Gary Reed (comics)
|Area(s)||Writer, Editor, Publisher|
Gary Reed is an American comic book writer who was also the publisher of Caliber Comics, an independent comic book company that released 1,300 titles in the 1990s and gave a chance to many of today’s top comics talents. Reed has written over 200 comics and graphic novels, sometimes under assumed names (including Kyle Garrett, Brent Truax, and Randall Thayer). He was also Vice President of McFarlane Toys when the company launched in 1993. His comics writing credits include Saint Germaine, Baker Street and Deadworld. In addition to comics, Reed wrote a role-playing game for Palladium, wrote some of the storyline scenarios for Final Fight: Streetwise for Capcom, and is currently working on a novel with writer Gary Francis based on Deadworld. Deadworld had recently been signed up for a film, with David Hayter (Watchmen, X-Men) providing the script. but Reed announced in January 2014 that he did not renew the option and is looking to move Deadworld to another producer.
Early life and education
Gary Reed was born and raised in Detroit, Michigan. He grew up in the projects in Detroit and graduated from Redford High School, attending community college at night while working to put his wife through school at the University of Michigan. Reed opened his first bookstore while still a student at Eastern Michigan University. By the time he graduated with his Master's degree, he had four stores that specialized in used books, comic books, and other popular culture items. (Reed has a Master of Science in biology, specializing in molecular genetics.)
In 1982, while still a student, Reed launched King Kon, an annual event celebrating comics and pop culture. After three conventions and a heavy schedule, which included a weekly radio show and television show on public-access television, Reed had to reduce his workload with the arrival of his first daughter, so in 1986 he ceased the conventions. In 1989, Motor City Comic Con launched its annual convention, which continues today, taking over Reed's location. Reed joined Detroit Fanfare Conventions in 2010 as an adviser and remained as a member of its Board of Directors.
In 1989, Reed launched Caliber Comics, an independent publishing company which gave exposure at an early stage of their careers to many of today’s top comics talents, including Brian Michael Bendis, David W. Mack, Vince Locke, Guy Davis, Michael Lark, Patrick Zircher, Jim Calafiore, Ed Brubaker, Michael Gaydos, James O'Barr, and Mike Carey. The initial titles were Deadworld, Realm, Caliber Presents, Moontrap, The Crow and Baker Street, a series co-created by Reed with Guy Davis. Reed and Davis were nominated for a Harvey Award for Best New Series for Baker Street. The Complete Baker Street was nominated for another Harvey Award in the collection put out by iBooks and distributed by Simon & Schuster.
Caliber continued through the 1990s releasing over 1,300 comics and over 70 graphic novels. Unlike most comic companies, Caliber didn’t publish superheroes, other than a few titles mainly produced for other distribution areas such as Wal-Mart. Caliber was a collection of different imprints featuring specialized lines such as: Tome Press featuring biographical, historical and literary works, Gauntlet, the action adventure line, Icongrafix which carried the alternative type material, and Tapestry, a line geared for young readers. During the time at Caliber, Reed also became vice president of McFarlane Toys for the first three years of that company’s existence. Caliber ceased publishing around 2000 which was the same year that Reed sold the last of his comic shops. Reed started teaching at Henry Ford Community College as an adjunct professor and left the comics field.
Return to Comics
Reed concentrated on his teaching until he started working with Byron Preiss in 2004. Preiss had contracted to reprint all of the issues of Baker Street into a single collection to be distributed by Simon & Schuster. Reed was brought in to write graphic novel adaptations of the classic horror novels from Penguin Books. Frankenstein and Dracula were released before Preiss died in a car accident, and the line was canceled. In 2006, Reed wrote a young adult novel for the new Actionopolis line. His Spirit of the Samurai is the first in a series of books featuring a young heroine with an ancestry she never knew she had. He also wrote a series of children's stories for Magic Wagon Publishing, a company specializing in children's literature for libraries.
Reed launched a new series of Deadworld with Desperado Publishing and Image Comics, and brought back many of the Caliber titles with Image, such as Red Diaries, Saint Germaine, and Renfield in 2005 and 2006. and others Reed currently releases Deadworld via IDW. In 2009, Reed released A Murder of Scarecrows through Desperado as well as a hardcover original tale of Deadworld in Slaughterhouse with art by Hatter M's Sami Makkonen.
