERS, I’ll give you that much freely) strictly for kicks?

Derrick Ferguson kept posting all those home brews from that guy who does all those crazy Super Team Family fantasy covers.

I mean I could do that.

And, no, this is not going to be a thing afterwards…

…unless you want to know who these guys are. In that case I’ll invite you back to see the same cover…

…but different.

How’s that for leaving them asking for more?

Oh yeah, welcome to DOUBLE DARE ADVENTURES, the best adventure fiction magazine never!

And now, we join our non story, already in progress…

***

For a quietly typical morning in the park: it was unusual. “It” being a piece of personal mail, addressed to him, with a photograph enclosed. The sheet of paper the photo was wrapped in only had one word, typewritten, near the top of the sheet.

“Remember.”

He said the word aloud, as if doing so would initiate… something: a memory, a remnant… a vision. He was waiting for some kind of extraordinary circumstance to come to him as he sat in on a park bench, in the middle of a quiet morning, staring at an old Polaroid showing a record of the impossible. So he did the only thing he could do barring some dramatic sign from the beyond.

He sipped his coffee and examined the clues to hand.

The photo was a thick card. Faded color showing the slight overexposure of the early instant cameras from the 1970s. Without meaning to he smiled. He remembered operating cameras in his childhood with flash powder that fired off a small explosion as a photograph was taken. His memories of sliding heavy plates around evolving to a darkroom full of chemicals evolving, in his lifetime, to the waxy plastic card he stared down at now being the pinnacle of technology.

These days, getting a physical photo sent through the post was an unusual occurrence in an age where technology speeds words, data and images across the globe practically in the moment they’re taken. The speed of life these days was blazing fast and gaining momentum with every second. He hadn’t grown up in this age despite his outward appearance, but he had managed to wrestle the way things worked to his advantage. But this image, this solid piece of hard copy, sent by “snail mail”, defied and thwarted his efforts to apply modern methods to his forensic examination. The photo had no corroborating data. Internet searches, Wikipedia, his backdoors into law enforcement databases – none of them gave him any information to prove this image was genuine. The only identification on the image itself was written in blue ink, he presumed from a ballpoint, a name: Outcast, California, and a date: 1975.

It shouldn’t be, and yet… here it was.

A woman, dressed in what appeared to be a black leather outfit, fighting her way through a mob filled sea of chaos.

And she was wearing a mask.

His mask.

The mask of the Peregrine.

And what he saw going on behind her…

Max Davies took another pull from his morning coffee and turned his attention to the postmark on the envelope. It bore the mark of Outcast, California.

And when he checked for the fifth time last night no such place existed.

Armed with that knowledge this morning, he was surprised to find the state of California had somehow gained twenty miles it didn’t have yesterday.

And in that sudden expansion that no one seemed to notice was a city named Outcast.

So as the sun warmed the morning, Max stared once more at a woman who shouldn’t exist, wearing a mask she shouldn’t have had operating on the West Coast in 1975, in a city that didn’t exist until this morning, fighting…

Good God, was the rest of it even possible?

Max pulled out his phone and chartered a flight to California.

***

“Outcast, California?” Dillon repeated. “No, never heard of it.”

Ambrose Bannon was an agent of ECHO, the Extraordinary Crisis and Hazard Objective, an organization Dillon had encountered in an incident involving a stolen mask that came a little too close to home for him. While he was on friendly terms with one of their contractors, the lovely and talented adventurer Coco Brown, his meeting today was his first with an actual operative with the clandestine agency. Bannon was typical of the agents he had encountered from other organizations in the shadowy alphabet soup of government sponsored intelligence agencies. He was big man and obviously fit, but used to disguising the potential under a nondescript business casual pose. He smiled and easily enough; the manner being casual without being memorable enough to stick with you, but Dillon observed that the pose was just that. While he distracted you with chatter, Bannon was actually sizing a person up. His eyes were actively probing, dissecting, and analyzing every movement and expression. They took in the surrounding area as a matter of habit, leading Dillon to believe the well appointed office they were meeting in didn’t actually belong to Bannon. What was missing, or different at least, was his attitude wasn’t combative. Dillon has gotten used to a certain amount of posturing from these organization types in some hamfisted attempt to establish themselves as alpha dog even when he was being called on willingly to put his talents to work, but Bannon approached Dillon as an equal and a beneficial asset. Despite himself, he concluded that he liked the change and the man behind the desk enough to work with him.

As that realization hit him, Dillon wondered if Bannon was somehow playing his role so well that Dillon was mistaking tradecraft for sincerity. Dillon wondered, for just a second, if he were being played by Bannon.

