Tag Archives: Malibu Comics

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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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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Cat & Mouse #1 kickstarter slated for May 1

I’m super-excited to announce to you that May 1 is our target launch date for the kickstarter campaign for Cat & Mouse #1. I know we’ve been teasing it for a while, but we’re finally there.

I won’t talk long here, but don’t be surprised if over the course of the next few weeks, you see images with our announcement. I can tell you this, though: the campaign will feature the comic, of course, and it will have a KICKSTARTER ONLY wraparound cover! Unlike some other comic campaigns I’ve seen, this is the ONLY way you’ll be able to get the comic with this cover. Oh, you’ll still be able to get the comic, just not the KS wraparound version.

Also, I’ve managed to put together a couple of complete sets of volume 1—all 18 issues. I’ve culled back issue boxes and even ordered a handful of them from Mile High to complete a few sets. Full sets are pretty tough to come by…so there will be a few available.

Also, I’ve got about 10 copies left of the very first edition of Cat & Mouse #1. A lot of folks don’t realize that before Malibu’s Aircel picked us up, C&M #1 was printed—on newsprint and in COLOR!—by EFGraphics. EFG also printed Jazz Age Chronicles by Ted Slampyak…but EFG went belly up before they could print C&M #2. Those copies of C&M #1 will be available as a limited pledge reward.

I’ve also been hounding some of my artist pals to do some art for us and I think you’ll be happy at what you see! I won’t mention all of them now, but I’ll mention that the first one to raise his hand and say he’d help is the hot new artist Timothy Lim. You’ve seen his work on Thump: the First Bundred Days, and My Hero Magademia. This will be your chance to get a one of a kind original work from him!

So, mark your calendars!

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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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Daytona Beach Comic Con Report and Leesburg Tomorrow!

Last Saturday I attended my first ever Daytona Beach Comic Book Convention held on the campus of Embry-Riddle. Wow. Pretty much what I have to lead with! The show was held in the basketball gym…but it’s not like you think; remember, this is a university gym, so it’s much fancier than most high school gyms. Truthfully, except for entering and exiting, I didn’t notice it at all.

What I DID notice, however, was the abundance of comic books! If I were a betting man—and I’m not—I’d bet there were more comic books at this show than at MegaCon. I didn’t count them, of course, but it sure felt that way.

Me with Jeff Whiting at Daytona Beach Comic Con

Me with Jeff Whiting at Daytona Beach Comic Con

A highlight was having my table situated next to both my old pal Jeff Whiting and my new pal Jesse Hansen. I’ve swapped some email with Jesse over the last year that might end up turning into something in the future (you always know you’ll be the first to know here); and Jeff I’ve known since I worked with him back in the early 90s. Jeff was one of my go-to inkers when I was an editor. He was there with his own creator-owned book, Shanghai! We had a blast catching up. Plus, he rocks a pretty mean hat!

I also got to meet a couple of folks I’d never met face-to-face before. Artist Alex Saviuk (who I seem to recall meeting briefly when I was at con while a Malibu editor) and Bill Black, now retired publisher of AC Comics. (Bill is also the photographer of the photo of me and Jeff; while Jeff’s wife Patricia is the photographer of the Jeff POV photo!)

Jeff's POV from our tables at Daytona Beach Comic Con (actually, this is Patricia's POV, Jeff's wife)

Jeff’s POV from our tables at Daytona Beach Comic Con (actually, this is Patricia’s POV, Jeff’s wife)

It was such a fun show, I’m working hard to stay in the good graces of the show’s organizer Tom Raupp—because I want him to invite me back for the next one!

Tomorrow (Saturday, June 13), I’ll be at the first ever Leesburg Public Library Comic Con

. They’ve got a whole slate of guests, including the band Grabthar’s Hammer (if you don’t know that reference, what are you doing still here? Go Google it so you can be cool like the rest of us!); some live action roleplaying; and a bunch of cool authors…including me!

So, head on up to Leesburg, listen to some music, buy some books and get some autographs—it’s FREE! I’ll see you there!

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Unintentional Part 2

So last week I started off thinking I was participating in a blog tour that I’d accidentally already done, then shifted to the release of The Remaining, then started yakking about the projects currently in the works. Well, I got kinda excited talking about it but really ran out of space…so I wanted to finish talking about the other projects I’m working on that just aren’t quite as far along.

Trumps1.2-3  trumpslogoSo first up I’ll give you the Cliff Notes version on this first project. In the late 90s, I started working with artist Anthony Pereira, an artist I’d actually discovered while working at Malibu. We decided to do a project. He finished the first issue…and then promptly disappeared. Seriously. Well, fifteen years later, he’s now found—AND working on issue #2 as if no time had passed. It’s really kinda cool. But, the fact that the first issue of Trumps is completely penciled is the reason this one is listed first here.

I’m in the early stages of a Champion mini-series with artist Kevin Tuma. Kevin’s been around for a while and we’ve actually worked on a single issue before—but it was never published. Kevin drew issue #3 of the ill-fated Vortex mini-series published by Comico. While I haven’t asked, he’s probably still owed a chunk of money like the rest of us. Champion, for those of you who are paying attention, was a secondary character in Cat & Mouse vol. 1. He played a more pivotal role in SilverStorm vol 2. So there are some changes in store for the character, but I think you’ll like what’s going on with him.

