Category Archives: General

Evolution of Silverline…and the logo

After my last blog about Silverline, someone asked me about the logos and a little more, so I thought I’d write a bit of a “part 2” about Silverline. But first: if you haven’t already, please consider checking out (and possibly backing?) my kickstarter for Cat & Mouse #2 here: CLICK HERE

After we went from the idea of publishing our own material under the company name Top Comics, we adopted the name Silverline and became a packager. We didn’t really think of ourselves that way at first, we were just a group of creative folks trying to make comics.

So since we couldn’t be Top Comics, we still wanted to brand our line, Steven Butler created a Silverline banner that would run the width of the comic at the bottom of the covers. That way, EFG fans would see the banner and know that story and title took place in the Silverline world. We loved that idea as it was the next best thing to publishing on our own. Cat & Mouse would be followed by a SilverStorm mini-series, a bi-monthly anthology title, and then a new ongoing series, the Hero Task Force (which would use the characters from the anthology, SilverStorm and Cat & Mouse).

But EFG folded before they could do much. So we took our printed copies and stacks of photocopies of the work in progress…and sent it off to a handful of independent publishers hot at the time. We talked to several, but ultimately ended up at Aircel. Except…they only wanted Cat & Mouse and SilverStorm. We didn’t know at the time that they were already planning a “super” world of their own (the Protectors) and just didn’t want competition. C&M was different enough and SilverStorm was a mini-series.

We packaged a few other titles (Mantis Files, Sirens, Pendulum) before Malibu hired me as an editor. Mitch and Steven had both moved on to other projects anyway, so Silverline basically ceased to exist.

Until 1997.

Marvel bought Malibu in ’94, turning me into a Marvel editor. They declared bankruptcy in ’96 and fired 400 people. I decided to use what I had learned and try publishing again…and did. Rather than try to come up with a new label, I just used Silverline again and published comics from 97 until 2001 (Marauder, Switchblade, Cybertrash and the Dog, and others). The problem was that Marvel fired people because the boom of the late 80s and early 90s lead to a crash in the late 90s…and it was just tough to sell comics. I lost more than 20k of my own money trying to make Silverline happen, but called it quits in 2001.

I went back to school, got an advanced degree and started teaching at the university level. While doing research for a class, I stumbled across an internet announcement looking for writers to adapt Huckleberry Finn into a graphic novel. I submitted, got the work, and had a blast. This was in 2008. I followed that up with an adaptation of Wizard of Oz and remembered that I actually really did like comics. So I started making them again, but as a side thing to teaching. Still, I needed to call them SOMETHING for the ones I did on my own. I fell back to Silverline. That’s when this logo came into play. I never really loved this logo, but liked it alot … so just continued to use it because I wasn’t really planning to do anything with Silverline…not really. And I feel terrible that I don’t remember who put this together for me. EDIT: NOW I know that it was my pal Mike W. Belcher who put the red oval together! My public apologies to him for not remembering.

Fast forward to 2018 and kickstarting Cat & Mouse #1 vol 2. The creative team of Dean Zachary, Barb Kaalberg, and Kevin Gallegly, had such a fun experience, they encouraged me to restart Silverline as a publisher. While that’s just the short version, that’s how we got this new logo, a new take on the old one.

And now you know!

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2019 Preview

Happy New Year!

If you missed the annual Merry Christmas/Happy New Year video from the Mann family, here’s your second chance to see it:

Did you spot a couple of new faces? Yeah…thought so. It was a full house, but it was fun.

SO, 2019 is shaping up to be a potentially exciting year for me and I’m looking forward what the new year will bring.

First, the conventions!

At this point in time, early 2019 is looking pretty good, meaning there’s room in the second half of the year.

The first show I’ll do in the new year will be on January 13 in Deland, Fl. My good pal, former roommate, and all around great guy (oh yeah—he does comic art, too) Steven Butler will be here for the show. Also there will be my frequent convention traveling buddy Jeff Whiting as well as wrestling comic writer John Crowther.

Not sure yet where I’ll be for FCBD, but talking to a new shop in town…so…fingers crossed I’ll be able to be there with my pals Barry Gregory and Thomas Florimonte again.

