07Jan/20

Silverline Creator Spotlight: Brad Thomte

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 today is Brad Thomte, who served in the USAF before lettering comics for such companies as Caliber Press, Mojo Press, Absolute Studios, and of course, Silverline. Brad has also edited and published some small press books.

Now, without further ado, we present to you…

12 QUESTIONS WITH… BRAD THOMTE

1. So, who are you and where do you hail from?
I am a drummer, graphic designer, and aspiring actor. Currently working as a print shop supervisor, I get to put my Photoshop and Illustrator skills to use daily.

I grew up as a military brat, so I’m from all over. I claim Weatherford, Texas as home, as that is where I spent my most memorable years. It gave me an appreciation for the small town life. So much so that I have recently moved to a small town in Minnesota to recapture that feeling.

2. What would you say it is you do here at Silverline?
Currently, I’m creating new and exciting logos for upcoming Silverline titles. Many years (decades) ago, I was lettering some books as well.

3. Where might Silverline readers have seen your work previously?
As for my lettering, they may have seen my lettering work for many independent comic companies, many out of Texas. My highest visibility comic work would be on the titles that I lettered for Malibu’s Ultraverse. They may have seen my smiling mug on television as well. I was the on-camera tournament director on the syndicated Ultimate Poker Challenge for two seasons. There was even a brief theatrical appearance in the independent film Pass Through. Let’s compare IMDB pages!

4. When you’re not making great Silverline comics, what do
you do in your spare time? What are your hobbies?
All of my non-real work/non-Silverline time is spent working on getting my craft business off the ground. I do custom image to wood transfer products (photos, inspirational sayings,etc). If I’m going to life in the woods of Minnesota, I thought I’d start making some rustic crafts. Find me on all of the normal social medias under Thomte Wood Creations. https://www.facebook.com/ThomteWoodCreations
https://twitter.com/ThomteWood
https://www.etsy.com/shop/ThomteWoodCreations

5. Many creators at Silverline have been in the comics
industry for years — what’s kept YOU plugging away at comics?
There is something satisfying about having something in your hand that you created. My list of titles isn’t as deep as most, but I still look at it with pride, and I want to keep adding to that list.

6. What was the first comic you remember reading that made
you think, “Hey, I could do this!”
It wasn’t a specific book, it was my time as a graphics illustrator in the Air Force. I developed the skills and my indy comic creator friends invited me to help work on their books. They were all very supportive of a rookie letterer. Once I saw my first word balloon on art board, I was absolutely sure I could help tell sequential stories.

7. What’s on your playlist? Who/what music do you listen to,
and do you listen to it while you work?
For music, I am a classic rock guy. KISS, Meatloaf, AC/DC will always be my go-to’s for solid mood music. Add in Tom Petty, Bon Jovi, and Def Leppard and I’m a happy camper. I don’t have the music on while I’m working, though, as I want my design train of thought to naturally progress based on the material I’m creating for, not an outside stimulus.

8. Who were some of your earliest influences on your art?
For my lettering it is Todd Klein and Tom Orzechowski. They are masters of their craft. During their hand lettering days, they could make a LOT of text fit into impossible spaces while still making the page look great. Todd even mailed (not emailed, MAILED) back and forth with me in the 90’s to critique my early work. For my logo design influences, I’m a big fan of the 80’s independent books. A lot of very organic looking logos. They set the tone for the book/issue they adorned.

9. What was the first comic you ever worked on professionally?
Sad to say, I never got to work on a Batman or related book. As a Batman fan, it would have been an amazing opportunity. I came dangerously close once. A good writer friend of mine was working on getting a Batman story to write, and he was going to pitch me as the letterer. Alas, they decided to do all computer lettering, and I had not made the switch yet.

10. Can you still read that comic today without wincing?
I still enjoy picking up a Batman book from time to time. I’m not a full time reader anymore, but it’s still enjoyable.

11. What are some non-Silverline independent comics you would recommend to readers?
Currently, I’m reading Punchline, from my pal Bill Williams. Initially, I picked it up, because it was my friend’s book. I kept reading because it is some dang fine storytelling. I also enjoy Mouseguard. Fun stories and truly gorgeous to look at.

