07Jul/20

Kickstarter is live!

We’re live!

Hey everyone! We’re back again for another double feature kickstarter as we bring you Bloodline one-shot, and Friar Rush #1 (of 3). Let me be quick to state upfront, that like all previous (and future!) Silverline kickstarters, both of these comics are FINISHED. We just need you to help us get the funds to print and ship them.

Both projects date back to Silverline 2.0 (the late 90s). Bloodline was completely finished (in black and white) and Friar Rush was penciled. Unfortunately, the industry crash that affected so many, also caused Silverline to cease production. The art was sent to writer Sid Williams with the idea that he might decide to do something with them later. Fast forward to last year when Silverline relaunched and I reached out to Sid to find out if he still had the art for both projects. He did. So we found Jeremy Kahn to add colors to Bloodline (penciled by Rob Sacchetto with inks by Terry Pallot), and we got John Martin to ink Aaron Humphres pencils on Friar Rush, while Rebecca Winslow added color…and we’re quick to say that BOTH comics look fantastic!

Like the last kickstarter, the primary kickstarter version is a flip book. The kickstarter covers are by Steven Butler (Bloodline); Aaron Humphres and Rebecca Winslow (Friar Rush #1). Every single page of original art (in some state) is available—that’s a LOT of original art! At the encouragement of several of you, we added a “variant cover” for both books. The variant for Bloodline is done by Cat & Mouse penciller Alex Gallimore, and the variant for Friar Rush #1 is done by John Martin and Mickey Clausen.

The variant covers

The variant covers

Lots of cool stuff to be had—mostly, it’s comic books, though! So jump on over and check it out.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/rolandmann/bloodlineandfriarrush1?ref=600gof

Also, don’t forget that you can catch Silverline live three times a week: Sundays and Wednesdays feature an assortment of us talking about various comic book things—yes, we’ll take requests!

Monday is a 1on1 where we sit down with a single Silverline creator and just have a chat with them.

We start at 9pm (EST) each night.

You can find us live on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/SilverlineComics/

On youtube: www.youtube.com/silverlinecomics

And even on Twitch: https://www.twitch.tv/silverlinecomics/

(you can make 60 second clips on Twitch—you should check that out!)

Thanks, as always, for your support. We couldn’t do any of this without you.

30Jun/20

One Shot: Bringing it All Together – Lettering Cures or Kills by Wes Locher

If sequential storytelling is the invisible art, then comic book lettering is an invisible-invisible art, viewable only through the MacGyver-esque day-saving bomb-thwarting tinkering involving lemon juice and a lighter.

For many fans, the “what” of comic book lettering is limited to the placing of dialogue, captions, and word balloons on the comic book page. However, in reality, it is so much more than that. For instance, it also involves placing sound effects.

But wait, there’s more!

Lettering is an art form in itself that requires not only a keen design eye but also a mastery of the language of comics. Letterers must view a comic book page as a whole, choosing where to place those word balloons and captions in order to successfully lead the reader’s eye across the page from the first panel to the last.

Think for a moment about the last comic you read. Did you have trouble knowing which word balloon to read next? If not, then you were blessed with professional comic book lettering. If you were lost on the page and had to take a wild guess, then you were a victim of amateur work.

In fact, a comic book can have PEN/Faulker-worthy writing and the most imaginative, beautiful art since Kirby, but it can quickly be destroyed by shoddy, unprofessional lettering.

Once all dialogue and captions are on the page the letterer is also responsible for adding in the sound effects that will breathe life into the title’s action sequences.

This doesn’t simply block letters thrown onto the page—oh no!—a letterer must ensure the sound effect sits appropriately with the art and visually represents the actual sound. The punch to the gut of the protagonist’s enemy might be called out as “Whud” in the script, but no matter the variation (thud, fwump, whumph, fud, tup, et al), the letterer must represent this hit so the reader both feels it and hears the sound in their mind’s eye.

This is known as onomatopoeia (which only took me six attempts to spell correctly) and indicates a word that phonetically imitates, resembles, or suggests the sound that it describes.

These sound effects provide a soundtrack to the book and allow a letterer to show their creativity. Most letterers develop their own “signature” style for sound effects, using it as a way to differentiate themselves. After all, word balloons and caption boxes generally all look the same, and sound effects are crucial to adding a dash of fun to the letterer’s workload.

Next time you read a comic, ask yourself: “How was the lettering?” if you can’t think of anything negative, then you were treated to the best that the industry has to offer. And often, having nothing negative to say is the biggest compliment one can give a pro letterer.

It’s my hope that this brief overview provides you with a bit more information and understanding when it comes to the role and responsibilities of a comic book letterer. Perhaps you’ll even gain a bit of respect for the work once you’ve closed the back cover on your issue. Though it’s more likely, you’ll probably think, “Oh, yeah, someone placed the dialogues, captions, and word balloons on the comic book page. Neat.”

 

23Jun/20

Title Spotlight: The Scary Book

Doom! Doom Upon Ye! The world is ending and . . . is that a giant lobster demon?!

     The Scary Book is a story where our heroes must unravel a shadowed mystery involving the dark powers of the occult. Unlike titles with similar subject matter, this story isn’t highlighted by abstract terror and gore, but instead by hilarity. Each issue is packed full of jokes, and references delivered in a consistently impactful tone. This four-issue series is a must-read for fans of dark comedies.

The story starts with Marty Applegate, owner of Applegate books, receiving a delivery of strange books he didn’t order. Even after getting his order fixed by swapping with the intended recipient of the strange tomes, one escapes their scrutiny and finds itself on Marty’s shelves. While Marty isn’t looking, a man named Caduceus purchases the book from the clerk. Shortly after that, pandemonium breaks out. 