On March 16 I’ll be road-tripping up with Jeff Whiting as we go to the Dyersburg (TN) Comic Convention. Also guests there will be my collaborator on Cat & Mouse, Dean Zachary, as well as other talented comic makers like Mitch Breitweiser and Jim Hall (who should do more comics!).

While not 100% confirmed as of this writing, it looks like a pretty good chance I’ll be a comic guest at the Big River Comic Con in Hannibal, MO, on April 12-14. I’ve never been to a show in that part of the country, so really looking forward to it.

Another place I’ll be in that will be new geography for me will be Knoxville, TN. Yeah, I know many of my Volunteer pals are excited for that one, but I’m going for the Marble City Comic Con on June 1 and 2. Will be road-tripping with Jeff again for that one.

There’s another one in June that I’d really like to get to…but still working on that one.

So, one of my Christmas presents this year is a present that Brett and I share: tickets to see Neal Morse when he comes to Orlando in February. I only discovered his music about 2 years ago, but he’s quickly become one of my top favs and I’m very excited to be able to see him live with my #1 son!

I’m only going to mention it in passing here, as there is still many details to work out…but I’ll be bringing Silverline back this year. Already put several wheels in motion, but it’s kind of exciting.

Along those lines, I’ve got several new comic projects in the works. I can’t really talk about them yet, but they’re exciting to think about.

No telling what other changes 2019 will bring. I predict it’s going to be a very good year, and I’m exciting to get to it.

Happy New Year one and all!

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2018 Overview

We’re just a few days away from the new year so I thought I’d do my not-so-annual recap (generally done when WordPress prompts me with stats, which they did not do this year).

First, here is the Mann family annual Christmas/New Year video. We’ve got a couple of…guests with us this year…enjoy.

I did a host of comic conventions this year, that started with the very local (to me) Florida Pop Con. The show was poorly attended, but I saw old friends and made some new ones there. In March I did the one day Infinity Convention, near UCF and a had a great time. I was also a speaker/guest at the Coral Springs Literary Festival, a change of pace from the usual comic shows, and something I don’t do as much of since coming to Full Sail in 2011. I did one day at the always awesome Daytona Comic Con in April, and then did FCBD in May at ACME. I traveled up to Pikeville Comic Con in August with my comic-making traveling buddies Jeff Whiting, Barry Gregory, and Thomas Florimonte. The last part of the year felt busy as Jeff and I made road trips to ComiConway (an awesome convention!) and Memphis Comic and Fantasy Convention in November, and then Nashville Comic and Horror Convention in December. I’ll talk about 2019 shows next week.

The day gig at Full Sail clipped right along. I’m sometimes surprised that I can work in the conventions above because work can often be a bit overwhelming. This year, I had adjunct classes from about February (or March?) on. What that means is that I had extra classes every month (and more grading). I got a new boss this year, too. The old boss is still there and rocking, but Full Sail inserted a position in between me and the old boss, making me two steps from her instead of one. It’s going well with him so far—he kept me around after my last annual review in October.

A highlight for the year was the successful launch, funding, and shipping of the new Cat & Mouse #1 comic. I worked with a great team of artists to get it done: Dean Zachary, Barb Kaalberg, and Kevin Gallegly. We’re waiting on Dean for #2, but we’re ready to go.

Family wise: BJ continued to work on and grow Dr. Mom Knows Best. If you’re into trying to live healthy and get the pharmaceuticals out of your life (and system!), you should check out her page. We’ve pretty much gotten rid of all over the counter medicines—about 95%.

My youngest, Brett, graduated from high school and is trying to figure out life. My oldest, Brittany, is still trying to make her way out in LaLa land (if you have something she can audition for, call her!). They both have added special someones to their lives.

Late in the year I had a health scare: seems my BP was high. Working on getting it down naturally, but taking BP meds for now and it brought it down to a manageable level. I didn’t realize there was a “get-to-the-emergency-room-NOW” high level until it happened to me. And no, I didn’t FEEL bad at all.

All in all, I feel blessed that 2018 was such a good year.

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Last show of the year, 2018

This weekend I’ll be a comic guest at the Nashville Comic and Horror convention. While I’ve never been to this show before, Marc Ballard–the show’s owner–is celebrating 25 years of comic shows! That’s impressive. Come out and help him celebrate it! It’s a two day show, but I’m told the show really winds down around noon-1pm on Sunday, so be sure to either come on Saturday, or get there early on Sunday.