12. 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?
Talent and good ideas are great. But, enjoy the friendships you make while working on books. Those people will help make finding your way through the industry rat race a more enjoyable. I’d rather work on a hand full of fun books with people I like, than grind away drawing a paycheck on ones I don’t.

02Jan/20

Silverline: Looking ahead to year 2(020)

2020 looks to be a busy year for Silverline…and that’s pretty exciting to all of us!

Panels from Friar Rush #1

For non-comics, we’ll be launching a weekly live stream. Current plan is for them to be Wednesday’s at 8pm EST. We’ll have a couple of different segments, including an indy comic review and a segment on the craft of making comics. Stay tuned for the exact launch date for it.

We’re still working on appearances for 2020, we’ve already been invited back to Daytona Beach Comic Con—and have accepted. Just not sure exactly which ones of us will be there. Roland will be at Three Rivers in Pittsburgh, his first show ever in the state of PA! More dates and appearances to come, be we hope to see a bunch of you at a bunch of shows!

We’ve got a big slate of books we’ll be releasing in 2020, so many that we may experiment with some Silverline crowdfund “packages.” Meaning, more than one book per crowdfund. Honestly, it’s exciting to look at this list to see all the content will be delivering to you—we know you’re gonna like them!

Mentioned last week in title only, the projects that are nearly complete and should ready to crowdfund very soon:

*Bloodline, 1 shot: by Sidney Williams (writer), Rob Sachetto (penciller), Terry Pallot (inker), Brian Dale (letterer). This one is finished except for the colors, which is being done by Keith Wood.

*Friar Rush #1, 3 issue mini: by Sidney Williams (writer), Marc Thomas (penciller), John Martin (inker), Rebecca Winslow (colorist), Brian Dale (letterer). The first issue is being both colored and lettered at the same time.

A page from DIVINITY #1

*Divinity #1, 4 issue mini: Created by Barb Kaalberg and co-written by R.A. Jones. It also features Alex Sarabia (penciller), Barb Kaalberg (inker), Steve Mattson (colorist) and Mike Belcher (letterer). It is nearly complete.

*Twilight Grimm #1, 4 issue mini: by R.A. Jones (writer) and Rob Davis (artist), Alex Gallimore (colorist), and Mike Belcher (letterer). The first issue only needs color!

*Kayless #2, 4 issue mini: by Brent Larson (writer), Luis Czerniawski (artist), Leandro Huergo (colorist), Mike Belcher (letterer). This issue needs colors and letters.

A bit later in the year, these should be ready:

A page from WHITE DEVIL #1

*Cat & Mouse #3, 4 issue mini: by Roland Mann (writer), Alex Gallimore (penciller), Barb Kaalberg (inker), Kevin Gallegly (colorist).

*White Devil II, 4 issue mini: by R.A. Jones (writer), Jaxon Renick (penciller), with inks by Mike Keeney and Chuck Bordell. The first issue only needs color!

*Trumps book 1; by Roland Mann (writer), Anthony Pereira and Thomas Hedglen (pencillers), Thomas Florimonte (inker), Sid VinBlu (colorist), Brian Dale (letterers).

24Dec/19

Silverline: Review of Year 1

Merry Christmas to one and all. As 2019 draws to a close, I thought I’d take a short peek back at the first year. Oddly, thinking about it reminds me of one of the very first “group” Silverline (phase 1) art pieces…30 years ago! Note the date on Steven’s art is 1988!

In June of 2018, I ran the kickstarter for Cat & Mouse #1 (vol 2). The creative team had such a blast doing it and we got to reminiscing about our old Malibu days and Silverline and such…well, they encouraged me to bring back Silverline—which was not my intent in doing Cat & Mouse again…I just wanted to make some comics and have some fun. Ultimately, I caved because they vowed help…

The Silverline Facebook page was launched in February. It now has 1370 people who like it and 1377 who follow it (so…I guess this means that 7 like but have unfollowed). Immediately, and much to my surprise, I started getting submissions and feelers for submissions. I told them all to wait until 2020 (all but one—more on that later) that I just wasn’t prepared for it.