As it turns out, that book was actually a book of spells penned by the devil himself, Lou C. Fer. He puts out a new batch of books on occasion so that advanced conjurers can give his demons work on Earth. Turns out Hell is even tiresome for the Demons, which is probably why they got a union organizer. The problem is that this book began making the rounds. All the major demons have been summoned out of hell and there is no one left to torture all the damned souls. Lou needs his demons back and in order to do that, he’ll need Marty to track down who bought the book and stop it from circulating.

In issue 2, we meet Marty’s cadre of book hunters as they travel through a world being torn apart as mass conjurings and spells are unleashed by even the most inept of magical practitioners. The first is Crimson, a cursed soul sent by Lou C. Fer to make Marty aware of his quest and assist him in completing it. Crimson sold her soul for beauty and has been stuck in hell to suffer the punishment for vanity ever since. The chance to work back on Earth finally gives her the opportunity to fully use the boon she received in her pact. The two of them enlist the help of Phillip Chandler, a private eye whose career earned him several films made about him starring himself. Phil proves to be an interesting addition to the team as he is mentally stuck in his role. He speaks as if he is providing narration and dialogue in a voice-over session. The trio follows the first clue to a cult performing a conjuration. 

That encounter sets them on the right trail. They trace the book back through all the hands that have held it since it was initially purchased. On the way, they encounter a whole slew of fascinating characters, unsavory beasts, and what street prophets believe to be the end of the world. Eventually, they get their confrontation with the book’s holder and things only get stranger from there. 

What really sets The Scary Book apart from other mysteries is the tone and voice in which the story is delivered. Even when compared to other comedies nothing really comes across as wholly unique but expected as The Scary Book. It sits in the intersection of three genres, comedy, mystery, horror, and behaves the way you’d expect a story in any one of those genres to behave but because it does all three so flawlessly, it is entirely its own story. It is somehow both paying homage to great assets each of these genres can employ at the same time as being irreverent to all the tropes that can make those same genres cheesy and silly. 

Writer Sidney Williams’s voice really comes across through the three main characters he employs. Marty delivers a classic dry wit that serves to give the perspective of the average person caught up in world ending nonsense. Pair that with Crimson who has experience with both mundane and the demonic and is just tired with it all. The color commentary and banter provided by these two immediately sells the reader on the intended atmosphere and gets them invested in the characters as people. Then there is Phillip Chandler who is a world unto himself. Not only does he only talk through first-person narration as if he were the voice-over of a hard-boiled detective movie, but he brings the same style of Hollywood flair to solving the team’s problems. While this is “the real world” for Marty and Crimson, this is just another shot for Phillip, so of course he attempts to handle every situation as over-the-top and high-octane as possible. 

With characters as loveable and strange as these, it’s no wonder that this universe is being expanded in the near future. Writer Sidney Williams has written a spinoff called Something Big! This story will follow Phillip Chandler and a new host of characters as they tackle a brand new case brought to Phil’s desk. This will, of course, be brought to you by Silverline Comics.

The Scary Book was written by accomplished novelist Sidney Williams, whose recent releases include Dark Hours and Disciples of the Serpent. Sidney has also written comics such as The Mantus Files, Marauder, and Sirens.

The The Scary Book was pencilled by Steve Willhite. Steve has also done work for titles like FUBAR and Jesus Hates Zombies. Steve also inked issue 4 of The Scary Book.

Issues 1 through 3 of The Scary Book were inked by Dan Schaefer who Silverline adepts would recognize from The Mantus Files and Cat & Mouse. Dan has also inked for The Green Hornet, New 52, and Predator.

Nick McCalip lettered issue 1 and pages 1 through 9 of issue 2. Nick has also lettered for The Mantus Files, Cat & Mouse, and Krey.

Debbie Woods lettered pages 10 through 24 of issue 2

Brad Thomte letters issue 3. Brad also lettered Switchblade, Marauder, Silverstrom, Pantheon, and Mouseguard: Tales of The Guard

Mike Belcher lettered issue 4. Mike is perhaps most well known for creating his own title Man in The Mask for AMK Comics.

16Jun/20

Craft: Sid VenBlue – The First Steps Are The Most Important

Hello, Silverline Family! I had the pleasure of chatting with industry newcomer Sid VenBlu. Sid is a fantastic colorist working on Trumps. Already possessing an outstanding portfolio and it won’t be long before she has a fantastic career in comics. In the following article, Sid talks about the first steps she takes when she opens up a brand new page to be colored.

The first steps are always the most important ones.

Coloring sequential pages is a little more than just coloring in the lines. I learned that not long after I officially entered the comic book industry. Color has to contribute to the linework, making sure it doesn’t overpower it, but also adds to the storytelling. Coloring has to be able to give the proper environment and make sure that the reader focuses on the right spots in each panel such as where the light should shine brighter or shadows should cast deeper shadows.

But before jumping into adding any special effects and knockouts, it’s really important for me to understand what has to be done in the first steps after opening the comic page in the coloring program. More than once, I’ve found myself having to redo a whole bunch of work because I made a sloppy start in the file, so in order to avoid that I made my own system that I’ll explain.

Before anything I want to make sure that all my needed files are open, that being the script, page and one or two already colored pages (I use Clip Studio, but this can perfectly work with photoshop and other programs). Once I start working I do not want to cut my flow. It is also the same when making sure that you have all you need in your work area, coloring takes time and consumes pretty much my whole day, so If I want to get things done, I’d better not interrupt my workflow.

