11May/21

Let’s get the party started (again!)

Kickstarter update

One done, another about to launch

The overwhelmingly majority of you who backed the Twilight Grimm #2 and Friar Rush #2 kickstarter, have comics coming to you via the US Postal Service. I’m waiting on the signature cards from R.A. Jones for about 15 of you. The books are bagged and just waiting on the sig…as soon as it gets here, your rewards will go out the next day.

NEXT UP

And in just two days (that May 13 for those of you reading this at a later date), we’re launching the kickstarter to the Silverline Double Feature with the award winning Divinity #2 and introducing the new title we feel will soon be award winning, Steam Patriots #1. Do I need to remind you that these comics are done? Finished! Ready to go to print! We could send them to the printer today…IF we had the funds (that’s why we do kickstarters, of course!).

So, we need you to plan to jump on quick so folks will realize these are HOT! The link is live (just the link)…so please hit “notify me on launch” to help us with our numbers! https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/rolandmann/d2sp1

Streams

Just a reminder that we stream twice a week, Sundays and Wednesdays at 9pm EST. It’s pretty interactive, so tune in, laugh at us, poke fun at us, and ask us questions!

We stream on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/SilverlineComics),
on Youtube (https://www.youtube.com/silverlinecomics)
and on Twitch (https://www.twitch.tv/silverlinecomics).
Free to watch!

Discord

While the Discord server is live, it hasn’t been that active. We’ll take suggestions and recommendations as to how we can make it better for you. Here is your invite to join our discord server: https://discord.gg/QEYfnQbm (it’s only good for about a week, but if you see it late, just message us and we’ll get you on)

Podcasts

There have been a handful of you tell us you have a hard time watching streams…so we listened to you and now you can listen to our streams as podcasts. We’re on several different platforms and you can find the main page here: https://anchor.fm/silverlinecomics

But we’re also on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/show/6TZ3oBJUGpWhSq6NJUOdXm
on Radio Public:
https://radiopublic.com/silverline-comics-podcast-G1wpl4
on Google Podcasts:
https://podcasts.google.com/feed/aHR0cHM6Ly9hbmNob3IuZm0vcy80ZTgxZjI5Yy9wb2RjYXN0L3Jzcw==
A few others, and on iTunes (I don’t know how to get that link!)

Conventions

May 29-30: Roland Mann and Jeff Whiting will be at Suncoast Comic Con

June 6: Brent Larson, Haley Martin, Thomas Florimonte, John Crowther, and Roland Mann will all be at Lake Collect-A-Con

September 18-19: Aaron Humphres, John Martin, Brent Larson, Thomas Florimonte, John Crowther, Haley Martin, Jeff Whiting, and Roland Mann will all be at Daytona Beach Comic Con (who is also one of our sponsors!).

Make your plan to attend these shows and get your Silverline Comics signed by them!

04May/21

Silverline Is In Your House!

Literally all of us, every single Silverliner is in your house right now! That’s a lot of people, you may have to check with your fire marshal if you have the square footage.

Okay, maybe we are not literally in your house, but we can be metaphorically! Did you know that Silverline has not just one but two weekly shows that are broadcast live on Facebook, Twitch, and Youtube! We also have started turning those shows into an easy-to-consume podcast that you can listen to on the go!

That’s right, we’re in your house and your car!

, , , You can’t escape the Silverline. No one escapes the Silverline.

What does all this mean for you, receiving this newsletter in your email, or checking out this blog post on the site of your favorite indie comics publisher? It means that you have unlimited access to untold hours’ worth of comics and nerd culture content.

Spend your commute on Monday listening to the crew of Wednesday Wham put their degrees to work and dig into the craft of writing, art, and making killer comics. Spend your Sunday evening relaxing with an iced tea watching the Silver Sunday team as they flex their cultural knowledge and dig deep into comics history. Or vice versa!

What I recommend is having Silverline content on 24/7. Listen to us while you drive, work, and exercise. Watch our shows while you decompress in the evening and on the weekend. Read Silverline comics before you go to bed every night. Dream of Silverline and our immortal comics wisdom. Let us grant you eldritch knowledge of all things nerdy.

I have been told by my editor that the last line may have been too much.

However you like it, there is plenty of Silverline content out there for you to enjoy, and a ton of ways for you to make thine Silverline.