The Silverline website launched on June 18. It wasn’t—and still isn’t—complete by any stretch of the imagination, but thanks to our IT support (and fantastic comic creator, too!) Jeff Whiting, we managed to put a pretty decent site together and have new content published regularly since then.

We worked with IndyPlanet to get a Silverline “store” online, and currently, these titles can be found for sale there: Cat & Mouse (v2) #1, Kayless #1, Tiny #1, Tiny #2, Tiny GN, Demon’s Tails classic GN, Switchblade classic GN, Krey classic GN, Sadomannequin one-shot, Jetstream #1. Soon to be added Cat & Mouse (v2) #2, SilverStorm (v2) classic GN, Switchblade GN.

Around that same time, we started a mailing list (email) because everyone said we should do it—so we did. Using mailchimp, we’ve got almost 400 lovely fans who have the website updates emailed to them. Eventually, we’ll do some mail list only stuff…but that’s down the road a bit…and we don’t want it to turn into “dreaded spam.”

In late June, we successfully crowdfunded Kayless #1 by Brent Larson, Luis Czerniawski, and Leandro Huergo. It was fully funded in less than 12 hours thanks to the support of many of you! (it was completely fulfilled by August, as an FYI…we need that known these days as so many crowdfunded titles are shipping late)

In September, we successfully crowdfunded Cat & Mouse #2. In doing so, we introduced upcoming superstar artist Alex Gallimore to the world! It fulfilled in late October and in November…

The Wellness Family Coloring Book, the first non-comic print publication by Silverline was also successfully crowdfunded, thanks to Silverline CEO, BJ Mann. It features art by Thomas Florimonte!

Silverline made the first official appearance at the Daytona Beach Comic Con! It was the largest gathering of Silverline at a show ever—in any phase (I think 5 was the previous record set, and that was done at Coast Con in the early 90s).

Also, at various points in time SINCE February, we dusted off a few formerly shelved projects:

  1. *Bloodline, 1 shot
  2. *White Devil II, 4 issue mini
  3. *Friar Rush, 3 issue mini

We also put into production:

  1. *Divinity, 4 issue mini
  2. *Twilight Grimm, 4 issue mini
  3. *Speck, OGN

We’ve sent out two additional publishing agreements: one to an indy writer I met on the con circuit, and one to a former student of mine. Once those are signed, we’ll add their projects to our growing list!

2019 was very busy for Silverline. Next week I’ll write about what 2020 has in store, including some of the projects mentioned above. Merry Christmas to you all!

03Dec/19

Silverline Title Spotlight: Pendulum, 1-4

From a small, coastal village in New England to the sprawling metropolis of New York comes Dr. Hildy Row, also known as the Pendulum. This four-issue story titled Big Hand, Little Hand follows Dr. Row’s spiritual degradation as it runs in tandem with his ascent into being a masked hero.

Pendulum is a different take on the idea of a superhero comic. More reluctant than a hero, Dr. Hildy Row tells a lot of the story through narration and reflection a reader would find reminiscent of a hard-boiled noir tale. This narration comes directly from his journal which has been recovered and transcribed post-mortem.

From his journal, we learn a lot about Dr. Row and the many ways in which life has become both tragic and extraordinary. In his own words, he is an “Unqualified Genius,” having earned a doctorate at a young age and being the only man to come close to cracking the code for immortality, despite a history of violence and social ineptitude. His dearest friend and mentor Frederick DeLaCroix, founder of Tougher Technologies, Inc., set Row up with a grant that fully provided for an isolationist lifestyle with a simple agreement. Every year, Row turns in his notes, as disorganized as they may be, then the company turns them into marketable products. No questions asked on either side. Yet at the same time, he has developed a literal death wish.

Issue 1 brings us into Dr. Row’s story after his friend and mentor, Frederick DeLaCroix’s passing. He and his wife Lucy were expecting a child, who they, unfortunately, lost in a miscarriage. The rift this caused in their relationship was so great that Lucy had to leave. Dr. Row is left alone in his home in a small ocean side village in New England. Where he remains in bed for the following three days. His sister and brother long since estranged, Hildy Row now finds himself without friends or family. His entire world has collapsed around him.