Now that I got all I need I analyze the page and notice the important parts of it. If the page has a big character reveal then that would be the most important panel and it’s what you want to highlight the most. In a layer below the inks I make a layer only dedicated to the flat colors, and for that, I use a sharp brush tool, with anti-aliasing to the minimum or just disabled, That way the edges of the colors will be sharp and won’t blend together, so I can grab the color I want to work on without missing pixels or having odd borders. Choosing the color palette right now is not my main priority, since what I want to do first is to figure out what should be brighter or darker depending on the focus point on each panel, and for that, you can go with just gray tones.

It’s also important to go from macro to micro. For example, divide the sky from the floor; then the people standing on the floor, then the clothes of the person and then the facial details, that way you make sure there are not loose pixels here and there, and it’ll help you keep track of the flats on the page. Once I consider the flats done and all the elements properly separated I can start the next step of coloring. More than once I’ve had to go back to the flats layer in order to better separate a character from the background. Doing this has helped me skip unnecessary steps more than once. 

Flatting can be a very tedious job, it takes time and figuring out all the different pieces of each page, as a colorist I am always eager to add the magic touches and those fancy glows over metal surfaces. But when having to work with several pages and open files, proper setup and flats are what has been keeping me from having to color pages all over again. 

These first steps are very important to me considering I am in my first steps as a colorist in the industry. Learning has been constant trial-and-error, but I’m always taking a step forward. 

09Jun/20

Silverline Creator Spotlight: Thomas Florimonte

Each month we’ll be shining the spotlight on a Silverline creator and sharing their secret origin story, learning what makes them tick, and giving you the scoop on how they came up in the comics world.  

Up this time is Thomas Florimonte, a comic book artist who has worked for such companies as Marvel, DC, Gallant, Chaos, Malibu, and others…as well as Silverline Comics, of course. Tommy is also a partner in the premiere digital comic printer, Ka-Blam.

Now, without further ado, we present to you…

12 Questions with … Thomas Florimonte!

SILVERLINE: So, who are you and where do you hail from? 

Hi! My name is Thomas Florimonte, Jr. Although I never developed that sweet southern accent, I grew up in south Mississippi. I now live in the central Florida area with my wife Rene’. So I guess I’m officially now a Floridian.

SILVERLINE: What would you say it is you do here at Silverline?

Currently, I’m inking the upcoming title Trumps. BUT this isn’t the first Silverline-ish book I’ve worked on. Back in the day, I inked several of the original run on Cat & Mouse and Demon’s Tails. AND have worked with Roland Mann on so many books for Silverline, Malibu Comics and others. I give Roland, along with buddies Steven Butler and Mitch Byrd the credit of helping me break into the comic business and giving me some of my first paying work.

SILVERLINE: Where might Silverline readers have seen your work previously?

I broke into the comic biz way back in the early 90’s. In that 25+ years, I’ve racked up a long list of comic creator credits (writing, penciling, inking, coloring, publisher…) and have worked for just about every major publisher out there: Marvel, Malibu, Chaos!, Acclaim, Gallant Comics (to name a few), working on various titles such as Spiderman and Lady Death to Magnus Robot Fighter & Nightman… I’m still plugging away with my own creator owned projects through INFERNO Studios’ line of Kid Hero comics: Zomboy: Kid Hero, Lil Na’ & SoSo, Vinny: Things that go WOOF in the night… My latest projects include new issues of Mystery GirlzZomboy: Kid Hero  (INFERNO Studios), Miniature Man (Gallant Comics / Inks) and a new upcoming project titled Trumps (Silverline / Inks). I also co-own and run the very popular comic printing company: Ka-Blam Digital Printing- The one stop print house for all comic creators. And also IndyPlanet– A online print-on-demand comics shop that works directly with Ka-Blam.  

SILVERLINE: When you’re not making great Silverline comics, what do you do in your spare time? What are your hobbies?

Other hobbies? Who has spare time?  My main time sink is keeping up with the day to day running of Ka-Blam Digital Printing. Oh- Did I not mention that I’m co-owner of the best print-on-demand comic printer in the world? I am, so when I’m not printing other people’s comics, inking the Silverline Trumps comic I’m working on my own creator owned Kid Hero line of comics from INFERNO Studios (www.infernostudios.com): Zomboy, Lil’ Na and SoSo, Mystery Girlz… Did I forget to say that what little time I have left, I spend it all with my wife and friends at the Disney Parks and riding my bike. I try to put in 10-30 miles a week on on my bike. More if I can.

SILVERLINE: Many creators at Silverline have been in the comics industry for years — what’s kept YOU plugging away at comics?

Always loved comics: Read them as a kid. Read them as a teen. Read them in college. Started making comics professionally right out of college. Started a business to print comics for myself and others shortly there after. Still doing it now. Doesn’t feel like a job. In fact, I’ve always said I doing my best not to get a real job.

SILVERLINE: What was the first comic you remember reading that made you think, “Hey, I could do this!”

Never thought that. But my first comics, though I didn’t know they were comics, had to be Sunday strips in newspaper. Loved reading Peanuts and all that stuff when I was younger.. But comics- I fell in love with Spiderman as a kid. Always have and still am. Doesn’t matter what it is- Spiderman and his bunch are my favorite. I read other stuff, both Marvel and DC, but Spiderman… That and Star Wars was what I nerded, before being a nerd was cool, out for. Anything and everything that had the web head or Darth Vader I could get my hands on, was mine. I’m so easy to buy for.
So when it looked like I was going to start making comics, in the back of m mind, my main objective was to work on the Spiderman comics. AND I did.

SILVERLINE: What’s on your playlist? Who/what music do you listen to, and do you listen to it while you work?

Music- NO. I watch TV when working on comics. I learned a long time ago that I could watch TV and work on comics at the same time. Not a problem.  I’ve also thrown in Podcasts. And now that I draw and ink everything digitally, I don’t spill ink all over the couch.

