Chuck Miller was born in Ohio, lived in Alabama for many years, and now resides in Norman, Oklahoma, for reasons best left to the imagination. He is a Libra whose interests include monster movies, comic books, music, writing, and getting paid for writing, which is the most elusive beast of them all. He holds a BA in creative writing from the University of South Alabama.
He is the creator/writer of TALES OF THE BLACK CENTIPEDE, THE INCREDIBLE ADVENTURES OF VIONNA VALIS AND MARY JANE KELLY, THE BAY PHANTOM CHRONICLES, and THE MYSTIC FILES OF DOCTOR UNKNOWN JUNIOR. He has also written stories featuring such classic characters as Jill Trent: Science Sleuth, Armless O'Neil, The Griffon, and others.
"The Black Centipede and related characters are part of a grand concept I came up with myself and started writing and publishing on the web," says Miller. They had actually been festering in my skull for more than 20 years-- a proposed comic book that never made it off the ground-- and it seemed about time to let them out."
The Mysterious BLACK CENTIPEDE has fought crime, poked his nose into dangerous places, and antagonized some of the most dangerous people who have ever lived in the city of Zenith and around the world for the past 80 years. When asked about his remarkable longevity, the Centipede remarked in a recent interview, "I feel like I've learned the ropes and gotten the preliminaries out of the way, and now I'm really ready to start hitting my stride."
It was recently confirmed that writer/creator/editor/agent Chuck Miller will be bringing the adventures of the Centipede, and those of several other larger-than-life residents of Zenith, to Pro Se Productions.
"The Centipede," Miller said, "has entered a self-revelatory phase of his epic life and career, and is collaborating with me on the 'Tales of the Black Centipede' series, billed as 'Stories from the SECRET CASEBOOK of the Black Centipede, as told to Chuck Miller.'
Miller said, "The so-called 'Secret Casebook' is actually about a hundred or so cardboard file boxes jammed full of newspaper clippings, old pulp magazines, notebooks filled with scrawled, unreadable handwriting, recipes, and other unsavory relics that may or may not be relevant to anything. The 'as told to' part consists of me digging through this huge mass of stuff to try and put together something that makes sense, in spite of the fact that the Centipede totally ignores email and voicemail messages requesting help. If I sometimes have to resort to artistic license over historical accuracy, it isn't my fault."
The Black Centipede was a popular crime fighter in the 1930s and 40s, with his own pulp magazine, comics, radio show, etc. His popularity declined during the 50s and 60s, and he is currently considered a vigilante, wanted by a number of police agencies worldwide.
In the months ahead, readers will learn the shocking facts behind the Black Centipede's legendary struggles with some of the most insidious villains the world has ever known. These will include his breathtaking encounters with Lizzie Borden, Doctor Almanac, "Bloody" Mary Jane Gallows, the Stiff, Baron Samedi, Albert Fish, Adolf Hitler, Jack the Ripper, and others.
Miller will also be acting as literary agent for Vionna Valis, a private investigator in Zenith who, with her friend and associate Mary Jane Kelly, operates the Whitechapel Vigilance Committee Detective Agency.
"Vionna," Miller says, "is another of these screwballs that occur with astonishing frequency in Zenith. She means well, and is actually pretty competent at what she does, as long as she has Mary Kelly to ride herd over her. Vionna's life is a series of infinitely repeating question marks. She remembers almost nothing of her past prior to a couple years ago, and evidently shares space in her head with an entity she calls her 'roommate.' She has no idea what sort of an entity this is, what it wants, or why it does what it does.
"In my opinion, Miss Valis--and I say this with all due respect--should be locked up somewhere for her own safety and that of the people around her, at least until some of these questions can be answered. Instead, she has chosen to operate a 'psychic detective agency,' in partnership with Mary Jane Kelly--who, by the way, was murdered in 1888 by Jack the Ripper, and recently resurrected by Vionna and her friends Jack Christian and the Black Centipede. Which is certainly unique, but I don't know how much it really enhances one's resume. But, it's a free country. And it's not like they solicit my opinion on any of this."
Miller says that he is in possession of several manuscripts written by Miss Valis, detailing her and Miss Kelly's adventures. These include a disturbing look at the phenomenon of alien abduction, and the girls' shocking encounter with the ghost of Sherlock Holmes and Professor James Moriarty, Lord of the Vampires.
"The thing about these pulp-type adventurers," Miller said, "is that they're just like stray cats. If you feed one of them, they'll be back every day, and they'll bring their friends with them. I have been bombarded with requests, entreaties, threats, attempts to solicit various questionable things-- and, of course, manuscripts. Lots and lots of manuscripts.
"Of these, there are a handful that seem to have enough merit to justify my efforts to clean them up and whip them into shape for publication."
These include the memoirs of Jack Christian ("The Optimist"), a grown-up (more or less) former kid superhero sidekick who has stepped into all sorts of interesting piles and jammed his head into more than one hornet's nest since returning to Zenith some three years ago; the activities of Doctor Dana Marie Laveau Unknown ("Doctor Unknown Junior"), a Level Twelve Magus, and the daughter of Raoul Deveraux Unknown, the original superhero/sorcerer Doctor Unknown; and the recently-discovered private journals of "Bloody" Mary Jane Gallows--the Black Centipede's oldest and dearest enemy-- which, Miller said, "are totally over the top, even in the context of this other material I've been working on. It is real believe-it-or-not stuff, and I don't blame you if you don't."
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