Bannon slid a manila folder across the desk which derailed the train of thought Dillon was on.

“Well, up until last night, no one else had either because it didn’t exist yesterday.” Bannon tapped the folder in front of Dillon, who picked it up and opened it. “Now, it does. California suddenly gained twenty miles with people to populate it ready made. And in the heart of it…”

“A city called Outcast” Dillon finished, as he flipped through the contents of the folder.

“A city called Outcast”, Bannon repeated as he settled back, with slight uncertainty Dillon noted, into the leather chair that came with the office.

“So how the hell is that possible?” Dillon asked. “And all of this stuff is archival material, most of it from 1975, centered on Outcast and another place, Los Puerta?”

“The city of the gate if I blow the dust off of my high school Spanish,” Bannon replied. “It’s there too along with a bay and a thriving local economy, great arts scene, and a history that didn’t exist until this morning.” Bannon slid a large business envelope across the desk next. “Now, Dillon, take a look at these.”

Dillon exchanged the folder for the envelope which contained photographs. Dillon’s eyes grew wide at the first one and as he flipped through them, they grew wider still at what he saw.

“Is this…?” Dillon asked looking up from an image that by all rights shouldn’t exist.

Bannon nodded.

“Are these…?”

Bannon nodded again.

“Wait, is this guy…?” Dillon handed Bannon the glossy oversized photo he was looking at.

“We think so, yeah.” Bannon answered.

“You realize that’s impossible.”

“The impossible is what we deal in at ECHO, but we know when we’re out of our depth,” Bannon said. “That’s why I asked to see you.”

Dillon filed through the rest of the images. “So who are these folks exactly?”

“You have what we have. Outcast exists but if you go online, it’s always been here; it’s just hard to find anything other than basic information. Strangely, no one outside of agencies like ours seems to notice this has occurred.” Bannon tapped the photo Dillon gave him earlier. “And that guy? He’s the only one of the bunch that you can find by name online anywhere because he’s an unsolved missing person’s case from the 1930s.”

Dillon frowned at that.

“As to who these folks are, the notes you’re reading identify them to a degree. But the basics are: a spaceman, a superhuman, a spy, a street crusader, and a science hero. Beyond that is a mystery with a huge secret at the heart of it,” Bannon said. “Those people and Outcast are at the center of it.”

“And you want me to drop by and bring back postcards from El Dorado.”

“That or answers; we’re not picky, Dillon.” Dillon saw the mask slip slightly and Brannon’s expression betrayed the unmistakable mark of a man who had been up a lot hours working this before Dillon was called. “We’ll meet your fee and expenses, sight unseen, and call upon whatever resources you need and bring in whoever you need for this.”

“What’s Coco Brown up to?” Dillon asked.

“She’s on a job, but aware of the situation,” Bannon replied. “She’s trying to wrap things up and wants in if you need her.”

“Then I guess I should go pack a bag and rent a car and bring you back some answers.” Dillon extended a hand, “Okay, Bannon, I’m in.”

***

Aaaannnnd, end scene.

If you’d like to meet our heroes beyond our heroes, I know a guy who knows a guy who has art and answers.

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Dillon Annual Collection 2018!

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NEW PULP’S MOST EXCITING HERO FINDS A NEW HOME-
DERRICK FERGUSON’S ‘DILLON’ MAKES PRO SE DEBUT WITH 2018 ANNUAL!

When fans of modern Pulp Fiction discuss characters that have made their mark, Derrick Ferguson’s Dillon tops the list. While hitting all the expectations a hero should, Dillon also stands out as a unique character, thanks largely to Ferguson’s skill as a writer. And now, in a showcase of great stories, Pro Se marks Dillon’s first appearance under its banner with DILLON ANNUAL COLLECTION 2018, now available in trade paperback, hardcover, and digital formats.

A soldier of fortune gifted with an astonishing range of remarkable talents and skills that make him respected and feared in the secret world of mercenaries, spies and adventurers. A world inhabited by amazing men and women of fabulous abilities that most of us are unaware even exists. Fueled by a taste for excitement, driven by an overpowering desire to protect the innocent, see that wrongs are righted and assisted by a worldwide network of extraordinary men and women, all experts in their fields, DILLON spans the globe in a never-ending quest for the wildest and most breathtaking adventures of all. 