It’s my last show for the year 2018 and I’m hoping it’s a good a show as the last few have been—we sold out of Cat & Mouse #1 in Memphis, can we do the same in Nashville? I’m anticipating a good end to the 2018 comic convention run!

While there are a host of guests you can find on the website, I have to point out that I’ll be there with Dean Zachary, esteemed artist on Cat & Mouse—and a whole bunch of other stuff. We’ll both be available to sign copies of C&M #1, but Dean will also have original art from the comic, as well as prints.

My traveling art buddy will once again be the talented Jeff Whiting! As well as a bunch of The Tick, Jeff will have his creator owned books, Shanghai and Extraterrestrial (psst! I have a short story in this one, so pick it up from Jeff so I can sign it, too!).

Of course, that link between the three of us is that we were all involved with Malibu Comics and the Ultraverse…back in the day. So bring those books out for us to sign, too, we’ll be happy to do that!

I’m already lining up shows for 2019, so if you know a show that needs some comic creators, tell them to holler at me. I’m particularly interested in places I’ve never been before—southern Georgia, South and North Carolina are the close places. I’ll consider any place, of course, just tell them to send me a message.

So all you folks in the Nashville area, come out and see us! Get some comics, graphic novels, and original art. They make great Christmas gifts!

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Con Report: MCFC…C&M #1 SOLD OUT!

As reported last week, I was a comic guest at the Memphis Comic and Fantasy Convention held at The Guest House in Graceland…yes, THAT Graceland…just beside the home of Elvis Presley.

The big news of the weekend is that we sold out of all the copies of Cat & Mouse #1 we had and the immediate response from those in attendance was very positive.

As has been the case the last several shows, I made the trip with my pal and talented comic creator Jeff Whiting…and of course, we solved all the ills of the comic world and world at large during the trip. Now if we can just get someone to listen to us!

Once there, we joined up with Dean Zachary (amazing artist on Cat and Mouse—and a bunch of other stuff—but I’m talking about C&M here, not that other stuff! Ha) and Mitch Foust (another amazing artist with a whole host of fantasy based work). If you don’t know these names, you need to check out their work…you won’t be sorry.

Had the opportunity to meet yet another talented comic creator, one who’d been facebook friends earlier, but that I had never met face to face: John Martin. In fact…there’ll be news forthcoming about a project with John and my old pal, writer Sid Williams. But that’s another post…

As a show, Friday was pretty slow. Saturday, however, had a lot of traffic and the lunch rush was good; a lot of people interested in not just supporting an indy comic creator, but looking for something different! Sunday was a little better than Friday, but man that place shut down quick! There was very little foot traffic after about 2pm, and some of the vendors were bailing by just after lunch.

Jeff Whiting, Me, David Dastmalchian, John Martin, Dean Zachary, Mitch Foust

One of the coolest events of the show, though, was when actor David Dastmalchian was wandering the exhibitor floor…shopping. As he walked by, I asked if he liked comics. He said he did (and I spotted a stack of back issues in his hands, so I know he does!) and so Dean and I offered him a copy of C&M #1, which he gladly accepted. Then, he stood and talked to us about comics for about 10 minutes! You never know what to expect with the media guests, but he was one of the most down to earth guys! Learned he is from Kansas! We were excited when his agent (show agent?) Jeremy Miller popped by on Saturday for us to all grab a photo with him! Now I’ve got to go look up (and watch) all his other appearances–the ones I haven’t already seen, I mean.

All said and done, though, fun show. Met some new people, hopefully met some new readers/fans, and just had a good time in general.

Also, thanks to Hotel Angie! 🙂

And Happy Thanksgiving!

Next show is the Nashville Comic and Horror Festival on December 8 and 9. See you there!

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Wait…I have high blood pressure?

SO.

Seems I have high blood pressure. Not only that, I had no idea I had it. But apparently it was “go to the emergency room NOW” high. I know, right?

