Sunday, October 25, 2015

What's next?

Excerpt from THE RETURN OF LITTLE PRECIOUS , the first DOCTOR UNKNOWN JUNIOR novel, coming soon from Pro Se Press!

The bizarre super-terrorist known as Little Precious has attacked the city of Zenith by unleashing a horde of werewolves. Narrator Jack Christian (former super-hero sidekick Kid Mercury), Dana Unknown (the future Doctor Unknown Junior) and young Vionna Valis are making their way through the treacherous urban landscape when they run into...

The Black Centipede.

I had never met him, but I'd heard plenty of stories. Everybody had, and none of them were good ones. He had been a crime-fighter many, many years ago. Way before my time and Captain Mercury's. The Black Centipede had been a wanted man since 1972.

I had never met him. He was said to be cold and aloof. He did not suffer anyone—fools or sages—gladly. Or, indeed, at all. Nobody knew who he really was. Most people had the impression that there was nothing in him they wanted to know.

As far as his profession, or avocation, went, the Centipede was cast more in the mold of the mysterious and daring do-gooders that flourished for a time during the 1930s than that of the modern superhero. In fact, it was said that he had actually started out during the Great Depression, though few people took that seriously. Everybody figured the current Centipede was his son or grandson or nephew or totally unrelated. He never shared any of his personal history with anyone that I was aware of.

He was wanted by any number of law enforcement agencies here and abroad. Vigilantism was illegal in most places around the country and the world. Back during the salad days in Zenith, these laws were almost never enforced. Once the superhero scene withered away, though, that changed. Well before that, however, the Centipede had abused even the wide latitude given by city officials to our kind, and what happened in 1972 had snapped the camel's spine.


And now-- here he was.

I swallowed hard, wondering what I could do if he proved hostile. I tried to protectively push the girls back behind me, but they gave me indignant looks and slapped my hands away.

The Centipede's appearance was not reassuring. He was tall and solidly-built, but didn't appear to be muscle-bound-- more like a gymnast than a weight-lifter. As for his outfit, the color scheme was limited. He was dressed in a black suit with a black shirt, a black tie, and a black cloak that hung to below his knees. His head was completely covered by a black mask with a silver centipede emblazoned on the front, and he wore a wide-brimmed black hat. Two black .45 automatics held in his black-gloved hands completed the ensemble.

"What the hell are you kids doing out here?" he asked. "Did you know there are werewolves running around everywhere? I guess you'd better stick close to me until I can deliver you somewhere."

He didn't sound happy about it. He didn't sound like he ever sounded happy about anything.

Dana was glaring at him. "We don't have to listen to you," she snapped. "You're a criminal."

"Maybe so," he said. "But I'm a criminal who has several guns loaded with silver bullets." He held up one of his guns and jiggled it. "I've got six more of these."

"We don't associate with criminals," Dana insisted.

I grabbed her by the arm and said, "Speak for yourself! I think we could associate with criminals who have silver bullets when the city is infested with werewolves."

She transferred her glare to me. "You have absolutely no morals," she accused.

"I never said I did!"

"You used to at least act like you did. Some of the time."

Meanwhile, Vionna had approached the masked man and was subjecting him to a head-to-toe scrutiny.

"What's that thing on your mask?" she asked him. "A worm?"

"No, it's a centipede," he said sharply. "I'm the Black Centipede, and this is a centipede."

"It's silver," Vionna pointed out. "It isn't black."

He gave a hiss of irritation, pointed at his chest, and said, "I'm the Black Centipede." Then he pointed at his mask. "This is just a symbol. It's a stylized rendering of a centipede. It isn't meant to be taken literally."

"Huh," Vionna said. "It still looks like a worm. Or a very sloppy letter 'S.' It doesn't look like you gave it much thought, to be honest. Did you make it yourself?"

I moved to her side, clapped a hand over her mouth, and whispered in her ear: "Let it go, Vionna. We don't know what this guy's capable of. Don't get him angry."

By way of reply, she bit my hand. Not hard, but enough to make me reopen the floodgate.

"Because if you did," she picked up her thread, "you might want to think about getting a professional to do the next one. I'm not trying to be mean, honest. I'm just saying."