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In this oversized omnibus of past adventures, Dillon faces new enemies, battles a phantom buccaneer on the shores of Xonira, runs a deadly jungle race against a criminal overlord, battles dangerous agents on a speeding train in an attempt to prevent a kidnapping and spends an unexpected wild night out with celebrity rocker SLY GANTLET, whose life offstage holds some surprising secrets. Pro Se proudly presents its debut of Derrick Ferguson’s International Instigator in some of his wildest adventures in the first ever DILLON ANNUAL COLLECTION!

With an exciting cover, logo design, and print formatting by Sean Ali, DILLON ANNUAL COLLECTION 2018 is available now at Amazon athttps://www.amazon.com/Dillon-Annual-Collection-Derrick-Ferguson/dp/172244357X/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1531318009&sr=8-2&keywords=dillon+annual+collection+2018 for 18.00.

This book is also available for $35.99 in hardcover athttp://www.lulu.com/content/hardcover-book/dillon-annual-2018/23102381

Dillon’s Pro Se debut is also available as an Ebook, designed and formatted by Antonino Lo Iacono and Marzia Marina for only $3.99 for the Kindle at https://www.amazon.com/Dillon-Annual-Collection-Derrick-Ferguson-ebook/dp/B07FDHVXVD/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1531321825&sr=1-1&keywords=dillon+annual+collection+2018+kindle. Kindle Unlimited Members can read for free.

For more information on this title, interviews with the author, or digital copies to review this book, contact Pro Se Productions’ Director of Corporate Operations, Kristi King-Morgan at directorofcorporateoperations@prose-press.com.

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

 

Dillon and The Big Ass Book by Sean E. Ali

To start: I’m okay if I don’t have to work on a DILLON book for bit.

Now I’m saying this in a “Daniel Craig bitching about Bond, but he’s coming back” sort of way, but a few days off from the International Instigator will be nice in the aftermath of my completing the latest book that will be showing up under the Pro Se Press banner. This was a long, mean, ugly slugfest and I for one am glad this particular proof is in the can.

Okay, you’re not used to that level of grousing. Let me explain…

Once upon a time, your partner-in-crime and mine, Derrick Ferguson, tells me he’s mulling over an offer to take Dillon over to Pro Se. He asks my opinion and my response was simple: “So I’m still doing covers and layouts, right?”

Be careful what you wish for, friends and neighbors, because you will probably get it…

…usually between the eyes if you’re not careful.

So fast forward, then stop, then fast forward again and Tommy is looking for a cover for the up coming DILLON book which is being called an annual. So I’m laboring away on that and we already covered the saga of Derrick shooting down the initial idea, so I design a new cover. Derrick approves, Tommy lets out a sigh of relief, I get text and a green light to lay out the book and…

…well this is where it gets a little tricky.

In the interim on the cover art and the redo of same for the annual, Derrick is kicking around another DILLON book idea and discusses it with me in such a way that I run off and do what is the Annual but thinking it’s the other thing Derrick and I were talking about…

So basically I lay out the entire book under the wrong concept and title. To make matters worse, the cover I designed is basically earmarked for a book that’s more or less not written…

…oh and the book I am working on is too thick to work as a standard DILLON or Pro Se book.

So not only do I have to re-set the text of the book (which would eventually take five different attempts and an emergency consult with Derrick to get a solution), I also have to rebrand the book…

…oh and create yet another cover because the cover I have can’t be used yet.

So Derrick suggests the “lost cover” I already discussed in another post…

…but you folks have seen that.

I mean the goal of a cover reveal when the time comes is to have you folks see something new. I’m not saying that cover won’t show up in some form (I’m looking at you DILLON AND THE PROPHECY OF FIRE), but that can’t be here after I’ve already revealed it as invalid.

It would be like hyping an event then pulling the rug out from under folks by not delivering.

So Tommy tells me we had to get the book in by July 4th. I had a completed book, an altered title logo, the guts all worked out and all of that was good to go on July 2nd…

…but no cover.

And I’ll be damned if I’m responsible for Tommy having a heart attack that close to a holiday.

So I started to go with the back up idea based on DILLON AND THE PIRATES OF XONIRA…

…which, by odd coincidence, was the first DILLON book I worked on as a cover artist, and inspired a revamped animated concept you may have seen bits of from me under the header of DILLON AND THE MASK OF AMIRI EZANA…

On paper, that should’ve worked. I had an image already set for the back cover, I’d just drag that puppy to the front and done, right?

Oh man, no, WRONG!

It’s great on the back, stinks on the front. So I spent the 3rd of July creating an all new cover based on PIRATES…

…and I am pleased to say it’s so much better than the other three covers that will never be on this book that I’m almost not exasperated about it.

…almost.

So after all this skin of the teeth designer action…

…I’m kind of glad I’ve got this one in the rear view.

