Tag Archives: Mitch Byrd

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!

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under General

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.

8 Comments

Filed under writing

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!

5 Comments

Filed under General

Wizard World Nashville, Ft. Lauderdale and Kickstarter

Me and Mo!

Me and Mo!

Well, those of you who are regular here know this has been a hectic month for me. The sad news is that the Kickstarter to get Citizens off the ground was unsuccessful. I’ll talk about that some when I wrap up the whole Kickstarter blog entries. But—if you really know me you know that not all hope is lost. In fact, I talk with the uber-talented Joe Badon (artist for Citizens, if you weren’t paying attention) this coming weekend about what our next move is. I definitely want to see it happen, but as a writer in a very visual medium, much of it will depend on Joe’s interest level. I’ll have more to say about that next week.

New Cat & Mouse reader Billy and I compare guns!

New Cat & Mouse reader Billy and I compare guns!

More urgently, I’ll be at Wizard World in Ft. Lauderdale this weekend. You can find me (and Joe, too!) at D28 in Artists Alley. Come by and say hello, by some cool comics from us. We’ll even sign them! I’ll even sign them for FREE! (if you don’t get the humor in that, ask me at the show and I’ll explain it to you)

Captain Hammer approves of Krey!

Captain Hammer approves of Krey!

I had a great time at Wizard World in Nashville last weekend. Daughter Brittany was able to attend with me and we were hosted by the very gracious Kyle Saylors, who was wrapped up in a music video shoot when we arrived. Kinda cool!

I got to see some old pals: chatted with Howard Chaykin and picked up almost like it was just a few months since I’d last seen him. Danny Fingeroth invited me to participate in a few panels—and much fun was had. Got to see Ronnie Prudhomme, who was about 16 the first time I ever met him: wish I could dig up the picture of me, Steven Butler, Mitch Byrd and Thomas Florimonte at his dad’s store: Paper Gold.

Books by Sara Woolley and Myke!

Books by Sara Woolley and Myke!

I also got to meet some new folks: I was able to pick up some cool swag from Sara Woolley and Myke! (see the pic) Sara was my neighbor in Artists Alley and we were on one panel together (Writing Comics).

And, of course, it wouldn’t be a comic convention without some cool cosplay folks. You should note they proudly support my work—so you should, too!

(FYI, you can always click on the images to see them in a larger size)

Batfan Spiderman is fan of Roland Mann!

Batfan Spiderman is fan of Roland Mann!

Leave a comment

Filed under General

What a bummer

Well, I had a blog all ready to go, but two events the last couple of days caused me to write this instead. The two events are unrelated, but combined just make for one bummer of a few days.

The first, and lesser, event is that my apartment was burglarized (or burgled—because I like that form of the word). They didn’t get much because I don’t really have much IN my apartment—it’s very barebones while we still wait to sell the house (prayers on that end are MUCH appreciated). Still, they broke the window and took our PlayStation (with a game in the drive) and they handpicked ONE singled DVD—left the others there (about a dozen)! I’m thankful, but I can’t figure out why they didn’t just take them all or why they picked the old 1940s Batman serials over Green Lantern.

Wait…yes, I do understand.

It isn’t so much the missing items as it is the feeling that someone waltzed into my home and took stuff that I worked (or BJ did) hard to earn money so I could pay for it. Quite simply, it makes me angry and I just want to smack them in the face!

The other downer is that I learned of the death of a friend. Terry Wagers owned Hub City Comics in Hattiesburg, MS., in the late 80s and early 90s and was incredibly supportive of me in my early writing career. In fact, it was Terry who sponsored the very first autograph session for me, Mitch Byrd and Steven Butler when Cat & Mouse was released TWagersin 1989 (see attached picture with the three of us and Terry). I don’t know exactly how many copies he ordered, but it was a BUNCH! He wasn’t only a vocal supporter mine, but of all the local comic talent in the Hattiesburg area, and he was a financial supporter, too, ordering plenty of our work to stock his shelves and make it available to anyone who happened by–and I always tried to direct people to his shop to buy my work.