"Don't talk to him, Vionna," Dana interrupted.

The Centipede said nothing. I had no way of knowing how he was taking all of this, but I was nervous. He had a reputation as someone whose feathers you didn't want to ruffle.

I cleared my throat to get his attention, plastered a rueful smile on my face, shrugged expansively, and said, "Women! What are ya gonna do, huh?"

He was silent for a moment, then he seemed to relax a little.

"You seem like you've got a little bit of sense," he said to me. "Can you use a gun?"

"Pretty much, yeah, kind of," I said. I may have been exaggerating a little. Captain Mercury didn't believe in using guns, so I had never had much occasion to fool with them. But I was good at video games.

He tossed me one of his .45s, which I snagged adroitly enough to make it look like I knew what I was doing.

"Can I have a gun?" Vionna asked.

"I don't know if..." I began.

"Don't you dare give..." Dana started.

"Sure, kid," the Centipede said. He reached into a pocket and produced a little Derringer. "This was supposed to be for my last gasp, should it come to that," he said. "But if it gets to that point, I'm screwed anyhow."

He handed the minuscule firearm to Vionna, who clasped it to her bosom like it was a bouquet of flowers.

"Wow, thank you!" she gushed. "My own gun! I can't believe it!"

Dana was fuming. "You can't give her a gun," she said. "She's a child!"

"I'll be sure and tell the werewolves that," the Centipede shot back.

Dana turned to me-- for support I guess-- but she wasn't going to get any.

"Don't push it!" I said, jabbing a finger at her. "Just don't. It makes sense for us to have these guns if there are werewolves loose-- especially Vionna, since she's the most vulnerable."

Dana clammed up and I turned my attention to the conversation Vionna was having with the Centipede.

"Now I remember you," the masked man was saying to her. "I met you a long time ago, but you were older than you are now."

That made no sense whatsoever, but Vionna nodded enthusiastically.

"Yes," she said. "That makes perfect sense. It hasn't happened yet, as far as I'm concerned right now. It won't happen to me for a few more years. I have this thing in my head that tells me stuff, and it's telling me that right now."

The Centipede shook his head. "I shouldn't have said anything. What was I thinking? I'm getting sloppy."

Vionna laughed. "It's okay," she said. "If you're worried about a... Oh, what is it called..?" She closed her eyes, and seemed to be listening to something none of the rest of us could hear. "Really? Yeah, okay." She opened her eyes again. "If you're worried about a temporal paradox, don't. It won't matter that you said that to me and made me know about the whole thing right now. Once this that we're doing here today is over, I won't remember any of it anyhow."

The Centipede had cocked his head like a puzzled dog. I couldn't imagine what was going through his mind. I couldn't imagine what ought to be going through my own mind after all that.


And be sure to read Jack and Dana's first adventure, "The Abominable Myra Linsky Rises Again," in PRO SE PRESENTS #13, just 99 cents on Amazon Kindle:

Friday, October 23, 2015

FEBRUARY 2016: Kolchak times five, and one of em's mine!

KolchakDoubleSM100 Moonstone releases Feb ‘16

Kolchak/Dan Shamble: Zombie PI,
color comic, 48pgs , $4.99
Story: Kevin J. Anderson, Richard Dean Starr
Art-Colors: Sergio Ibanez
Covers: (A)Dennis Calero,(B) Woodrow Hinton lll
Superstar author Kevin J Anderson pens the first ever comic appearance of his Zombie PI character, Dan Shamble!
Be careful what you wish for! Kolchak, the irrepressible Night Stalker, wants proof that monsters exist—and Dan Shamble, Zombie P.I., lives in a world where he solves all sorts of everyday crimes among monsters. And when a rogue trio of hoodlum genies decides to use dimensional doorways to dump magical toxic waste, and an unwitting nerdy werewolf kid as their bagman, Kolchak and Shamble find themselves in a hilariously confused situation.
**RETAILER INCENTIVE: retailers ordering 4 or more of the regular cover(A) of Kolchak/Dan Shamble, can order any amount of Cover B by Woodrow Hinton lll they want.