13Apr/21

Craft: AJ Cassetta – Creating the World

Hey Silverline Family! This month, nepotism won out. Our featured creator is none other than AJ Cassetta, the fantastic artist providing pencil work for my own book Wolf Hunter. He talks about a part of the craft that not many artists may think about. He provides a lesson in world building using an anecdote about his personal experience working on Wolf Hunter. Love ya, man!

Creating the World

One of the most vital requirements of an illustrator working in comics is the ability to successfully create the world in which the characters will exist. In some genres, such as science fiction and fantasy, there is the necessity of crafting elements that are imaginary; time machines, laser pistols, dragons, and goblins can be forged solely from the artist’s mind. However, when an artist is tasked with illustrating a story based on real-world events and actual locations, they must hold themselves to the highest standard of authentic recreation, particularly if it is a story based on historical events.

In this case, the artist is confronted with the task of research, and a lot of it, if they wish their work to be believable, accurate, and true. For some artists, doing copious amounts of research and reference gathering on a subject can be as arduous as studying for a physics exam, but, for others, there is a special kind of joy in breaking a subject down into smaller and smaller parts, examining them, and putting them back together to create a work of art. I find myself in the latter category, as throughout my career to date I have held several jobs that demanded complete accuracy to real-world objects, vehicles, people, and locations, and I have loved every second of it.

Take for example the subject of airplanes, something I had little to no experience drawing when I began working on Wolf Hunter. My writer was thoughtful enough to provide me with great written specifics on the make, model, and year of the planes that would be used. What’s more, he gave me photographic references as well, which helped to get a general idea of what I would be doing. These, however, were not enough. In order to draw the fighter planes as they exist in reality, I spent hours looking at different images of planes and discerning what would be useful, and what would be merely another picture flipped past as I scoured for good material. As I was nearing the end of the research process I noticed something. It still wasn’t enough. For as many still images of planes that I had collected and burned into my brain, I was continuing to have trouble visualizing them from every possible angle. To remedy this, I opened up Zbrush (a digital sculpting program) and went about sculpting the planes so I could position them in the exact pose I needed for whatever drawing I may have been working on.

There are probably many artists who work in the same way I do when it comes to research, and it has worked for me as I’m sure it works for them. However, spending all the late nights collecting reference material and making sculptures of what I will be drawing has its enemy, time. In this industry, time is everything. For this particular project, I had the luxury of lots of time which gave me wonderful breathing room to focus. There have been other jobs, however, where the turnaround time for drawings was literally hours at most, and the comfortability of time was absent. I enjoyed both equally, and for different reasons, the jobs with strict deadlines provided an exciting challenge, and the work done with almost no deadline gave me time to look over my work, again and again, to make sure everything was perfect. Whatever the case of time may be, creating a realistic setting for the characters I am working with is the most fun part of the process for me, and using all the tools and time I have available to give that extra sense of life to their world is incredibly rewarding once all the drawing is done and I know it has been done right.

23Mar/21

Craft: Haley Martin – Balancing Act

Hey there Silverline Family! I got a hold of Haley Martin who is something of an auteur. You can really see this with her ongoing comic Heroic Shenanigans. She does everything. For a lot of people looking to get into comics, this is the natural way to get your first story/book done and out there. Haley was gracious enough to share some tips on how to look past the daunting work and keep your eyes on the goal as a creator. Hopefully, after this, you feel like you have a bit more of an idea of how you can bring your passion to life.

Balancing Act – Managing Different Parts of the Creative Process


I dove headfirst into comics by making my own from scratch: writing the story, designing the characters, and sketching, inking, and coloring the pages. It’s a lot of work for one person! I’ve since experienced how much quicker and more streamlined the comic-making process can be when working on a team, but if you’re like me and enjoy having your hand in every step of your passion project, there are ways to speed up the process and keep yourself organized.

Have a checklist and a schedule, but be flexible. When I sit down to work on one of my comics, especially if it’s been a while, I can feel overwhelmed by how much work stands between me and a completed page. That’s when an organizational tool like this spreadsheet from comic artist Michael Regina is very helpful. Just plug in how many pages are in your comic and all the steps that are needed to complete a page (thumbs, inks, flats, etc) and then update the spreadsheet when you finish a task. It’s really satisfying to see that percentage go up and give you an idea of how close you are to completion. If you’re working on a large graphic novel project it may be helpful to break it down into chapters/issues rather than tackling a whole 200+ page book at once.