SILVERLINE: Who were some of your earliest influences on your art ?

I’m all over the place. I really don’t have one. Everybody I guess. I’ve had the knack of being able to analyze different styles then pick the stuff I wanted to copy. But I’d say, if there’s any one style I’m known for, most everyone likes the clean dynamic lines I get.

SILVERLINE: What was the first comic you ever worked on professionally?

While I worked on a TON of uncredited background work, my first published book was on Scum on the Earth from Aircel Comics (one of Malibu Comics imprints).

SILVERLINE: Can you still read that comic today without wincing?

Better yet. I still have several hundred copies of it in my garage AND also still have some of the original pages.

SILVERLINE: If you could go back in time and give your younger self one piece of advice that would help them better navigate the comics industry, what would it be?

I think I did pretty well: I got in young. Worked on a ton of books. Met a ton of people. Made just as many friends. Had a great time doing so. Fans liked my work. What more could I ask for? I’m still in the business. I always knew that only a few could be “Super Stars.”

SILVERLINE: After you die, would you rather your memory be memorialized with an overpass or a parking lot?

Die? Who’s doing that? Never going to happen. But… Overpass or Parking lot? Neither. I’d like a INFERNOCoaster. Yeah!!! Make a roller-coaster in my name. I’m going to start working on that now. Fun 🙂

 

02Jun/20

Silverline News: Double Feature KS ending in four days

Close as of this writing!

The kickstarter for the Silverline Double Feature of Divinity #1 and Twilight Grimm #1 is close to making goal as I write this up. Currently, there are 134 backers pledging $5,576 making 92% of goal. If you’re reading this and haven’t backed, remember that the comics are done, we just need the funding to print and ship them to you! And of course, we know you’re going to love them. So get on over and pledge if you can: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/rolandmann/silverlinedoublefeature1

Silverline Live now 3 times a week!

Yep, it’s true, and that’s our big news this week. Tomorrow (Wednesday, June 3), longtime Silverline creator Sidney Williams will be talking with a good bit of the creative teams behind Divinity and Twilight Grimm. We have it on good authority that even R.A. Jones will be joining the group via phone! https://www.facebook.com/events/2660675587554560/

Then, Sunday night (June 7), Roland will talk with a host of those who weren’t part of the Wednesday chat. They’ll talk about crowdfunding in general. Then, on Monday night, the first Silverline Live: 1on1 will debut as Roland sits down to talk with Thomas Florimonte (who will be inking at the same while he talks!).

So, if you’ve got questions, post them on the Silverline FB group page. We’ve created event pages on FB as we’re going to try them out, see if they work to help generate questions before we go live.

Next Kickstarter

Kickstarter Exclusive cover by Steven Butler

We know the current one isn’t over yet, but we wanted to let you know that we already know what we’ll be kickstarting in July, after we’ve got fulfillment (or at least most of it) for the Silverline Double Feature #1 done. July will see two Sidney Williams written comics: the first is Bloodline, an adaptation of the short story written by Sid and Robert Pettit. Bloodline is penciled by Rob Sacchetto, inked by Terry Pallot, and colored by Jeremy Kahn. The other is Friar Rush #1, the first of a three issue mini-series. It’s penciled by Aaron Humphres, inked by John Martin, and colored by Rebecca Winslow. And oh—guess what, BOTH of these are already finished. RIGHT? Two months before we even crowdfund, these are done!

Don’t forget to like us, follow us, heart us, favor us, subscribe to us, and all those social media things! As always, thanks for your support!

26May/20

Silverline Title Spotlight: Cat & Mouse Vol. #1, issues 13 – 18

Welcome to the fourth, and final, spotlight on the original classic Silverline title, Cat & Mouse.

Yes.  Fourth.  And yes. Final.

You may be thinking “What?? Final spotlight?? Each preceding spotlight reviewed a four-issue arc. This spotlight encompasses SIX issues?  An entire one-third of the original series??”

This realization may lead to thoughts such as “No . . . that’s not true . . . that’s impossible!!!”, or even “This is madness!”

Fear not, friendly reader, for this final spotlight on the original Cat & Mouse run is neither madness nor impossible.  Sit back, take a deep breath, relax, take yourself back to the early 1990’s, drink an ice-cold Crystal Pepsi and chow down on a McDLT sandwich as we delve into the conclusion of Silverline’s original Cat & Mouse saga …

Issue thirteen picks up in the wake of Cat’s (Jerry’s) brutal battle with Tooth and Nail; as Cat remains hospitalized in intensive care, Demon takes it upon himself to look after Mandy’s (Mouse’s) mental health.  A trip to his veterinary clinic puts Mandy in a better mood, enjoying the cute puppies and even assisting with some basic pet care. Playful banter and some light flirting concludes with Demon introducing Mandy to some of “his” music … to which she responds “What? Sixties music?” and rolls her eyes.  I knew I liked this Mandy girl . . . 😊

The next morning finds Demon twitterpated over his upcoming date with Mandy as he makes a rare daytime appearance at his clinic, gives his receptionist a raise, receives a grateful friends only hug and kiss in return, and muses about his apparent new “ladies man” status.

Mandy and Demon’s “floating concert on a sail barge” date goes awry as a tugboat collides with the musical barge.  Demon and Mandy heroically jump into action; Demon rushes to save the members of the 60’s cover band, Steelhammer, from possible electrocution from a fallen lighting rig while Mandy thrusts herself onto the tugboat and fights the thugs who intentionally rammed the musical barge. Demon delivers all of the band members to safety, save the guitarist who was, as was Demon, hit with an impactful electrical shock when a live speaker hit the open water.