In 2007, Reed formed a new company with fellow writer Rafael Nieves called Transfuzion Publishing, which has collected many of his previous work into compilations although Transfuzion also published all new material as well. The company released many graphic novels including collections of Reed's works and also series on H.P. Lovecraft, Vietnam Journal, Chillers anthology, and others. Night Pieces, a collection of Reed's short stories, was tabbed by noted horror journalist, Decapitated Dan, as the Best Archival collection of 2013. That was the last of the official Transfuzion releases.
Deadworld has had most of its recent issues released from IDW including the two Classics, the Omnibus, and the last two mini-series: Deadworld: War of the Dead and Deadworld: Restoration. Deadworld: War of the Dead was nominated as Best Mini-Series for 2012 from Comic Monsters.com and Shel Dorf Awards. It won the Ghastly Award for Best Mini-Series the same year. Reed also had Curious Cases of Sherlock Holmes released from IDW.
Reed teamed up with his former partner in Stabur, Paul Burke, to launch Binary Publishing, a line of books centered on pop culture. Featuring titles centered on Rocky Horror Picture Show and cartoonists such as Jack Davis, Binary serves a specialized market and nearly a dozen books have been released. Reed also wrote the young adult tale of Zelda’s Zombie Zoo for Binary.
Caliber Comics- Return
In 2014, Reed announced that he was bringing Caliber Comics back in a partnership formed with Eagle One Media’s Eric Reichart. The relaunched company will release collections of material originally published by Caliber in addition to all new material. Transfuzion Publishing has ceased publishing and the entire line rolled into the newly re-launched Caliber Comics.
Reed currently lives in a suburb of Detroit with his wife, Jennifer. They have four daughters. In addition to his freelance writing, Reed teaches various biology-related courses at different community colleges in his area. In 2012, Reed was presented with a special Shel Dorf Award for his contributions to the comic industry.
Comics work includes:
- A Murder of Scarecrows (Desperado)
- Baker Street (Caliber)
- Book of the Tarot (Tome Press)
- Cortez and the Fall of the Aztecs (Tome Press)
- Deadworld: Requiem for the World (Image)
- Deadworld: The Dead-Killer (Image)
- Deadworld Chronicles (Desperado)
- Deadworld: Slaughterhouse (Desperado)
- Deadworld Classics 1 and 2(IDW)
- Deadworld: War of the Dead (IDW)
- Deadworld: Restoration (IDW)
- Deadworld: Voices from the Deadworld (Transfuzion)
- Dracula (Penguin)
- Frankenstein (Penguin)
- Ghost Sonata (Transfuzion)
- Helsing (Transfuzion)
- Honour Among Punks: Complete Baker Street (iBooks)
- Jack London's Call of the Wild (Magic Wagon)
- Jack the Ripper (Transfuzion)
- Magus (Caliber)
- Night Pieces (Transfuzion)
- Of Scenes and Stories (Transfuzion)
- Pandora (Magic Wagon)
- Raven Chronicles (Transfuzion)
- Realm (Caliber)
- The Red Diaries (Image)
- Renfield (Image)
- The Red Revolution (Tome Press)
- Saint Germaine(Image and Transfuzion)
- Seeker: Identity Crisis (Transfuzion)
- Sherlock Holmes' Curious Cases (IDW)
- Sherlock Holmes: Murder at Moulin Rouge (Transfuzion)
- Sin Eternal: Return to Dante's Inferno (Transfuzion)
- Song of the Cid (Tome Press)
- Spirit of the Samurai (Actionopolis)
- The Call of the Wild (Magic Wagon)
- Troy: An Empire in Siege (Tome Press)
- True Spy Stories (Tome Press)
- Zelda's Zombie Zoo (Binary)
- Zulunation: End of Empire (Transfuzion)
- "Con Reports: King Kon Strikes Again!," CBGXtra.com (Aug. 22, 2008).
- Gary Reed at the Comic Book DB