What is a Silverline?

In the coming days I’ll be announcing a website and such for my comic imprint Silverline. Those of you who’ve been around for a long time will remember what Silverline is, but for those who haven’t and for those who are just popping by, let me ‘splain.

In 1987 I was at USM trying to finish up a degree and figure out how to earn a living as a writer. I wanted to be a writer and I wanted to work in comics, but I didn’t want to move to New York. A freak chance meeting with my now long-time friend Steven Butler (long story that involves my now-wife/then-girlfriend running for homecoming court) put the pieces into play. I’d been “working” on comics since my junior high days with my good pal Barry Gregory, but neither of us really had chops to draw—we were always looking for artists with whom we could collaborate. Steven and his suitemate Mitch Byrd fit that bill. Steven was just a driven as I was and had been trying to “break in” to comics, too. The black and white boom had just started with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles…so we decided to follow suit and do it ourselves.

Initially, we went with the name Top Comics. Mitch designed a nice imprint logo and off we went! We sent the solicitations around to all the distributors (there was more than just Diamond in those days) and ultimately got orders for about 4,400 copies.

It was there that we got jammed. We didn’t have the money to actually print and ship the comics. We were still in college, after all. None of the banks in Hattiesburg would give us a loan to print the comics, even with purchase orders for the 4,400 copies in our hands.

Sooooo, we had to cancel the orders and try plan B. As fate would have it, we knew someone who knew someone who had just started a small press company and was looking for content. That company was EF Graphics run by John Drury. We signed with EFG; Cat & Mouse was just the first title. It was to be followed by SilverStorm (written by Thomas Fortenberry); followed by an anthology title with stories by Barry…which would lead into a team book: The Hero Task Force.

But we’d become such a close group that we wanted an identity and we couldn’t really be Top Comics. This was before the idea of all the “studios” popped up later, but that’s kind of what we were. After some time, we settled on the name Silverline. Truthfully, I don’t know who in that group first proposed the name—if I were to guess, probably Steven. Maybe one of them remembers, but I don’t. But the idea was that since we loved the SILVER AGE of comics, we wanted to do comics that had a modern sensibility with a silver age spirit. We’d be a “line” of comics from EFG…we’d be the Silver Line. We shortened it to one word…and that, in a nutshell, is how it came to be.

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I visited Arlington, former home and land of Gen. Robt. E. Lee

Arlington house, the former home of American hero Robert E. Lee behind us.

On my recent getaway to DC, we took an entire day to visit Arlington Cemetery.  Arlington is one of the places I’ve always been interested in visiting since I learned it’s history and connection to American hero, General R.E. Lee, so many years ago.

I realize what I say might make some of you unhappy, but I was really disappointed in the whole thing.

First, Lee’s home was closed for renovation and they don’t expect it to be re-opened until late 2019 or 2020. Honestly, the home is the main reason I’ve always wanted to go. They tell you that you can still walk the grounds of the home, but it is surrounded by a tall fence with a sort of curtain (you can see what I mean by the picture) – so you can’t really even see the house while you’re up next to it. You can see it from a distance at many places around the park – but it’s not the same.

Me at some amphitheater near the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

Secondly, the park claimed to have “artifacts from the home” at the Women in War Memorial – but those artifacts amounted to some brochures of what you can’t see because of the renovation. The Women in War Memorial was also a pretty sad presentation, especially in light of all the amazing things women have contributed to the US War effort from the beginning of US History. Yeah…if you go to Arlington, skip the Women in War Memorial. You can find far better content on the interwebbynet.

I know I’m supposed to tell you how awesome the JFK Memorial is, but…eh, It was a slab of rock and a flame. I was not impressed in the least.

We took the bus tour – which I can’t say I recommend. Oh, it was nice not to be walking around the entire thing and UP the hills, but we whizzed through most of the grounds just getting from one stop to the next. Out of the 400,000-ish tombstones at Arlington, they mentioned only about 10 “in passing,” and about 8 of them were “First African American” this or “first woman” that, that is seemed like such a blatant attempt – to me – to ignore any others of note that weren’t either women or black. One memorial (I assume it was a white guy, but I don’t know who it was) was mentioned twice simply so the tour guide could mention that the person in question thought Lee was a traitor. And yes, he really did make a point to say it twice. Why? What was the point of that?

Thought we might drop in and catch a bite to eat with Trump…yeah, they still wouldn’t let us.

The highlight probably will not surprise you. It was, of course, the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It is pretty somber to watch the guard march back and forth, guarding the tomb. The attention to detail by the soldiers in the ceremony is pretty incredible. It made the entire trip to the park worth it, and I highly recommend you stay for the ceremony if you get to visit the cemetery.

Even though I was overall disappointed, I’m still glad I went because it was one of the things I’ve always wanted to do.

And now I have…thanks to my wife.

(pictures by her!)

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I saw DC!

Me & wifey at Trump’s house…he wasn’t home…well, they wouldn’t let us see him, anyway…

The wife surprised me with a trip to Washington, DC. Seems she thought I really needed to get away (see my recent blog post about my high BP – which is slowly improving, thanks) and so she whisked me away.

We wanted to catch the main things on day 1. She got us a hotel close to all the sites, so we got a lot of walking in. First place we headed was Trump’s house! We were surprised to find the main road in front all blocked off. You could still see the house, but it wasn’t like I’d always seen in pictures.

Trump wasn’t home, so we made our way around back were we learned we’d only just missed the Christmas Tree lighting by the First Lady the night before (we were likely in the shuttle on the way to the hotel). They were still taking the stands d  own from the night before so we decided to come back and visit when it was dark.

Me & wifey at the WW2 Memorial, Washington Mon in the distance.

We made our way to the Washington Monument but couldn’t get close as they were doing repairs. Seems Spiderman had gone at it against the Vulture or some such. We got a good look from just outside the fences though.

We made our way over to the WW2 Memorial and it was very cool. It is right beside the Reflecting Pool that leads to the Lincoln Memorial, so we walked along the pool a bit before heading over to the Smithsonian for American History.

I had no idea they were free to enter. I entered the front door fully expecting to pay an admission of some sort… but it’s FREE! We were there several hours–honestly I lost track of time so I’m not sure how long…but regardless, we didn’t get to see all of it. 😦

Needless to say, I enjoyed the heck out of it! We we were worn out. WE got in 16k steps that day for those keeping track.

The next day we spent the entire time at Arlington. It’ll write about it separately–in part 2, because Lee’s former home deserves an entire entry!

Trump’s tree was big…so big…it’s the biggest tree I’ve ever seen. So big.

We also made it back to the White House at night and the street in front was open so we got to get closer than before. We also got to see the tree at night. The base has several model trains – which, of course, I really enjoyed. Another cool thing is that there are 50 trees around the tree, one for every state. The ornaments on the trees all come from a middle school class in the respective state. Pretty cool.

All in all, a fun little get away planned by wifey!

(pics by wifey!)

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