Tag Archives: marvel 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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Sometimes I feel … like lunch with Stan Lee

Okay, so I don’t really feel old…but sometimes I feel old.

Let me ‘splain.

Recently one of Brittany’s teachers asked me to come talk to some of her classes about comic books, their production, etc. Her classes were graphic design classes so it was all relevant and I certainly never mind talking about comics! However, as I was talking, I mentioned one of my highlights at MarvelBu was a lunch with Stan Lee (Yes, it’s true! Me and several of the Malibu editorial crew got to have a long lunch with him. WAY cool!). The entire class of about 20 high schoolers did not respond in the “I’m impressed” fashion I usually get…so the next words out of my mouth were “you know who Stan Lee is, right?”

With the exception of my daughter, not one of them knew Stan Lee.

Not one.

And I could tell it wasn’t because they were shy or didn’t want to speak up—you can just tell. They did not know his name.

What?

Really?

What planet am I on?

How can you not know who Stan Lee is? How can you not know him from his name plaster all over every Marvel comic for more than 25 years? How can you not know him from his voice was on all the Marvel cartoons in the 70s and 80s, exclaiming his trademarked “Excelsior!”? How can you not know him from his cameos in just about every Marvel movie? Or does he just become “that old guy who’s in all the superhero movies?”

For people of my generation, Stan Lee IS The Man! Even the people who aren’t comic nerds know him. This is the man that is partially responsible as creator or co-creator for all the characters in current pop culture that is dominating the film industry (Marv Wolfman is a close second, of course!). HOW CAN YOU NOT KNOW WHO HE IS?

The sad thing is that most of them know who Elvis is. Aside from the face that Hound Dog was a song in Lilo and Stitch, for some reason, they just know. Oh, it’s not that I’m dissing Elvis, he certainly has his place in pop culture. But we’re talking Stan Lee. In 100 years, no one will know Elvis outside of a history book. Spider-Man, and possibly other Lee characters, will live on in the literary and pop culture worlds for generations. And really, there is no comparison of Jailhouse Rock to The Avengers.

See? Now you know why I feel old…but don’t really feel old.

I’m through ranting now…move along. Nothing more to see here.

Don’t know who Stan Lee is! Sheesh!

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The Next Big Thing Blog Hop hello

Hi there and welcome to my blog! For my regular readers, I beg your patience as I participate—for the first time ever—in a blog hop.

For those of you new here, you’re likely here thanks to a link provided to you by my friend and colleague, author Tom Lucas. I want to thank Tom for inviting me to participate and for encouraging all of you to check out my page.

I know that you’re getting a wide variety of authors as you make the hops. Honestly, I’m not how sure far up (or down) the string of hops I am…but I’m pretty sure you haven’t run across many like me. Good or bad? That decision is up to you. (The images on this page is a sampling of covers to things I’ve written).

I spent a little more than ten years in the comic book industry (graphic novels to you more literary types) mostly as a writer, but some of that time as an editor…and some of that time as a Marvel editor. I quit writing for a few years to take up my second career: teaching! That career led me to a side-career of speaking (at writer conferences and the like), which I never thought I’d like…and yes, the introvert in me still gets nervous. Once I got going with the teaching, I dove back into writing, this time my focus was prose. I still write comics and have several graphic novel projects in the works that I’ll be talking about on this page soon. I’ve got an agent trying to sell my YA novel, The Intern, but next week I’ll be answering my ten questions about my first novel, Buying Time, which is a contemporary fiction work…with a smattering of romance (completely unintentional on my part!), a tiny sprinkle of sci-fi (completely intentional on my part!), and a coating of faith (a natural extension on my part!).

I blog about once a week where I break all the “rules” of blogging in that I pretty much write about what I want to write about (y’know—if you’re going to “do” a blog, you need a FOCUS!). I write about writing, review the occasional book, write a little about my family, rarely politics (though those seem generate the most comments!) and whatever else strikes my fancy.

So, I hope to see you next week where I’ll also point you to five more unique writers!

Thanks for stopping by.

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Buying Time is here!

Yep, it’s finally here and I’m holding it in my hot little hands as I type—well, not literally. It’d be hard to type then. Some of you watched it over to the right of here…watched the progress and then saw it move into the “projects” section of my blog. Now, my first novel, Buying Time, is out!

I must say that I’m incredibly excited about it. That goes without saying, though, huh? The cover was done by my good friend and very talented colorist/photographer/designer Emily Y. Kanalz. If the quality of my writing inside can keep pace with the cover, then I’m in good shape! Thanks, Em!