Demon recovers, he and Mandy swim to shore to avoid any questions from the authorities (Demon’s appearance would certainly be question #1!), and Mandy explicitly tells Demon that, next time, they see one of her bands.

Again, I knew I liked this Mandy girl . . . 😊

As the light-hearted dating interlude ends, issue fourteen thrusts Mouse back into action. She reconnects with her thieving skills in an attempt to secure financing for Cat’s hospitalization and medical costs.  Her initial break-in goes awry, but she finds herself wielding her new-found pistol with ease and certainty.

Demon and Mandy continue their playful canoodling, which Demon tried to turn into a serious conversation before being interrupted by Mandy’s friend’s unexpected arrival.  Hiding hijinks ensues and Demon finds himself fuzzier after being on the wrong end of a clothes dryer cycle.Unexpected visitations continue as Martin Rossman re-enters the title, stopping by Jerry and Mandy’s apartment unannounced. Mandy has her first one-on-one conversation with Rossman, who emphatically states that he wants to help prove Cat and Mouse’s innocence but will need the two bullets that were in Cat’s possession to do so.  After visiting Jerry, and a quick phone consultation with Demon, Mandy, this time as Mouse, meets Rossman in the dead of night to deliver the evidence.  However, he is not alone . . . accompanying him are his personal lawyer and a United States Marshall. Rossman announces that he is turning state’s evidence against the Mafia . . .

And Champion returned in this issue, as well, with shadowy figures in search of him.  For what nefarious reason? Only time will tell . . .

Martin Rossman’s deal to turn state’s evidence is on center stage of issue fifteen as his family goes into witness relocation and the Mafia boss is taken into custody, though later released due to “lack of evidence” (AKA – Jury Tampering).  The Yakuza are pleased with the Mafia coming under the microscope of the United State’s State Department and Kunoichi ordains her next pair of students as ready to take the names Skull and Crossbones.  Demon’s positive impact on Mandy continues after their first “overnight stay” as she takes his suggestion to complete her GED (High School Equivalency Certificate – AKA “Good Enough Diploma”) and she enrolls in classes to earn this certification.  The nefariousness around Champion continues as an individual claiming to “work for the government” offers him a job in New Orleans. And nary a panel featuring Cat appears this issue!

Issue sixteen begins with a bang (well, technically, a BOOM) as it picks up precisely from the moment issue fifteen wrapped. An assassination attempt on Martin Rossman follows his departure from the courthouse where mob boss Vito Ruggieri had just been released.  As Cat’s return to his own title begins, Ruggieri’s name is dropped multiple times.  Officers (on the take) continue to “look after” Cat, while wondering who he is and why Rossman ordered him protected, and state Ruggieri’s interest in the hospitalized (and still unidentified) Cat.  One of the officers provides a vial – from Ruggieri – to the attending physician who, in turn, injects its contents into Jerry’s motionless body.  “Coincidentally,” Jerry’s condition takes a turn for the worse this issue as his kidneys begin to shut down and a hospital official indicates that his only chance for survival is a complete kidney transplant.

Mouse’s quest for protection – in the form of Kevlar or an equivalent – continues as she “visits” an off-the-beaten-path police warehouse that Martin Rossman identified as one that would contain such body armor.  Mouse also imparts on a quest to secure a replacement kidney for Jerry from Japan’s black market.  She approaches her former teacher, Kunoichi, requesting her assistance in setting up such a purchase.  Meanwhile, Kunoichi is battling her own issues as an unsuccessful attempt to recruit her to assassinate the Yakuza’s leader (known as the Oyabun) leaves her on unsteady grounds with other powerful individuals in the organization . . . individuals that have located the off-the-grid Tooth, who had been in hiding since the conclusion of issue twelve, and recruits her to assassinate the Oyabun instead!  Her payment? Delivery of Cat for her to extract revenge as she sees fit . . .

Rossman, still alive after taking a bullet to the chest, is moved out of New Orleans under the cover of darkness en route to his waiting family, now in witness relocation, in South Dakota.  Family connections are strong in this issue as Champion finds himself now in New Orleans, having accepted the job from the guy “from the government,” encounters his ex-wife, unexpectedly, during his first walk through the city!

Kunoichi, loyal to the Oyabun, seeks his assistance in procuring the black-market kidney for Cat.  As the Oyabun inquires what he would gain in return, a disheveled and unhinged Tooth bursts in and announces she is there to kill him. Kunoichi pledges to protect his life in exchange for the kidney and pushes for an immediate agreement.  And cue the cliffhanger music as issue sixteen ends and issue seventeen begins, picking up at the same precise moment . . .

A protracted, bloody, brutal, limb-severing battle between teacher and student ensues and concludes with Kunoichi’s absolute victory over her former student.  Champion, in uniform and in the heart of New Orleans, receives his own “field agent badge” as he meets a “contractor,” also noted as one of the founders of a “new government branch.”  The badge? Fake.  The contractor?  Ruggieri.  The other “governmental agents?”  Mafia.  The stories they tell, including one where Cat and Mouse supposedly had killed Martin Rossman?  Lies.

And what of Mouse? She’s having vivid nightmares of impregnation with Demon’s child . . . well, children . . . well, litter of children. Being delivered by reverse-anthropomorphic  versions of Vet Demon and Nurse Nancy.  Visions of Cat chastising her lack of responsibility and self-control haunt her. The nightmare is interrupted by Kunoichi, arriving unannounced, who quickly catches Mandy up on her battle with Tooth, her deal with the Oyabun, and the danger that Cat is in now that his identity and location is known by both the Mafia and factions of the Yakuza.

