My name is Christopher Mills. I am a writer, editor and graphic artist, born and raised in Central Maine, and, after a ten-year exile to South Florida, living there again, having taken over the old family homestead with my wife, dog and cats.
As a kid, I was a science fiction fan. No big deal today, but in the Seventies, it just wasn’t cool. I took a lot of abuse from my schoolmates (and the adults in my life), but that didn’t stop me from immersing myself in the writings of Edgar Rice Burroughs, Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein, Lester DelRey, Lin Carter, Arthur C. Clarke and many others. In Junior High, I published my own line of sci-fi magazines and comic books. Nobody bought them, but I started to gain a little respect from my teachers when they saw the hard work I put into them. I even got written up in the local daily newspaper. My first interview. And it was a good one, too.
In High School, I discovered girls, Dungeons & Dragons, hardboiled crime fiction (specifically the works of Mickey Spillane and Donald Hamilton) and the very beginnings of the comic book direct sales market. Comics like Nexus, Grendel, Warp and Sabre blew my mind. Impressed by this new wave of “independent” comics, I decided that I wanted to write and draw comic books, so I clipped a coupon out of the back pages of an issue of Savage Sword of Conan, and wrote to the Joe Kubert School of Cartoon and Graphic Art for information.
A year later, I was accepted, and spent two years in Dover, New Jersey before finally deciding that I just couldn’t draw well enough to make it in comics as an artist.
But I still had stories to tell. And I had picked up some design skills in my time at school. So I changed my focus.
Since 1987 or so, I’ve worked in the publishing field as both a graphic artist and editor, primarily for newspapers and comic book publishers.
From 1990 to 1995, I was Editorial Director for the indie comics publisher Alpha Productions, where I edited over fifty comic books and wrote several others. In 1995 I became an editor for Tekno*Comix/Big Entertainment where I edited such high-profile monthly color titles as Mickey Spillane’s Mike Danger (finally meeting and working with two of my literary heroes – Mickey Spillane and Max Allan Collins) and Neil Gaiman’s Lady Justice. Following my tenure at Tekno, I spent seven years working as a graphic artist for American Media Inc. The last five of those years were spent as the Art Director of the national weekly tabloid newspaper, Sun, where I supervised a department of four and designed over 200 covers (and survived a bio-terrorism anthrax attack). As a freelance graphic artist, I have designed theatrical posters, book and magazine covers, and DVD sleeves.
I was the creator and editor of the acclaimed (if short-lived) illustrated crime fiction magazine, Noir (which featured stories and art by some of the biggest names in both the comics and mystery fields) and was the co-founder of Shadow House Press, publishers of the horror anthology comic Shadow House.
My professional writing credits include a year-long run on the sci-fi comic book Leonard Nimoy’s Primortals for Tekno*Comix, several comic books and short stories featuring the supernatural private eye Nightmark, the acclaimed crime comic Gravedigger: The Scavengers, the four-issue miniseries Femme Noir: The Dark City Diaries from Ape Entertainment, and a number of short stories for pulp fiction anthologies such as The Spider Chronicles, Werewolves: Dead Moon Rising, and the Captain Midnight Chronicles.
In August of 2007, Mystery Scene magazine chose my character, Portland, Maine private investigator “Matthew Dain,” as one of the Top 100 Private Eyes to come along since the magazine’s inception in 1985, alongside such luminaries as Robert Crais’ “Elvis Cole,” Andrew Vachss’ “Burke,” Dan Simmons’ “Joe Kurtz,” Brian Bendis’ “Jinx Alameda” and TV’s Veronica Mars and Monk, despite only having appeared in two short stories, to date.
In 2009, the Femme Noir: The Dark City Diaries miniseries won The Spinetingler Award in the Graphic Novel category, over such formidable crime comics competitors as 100 Bullets, Criminal and Hawaiian Dick.
I am currently writing several independent comic books, as well as a number of short stories. I also review DVDs and Blu-Ray discs at my website DVD Late Show, and am an avid blogger on pop culture subjects such as 70s sci-fi, spy fiction, and crime comics.
Femme Noir artist Joe Staton and yours truly, Christopher Mills, at the Maine Comic Arts Festival, 2009