Eventually, Row emerges from his self-imposed isolation and returns to his laboratory. There he completes his work on a serum that could offer immortality. A serum he began working on as a promise he made long ago. Yet, when he decides to test it on himself, he hopes the serum fails. The result being his death. To his disappointment, he awakens, very much alive. Row walks through the park side of an inlet that he frequents to think about his current reality and what went wrong.

Through an unfortunate chain of events, the inlet is set ablaze and a boy is trapped on a jetty by the flame. Almost unconsciously, Row runs headfirst in the flame and emerges with the youth untouched by the roaring fire. Only there is no pride or sense of dignity in the actions he took that day. He knows the real reason he attempted to save that boy was in hopes that the flame would consume him.

Row returns home to wallow in his shame and the public’s new perception of him. The adoration that he feels is misplaced reminds of the way people look up to caped superheroes. Then and there he commits himself to become one of these heroes. Daily, there are confronted with life or death situations. He hopes that one of those days, the villains will catch up to him. Granting him a death that he feels would free of shame. However, a new problem arises in the form of a PARA attack. A side effect of the serum, paroxysmal atemporally rapid aging, causes him to age and de-age several years in a matter of seconds.

With a mission ahead of him and the curse of his immortality serum handicapping him, Row begins on a mission that will bring him into direct conflict with an executive at his benefactor’s company, and a member of the scientific community that he idolizes.

More than just another superhero comic, Pendulum is the story of how one man’s tragedy brings him to do the extraordinary, even if for the wrong reasons initially. The unique style of narration allows the reader to connect with Dr. Row in a way we can’t with many comic book characters. He takes the reader on an emotional roller coaster as he, himself, works to understand why he wishes for the end. Row goes through a complicated metamorphosis as he realizes that he may not need to die, but rather that he only needs to kill part of himself so that the rest of him may continue living.

This is the kind of story that flips the superhero genre on its head. The tale is an interwoven web of family trauma, corporate intrigue and espionage, complex emotional growth, and deadly dealings with one’s idols. With a rich and deep narrative delivered both in art and prose, it feels like a reader could just as easily be reading a classic noir thriller novel as much as a “cape-comic.”

Creator, writer, and penciler John Drury also gives the reader a little peek behind the curtain of his mind with each chapter in the story of Pendulum. At the top of each issue, Drury talks about the unique aspects of that respective issue’s creative process and how that translated into bringing Dr. Row’s story to life. John also worked on Silverline’s Sirens as a penciler, and Cat & Mouse as an inker.

Pendulum was inked and lettered by Ted Slampyak who also worked on Neil Gaiman’s Mr. Hero – The Newmatic Man as a penciler and cover artist. Slampyak also worked as the writer and artist for Annie in 2013.

Pendulum also featured letters by Debbie Woods in issues 3 & 4, who has also worked on Cat & Mouse.

Covers were done by Steven Butler and Ken Branch for issue 1; Ken Branch on issue #2 and #3; John Drury and Thomas Florimonte on issue #4. Tom O’Connor provided the colors for all covers. Steven Butler has also worked as the penciler on X – Men Legion – Shadow King Rising , Sonic the Hedgehog, Silver Sable, and as a cover artist on Lady Death. Ken Branch has also worked on 28 Days Later as penciler. Ken also inked titles such as Cat & Mouse, Green Lantern: Kyle Rayner and Iron Fist: The Book of Changes. Thomas Florimonte has inked Cat & Mouse and other titles, and is the creative force behind Zomboy.

28Nov/19

Silverline November news

Happy Thanksgiving

All of us at Silverilne Comics want to take this moment to wish you all a very happy Thanksgiving. May you eat lots of turkey and pumpkin pie! Take the day to remember to be thankful for friends, family, and COMIC BOOKS! At Silverline Comics we’re thankful for all of you supporting us which allows us to do the thing we love so much: make comics! Please know we don’t take you for granted as we know you have a lot of choices where to spend your comic dollars. THANK YOU!

