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!

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