If you’re working as part of a team, the inker generally needs to be completely finished with a page before the colorist can start their job. But if you’re doing all those jobs yourself, you have the freedom to jump around. For example, I might be struggling with the sketch of a particular panel and need to look at it later with fresh eyes, but another panel on the same page might be ready for inks. So I’d start on that one before the pencils of the whole page are technically done. As long as the comic gets done and done well, it doesn’t matter if you do the steps a little “out of order”.

However, you don’t want to go so crazy with it that you get confused and forget steps. And you don’t want to finish all of your favorite parts of the process and then leave yourself with a full workday of only the tasks you don’t enjoy as much. As one of my college drawing professors said, “leave yourself a candy bar”. Save a part of the process you know you’ll enjoy as a reward for completing one of the less fun parts.

I know I’ve advocated “jumping around”, but you don’t want to do that all the time. You’ll get more done at a faster pace if you let yourself get into the zone. You’ve no doubt heard how important it is to warm up. If my first sketches of the day are frustrating, I’ll try to push through because I know my hand needs time to warm up. Next thing I know, an hour or two has passed and I’ve sketched more panels than I planned because I got on a roll.

The last thing I want to mention to help you juggle your different comic-making tasks is to set up a schedule. That spreadsheet I mentioned earlier can help you see how many steps you need to get done, and I would advise taking it a step further and outlining when you plan to work on each step. Schedule your work out so that you’ll be able to get the project done within your deadlines, but also leave some wiggle room. Life happens, so I find it better to give myself a range for when a task should be completed rather than a hard-and-fast I need to work on this specific task on this specific day. For example, I could schedule myself to ink page 12 on Monday and page 13 on Tuesday, or I could say I’m going to spend Monday and Tuesday inking pages 12-13. What’s the difference? Say I end up having more time on Tuesday than Monday, so I only ink half of a page on Monday but ink a page and a half on Tuesday. All the work gets done in the allotted time, but I can be more flexible about when it gets done within the time frame.

Remember, all this is just the advice of one artist, and you should do what works best for you. But I believe that once you have a system in place, your projects won’t be nearly as daunting and you’ll be finishing pages before you know it!

16Mar/21

Silverline Creator Spotlight: Rob Davis

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 Rob Davis, an artist who has worked for such comic titles as Scimidar, Merlin, Straw Men, Maze Agency…as well as the recent Twilight Grimm for Silverline Comics, of course–for which the 2nd issue is kickstarting right now: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/rolandmann/tg2fr2

Now, without further ado, we present to you…

Questions with … Rob Davis

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

My name is Rob Davis. I hail from the state of Missouri and have my whole life.

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

I’m a penciller/inker for R.A. Jones’ TWILIGHT GRIMM mini-series.

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

My greatest claim to fame, such as it is, was on the Star Trek books for Malibu and DC comics in the 1990s. Deep Space Nine for Malibu, Star Trek (Kirk, Spock, McCoy in their movie incarnations), and a single issue of Next Generation for DC. My first big “break” was before that on R.A.’s SCIMIDAR book for Eternity Comics—a precursor to Malibu.

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

I just recently retired, so I don’t have a “day job” anymore. I do, however, drive a bus for a local college. Mostly I transport their Mock Trial group but I also have been tapped to drive for the Volleyball and Bowling teams as well as shuttle the college’s International students on fun field trips. I’m hoping to dive into Model Railroading and finally do some work on my N-Scale layout that’s lain dormant for about 20 years.

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

It’s in the blood. I fell in love with comics as a kid and have never gotten over it despite it kicking me around once in a while. It scratches a lot of my creative itches.

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

I don’t think I ever had that particular thought. Mine was, “this looks like a cool, creative thing to do. I’m going to figure out how I can do that!” That first thought came reading AVENGERS issue #2. Kirby IS king!

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

I mostly listen to the oscillating fan in my studio run. I used to listen to NPR/Classical music in the studio many years ago but the stereo radio I had burned up and I have yet to replace it. I could use the desktop computer I have in the studio to either tune in via the internet or play my collection of mp3s but I’ve gotten used to not having anything playing and just “zen out”
drawing.