Buying Time isn’t actually my “first” novel to have written. Not long after Malibu/Marvel shut down, I embarked on trying to write one. I wrote nearly 40,000 words on it before I realized that I pretty much hated everything about it. While I liked some of the “ideas” behind it, it didn’t contain a single character that I liked or felt I could identify with. I pretty much tossed writing on the back burner after that, and that’s when I entered graduate school with the plan to teach…which I did.

But after teaching for a few years, I got the itch to write again. I’d done some writing for newspapers (both school and local), but that didn’t count—not for what I was wanting to do, anyway. Not only that, my life had changed in a big way since I’d last written…so I dove in again. It took me about two years to finish, but finish I did. I was still searching, too, for the kind of writing I wanted to do post-comic-writer-life. While I enjoyed Buying Time, it wasn’t the kind of story that I could see myself continue to write. Ultimately—if you’re keeping score—I’m ending up writing pretty much everything now with some sort of superhero connection.

So what is Buying Time about? It stems from short story I wrote back in the early 90s about a time-traveling time salesman (I love time travel stories—and in fact, my Master’s Thesis was on “alternate histories,” fiction that explores those “what if” questions of history)…Basically, my pitch for the book is this:

If you could redo part of your life, would you? Even if it meant you died a little earlier? That’s the decision Tom Morgan and Larry Pace must make when they are approached by a time traveling time salesman. Complete opposites, both men are drawn to the idea for the same reason: to save someone’s life. But is that even possible? Can the past be changed? Add to that the problem that it’s very addictive, like a dangerous drug. Each trip back in time shortens life.

If you find yourself interested in the book—and I hope you do—you can buy it directly from me by going to this page: https://rolandmann.wordpress.com/projects/buyingtime/ and clicking on the “buy now” button, or you can hop on over to this link and purchase it through ebay: http://cgi.ebay.com/Buying-Time-Roland-Mann-/270571172656?cmd=ViewItem&pt=US_Fiction_Books&hash=item3eff4c7330#ht_500wt_1182 If you want it signed, just let me know. Autographs are free! J

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How time flies

Not long ago, I had a telephone conversation with Lou Bank, an old friend from back in my comic book heyday. Lou is a marketing guru and was in charge at Marvel during its heyday in the early 90s (another friend once said that Lou could sell refrigerators to Eskimos!). Lou and I caught up on a lot of personal and business things throughout the conversation, including the very cool fact that he is a promoter for Andrew Vachss, an author whose work I enjoy (though admittedly, I haven’t read anything of his in quite some time). That, and he was silly enough to ride a bicycle from down around New Orleans all the way up to Memphis…in the delta…in JUNE! Love’im…but he’s still a silly Yankee!

Reflecting back on the conversation, the realization hit me: it’d been at least ten years since I’ve seen Lou. Heck, it’s been more than ten years since Marvel Marvelcuted the whole Malibu division. That was in 1996. I began my work with Malibu/Marvel in 1992…that was 16 years ago. I’ve been married 18 years! E-gads!

I graduated from high school (uh-oh—age alert!) in 1983. I recently heard parents at my kids’ school talking the other day that their kids had an “80s day.” My first question—as should any sane person’s be—was WHY? 80s music was bad the first time around (though not as bad as disco). I think it’s good the 80s are in the past! Then it hit me: we used to have 50s day when I was in high school.

AIIIEEE. I’ve become my parents!

As absurd as it sounds, there’s truth to it. Many of my friends no longer have parents. They deserted them years ago. J No, I don’t mean to make light of it, but several of my friends are the “old” generation now…and that number is growing yearly. A few of my friends have already married off their own kids. I’ve yet to tell my kids that I walked to school everyday uphill in the snow…both ways, but I have told them things my parents told me:

Because “I” said so. I never liked it when my parents used it and I’d bet my kids don’t like it when I do. In truth, I try to give them legitimate and valid reasons, but sometimes “I said so” is all the reason I want to give!

Just wait until you have kids of your own. I can’t count the number of times I heard this one. ‘Nuff said.

Your face will get stuck that way.

Okay, so I haven’t told my kids that one yet…but I still find it funny.

Mom said recently that her birthdays quit bothering her…several of them back (Happy Birthday yesterday, Angie!). She said it was Angie’s birthdays and mine that really bother her now.

My how time flies.

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