Kunoichi’s newly ordained graduates – Skull and Crossbones – are shown to be loyal to the Oyabun’s chief rival, Inagowa, the one who called for his death.  The duo commandeers a Dirigible and make their way to the hospital, intent on kidnapping Cat, no matter how many Mafia members they need to kill on the way to fulfilling their mission.  Kunoichi and Mandy race to the hospital only to see Cat being loaded into the airship but are too slow as Skull and Crossbones sail away with him in tow. Turning to the Oyabun for assistance, Kunoichi and Mandy come face-to-face with his rival, Inagowa, who has anointed himself as the new Oyabun upon the dishonorable departure of his predecessor.  Inagowa, as the new Oyabun, offers the women the same deal he offered Nail – delivery of Cat upon the death of his predecessor.  Kunoichi refuses a second time while Mandy emphatically announces that she will do it.  Kunoichi and Mouse locate him, hiding on a ship, sailing away to hide. Kunoichi offers him one last opportunity to regain his honor and offers him a blade to do so with.  He refuses, lunges towards the port door to escape, and is confronted by Mouse, gun drawn and ready to fire!

The Oyabun is dead. Long live the Oyabun.  Issue eighteen, the final issue of the original Cat and Mouse saga, begins with Mouse and Kunoichi delivering the dead body of the original Oyabun to his usurping successor, Inagowa.  The large gunshot wound makes it crystal clear that it was Mouse who delivered the killing strike, as promised.  The new Oyabun identifies the local zoo as the location in which they can find Cat.  Mandy locates him, in a tiger cage, being “protected” by Skull and Crossbones.  Petty banter ensues but the assassins assure no interference will occur.  Mandy enters the cage and repentantly shoots an attacking tiger to protect Cat.  The two women accompany Cat to Japan, where a donor organ is provided, surgery is completed, and prognosis for recovery is positive.  After kidney implantation, a horrifying lucid dream jolts Jerry (finally) awake from his coma.

One final mission is performed; Mouse, having an uneasy feeling about the organ donor process, asks Kunoichi to accompany her and investigate the organ donor facility.  She had a bad feeling about it  . . . and she was right.  The “donors” were unwitting individuals, mostly homeless people and missing kids, who the Yakuza provide to the “facility” who, in turn, supply human organs as needed.  The “donors” are awakened by Kunoichi and Mouse’s arrival and lead an “undead” uprising against the guards, doctors, and workers at the “facility,” an uprising that the ladies refuse to interfere in, thus allowing the “donors” to extract their revenge.

The final page of issue eighteen reunites our title characters, finally!  As Jerry continues to recover from his injuries in Japan, Mandy catches him up on everything that had happened during the intervening passage of time.  Sporting a very Nick Fury eye-patch, and still requiring a wheelchair as he is at the very beginning of a multi-month recovery, Jerry thanks Mandy for everything she has done for him.  Overlooking the mountainside, she shares that she likes the thought of them staying there and leaving the mess of New Orleans behind . . . maybe permanently.

The End!

Well, not quite . . . 😊

Although the “The End!” caption closed out issue eighteen, and with it, the original Cat and Mouse series, the final two issues also served to lay groundwork for the continuation and growth of the Silverline universe of characters!

Champion, still in New Orleans, attempts to woo his ex-wife back into a relationship.  It’s revealed that they have a daughter together.  As Champion (who we now know is named Dan) and his ex-wife (Ann) are out on the town, they encounter a shadowy creature assaulting a man in an alleyway.  Dan confronts the shadowy figure, who he (incorrectly) surmises must be Cat due to his appearance (brown fur, tails, glowing eyes . . . yeah, it’s Demon!) and, through his courageous intervention and bravery, impresses his ex-wife.  The story of Champion, working with “the new branch of government” will continue in one branch of the Silverline universe . . . more on that to come!

Demon, after departing from the alleyway (and after letting Dan know he’s “number one”), realizes how flustered he has become since the Church of Abaddon has entered his life.  The man he was assaulting in the alleyway?  A cult member who he was trying to extract information from, even if he had to “beat it” out of him . . . until he was interrupted by Champion, that is.  The Church of Abaddon saga continues in yet another branch of the Silverline universe . . . Demon’s first solo mini-series, Demon’s Tails! (available for purchase HEREhttps://indyplanet.com/demons-tailsshameless plug!  😊 )

As we close the book(s) on the original Cat and Mouse series, we look forward to the continuing adventures of many of the supporting characters introduced throughout these eighteen issues, characters featured or starring in sister Silverline publications, and some special guest stars as well.  It’s almost 2021. Do you know who your heroes are? 😊

The talent that brought these issues to life consisted of the ever-impressive:

Roland Mann – the Mann with the Plan! Cat and Mouse writer and Silverline Editorial Director, would, later in his career, become writer, editor and eventually Managing Editor at Malibu Comics.  He has been the driving force of Silverline as a publisher, including the current relaunch of the brand!

Mitch Byrd, series artist, would, later in his career, grace multiple Malibu comics with his artwork as well as provide artwork for myriad publishers on a plethora of titles.  Mitch held a notable run on the Green Lantern character “Guy Gardner: Warrior” title.

An assembly of guest pencilers pitched in to deliver issue 13, including Tim Eldred, Chris Cross, Tha Grimlen Jack, and Brian Dale!

The myriad talented Inkers over this six-issue run include:

The mighty Thomas Florimonte who also provided inks not only for Silverline’s Demon’s Tails mini-series, but also for titles from publishers including (but not limited to) Marvel, Malibu, Chaos!, Acclaim and Gallant, plus publications under his own imprint: Inferno Studios, home of Zomboy! Thomas also co-founded the industry changing Print-On-Demand service, Ka-Blam as well as its sister division, IndyPlanet!  Plus, Thomas is back at Silverline, currently inking multiple current Silverline projects!