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

The aforementioned Jack Kirby is the biggest, but I’ve been accused of channeling Curt Swan
(long time Silver age Superman artist) and feel some influence from Gil Kane.

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

Oh, lord! I hate to bring that up but I was letterer and inker on SYPONS for NOW comics back in the late 1980s. The writer/artist on the series seemed to really despise my inking, so that’s a hard one to bring to memory. It was an interesting concept playing off the X-Men/Teen Titans vibe.

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

No! “laughing”

SILVERLINE: What are some non-Silverline independent comics you would recommend to readers?

Wow, I’m not reading much these days. I liked Grimjack, and Badger back in the days when they were active. Concrete is another favorite. Maze Agency by writer Mike Barr is in there, too. I probably should widen my horizons but not much that I see of today’s comics excites me. The last independent that looked interesting and I tried was so thin plot-wise I gave up on it after a couple of issues. I remember the days when you got three eight-page complete stories in a comic book. Anyone who has some suggestions can goad me on Facebook. 🙂

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?

Toughen up and widen your network. When the industry imploded in the mid 90s my connections had moved on and out. I did start to move that way but kept getting the rug yanked out from under me on projects: editors dying, creators yanking their projects from publishers and publishers not quite making up their minds what they wanted. That was a rough period that was hard to take.

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

Ew! Neither. No asphalt or concrete for me. Spread my ashes over a sunny, green spot.

10Mar/21

Kickstarter #2 of 2021

The TWOS!

This should have come to you yesterday (Tuesday), but I was busy putting some final touches on the Kickstarter, which goes live on Thursday. Kickstarter has finally added the ability to include ADD-ONS to a kickstarter campaign, and it took me a little extra time trying to figure it all out. I’m still not 100% sure I got it right…but I guess we’ll see in a few days.

Twilight Grimm #2 and Friar Rush #2

So—what are we kickstarting this time? I’m glad you asked. We’re kickstarters a couple of issue #2s: Twilight Grimm #2 and Friar Rush #2. Twilight Grimm #2 is done by writer R.A. Jones, artist Rob Davis, colorist Mickey Clausen, and letterer Mike W. Belcher. Friar Rush #2 is by writer Sidney Williams, penciller Aaron Humphres, inker John Martin, colorist Jeremy Kahn, and letterer Brian Dale. Don’t worry, if you missed #1, you’ll have the opportunity to add it to your pledge.

Like most of our kickstarters, there’s a lot of original artwork just waiting for you to snag and put on your wall! And like always, we’re going to count on you to help spread it around and let people know they need to come back us and help independent comics!

The kickstarter exclusive covers are both pencilled by Peter Clinton, and up-and-coming superstar who’s working on the upcoming Silverline Team-Up: Champion and Miss Fury. He’s cranking it out—already on issue #2—and it’s looking great! So if you want his covers on these books (and you DO!), you’ll need to get over and back the kickstarter. You can go ahead and sign up for it here and you’ll get a message when it goes live: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/rolandmann/tg2fr2/

Streams

Just a reminder that we stream twice a week, Sundays and Wednesdays at 9pm EST. It’s pretty interactive, so tune in and ask us questions!

We stream on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/SilverlineComics), on Youtube (https://www.youtube.com/silverlinecomics) and on Twitch (https://www.twitch.tv/silverlinecomics). Free to watch!

Discord

While the Discord server is live, it hasn’t been that active. We’ll take suggestions and recommendations as to how we can make it better for you. Here is your invite to join our discord server: https://discord.gg/7dnAp9Yy

Podcasts

They’re coming. We’re close. Watch this space.

Conventions

Slowly but surely, they’re restarting. Roland will be appearing at OLO on March 28 in Orlando, Fl. More new to come as we get them scheduled.

23Feb/21

Silverline Community Highlight

Hey Silverline Family. It’s a new year, and a new us, so we figured we’d give this concept a test drive. The one thing that allows us to be comic creators and comic pros, is you, the comic reader! What is special about where Silverline is now is that a lot of our readers are creators in their own right. This has allowed us to create a unique and truly amazing community. 

Whether you just enjoy our new releases, interact with our social media, follow our blog for tips on how to better make your own comics, or catch our live-casts, we appreciate you. We figured we could show some of how much we appreciate you guys by highlighting some members of our community who shared their comments with us. 