Dillon, my man, I’ll leave the last minute saves to you.

…I need a nap and a vacation.

So coming at some point soon, the DILLON ANNUAL COLLECTION will hit the stands…

…and it’ll be under 500 pages with a damn fine cover.

Okay, if you think it isn’t, keep it to yourself, I’m already seeking counseling for my PDSD (Post DILLON Stress Drama).

So until we do the cover reveal…

Be good to yourselves and each other.

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The Lost Dillon Cover That Wasn’t by Sean E. Ali

So yesterday, Derrick Ferguson and I finally got around to a reveal and his blessing on the cover for Dillon’s first run as a Pro Se Press product…

…no this is the rejected version, I’ve blown the doors off and went in a whole different direction since this first attempt.

But I just had to shout D out for not only having faith in waiting for a final, but giving me some necessary time to deal with matters off camera in the real world which stretched this out longer than intended…

…and before you ask, “personal stuff” is my default answer on the real world stuff I had to deal with…

With a little luck, we’ll have a book to wrap my new bad boy cover around in short order. In the meantime, I’ve got an order to fill for another job I was contracted on just last week which I’m not at liberty to divulge…

So keep your eyes peeled for a DILLON update as soon as I’ve got one for you.

After I clear my plate, I’ll get a taste of Derrick’s side of labor and begin to do a loose framework for DILLON AND THE MASK OF AMIRI EZANA, so he can prop up my own humble efforts of something I wrote for kicks that most of you didn’t see…

So enjoy the lost DILLON cover that wasn’t until we show off the one that is…

…I think you’ll like it.

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Glenn Walker Is Gone And I Really Don’t Know What To Say About That

Maybe it’s because I knew Glenn but then again, I didn’t know him. Like so many of you reading this, I only have become friends with you because we’ve exchanged stories, anecdotes, ideas, life experiences, jokes and tragedies via The Internet. Yes, there’s a shared intimacy on a certain level but most of you I’ll never meet. That doesn’t mean to say I don’t want to. I hope to do so as so many people I’ve met online are some of the most fascinating and interesting people I’ve ever met in my life. Glenn was one of those.

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Glenn wrote for the Biff!Bam!Pop! entertainment website and that was one of the maybe six or seven websites that I would visit every single day while having that most important first cuppa joe in the morning. Thanks to Glenn, I got turned onto a lot of excellent writing and media information via that site and I can’t recommend it enough. Glenn wrote reviews, think pieces, what could be considered op-ed pieces and I would frequently read what he wrote and email him my thoughts and we’d go back and forth for a bit. Not arguing, mind you. But the email discussions were stimulating and Glenn always made me THINK, something I truly value in all my friendships, be they Real or Electronic. You want to be my bosom buddy? Then challenge me and make me THINK.

One of the highest compliments I’ve ever been paid as both a writer and as a human being is when Glenn said in his review of “Dillon and The Legend of The Golden Bell” is that when he was trying to write a story in a pulp style he wrote on a sign “I want to be Derrick Ferguson when I grow up” and taped it on the wall above his desk. He was an enthusiastic Dillon fan and wrote several reviews of two of my Dillon books. We spent many hours online discussing pulp both Classic and New, movies, comics and I always came away both amazed and enriched. I always came away from a conversation with Glenn Walker having learned something new. Because Glenn had more ideas in a hour than most of us have in a week and it came out in his writing, his podcasts and his blog.

Apparently, Glenn was in poor health for a while, something I didn’t know but that was like Glenn and something I suspect we had in common; he wasn’t a complainer so his death took me totally by surprise and affected me in ways I’m sure won’t hit me until later. I’ve lost a few people this year and while they all were deeply affecting, on a whole different level, losing Glenn hurts. I had planned on making it a point on meeting him the next time I went down to Florida and now I’ll never get the opportunity and that is yet another reason to mourn.

But I did know him and that is reason to rejoice. And it gives me more incentive to meet more of my friends who I’ve only known online. So if for no other reason than I can touch them, hug them, share laughs and stories while actually in their company and connect. I think Glenn would approve.

Here’s a link to Glenn’s personal blog; Welcome To Hell. He wrote about movies, television, pop culture…the whole bloody business and he did it with style and grace. You want to honor the memory of the man? Then go read what he wrote.

And here’s a link to a wonderful elegy written by Andy Burns.

And here are links to the reviews Glenn wrote of two Dillon novels. Review that I will always treasure:

Derrick Ferguson’s Dillon and The Legend of The Golden Bell 

Origins of Dillon