Sometime in the early 90s, me, Terry, Steven and Mitch all trekked over to the Dallas Fantasy Fair. Mitch carried a big touristy camera around his neck taking pictures of all the architecture–he must have taken close to 100 pictures, and this back in the day of film! The four of us crashed in the hotel room and talked non-stop geek-stuff on the 10 hour drive there…and back! We were all packed in to Terry’s little Japanese car (Camry?)…and Terry wasn’t exactly a small guy to begin with. I still have hours of video footage from this trip!

Once I married and moved away, we dropped out of all but irregular contact. Then, he closed the shop and I didn’t hear from him for several years. It wasn’t until recently that I got the friend request from him on Facebook and discovered his battle with cancer. Unfortunately, he lost that battle.

RIP my friend Terry. Hope you’ve got a bunch of cool comics to read. You are missed.

5 Comments

Filed under General

Wizard World Comic Con 2011

Those who’ve known me for more’n a decade know that I’ve been to dozens and dozens of comic book/science fiction (recently turned media) conventions. I first began going as a fan and not long after, as a “guest.” Most of the shows I’ve been to have been in God’s country down here in the Southland: Dallas Fantasy Festival, Atlanta DragonCon, MegaCon (Orlando), NOSFF (New Orleans), CoastCon (Biloxi), MobiCon (Mobile), ChimneyCon and MissCon (Jackson), MidSouthCon and ShadowCon(Memphis), Chicago ComicCon, WonderCon (Oakland), SPE (Small Press Expo), APE (Alternative Press Expo), and a couple I’m sure I’ve forgotten. Most of those named I’ve been to multiple times, CoastCon probably being my most attended show (and the FIRST to ever invite me as a guest).

I say all that to say that when I recently attended Wizard World Comic Con in New Orleans, I had a pretty good idea what I thought I’d expect. Boy was I surprised! The guys at Wizard World—my dealings in particular were with Stephen Shamus—know how to put on a top notch show. I was surprised at multiple things: how clean it was, how smoothly it ran, how mostly family-friendly it was, how professional it was. I don’t know all the politics of it all, but I do know that Wizard World has purchased or is in the process of purchasing conventions all around the nation (they bought a spot in Nashville and I hope I get to attend that show!)

One of my personal highlights for the show was getting able to visit with and see old pals (picture: left to right: Steven Butler, yours truly, Ken Branch, Dan Nakrosis, Mitch Byrd). Wizard even worked it out so that our tables were positioned immediately next to us. Talk about convenience for our fans! The neat thing was that it’d been 20 years since me, Mitch and Steven had signed copies together and never before had me, Mitch, Steven and Ken ever been in the same place at the same time. Neither here nor there, I guess, still, it was pretty cool. Ken is pushing his hot off the press graphic novel, 35 Years Will You Survive?, a story of global warming repercussions.

I also had the opportunity to visit with Christy Butler, Steven’s wife. I think Christy is a lot like BJ (my wife—for those one or two who didn’t know) in that a little bit of “conventioning” is enough. I tell the story of BJ’s first trip to the San Diego Comic Con, the granddaddy of them all and how she showed up at the Malibu booth and said she was going to look around. Fifteen minutes later she was back and saying goodbye—she’d seen enough of the convention to suit her fancy. And she went shopping in downtown.

Fifteen minutes.

Another of my joys was that my daughter Brittany got to come along with me. She also had a good time. She got to meet several actors and ask them for suggestions about becoming an actress. Most of them didn’t really help her much AND she didn’t get to get any autographs (they were selling signatures. Adam West wanted $60 for his autograph!). However, Ray Park (the guy who played Darth Maul in Star Wars) was incredibly nice to her. And it was funny, cause she—not being a big Star Wars fan—came back to the table to tell me about it and called him the “Sith dude.”

I’ll eagerly do another Wizard World Comic show…and you should check out one in your area!

1 Comment

Filed under Projects