Tag Archives: Barry Gregory

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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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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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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Catch-up con report

Brittany, Chris Ulm, and me at SDCC2017

I haven’t done a con report since MegaCon, and that was back in June. So this will be a catch-up Con report!

In July I did the Orlando Collect-A-Con in Altemonte Springs. It was a fun show and I’m already planning a return there for next year! Also in July, I went out to San Diego Comic Con for the second year in a row (thanks to my buddies at Ka-Blam!). I got to see many old pals, including my former boss and Malibu Editor-in-Chief, Chris Ulm!

Steven Butler, Barry Gregory, me, John Crowther

I was no sooner back from SDCC when my other old pal, Steven Butler was in town for a convention in Tampa. I rode out there with old pal Barry Gregory and we were joined by new pal John Crowther for a fun dinner and lively chat!

In early August, Jeff Whiting and I made the long trip up to Pikeville, KY for the inaugural Pikeville ComicCon. We had a blast. What an awesome first show it was. Got the chance to meet a lot of new people there. Got my fingers crossed for an invite back to the second one—yes, it was that cool of a show!

Stephen Rosys, Jeff Whiting, Cody Barker, Todd Goodman, Mike W. Belcher, Me, Aiden Belcher

In late August, I went to the Orlando Infinity Con. This was my second time to be there and this is one of the closest ones to my home, so it’s very easy to do.

I had planned to do the Lake Collect-A-Con in October, a show I’ve done before and look forward to doing again, but my band chaperone mishap the day before (you can read about it here if you missed it) kept me from attending. Yes, I basically laid around the house and moaned all day. If you don’t believe me, ask BJ. I’ve been to LCAC twice, and I’m looking forward to making the third one next year.

I had help a few weeks later, though, as Brett supplied the muscle to get me in the door at Emerald City Comic Fest, another inaugural show. This one, too, was very good. One thing I really liked about it was that admission was free! Not sure how the show managed to pull that off, but the free admission got a whole host of folks in, some comic fans and some just curious to see what all the noise was about. Met some new folks, but had the chance to catch up with Dave again, who always brings me something to sign when he comes to a show I’m at. I think I’ve signed more books for Dave than any other single person. He brings me books I’ve forgotten I worked on!

Barry Gregory, John Crowther, me!

Another fun thing about ECCF is that The Geeky Mom set up right beside me! (that’s BJ, for those of you with raised eyebrows right now!)

Central Florida is a great place to be if you like comics, comic conventions, and meeting comic creators!

Coming up, I’ll be at Smashcon on November 18th and unless I can work out a show for early December (trying to, but it may not happen), that’ll be my last show for the year.

 

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MegaCon 2017

The lines looked like this for hours!

Starting today! MegaCon 2017 should be underway not long after you read this (assuming you read it when I post it, on Thursday, May 25). I’m anticipating a fun year again this year (if you’ve forgotten how last year went—you can click here). Last year we sold out of Tiny #1…this year we’re hoping to do just as well with Tiny #2. So, to answer your un-asked question, yes, Deonna will also be there. If you’re nice to her, she might draw for you!

You can find the both of us in Artist Alley at A378. Deonna is actually splitting a table with BJ, who will be there pushing Dr. Mom Knows Best with some comic-book geekiness added for fun. So, be sure to come by and check us out!

Barry Gregory: FCBD at ACME Superstore (sorry I caught you in mid-eye-squint)

Thomas Florimonte: FCBD at ACME Superstore

The convention gods were smiling at us, too, because directly across from me will be my comic creating buddies Barry Gregory, Jenni Gregory, and Jeff Whiting (who has a book with a short story of mine in it—so pick it up and I’ll sign it, too!). There will be a bunch of others, too, but you can find us in our little block!

I’m also happy to report that FCBD was a hit! Enzo and crew over at ACME Superstore put on a fantastic event. I kid you not, the line to get into the free comics went from opening at 11am until at least 2:30—without a single gap. Then, from about 2:30-4:30, it was still pretty busy, but there were short moments of no-line.

The following week, I drove down to Clark’s Comics for their Spring Fling. I don’t have any pictures, but Gary posted a video just before the festivities started—you can check it out here: (click here!)

Alex Saviuk signed autographs like a trooper!

Okay…though you’re probably reading this during MegaCon, I’m off to actually get ready! Come see me!

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FCBD 2017

Tomorrow is FREE COMIC BOOK DAY 2017. What is FCBD, you ask? Well, I’m glad you asked.

FCBD was started by comic retailer superstar Joe Field of Flying Colors in Concord, California. The first year was 2002, so this year marks the 16th year for FCBD. It’s traditionally held on the first Saturday in May, which also usually coincides with the opening weekend of the summer’s superhero movie. 2002 was Spider-Man, this year is Guardians of the Galaxy 2.

While I was aware of what the day was, the first time I actually did FCBD was in 2011, the ten year anniversary. The fine folks at Heroes and Dreams, a store which regrettably no longer exists, invited me to be a guest in their store for the day. So I drove down to Flowood, MS. for a long full day.

It wasn’t until 2015 that Aaron and his crew over at Coliseum of Comics in the Fashion Square Mall invited me to be a part of the day there. That day was particularly exciting for me as it was the opening weekend to Avengers: Age of Ultron…which included one of my all-time favorite superheroes: The Vision!

Last year I went out to Gods and Monsters in the Artegon Mall. G&M are still around, but unfortunately, they’re not at the Artegon Mall.

This year I’m excited to tell you that I’ll be at one of the top stores around, and one that I’m always sending my students to visit: ACME Superstore! Former Spider-Man artist Alex Saviuk is the headliner, but he’ll be joined by me and my comic creating pals Barry Gregory, Jenni Gregory, and Thomas Florimonte. Come out, grab some free comics (you can find a list of the free offerings here), then spend a buck or two on “local” creators and support our books. Autographs are FREE!

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