Daytona Beach Comic Con report

L-R Sidney Williams, John Metych, Brent Larson, Roland Mann, BJ, Mann, Skylar Sims, Alex Gallimore

DBCC was a big success for Silverline. There were seven and a half* of us there, the biggest ever turnout for anything Silverline (the record before, I think, is five). We even snagged a nice photo of the crew at the booth.

* The “half” was Thomas Florimonte who was a guest of the show separate from Silverline…but he’s still family.

We offered four exclusives for convention attendees: Cat & Mouse #2 (DBCC cover); Kayless #1 (DBCC cover); a preview edition of Bloodline one-shot (DBCC cover); and a special DBCC edition of SNIPER & ROOK! More on that below! The Make Mine Silverline wrist bands debuted (kickstarter backers were first) for all attendees of the show.

Sniper & Rook to Silverline!

That’s right, Beta3’s own John Metych has agreed to bring his popular title to SILVERLINE. While details are still be being worked out, it’s exciting to see the Silverline family growing.

Once again, thank you for the support and Happy Thanksgiving!

 

13Nov/19

Silverline Creator Spotlight: Chuck Bordell

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 today is Chuck Bordell, who has inked for such publishers as Malibu Comics, Caliber Comics, Brainstorm Comics, Alpha Productions, and of course, Silverline Comics. Chuck has even produced art for Steve Jackson Games and Dungeon Magazine.

Now, without further ado, we present to you…

12 QUESTIONS WITH… CHUCK BORDELL

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

I’m Chuck Bordell and I grew up in Pennsylvania, but I’ve been living in Montana for the last 30 years. I stayed for the trout fishing and the 8 feet of snow we get every year, Oh yeah I’ve come across several bears as well. You’ve never felt fear until you see a bear in the wild…couple of locals, amongst others.

What would you say it is you do here?

Well, I mainly work as an inker, but I’ve done some pencil jobs as well.  I’ve done a LOT of books for Silverline, including Silverstorm 2, Marauder, Sirens, and Switchblade. Right now I’m inking White Devil.

Where might Silverline readers have seen your work previously?

 I’ve done freelance work for Malibu Comics, Caliber Comics, Alpha Productions, Brainstorm Comics. I’ve also done illustration for TSR, Steve Jackson Games, etc, and two graphic novels, Witness to War and Lunatic Fringe that I wrote and illustrated. I love the fantasy RPGs I’ve worked on because I like drawing monsters!

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

I collect coins and militaria, enjoy fishing and visiting art galleries.  Studying the Civil War is also a passion.  I’d like to make another trip to Gettysburg in the near future.

Many creators at Silverline have been in the comics industry for years — what’s kept YOU plugging away at comics? What do you enjoy most about the medium, as well as your specific trade?

I just love the art form. It’s totally unique. That combination of images and words is just magic. There have been times when I thought of giving up, but I always come back to comics.

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

 Probably a Ross Andru Spiderman from the mid 70s. He’s one of my all-time favorite artists. .I think his run on Spiderman totally defined the character for me. My Mom still has Spiderman comics I made when I was about 10.

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

I mainly listen to Metal, including Metallica, AC/DC, Triumph, Dream Theater, Megadeth, Kiss, etc,  Always good to play while drawing. I need music that can keep my brain cranking while I’m working.  So yeah I’m a metalhead, although I cut off my long hair a couple years ago.

Who were some of your earliest influences on your trade?

 Ditko, Kirby, Miller, Andru, Golden. If I could have Frank Miller’s storytelling with Michael Golden’s art, I’d be a happy dude. But all of them show such creativity that I’m amazed every time I see their work.

What was the first comic you ever worked on professionally? 

 A book called Totem, drawn by Paul Pelletier, published by Alpha Productions. It was an ink job I did completely with Rapidograph pens!  Last time I ever did that. I now have so many inking tools that I need one of those mini-houses to keep everything in!

Can you still read that comic today without wincing?

 Nope. It makes me totally embarrassed even if no one else is looking,  I mean it’s not totally hideous, but my style has change a lot over the years.  Brushes are my friends now, and I use a lot of Micron Pigma pens.