Kolchak: Dawn of the Demons,
90pgs, 7” 10”, gray, = $9.99
ISBN: 978-1-944017-00-2(5999)
Story: Ed Gorman, Ricky Sprague
Art: Dennis Chacon, Aaron Felizmenio
Superstar author Ed Gorman (of Dean Koontz’s “Frankenstein”) pens this demonic tale!
The country is slipping away.
The signs are all around you: Mass surveillance. Police militarization. Income inequality. Drugs. While investigating an explosion at a street protest, journalist Carl Kolchak uncovers the hidden, demonic origins of modern America. Can he get the story before the country is lost forever? And even if he does—will anyone care? Learn the answers in Kolchak: City of Angels & Demons

Kolchak: Edgar Allan Poe Crimes
108pgs, 7” x 10”, gray, retail $10.99
ISBN: 978-1-944017-01-9(51099)
Story: James Chambers
Art: Pepe Luis, Felipe Kroll
From tell-tale hearts and premature burials to black cats and the Red Death, reporter Carl Kolchak grapples with deepening horror and madness as events from Edgar Allan Poe’s tales of mystery and imagination come to life in modern-day Baltimore. Kolchak teams with a street magician who performs tricks and escapes inspired by Poe to expose the supernatural power bringing the author’s deadly visions to life and solve a series of terrifying occurrences, disappearances, and murders.

Kolchak : Penny Dreadful novel
Author: Chuck Miller
Cover: Woodrow Hinton lll
6” x 9”, 166pgs, retail = $10.99
ISBN: 978-1-944017-02-6(51099)
A double feature novel!

In "Penny Dreadful," Carl Kolchak teams up with private eye Domino Patrick to investigate a series of murders that appear to be copycat crimes based on the 1969 Tate-LaBianca killings. The trail leads to one Penelope Anne Hilligloss, a former member of the Manson Family who now seems to have aligned herself with an even darker power. Kolchak's quest for the truth, and the means to stop "Penny Dreadful," takes him to San Quentin State Prison for a face-to-face meeting with the one man who might have the information he needs: Charles Manson himself."The Time Stalker" finds Kolchak in Las Vegas, the city where he once destroyed a vampire named Janos Skorzeny-- or did he? When Skorzeny reappears and begins another murderous rampage, Kolchak must solve the mystery of the vampire's impossible return. Does a mysterious, accidental time-traveler named Zero hold the key? Can Carl put Skorzeny back where he belongs without being arrested by the Vegas P.D. or fired by Tony Vincenzo? With the help of an old, estranged friend from his original Vegas days, and a conspiracy-minded young reporter named Gail Karen, Kolchak once again tackles his first, most terrifying supernatural foe!

Kolchak: The Phoenix Rising
7” x 10”, gray, comic, 40pgs, $3.99
Story: Paul Kupperberg
Art: David Bryant
Strange visitor from another planet, Bennu, and Kolchak investigate a murder case where the main suspect’s alibi is alien abduction! Kolchak doesn’t believe the suspect and has no idea who or what Bennu is, or why he wants to solve this murder!
kolchak demon cover100  KolchakPhoenix100 kolchakpoeEM KolchakShamB100 KolShamA100

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Free Mary Jane Gallows!

No, she hasn't been arrested. What we mean is that Chapter One of the incredible adventures of the Black Centipede's... whatever, Bloody Mary Jane Gallows, supernatural "daughter" of Lizzie Borden and Jack the Ripper is now FREE on Amazon Kindle! That's right, I said FREE. That's as cheap as it gets without us actually paying you to read it! So GO!!!

Friday, September 11, 2015


A Timeline of the Black Centipede's World (contains spoilers)
Here is my partial timeline, as it stands now, of the history of the Black Centipede's world:

1852: November 27-- Apparent death of Ada Lovelace (Daughter of Lord Byron and reigning White Centipede.)

1860: Jack the Ripper discovers the mysterious Order of the Centipede, and sets into motion his plans to subvert and take control of the organization.

1871: October 18--  Death of Charles Babbage; Jack the Ripper takes possession of Babbage's advanced designs for his Analytical Engine, and begins construction on his own machine.

1885: Alice Crook aka Vionna Moriarty born  April 18.

