Tag Archives: John Drury

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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WIP = BEAH

The story of BEAH goes back to the late 90s for me. After Marvel fired about 400 people, me being one of them, I set about to writing full steam again. I also decided to become a full-fledged indy publisher and get away from Corporate Comics. I did just that for about five years, losing a ton of money because I was acting like a big company and yet it was just me flying solo (well, I mean that for the business/marketing/money end—I worked with some really talented creators). Essentially, I tried to do too much.

Anyhow, it was while watching multiple episodes of Winnie the Pooh with my kids that the inspiration of Beah hit me. Drawing my inspiration from the great indy title, Cerebus, I figured I’d start off with a parody of WIP. Wasn’t long till I figured that was doomed to failure…and so I started thinking, well, what if the toys grew up? Long story short, I eventually got around to the idea that what if the kid just leaves the toys? What would happen? Toy lawlessness would run amuck, right? For those who wonder, yeah, there’s some Toy Story inspiration behind it, too. But that’s a good thing, right?

But over time, Beah became completely its own thing. Oh, I did go through the Cerebus spoof stage, but not in publication–mine was all on paper only read by (mostly) just me.

My good friend John Drury was initially slated to do the project back in the late 90s. But life took him–and us, elsewhere and we simply stopped pursuing it.

Fast forward to 2012 when I spotted Tim Holtrop’s art online and was immediately taken by his style. That and the fact that he–like me– had ties to Caliber Press in the early 90s made me want to talk to him. Well, that and his voiced faith. Tim and I share a common faith and we hit it off immediately. I was happy to have found a new friend even if we never went anywhere with a project. As luck would have it, I pitched the Beah concept to Tim, and over time, I think he, too, has developed an affinity for the stuffed animals.

Tim set out to do the design work and MAN, it would take an entire publication just to show you all the cool designs he did for both the characters and the setting. I present you with just a tiny smattering of those here, but I think you’ll agree how wonderful those are.

And, to top it off, fantastic colors have been provided by Emily Y. Kanalz. I worked with Emily back in the day at Malibu/Marvel. I know you don’t get to see them here much (and truthfully, I’m not sure whether the book will BE in color–but I sure hope so!), but WOW! She’s knocked it out of the park!

No, Beah doesn’t have a home yet, but we’re hoping to find one soon! In the meantime, don’t forget to find us on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/beahcomic) and LIKE the page! We need more likes, so go now! We’ll be posting update there for you to get some sneak peeks and keep you posted as we search for a publishing home for Beah.

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