Ken Branch, who also provided inks on multiple issues of Cat and Mouse’s sister publication SilverStorm, and also inked at Marvel, DC, Image Comics, Malibu Comics, Valiant Comics, First Comics, and Comico.

John Dell, who also inked at DC, Marvel, and Cross Gen and worked on titles including Robin, Lobo, Supergirl, and the JLA.

Dan Schaefer, who also contributed to art projects at Dark Horse Comics, Marvel Comics, Malibu Comics, and DC Comics.

Tom Romano, who is still contributing to the comic book field through his own studio, Tom Romano Art Studio.

19May/20

Craft: Roland Mann – Writing: Adapting “A Something” into a Comic.

Hey there, Silverline readers and comic creators! I was able to get a hold of a very important person at Silverline, our Editor-In-Chief Roland Mann. Roland has a long and storied career in comics that you can read about in his Creator Page. He has also worked on many projects that involved adopting other mediums to comics.

With the world now familiar with comics being adapted into phenomenal blockbusters, I wanted to look at what that process looks like going the other way. Here, Roland talks about what is involved when a writer is asked to adapt something else into a comic. – Tim

Adapting “A Something” into a Comic.

If you had asked me when I first started writing if I would do so many adaptations, I’d have told you no, that I was only going to write original stories. Stuff I’d conceived in my own head. Yet, as I look back, I’ve done quite a few adaptations: Rocket Ranger (PC game), Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (novel), Wizard of Oz (novel), Gladiator (novel; the comic was never published, but I did the work!), SadoMannequin (short film), The Remaining (feature film), and She-Devils on Wheels (B-movie)…more recently, my adaptation of Thumbelina. Then there are the works that seem to be adaptations, but are rather a “sandbox adaptation,” meaning I’m playing in the original sandbox, but I am writing original content. My Battletech and Planet of the Apes series fall into that category.

The first thing you have to consider when writing an adaptation is what exactly does the editor/publisher want. If they want an exact adaptation, that’s one thing. If you can take some creative liberties, that’s another.

Straight adaptation is a little easier, but not as creative. Adaptation with some creative liberties is what writers really want to do because—well, they get a little creative freedom.

When writing an adaptation, the first thing you have to figure out is what are the important parts? Generally, you can’t get every word of the original thing into the adaptation—so, what’s vital? And what can be cut? I like to take the original and write a summary of it. It’s not creative work, just take the thing… and write a detailed summary of it.

This is where I start looking at the scenes and make notes—“vital”, “important,” “be cool to have,” “if this is gone, no one will miss it.” Things like that. The next thing I do is examine the scenes and try to visualize how many comic pages that scene will need. Yes, it’s often guesswork, but you’re generally working with a set page number established by the editor/publisher. You know what you have to work with.

Then, I add all the pages up. If I have too many—which I always do, I look at the scenes marked “no one will miss” and start crossing through them. Generally, I keep a running tally so I know the page count. Sometimes, though, I’ll just remove all the non-essential scenes all in one swipe and then add it up. I’ll work my way down until I get to the page count desired by the editor/publisher.

My next step is to work on a page by page plot. The old Marvel method allows me to more accurately visualize what will actually happen on each page. Sometimes I find that I’ve allotted too many pages for a scene, or sometimes—more often than the other—I find that I haven’t allotted enough. But I’ll go ahead and do this for the entire story and see what the total page count is.

Once I’ve done the entire thing, I won’t go auto-delete things, but I’ll reexamine the scenes labeled as “be cool to have” and see if I can reduce the pages required. If they’re marked that way, it’s something that would be good to have, but maybe I shouldn’t devote so much space to it. In all honesty, this usually works for me to get it down to the required page count. If it doesn’t, though, I’ll go through those same scenes and try to determine which one(s) can be cut to make room. This has always gotten me there.

It’s still a lengthy process, but it’s a different one than creating a story from scratch. The main thing a writer should remember is that it’s your job to be true to the original, to capture the things from the original that fans love.

13May/20

Silverline Double Feature kickstarter is live!

Silverline Double Feature kickstarter is live!

If you follow any Silverline social media at all, you’ve seen us post SOMETHING over the last two weeks about our two exciting new titles: Divinity and Twilight Grimm. Our kickstarter is live now, and as I type, we’re 25% funded, so we’re very excited that it is going so well out the door. So, what are they?

Divinity

…is the story of Divinity Gray, an eleven year old girl whose life changes forever after the suspicious death of her parents. Marine Sgt. Zach Gray, the older brother she barely knows, becomes her guardian, but when he discovers Divinity’s mysterious healing powers, their lives take a dangerous turn. With the help of a few friends, Zach and Divinity must go on the run to keep Divinity—and her powers—out of the hands of an evil cabal.

Kevin Van Hook, filmmaker and creator of Bloodshot said this about Divinity: “Divinity #1 manages to bring a fresh take to this story of a young girl with mysterious healing powers. Alex Sarabia’s pencils combined with veteran inker Barbara Kaalberg keeps the tale moving and makes you care for the characters as you’re along for the ride. Good stuff!”

Maggie Thompson said, “It’s one of the moments that tells the reader a comic book has succeeded. It’s the moment when the reader says, “Hey! That’s all I get right now? What happens next?

       “That reaction means the story works. It means the elements have gone together to make a great mix. It means the reader cares.

       “And that’s the reaction readers will have, when they get to the last panel of Divinity #1. It’s the issue that introduces the Marine who’s had to return to the States to take care of his half-sister. And it introduces the girl who has a talent neither of them can explain.

       “Now the question is: How long will reader have to wait until #2? Because they’re going to care.”