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

Courtney Crumrin, Bone, Pogo (that’s an old one, but it’s brilliant) any of the EC war books. I will pick up books I’ve never heard of before just to give them a chance. It’s only a couple bucks and you never know when you’ll find  treasure.

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?

Write and draw your own work. It’s the best way to learn and it’s the most satisfying. Even if it never gets published, there’s a satisfaction to finishing a book that’s totally your own.  I bet just about all comic artists/writers have unpublished projects in their archives.

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

 A parking lot. Open space in all directions. Then there could be enough parking for a comic convention. Chuck’s Blacktop Convention sounds good. A combination comic book/flea market/fantasy/coin show.

—–

Chuck is currently busy inking Silverline’s upcoming White Devil written by R.A. Jones with pencils by Jaxon Renick. What, you didn’t know about that yet? No announcements have been made yet—but you heard it here first! Also, Chuck and Roland Mann collaborated on a civil war short that was published in Chuck’s Victor’s Horror Compendium.

29Oct/19

Silverline hits Daytona Beach in big way!

Daytona Beach Comic Con

has always been a favorite of locals. One of the true “comic” conventions, DBCC focuses on –get this: comics. A few years ago, Silverline founder Roland Mann noted “There are more back issue comics here than at MegaCon.” There is also always a nice assortment of comic creators at the show.

And this year, Silverline will be making its first “Phase 3” appearance as a company. In attendance will be Sidney Williams (Mantus Files, Scary Book, Marauder, Sirens and the upcoming Bloodline!), Brent Larson (Kayless), Alex Gallimore (Cat & Mouse), John Metych (Sniper N Rook), Roland Mann (Cat & Mouse, Demon’s Tails, Switchblade, Krey, Tiny). Additionally, Thomas Florimonte is a recent addition to the show. Thomas inked Demon’s Tails and is working on an upcoming project—more news on that later.

There will be limited Daytona Beach Comic Con exclusive comics, so be sure to show up early to get them—supplies ARE limited!

Lastly, there is a Silverline “goody” in the convention bags for all attendees! It’s a surprise that not even those in-the-know at Silverline know. Roland has had a very difficult time keeping it a secret!

So much fun happening there, don’t miss the show on November 3. That’s THIS Sunday!

Other appearances:

November 15-17, Memphis Comic and Fantasy Convention, Memphis TN. Roland Mann and Thomas Florimonte will be comic creator guests.

Cat & Mouse #2 fulfillment happening!

As you read this, I’m likely at Ka-Blam helping them (getting in their way, more than likely!) package up comics with goodies to mail out to all the lovely folks who supported the recent kickstarter.

Thanks again to all of you who follow this page and support us in so many different ways.

15Oct/19

Silverline Title Spotlight: The Mantus Files, 1-4

New Orleans is home to many heroes and do-gooders in the Silverline Universe. In The Mantus Files, we learn that the Crescent City is also the home of things that go bump in the night, ghoulish conspiracies, and the handful of characters that are about to get tangled up in it all.

This four-issue mini-series, originally published in 1991, is set in the familiar city but explores the dark workings in the city’s shadows. It is the job of Peter Mantus, investigator of the arcane, to dive into those shadows and thwart the evil within.

The story of Peter Mantus has a standout role in Silverline, not only bringing a unique view on the arcane and magic but also being one of the press’s few titles to deal with horror themes. Silverline’s dedicated readers will notice that like many of Silverline’s titles, the series is rooted in crime. It takes the crime-thriller structure to play on and bend some tropes and concepts commonly found in horror.

Peter Mantus himself is a play on a type of character seen throughout literature. Mantus has been haunted by demons ever since he was a young boy. After his family’s dark dealings were put to an end, and he was rescued, Mantus raised himself to fight the darkness that nearly consumed him. He has spent so long investigating supernatural evil that he has become an expert in the subject. To better his fellow man, he has written down his knowledge on all things evil in hopes that the lay-man could equip himself to fight off the darkness. The pure sensationalism of it all, however, seems to be what grabs most people’s attention. Through publication and publicizing Mantus has earned himself a reputation as a celebrity “ghost hunter.” Mantus finds himself in situations where to get others to take him seriously, he’ll have to show them just how malevolent the forces of darkness can be.