Sit back and let me tell you a story…

So, many of you already know my pa-in-law has been with us for nearly two months now. Long story short, he had to have an operation on his back; he couldn’t get it back home; one of the best doctors to perform the surgery he needed just happened to be located a few miles from us. So he came down to stay with us while he recovers. The recovery has taken longer than anticipated, but hey—it’s BACK surgery!

Anyway, one of the things the nurse told him he needed was a blood pressure monitor at the house. So, BJ got one for him. When it arrived—as we are wont to do when we get new gadgets like this, BJ went around checking everyone out (when my dad had to get his blood sugar tested—we all got our fingers poked that weekend! Ha). Everyone was pretty normal but mine came back at 196/127. Hmm. That seemed high. So we did it again. 191/126. Since it was so high, and I’d never experienced anything like that, and I FELT FINE, BJ told me to just go to bed. So I did.

Next morning, my reading was 176/117 (thereabouts—BJ has it all written down, I’m going on memory). We (we, meaning BJ) decided to call the doctor to make an appointment to get me checked out. We’d both hit the interwebs that morning and decided it sounded bad. Several places calling it the “silent killer.”

Once on the phone, they told her to check it again and it was about the same…and they said “get to the Emergency Room NOW.” I didn’t really want to go because I FELT FINE. But she assured me that it was not fine and if I let it go unchecked I could have a stroke or a heart attack.

We went to the ER.

I had a LOT of tests run. Doctor came in later and told me that “my pump and my filter” were both fine, and that was very important. They ran like eleven different blood tests, took an image of my chest (thought my heart might be enlarged—never said exactly why—but it was also fine). Slowly but surely my BP went down to around 127/89, still a bit high, but they gave me a prescription, told me to monitor it, AND to follow up with a doctor.

Since then, my bp has hovered around the 150/90 range with the daily meds. I’m monitoring it fairly regular during the day; have added a vitamin and walking and have an appointment with the doc scheduled.

So…yeah…that happened…

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Cat & Mouse #1 Kickstarter is live!

Yep, you read that correctly. Cat & Mouse #1 has a kickstarter running…and I’m asking you to go check it out. Wait…you thought C&M #1 was published in 1989 by EFGraphics…and then in 1990 by Malibu’s Aircel. It was.

C&M #1 Vol 2

This is for Volume 2! A whole NEW thing. The link is:

A brief history for those interested: When I was at the University of Southern Mississippi in the middle 80s, I met Steven Butler, who became a lifelong friend. Steven was a super-talented artist and he and I swapped notes of rejection from assorted comic companies. He was trying to get work as an artist, me as a writer. So we decided to work together and do our own thing.

One of Steven’s roommates was the equally talented Mitch Byrd, and Steven recruited him (My other pals, Barry Gregory and Thomas Fortenberry were involved on the writing side). In trying to figure out what projects to do, Mitch had a four page piece he had penciled and Steven had inked. It was a crime/cop thing that featured a shadowy figure shoot at cat burglars as they leaped out of a window. I took that and used it as a springboard to come up with the story for the first issue of C&M, with some serious input from both Steven and Mitch. If you’ve read it, you know that I included a character by the name of Demon, a character who’d been with me in one form or another, since about 6th grade.

Cat & Mouse #1 Vol 1

Cat & Mouse ran for 18 issues once it found a home at Malibu. Mitch and I did a four issue Miss Fury mini-series after, but then we both went on to different projects (Mitch landed some nice work with DC comics, and I became an editor at Malibu).

C&M just kinda went away.

Until today. Actually, until about two years ago with another supremely talented artist asked me about it. Enter: Dean Zachary.

But because it’d been so many years, it didn’t make sense to me to just bring back the same characters from before (there’s some other stuff, too)…so the characters from Volume 2 are completely new characters with completely new backgrounds, etc. The spirit and mood and tone will all remain—and we’ll even get to see some of the supporting cast from volume 1, but there are a lot of new faces involved—which makes it very exciting.

Volume 1 began mostly about fighting corruption in the justice system. Volume 2 will deal with the very serious theme of human trafficking. It will remain a “General Audiences” book, but the theme will be a little heavier.

SO…yes, this is me asking. Please go check out the link and consider pledging—I really think you’ll like what you read. But if you can’t pledge, please consider sharing it to those in your social network—tell them you know me and you think they should plop down a few dollars to help us get #2 made!

Thanks!

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