If you want the chance to have your comment highlighted, just post it! Whether on our blog, our Facebook, Youtube, Twitch, one of us will see it. If it stands out for whatever reason, you have a chance of being featured. 

All the featured comments today were taken off the live-casts on Facebook. They’ll probably be more varied in the future but we figured this was a good place to start. So here’s what you said:

Rob Davis: “>turning down my hearing aid<” 

Wednesday WHAM! producer Tim T.K. has a unique and loud method for introducing the show. Utilizing years of musical theatre, and punk band experience, Tim delivers a sonic experience that is sure to take a few hours off your lifespan. (I’m sorry . . . okay, I’m not sorry.)

Quinton J. Bedwell: “Yes… It’s time for a new system. CRT screens are outdated Roland”

Recently, the Silverline family got together on Silver Sunday as they surprised EIC Roland Mann with the means to get a new computer after his old system went out to pasture. This comment is great because it commemorates this awesome gesture and also points out that our EIC is, in fact, not the youngest member of the team. (Don’t fire me)

Ovin Armando Reyes: “I really loved infamous 2 it was my first platinum trophy”

Ovin is a Silverliner since the before-times! It was great to have him in the conversation on the week we were discussing video games. Achievement hunting is not something every gamer does. It requires commitment, and to platinum a game, you have to hunt every single achievement in a game. The first time you platinum or 100% a game, it’s a special feeling that you want to celebrate. It’s also great to hear how a piece of media brought Ovin so much joy because that is ultimately what we want our comics to do for someone. 

Kasisi D. Harris: “Ergokinesis”

This comment got picked for a weird and personal reason. When the Wednesday WHAM! crew was discussing the best superpowers, Kasisi brought up Ergokinesis. Which is a great power, the ability to manipulate raw energy. Elemental, cosmic, electrical, what have you. Energy manipulation is a classic. However, I (Tim T.K.), had a brief moment where I thought it was related to Ergonomics. You know, like office chairs. I had nearly fallen out of my seat with laughter, as I imagined a hero whose power allowed them to make any surface good for their joint and back health. 

Patrick Lugo: “In the 80’s John Byrne claimed Superman’s powers were all subconscious telekinesis.”

This one just blew my mind. Thinking of Supe’s powers as subconscious telekinesis makes so much sense and yet I can’t wrap my head around it. Superman has such a wide array of powers, but telekinesis could explain them all and yet it almost feels too simple. Although I suppose, he has superstrength, eyebeams, and flight because of the sun is also a bit too clean when you think about it. The question is, is that preferable over muddying the waters with fifty-thousand types of kryptonite.

I hope you guys liked having the spotlight on you for a second. Let us know, should we keep doing these, try something else, stick to the classics? Who knows your comment might just be featured next time.  

16Feb/21

Title Spotlight: Switchblade

The core mantra of boxers is fists up, chin down, and knives out. Well, at least it is for Scott Nathans, boxer by day, and vigilante by night. Scott is the man known as Switchblade, a defender of the defenseless in New Orleans and the eponymous character of the Switchblade comic.

With the recent launch of Switchblade Remix, this is a great time to add it to your wish list.



Switchblade is a classic vigilante origin story but with a splash of sports drama that ties into the core plot. Just because Scott Nathans has picked up the hobby of giving villains a gruesome end doesn’t mean he’s given up his life as a boxer, or the rivalries that come with it.

We’re first introduced to Scott Nathans in an action-packed opening as he hunts down two child predators that the jury let off. That’s also when we first see Scott use his infamous switchblade. The weapon that earned him his name.

Of course, vigilante justice is a crime itself. Enter detectives Rob and Sid. The two were tasked with finding Switchblade and bringing him to heel. The citizens of New Orleans, however, are grateful for the speedy removal of the scum terrorizing their city. The detectives are without any leads and there never seem to be any witnesses. Their job gets more confounded once dismembered bodies start popping up. These aren’t clean kills with a blade, and they don’t have criminal records. The m.o. doesn’t match Switchblade and that last thing the police want is two killers out in the city.



Scott’s life as a boxer also gets more interesting when a mysterious and skilled boxer starts training at the same gym as him. The gym’s owner, Simon, is essentially Scott’s adoptive father so he’s unlikely to pass the limelight onto this new fighter. After a few sparring matches, this new fighter, Don, gives the impression that he may be the strongest fighter there. After he brutalizes a few of the other boxers and shares some smack talk with Scott, a rivalry begins to form. One that transcends just the ring.