1888: The Ripper performs a powerful blood ritual, murdering five woman in London, including Mary Jane Kelly.
A time-traveling Vionna Valis helps Sherlock Holmes investigate the Ripper murders.
Professor Moriarty makes a deal with Dracula.

1891: Death and vampiric rebirth of Moriarty. Sherlock Holmes presumed dead.

1892: Lizzie Borden and Jack the Ripper create Bloody Mary Jane; Andrew and Abby Borden murdered.
Bloody Mary Jane travels to Florida, where she meets Juan Ponce de Leon, Cotton Mather, the fugitive Ada Lovelace, and the vampire Moriarty.
Later in the year, Bloody Mary Jane accompanies Moriarty's daughter Vionna to Russia, where she will live with the family of  Tsarevich Nicholas.

1894:  Tsarevich Nicholas becomes Tsar Nicholas II.

1897: A mysterious alien craft crashes in Aurora Texas. Jack the Ripper takes possession of the pilot's remains.

1903: Under the direction of Jack the Ripper, Grigori Yefimovich Rasputin becomes the new White Centipede.

1905:  Rasputin is introduced to Nicholas II and Alexandra.

1908: Professor Moriarty assassinates Count Dracula in Tunguska and becomes Lord of the Undead.

1911: Feb. 5-- Birth of William ---------, the future Black Centipede.

1920s: William befriends writer Howard Phillips Lovecraft.

1927: "Forty Whacks" William meets Lizzie Borden and Bloody Mary Jane; becomes the Black Centipede.

1927-1932: William goes to work for his grandfather, then travels the world to pursue his self-training. William encounters the faceless Russian assassin Anonymoushka, and has many other adventures. He jousts on several occasions with Bloody Mary Jane. Meets Doctor Raoul Unknown.

1932: William returns to Zenith.

1932-1933: "Creeping Dawn" - The Black Centipede begins his career in Zenith, meets Frank Nitti, Percival Doiley, Baron Samedi, Stanley Bartowski and William Randolph Hearst. The origins of Doctor Almanac and the Stiff.

"Funeral for a Fiend" - Ties up a loose end from Ceeping Dawn

Carlton "Spuds" Dietrich served two terms as mayor of the city of Zenith during the 1930s. He was every bit as corrupt as he was inept, making him the preferred candidate among the movers and shakers in the city's criminal underworld. Dietrich was first elected in 1931, shortly after his release from Winnemac State Prison, where he had served a three-year term for fraud and price fixing while he was a member of the city council. 
Most observers attributed Dietrich's victory to the unique touch of his campaign manager, Frenchy Donovan. One of Zenith's most prominent racketeers, Donovan took time off from his duties in order to work full-time for the candidate. During a press conference held to kick off Dietrich's campaign, Donovan announced that he had "found the Lord," and was "turning over a new leaf." 
Interestingly, Dietrich received 104 percent of the popular vote. When confronted by the press after it was learned that many of the voters listed in the rolls had in fact passed away weeks or months prior to the election, Donovan made reference to the Biblical miracle of Lazarus and thanked the Lord for His good work.
Dietrich's opponent, Morton Beltrane, demanded a recount and vowed to take his case all the way to the Supreme Court if necessary. He was on his way to the federal courthouse to file the paperwork when he was accidentally run over by an unidentified man driving a car with no license plates. Four times. 
One of Dietrich's first acts upon taking office was to officially designate February 9 - 15, 1931, as "Beltrane Memorial Automobile Safety Awareness Week."

1933: "Blood of the Centipede" - The Black Centipede meets Amelia Earhart and travels to Hollywood to consult on the Hearst-financed motion picture "Blood of the Centipede." There, he encounters the Black Centipede Eater, the White Centipede, and Jack the Ripper.

"The Plague's the Thing" - Standalone story featuring Amelia Earhart and the diabolical Rev. Dr. Theobald Schadelhaus.

"The Return of Doctor Reverso"
Doctor Almanac makes a brief return. Anonymoushka shows up again.

"Black Centipede Confidential."
Moriarty descends on Zenith, intent on possessing the Analytical Engine.

Actor Lancelot Cromwell, star of the movie "Blood of the Centipede" decides to fight crime in the guise of the Red Dagger. Things do not go swimmingly.