Divinity is by: creator/co-writer/inker Barb Kaalberg, co-writer R.A. Jones, penciler Alex Sarabia, colorist Steve Mattsson, and letterer Mike W. Belcher.

Divinity #1 is full color, 22 pages. #1 is the first of a four-issue mini-series. The comic is COMPLETELY FINISHED.

Twilight Grimm

Twilight Grimm is by R.A. Jones and Rob Davis. They are joined by colorist Mickey Clausen and letterer Mike W. Belcher.

Twenty years ago, the  city of Hallowed Heights was nearly destroyed as the result of warfare between  humans and vampires. In its aftermath, the  two factions forged a most unusual “peace plan.” A high and heavily  guarded wall now splits the two sides of the city.  On one side of the wall  reside the middle and upper classes of humans.  It is clean, beautiful and  safe.

On the other side of the  wall, where a teenaged petty thief named Suzi Q has just been exiled, lies the  darkest and most horrible ghetto imaginable.  Here, amidst squalor and  vice, dwell the poor, the homeless, the forgotten.

And the vampires, led by the family of Gregor Radovic.

As long as the vampires stay on their side of the wall, the humans on the other side are willing to  pretend they don’t exist and let them rule over this so-called “Blood Zone” as  they see fit.  This includes turning a blind eye as the vampires feast upon the Zone’s human inhabitants.

Amidst rumors that the long-held truce may be unraveling, there is no human law in the Blood Zone —  save for that dispensed by a mysterious and violent young man who has appointed  himself its sole guardian from the depredations of the vampires.

His name is…TWILIGHT GRIMM.

Twilight Grimm #1 is a supernatural/horror comic; full color, 22 pages. #1 is the first of a four issue mini-series. The comic is COMPLETELY FINISHED.

Silverline Live

We’re working on over two months of Silverline Live and it’s going well. So well, of course, that we’re going to increase our frequency in June. More about that as we get a little closer. Please, if you haven’t already, consider subscribing to our youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/silverlinecomics

New Projects

We’re not going to go into them just yet, because it’s a little too early…but in the last 2 weeks, we’ve started THREE, yes, T-H-R-E-E new projects…and we can’t be more excited.

Remember, Make Mine Silverline!

05May/20

Silverline Creator Spotlight: Luis Czerniawski

Each month we’ll be shining the spotlight on a Silverline creator and sharing their secret origin story, learning what makes them tick, and giving you the scoop on how they came up in the comics world.  

Up this time is Luis Czerniawski, a comic book artist who has worked for such companies as IDW, Image, and Amigo Comics…as well as Silverline Comics, of course.

Now, without further ado, we present to you…

12 Questions with … Luis Czerniawski

SILVERLINE: So, who are you and where do you hail from? 

I’m a simple man (like the song) with a lot of dreams. I’m from Buenos Aires, Argentina, but still trying to find my ship to return to my planet.

SILVERLINE: What would you say it is you do here at Silverline?

Here I am, working with good people and doing interesting and fun things for readers, those people like us who wait there trying to read something new every day… oh, and trying to dominate the world.

SILVERLINE: Where might Silverline readers have seen your work previously?

I’ve done a lot of things, IDW publishing, Zenescope entertainment, Mohak media, Avatar press, Amigo Comics, SQP, and  hundreds of pages and covers with James Heffron and many many independent jobs.

SILVERLINE: When you’re not making great Silverline comics, what do you do in your spare time? What are your hobbies?

Draw and draw things for me. I also take care of my plants. I like to be surrounded by green and cats. I also watch TV series, etc. … simple things can also be great.

SILVERLINE: Many creators at Silverline have been in the comics industry for years — what’s kept YOU plugging away at comics?

It’s a beautiful road but sometimes difficult. Most of the cases work like in soccer leagues, big and small: some arrive, others don’t … but there they are. In my case, I never stopped being. It’s one way and I’ll never lower my arms.

SILVERLINE: What was the first comic you remember reading that made you think, “Hey, I could do this!”

I was very young. I don’t remember exactly which one was the first, but I remember the drawings were from Kirby and other title of Batman with Deadman maybe from the ’70 by Neal Adams. My mother still keeps my version of that inked cover imitating Neal.

SILVERLINE: What’s on your playlist? Who/what music do you listen to, and do you listen to it while you work?

Love music and I can’t be without it. In fact, I sang in heavy metal bands. Yes, please don’t laugh. And I still listen to some classic bands like Queensryche. I listen to a lot of progressive rock, old and new, from unknown bands or underrated ones, like Road, that maybe they have only one disc but they are great, to Opeth. I also listen to Neil Young, Patrick Watson (Love song for robots),White Buffalo, etc ,uffff a lot !!!

SILVERLINE: Who were some of your earliest influences on your art ?

As I said before, it was definitely Kirby. I read too many horror magazines with lot of great artists from the 70s that I don’t remember the names of … and then Moebius.

SILVERLINE: What was the first comic you ever worked on professionally?

My first professional comic was for IDW, a long time ago; a miniseries called CVO, African Blood.

SILVERLINE: Can you still read that comic today without wincing?

Oh, yes I can read it but not look at it, hahahaha. It’s a good story, like the one El Torres writes.

SILVERLINE: What are some non-Silverline independent comics you would recommend to readers? (no Marvel or DC, please)

I wouldn’t know which ones exactly, there are many new and interesting things to read. Amigo Comics has many interesting things, or look for something old.

SILVERLINE: If you could go back in time and give your younger self one piece of advice that would help them better navigate the comics industry, what would it be?

Ohhh, it’s a good question. I would say come out, not to stay behind the hidden curtains, that nothing matters to you, show what you do!!!

Luis is penciling and inking Silverline’s Kayless!