It’s not long after Scott’s first kills that detectives Rob and Sid receive a report of a missing fourteen-year-old boy. At the same, the butchered bodies send ripples through the ranks at Simon’s gym causing a stir among the longtime members and Don, the new arrival. As these events unfold, Scott, Don, and the detectives all set on a collision course with each other, that is sure to end with someone dead.

What stands out in Switchblade is that drama unfolds both in the world of masked crusaders at the same as in the ring and the way it ties together. As Switchblade, Scott tries to uncover the recent killings and child abductions. As himself, Scott develops enters into a rivalry with Don to prove he can’t come in and pick on the other boxers. When the predator’s identity is revealed both stories intertwine in a way that leads to a unique fusion of sports-drama and comic hero action.



Another element that gets explored rather well throughout is the moral dilemma faced by the detectives. They know that a person cannot take the law into their own hands and kill criminals who get off easy, but also that the system allows for those criminals to get off even after their wrongdoing is universally acknowledged. Rob and Sid are forced to confront their own beliefs on if the system of Switchblade is doing more good for the city.

If you like vigilantes heroes, boxing, and seeing the two be put together in a way that makes both integral to the story this is the book for you. Switchblade is a classic brawling hero but exploring the heart and skill required to be a good fighter.

Switchblade was written by Roland Mann who needs no qualifiers. Known for Cat & Mouse, Demon’s Tails, Trumps, Krey, a laundry list of more titles, running Silverline, and inspiring students.

Leonard Kirk penciled Switchblade (1-2). Leonard is known for such titles as Planet of the Apes, Galaxina, Dinosaurs for Hire, and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

Chuck Bordell also provided art for Switchblade (1-3). Chuck’s work can also be seen in Sirens, Marauder, and Silverstorm.

David Rowe provided inks.

Brad Thomte lettered the series. He is also known for lettering Scarybook, Marauder, and Silverstorm.




09Feb/21

Craft: Aaron Humphres – Sketchy Technique

In my comic book Godlings, I have developed a different way to illustrate my pages from other comics. This is not so much in the style of art per se, but the technique I do to develop the final look of the page. I wanted the pages in my comic book to look old like they are from an ancient tome. I also wanted the look of the book to be somewhat sketchy like someone was drawing the story as you were reading. I got the idea from watching the old 101 Dalmatians animated movie. In the movie the outlines of the characters were sketchy, and they would purposefully leave in underdrawings in certain scenes. I thought that style would work for my comic. I decided to have the final art in my comic book be in pencil only, with no ink applied.

In order to do this, I went about developing a certain method of production for my comic pages. Over the years I have been drawing my pages on card stock and not Bristol board. For one thing, my book was going to be 300 pages when finished and I wanted to have enough paper on hand. I bought a ream of 11” x 17” cardstock from Kinkos. It cost me 17 dollars and should cover all the pages in my book. Card stock also has a different texture than Bristol and my pencil lines tend to be initially darker. I use a cardboard backing from an old drawing tablet to draw the pages on. The cardboard is soft enough that when I draw on top of it, it helps the pencil lines sink into the paper better. I start my pages as loose sketches and darken the lines I want to keep with a mechanical pencil.

Now that I have my pages all drawn in, I photocopy them at my local copy place. The first reason is that I need to shrink the 11” x 17” page down to 8” x 11” to fit my scanner bed. The second reason is that the machine will take my pencil lines and reproduce them in black. I also adjust the dark levels in the copy parameters by two notches towards dark. This darkens the lines in the photocopy just enough to where I like them.

I then scan the photocopies into Photoshop and adjust the levels. I usually darken the scan to the midway point in the levels panel. This gives me a nice dark line in the drawing and keeps some of the light underdrawings as well. This creates the sketchy look I want while making the art clear to the readers. From there I color my pages.

02Feb/21

Silverline Title Spotlight: SilverStorm (vol 1)

There Is No Shelter From This Storm!

A SilverStorm (Volume 1) Retrospective by John Metych, III

A wealthy playboy philanthropist whose father engineered some of the most futuristic technologies of the day now dons a suit of armour to protect both innocents and those he cares about.  Who immediately comes to mind when you read that description?  Yup, me too.  Christopher Kastle, AKA Silver Dollar!