1934: The Centipede's first recorded battle with super-criminal Adrian Countenance; the Centipede meets William S. Burroughs.

1937: March 1-- The Centipede is visited by Vionna Valis and Mary Jane Kelly from the year 2012, and Dana Unknown from the year 2112. March 15-- Death of H.P. Lovecraft July 2-- Disappearance of Amelia Earhart

1940: Elena Milagro de Hoyos is resurrected by Carl Von Cosel. Elena is infected with a mutant strain of bubonic plague; she is stopped by the Centipede and Doctor Unknown before she can contaminate a large portion of the United States.

1942: Moriarty escapes from Area 51.

1952: "Gasp, Choke Good Lord!" The Centipede meets Dr. Frederic Wertham, William M. Gaines and Albert Fish.

1957: "Wisconsin Death Trip." The Centipede encounters Ed Gein and his mother.

1963: John F. Kennedy is assassinated in Dallas. The Black Centipede tries and fails to prevent the president's death.

1972: The Black Centipede uncovers the horrible plot being hatched by Richard Nixon, who is really [REDACTED] and J. Edgar Hoover.

May 2-- Death of J. Edgar Hoover; the Centipede, wanted for his murder, becomes a fugitive. Hoover's death ruins [REDACTED]'s immediate plans. Thinking it unwise at this point to assassinate the President of the United States, the Centipede decides to keep Nixon too busy to regroup.

Late 1972 through 1973-- Working undercover, the Centipede makes the acquaintance of G. Gordon Liddy and the inner circle of White House henchmen. He suggests, plans and helps orchestrate the Watergate break-in. He makes sure the burglars are caught. He continues to gather information, then begins leaking it to reporters Woodward and Bernstein.

1974: August 8-- Nixon resigns.

1978: The Centipede is captured by authorities in California and committed to the Napa State Mental Hospital. The hospital's new administrator turns out to be Adrian Countenance, who has a sinister agenda. With the help of a rock band called the Cramps, the Centipede defeats Countenance and escapes.

Twenty - Fifteen Years Ago: Zenith experiences a brief but very unpleasant super-heroic age. Commander Power, Captain Ultra-Superior Man, Captain Triangle, the New Red Dagger, Doctor Unknown, Captain Mercury and others form a new Legion of Law and Order, which limps along for a little over three years. The group self-destructs when their quest to bring the Black Centipede to justice turns into an unmitigated catastrophe.

Twelve Years Ago:
Captain Ultra-Superior Man disappears, and Commander Power and Captain Mercury are killed by Professor Ulysses Ubik. Jack Christian, the former Kid Mercury, goes off the deep end.

Eleven Years Ago: More than two million people die worldwide during the Little Precious Crisis. The bizarre cybernetic super-terrorist goes on a four-day rampage of destruction. Jessie Von Cosel, the eight-year-old human half of the binary consciousness known as Little Precious is tried and imprisoned on a refurbished Alcatraz Island. The robot that was the other half of the Little Precious organism is not found. (Rumors of the involvement of Professor James Moriarty, Lord of the Vampires, are addressed in "The Return of Little Precious.")

Seven Years Ago: Doctor Unknown Senior accidentally destroys the world. Though he and his daughter, Dana Unknown, are able to reboot the timestream and erase the episode from history, he is a broken man. He retires and slips into alcoholic obscurity. Dana takes over his duties, as Doctor Unknown Junior.

2011- Present: "The Optimist" Jack Christian returns to Zenith, where a shadowy crime lord called Melmoth has been consolidating his power. The Black Centipede is trying to track Melmoth down. Mary Jane Kelly and the Ripper's other victims are resurrected in the Black Centipede's Orgone Superaccumulator.

"Close Encounters of a Kind We'd Rather Not Think About" Vionna Valis and Mary Jane Kelly incorporate the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee Psychic Detective Agency.

"The Abominable Myra Linsky Rises Again" Jack goes to work with Dana Unknown. This story is both prequel and sequel to "Blood of the Centipede." The White Centipede is resurrected.

"Vionna and the Vampires" Moriarty makes his last stand. Or does he?

"The Return of Little Precious." Jack and Dana battle Little Precious and the White Centipede. (COMING SOON!)

A young Vionna Valis, ready for action.