Tag Archives: Silverline

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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I promise I’m not ignoring you

So, it would seem like I’ve been ignoring this space since Brett graduated from high school. While I confess to being absent from the page, I promise it isn’t intentional.

Let’s catch up!

So, yeah…Brett, my youngest, graduated from high school in May. >sniff< My baby and all that.

May also saw me and some very talented artists run the CAT & MOUSE #1 kickstarter. That was funded in two days thanks to some very generous support by some very cool people—many of you included!

June saw me working hard to get it all together: get the comic as well as all the other goodies (sticker, bookmark, trading card) printed. My good pals at Ka-Blam handled the fulfillment, taking a HUGE load off me and doing a TREMENDOUS job. If you’ve got a comic thing and you want it printed: hands down, go there! Tell them I sent you!

July and August I taught considerable overload at the university. In August, I had five (5!) classes (my “normal” load is two: one campus and one online every month). I pretty much only did that—and a few store signings trying to promote C&M #1.

In September, I still had four classes, but exhaustion was hitting me from the earlier months and I just wanted to rest when I wasn’t doing school stuff.

This month, I’m “down” to three classes and things SEEM to be getting back to something resembling normal.

We’re working on CAT & MOUSE #2, but that’s all in Dean’s hands for now. I’ve got several other comic things happening that I’ll just tease you about here and get more detailed as I get more:

I’m working on a CHAMPION AND MISS FURY mini-series with my longtime pal and stellar artist Jaxon Renick. Another spectacular artist and longtime friend Chuck Bordell has agreed to ink it! Jax has done some very cool sketches that I’m not quite ready to show you, but he’s working on the first issue as I type this.

I’m working on a sci-fi short with another longtime friend and super artist Henry Martinez. Without much art, we’ve already been approached at the possibility of the story being in a sci-fi anthology!

I’ve been talking to Paul Pelletier about a new DEMON mini-series…he’s just looking for a hole in his schedule as DC is keeping him very busy.

I’ll name drop some other artists, but it’s still a little early to talk about specifics with them: Alan McMillian, Willie Peppers, Mike Belcher, Mike Kooistra (new artist—you’re going to dig what we’re working on!), and Eagle are all folks I’m still in early stages of story with. Would love to see them all happen in 2019!

No, I haven’t been able to talk Deonna Herrold into more TINY or even something new—but I continue to try!

I’m also about 95% convinced to “bring back” Silverline as a more active indy participant. There have been some pretty cool folks offer to help me this time around, and I’ve dropped lines to writers and artists that I know and the response has been overwhelmingly positive. With the woes at Marvel and DC, this seems to be a good time for independent comics to come out with some good content! And, as I know a lot of really cool comic folks, it’d be fun to do that again.

So…yeah…now we’re caught up and hopefully I won’t be so absent.

Oh—and my hogs are stinkin’ up the football field this year. My WOO PIG has become WOE PIG!

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On television in 1989

I’ve been going through some old video tapes recently, mostly because we’re still unpacking and trying to figure out what stays and what goes and so forth. I stumbled upon a box of tapes in which the tapes had no box covers on them and recognized them as the ones from our house flood in Tennessee. For those who don’t know, after we’d moved to Piggott, Arkansas, we were still trying to sell our home in Loretto, Tennessee. We went back periodically to check in, clean up, get things we needed, etc. But, we weren’t really living there.

One day BJ got a frantic call from the realtor. Seems water was pouring out of our basement. Clayton Wilbanks, the Music Minister at First Baptist Loretto, where we had been members, had a key and he sped over to open up the house. The basement had about six inches of standing water. It seems a water filter under the kitchen sink sprang a leak and best guesses put it running for about three days.

Needless to say, we lost thousands of dollars of things in the basement. I lost a bunch of expensive board games (one a very rare war game from 1930) and we had several boxes of home videos in the mix.

I say all that to say I found one of the boxes and started wondering if they would play. The first one I came across was a tape that we had started making in 1989, right after I’d graduated college and was living in a rented house in Hattiesburg with three roommates: Steven Butler, Ashley Koostra and David Rogers. We started taping all the creative processes that were going on…

Anyway, just after the release of Cat & Mouse #1 by publisher EFGraphics, Steven and I somehow found ourselves on Midday, a noon local news show in Hattiesburg. I’ll just tell you here and now, we were nervous as can be. If you happen to watch the video (embedded below for your entertainment), notice how we sit stiff as boards! We’re too nervous to even move!

It’s been fun watching some of the old videos. It’s amazing how much people change in nearly 20 years. J I may post some other stuff if I find anything interesting…or humorous like the video below.

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