A beautiful woman who overcame extreme poverty and traumatic childhood experiences was blessed, at birth, with the gift of wind manipulation.  Thus far, she has attempted to keep her abilities hidden from the world but eventually must utilize her powers to escape captivity and, later, in public in order to preserve the lives and safety of others.  I know you’re picturing the same model-turned-adventurer / heroine as I am . . . the supermodel who professionally goes by one name . . .Natashia , AKA Tempest!!

And who doesn’t immediately picture the one – the only – cloaked villain, operating behind the scenes while he sends out his agents to do his dirty-work bidding, infatuated with the concept of developing, perfecting, and utilizing a legion of clones to attack the very foundation of assembled government, made up of constituents representing their individual interests and homelands?  You know it! Of course! It is none other than Doctor Fear!!!

Originally published in the Spring of 1990, Silver Dollar, Tempest, and their newly minted arch-nemesis, Dr. Fear, were the main characters in the Silverline packaged, Aircel Comics published, SilverStorm four issue miniseries . . . and what a miniseries it was!!  Further expanding from Cat & Mouse, their buddy, Demon, and the still enigmatic “Chicago Champion”, SilverStorm was the next title, entry, and step in establishing and expanding the interconnected “Silver” universe of characters and stories.

SilverStorm (volume 1) lead off with a strong, character driven autobiography presented by none other than Christopher Kastle himself.  Speaking to his closest confidant, his Uncle Miya, he chronicles his affluent upbringing, though light on responsibilities, his internalized worries regarding how his father viewed him as he grew from youth, to a college student, to an adult and lamented how his life has become empty, unfocused, since his father’s passing and his lingering inability to follow family tradition by swearing an oath to upload the traditions and values of his family, upon a Silver Dollar that has been passed down through family generations.

Kastle’s narration continues through mourning his father, assuming leadership of the Kastle Foundation – a research organization previously lead by his father, through introduction to a specialized suit of armour created by the foundation.  Kastle becomes enamoured with the suit and dedicates himself to the utilization and mastery of this incredible piece of technology!  He also describes the mental and emotional journey he has undertaken in trying to understand his father’s death, when things don’t seem to quite add up but, at the same time, all the powers-that-be insist that there was nothing out of sorts, out of the ordinary, nor nefarious in terms of his father’s passing.

A serendipitous mutual attendance at the Symposium of Earth and Natural Sciences (hosted by the Kastle Foundation) brings Christopher and Natashia into the same venue and Kastle, who had been attendance at one of Natashia’s (Nat for short) model shows several years prior, makes a point to introduce himself to her.  Nat’s external beauty is only surpassed by her intelligence – as illustrated by her deep interest in, and ongoing study of, geology.  (She was way before her time in terms of STEM!)

Invited to accompany her on a modeling gig on a nearby island, Kastle joins Natashia and becomes even more twitterpated with her in all respects.  As the two canoodle during their walk back to their respective accommodations for the evening, they are savagely attacked by a duo going by the names Hunter and Axe.  Kastle is beaten unconscious, which allows Natashia to unleash her mastery of the winds without him bearing witness.  As she attempts to blind Hunter with a face full of blown sand, Hunter responds, in kind, with warning shots bullets and takes her, as well as Kastle, prisoner.

Hunter and Axe deliver the newly romantically linked couple to their employer – Doctor Fear.  Kastle recalls meeting him, long ago while on a business trip with his father, and remembers that Dr. Wilderman (now, FEAR) was once an impressive biochemist on a global scale, nothing close to the scarred, mutated, blistered and disfigured man that stood before them now.  Kastle persuades Fear to reveal what had happened to him . . . a story which consisted of scientific discovery, partner treachery, attempted murder, arson, and a near-death experience culminating in being submerged in an experimental formula designed to grant super-human strength and power.  Though Fear survived, and became physically stronger than ever, he would never recover from the physical or mental scars nor his ever-increasing passion for revenge including against the very world itself!  Information vital to Fear’s forthcoming plans has been in the possession of a man associated with both Kastle and Natashia – from different social and professional spheres – yet intertwining the destinies of all involved!!!

Kastle confides the legacy of his familial Silver Dollar and Oath to Natashia and she not only matches his level of trust and faith during a daring escape from Fear, his henchmen, and their compound.  They encounter several armed guards as they evacuate, noting that each of these guards had identical appearances save different tattooed numbers on their foreheads.