BlogBeltThrough my old Malibu pal Kurtis Fujita, I “met” artist Gabriella Rosetti. On facebook (of all places, right?) Kurtis pointed out that one of his martial arts student was also a really talented artist. And because Kurtis is certainly one whose artistic “filter” I trust, I want to check out her work. I was blown away by her pencil work! We started chatting and she’s now working on the preliminary sketches while I flesh out a plot. I don’t have her permission to post this image—and while I should have asked first, I’ll risk reprimand because I didn’t plan ahead better and because I think you really need to see this so you can get excited, too! I know it’s just a peek, but I’m so excited to see what she comes up with. It’s a straight sci-fiction piece…and I’ll just leave it at that until we’ve got a little more.

EPSON MFP imageA few months ago I reconnected with another artist I worked with back in the Malibu days and we just swapped a handful of emails before it came up he was interested in doing more comic work. As I don’t have an editor’s budget anymore, I laid it out for him and he was still interested and so we’ve kicked around the idea of a second Demon’s Tails mini-series. Patrick Rolo has drawn a few sketches at this point, as I’m still fleshing out the plot for it as well. I love the way he handles Demon, though…so I hope you’ll be seeing much more here.

Last, but certainly not least, I’ve just started talking to an independent publisher about doing a series of graphic novels. While nothing’s set in stone yet, I’m very excited about the optimism and excitement displayed by the publisher. Yes, I’m intentionally being very vague because of that very thing. I don’t want to say too much. I will say this (so those of you really paying attention might actually figure out which project it is): the story started as a comic series then shifted to an illustrated novel. The novel is written. Finished. The content screams for images, though, and so I’m SOOO excited to be talking about turning it into a series of graphic novels. Yep, you’ll definitely hear more here when I can talk about it.

A few other things kinda cool—not quite as exciting as the new stuff, but still kinda cool. I’m working on graphic novel collections/compilations for some of my older work that is no longer available for whatever reasons. I’ve collected as much of the original art as I could find and am moving forward. First up will be Demon’s Tails (and it helps, I think, that I’m working on vol. 2!), followed by Krey. The only way these are currently available are as back issues—and likely in the reduced boxes. I know I pick them up from the reduced box when I can find them to take them to shows—but I’m tired of looking, so I’ll just print up the compilations and also try to make them available digitally!

Dang it, got long again. Thanks for hanging in with me!

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Northridge Earthquake 20 years later

Some events in a person’s life stay with them forever, most of them firsts: first kiss, first touchdown, first car, etc. Other events as so big to us that they just embed themselves in our memory and stay there. There are two times in my life when I really thought I was about to die.

Twenty years ago, the Northridge earthquake struck at 4:30 in the morning. I was in bed, sound asleep, having been up late and out on the town the night before. BJ and I went with some of the people she worked with at CSUN to a comedy show in downtown LA. We had a great time, but came in late.

People asked me if I knew what it was when it hit, after all, I’m a Mississippi boy and I’m more accustomed to tornadoes than earthquakes. But the answer to that is absolutely yes—I knew exactly what it was. And it scared the crap out of me.

The quake, 6.6 or 6.8, depending on the source reporting, lasted for about 40 seconds. We lived on the bottom floor of a two storey apartment complex on campus and I thought it was about to fall in on BJ and I and kill us. We didn’t know what else to do, so we just held on to each other.

For 40 seconds we told each other over and over that we loved the other…and hung on tight to one another.

It’s fortunate it was dark and we couldn’t see anything because I think that would have scared us even more. We’d have seen items flying across the room. The dresser at the end of our bed was on the opposite wall, upside down.

For 40 seconds, I thought I was about to die.

When it stopped, our first thought was to get out. As we exited our bedroom into the long hallway, we discovered we had about a foot and a half which we could walk: the closet doors which lined the hallway had buckled out leaving us that small room to walk. Because we couldn’t see, I felt my way along the wall. When we turned the corner, the hallway door was open so I reached in and grabbed a coat.

Our feet crunched through the living room a small ways to the door. What I couldn’t see then, was that my two bookshelves had emptied all the contents into the living room. Items from the small kitchen that was attached, had found their way to the living room and most of it shattered. We lost all but a couple of pieces of the good china we’d received at our wedding.

I could probably go on for a long time about that night and the following months, but you probably wouldn’t want to read that much. BJ was the highest ranking school official on campus for several hours—we lived there, duh. She dove in to the task of caring for all the students on campus—she wrangled her crew together and put volunteers to work. It was pretty impressive.

A lot of people took really good care of us after that—after all, we’d lost our place to live! My colleagues at Malibu proved that they weren’t “just” colleagues and in fact were extended family by helping us sneak in to our apartment—which had been condemned—and get all of our belongings out and moved to a storage unit. Tom Mason and his wife let us live with them for a while—something I’ll never forget because we were essentially homeless at that time. We lived in a residence hall at the Jewish University on Mulholland after that until CSUN had a new place for us to move in to and return to campus.

I had problems sleeping for about year after that.

Even today, if I feel the house shake, a little chill runs down my spine.

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