This observation foreshadowed Dr. Fear’s endgame . . . he has expanded his biochemistry interests into cloning, creating and growing a clone army that he utilized to launch an assault on the United Nations building, in New York City, and upon completion of his clones seizing and securing the building, as well as the UN Representatives now held hostage within, Dr. Fear declares his takeover of the world itself!

Nat and Kastle descend upon the battle scene; flanked by reporters and live television coverage, the duo is swarmed and questions fly . . . including if the individual in the suit was the Chicago Champion (it isn’t) and what they call themselves.  Christopher invokes the name of his family tradition and bestowed upon himself the code name SILVER DOLLAR and dubs Nat TEMPEST in honour of her wind-controlling talents.

Collaborating with the government-sanctioned armed forces, Silver Dollar and Tempest battle countless identical, mute, and loyal combatants ‘til death.  Our heroic duo infiltrated the occupied United Nations building, decimating clone troopers along the way, battling (and evoking revenge) Fear’s henchmen Hunter and Axe, leading to a final face-to-face showdown between Silver Dollar and Dr. Fear and with a HUGE detonation and the apparent death of Dr. Fear.  But, in comics, is anyone ever really dead?  This very author may have something to say about that fact in the not-so-distant future, in fact . . . as well as the long-ago planned (and abandoned – nay, “long-hiatused”) Silverline Universe team book . . . also in the works by yours truly!

The cadre of talent that brought these characters, issues, and Silverline’s first mini-series to life was comprised of this most excellent lineup of creative talent:

Roland Mann – the Mann with the Plan! Cat and Mouse writer and Silverline Editorial Director, Roland provided scripting duties on the latter part of the SilverStorm series and served as series editor.  In time, he would become writer, editor and eventually Managing Editor at Malibu Comics.  Roland has been the driving force of Silverline as a publisher, including the current relaunch of the brand and the ringleader of the impressive collective of Silverline talent!

Thomas Fortenberry – SilverStorm’s plotter, writer, and scripter. His Amazon biography notes that he is also an American author, editor, reviewer, and publisher. A Pushcart Prize-nominated writer and history teacher, he has also judged many literary contests, including The Georgia Author of the Year Awards and The Robert Penn Warren Prize for Fiction. Thomas was the second writer, after Roland Mann, to work on a Silverline title when wrote this very four-issue SilverStorm miniseries!

Steven Butler – Steven, who had already provided stellar inks on the Cat & Mouse series and both pencilled and inked several of the series most dynamic covers, all while serving as Silverline Art Director, contributed his first sequential pencils for Silverline’s on this very title, “SilverStorm”!  Having already cut his teeth on sequential work on First Comics’ “Badger”, Mr. Butler’s artwork on SilverStorm can only be described as “detailed, beautiful, kinetic, and perfect!”  He also provided colours for the series covers and created all the additional promotional art to support the title! Steven’s future projects would include illustrating titles for Malibu, Marvel, and Archie, to name a few. He held notable runs on Marvel’s “Silver Sable” and “Web of Spider-Man” and will forever be favorably remembered for his illustrations of Ben Reilly, the Scarlet Spider!  Steven recently collaborated with his Silverline friends and colleagues for a special guest artist variant cover for the recently released TRUMPS. He has also recently fulfilled his first Kickstarter campaign for issue #1 of Fianna McCool and the House of Ulster under the Duo Comics imprint in conjunction with his incredibly talented daughter, Lily Butler.  Oh, and Steven is one of the top, all time favourite artists of this author . . . if you couldn’t already tell who I am honored to have come to know thanks to the wonders of the internet!

Roland Paris – the first of two inkers on this SilverStorm miniseries, Roland also providing his inking talents on it’s sister title, Cat & Mouse. Roland later went on to ink many titles at Marvel Comics.

Ken Branch – the second inker over Steven Butler’s pencils on SilverStorm, Ken also provided inks on multiple issues of Cat and Mouse. Ken later went on to ink titles at Marvel Comics, DC Comics, Image Comics, Malibu Comics, Valiant Comics, First Comics, and Comico Comics.

Nick McCalip – Nick served as SilverStorm series letter. Nick has also lettered several other Silverline titles including The Mantus Files, Cat & Mouse, The Scary Book, , and Krey.