The series starts with little attention paid to Peter Mantus, instead focusing on the evil he is sworn to destroy. Jennifer Morris, a lady of the night, suddenly finds her life is at its end as a madman raving about “closing the gate” sets her and himself ablaze in a dingy hotel room. From there we transition to Sgt. Ferris Jackson, a detective for New Orleans homicide. After establishing the current state of New Orleans, we are introduced to Peter Mantus as he returns home to search for his friend Raymond Evers. Raymond is a social worker with a long and deep relationship with Peter. He is also one of many individuals tied to the city’s homeless population to go missing.

This brings Peter into contact with Sgt. Jackson as he thinks one of the bodies in the fire might have been Raymond. Sgt. Jackson takes away two things from their interactions. The first being that now he has the name of Raymond Evers as a suspect in a murder-suicide. Second, Mantus is a talking head on television, espousing mystical nonsense. Mantus’ search then leads him to find Tammara, a mother whose daughter went missing. As they investigate, they draw the attention of a group of vampires who would prefer they stop asking questions.

Issue 2 picks up with the duo of Mantus and Tammara cornered by the pack of vampires. Mantus launches into action with a big boot to the chest of one of the vampires. Mantus discovers the vampires to be surprisingly fragile. The attackers themselves seem surprised to have a victim that’s putting up a fight. It’s not long before Mantus creates an opening for their escape. As Mantus and Tammara break for it, a photographer by the name of Quaid assists in their retreat, blinding the vampires with the flash on his camera. After they regroup, Quaid leads Mantus to the cemetery where the disappearances and vampire sightings seem to be dense. There Mantus begins to unravel the mystery of the dark power orchestrating the recent events in New Orleans.

The series continues as Mantus draws connections from his past to the cult conspiracy, bringing him closer to learning the truth of what happened to his friend Raymond Evers. Quaid enlists the help of a special local magic practitioner to ascertain the motives of the dark forces in the city. Sgt. Jackson Ferris and Peter Mantus attempt to break through the distrust to develop a professional relationship for the sake of the city. As each investigator moves closer to the truth, we learn that much more than the Crescent City is at stake.

The Mantus Files doesn’t truly fit in just one particular category. It’s more like Demon-Noir, with the tone and trappings of a hard-boiled detective novel. The Mantus Files feature strong narration from the characters, a slow burn as the layers of the mystery are peeled back by the team of investigators, and an explosive finish when it all comes to ahead. This unique voice delivers the story of a dark thriller. The clock is ticking for the heroes to make it out alive. Around every corner is a beast looking to turn an investigator into prey. The dead rise, and mortal men are used as fuel for dark and ancient plots set in motion long ago. Bookended with a splash of body horror for the connoisseur. The Mantus Files sets itself apart as both a crime-procedural and horror-thriller.

Written by the incomparable Sidney Williams, this is one of Sid’s four entries with Silverline Comics. A novelist by trade and madman by heart. Sid has also written several novels and pieces of short fiction as he has honed his craft over the years.

Penciled by Thomas Giles. The Mantus Files showcases his ability to illustrate anything and everything from a crime scene investigation to ancient unspeakable horrors.

Inked by the prolific Dan Vincent Schaefer. Dan has done just about everything from writing, to illustrating, editing, and inking on too many titles to count since 1986. Some notable credits of his include writing Mickey Mouse Adventures and inking Spider-Man: The Next Chapter.

08Oct/19

Silverline Creator Spotlight: Barb Kaalberg

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 today is Barb Kaalberg, who inked a great number of comics for a wide variety of publishers. Some of her work has been seen in Impulse and Primal Force for DC Comics; Captain Marvel for Marvel; The Badger for Image; Planet of the Apes, Mantra, The Solution, Solitaire for Malibu.

Now, without further ado, we present to you…

10 QUESTIONS WITH… BARB KAALBERG

1. So, who are you and where do you hail from?
 
My name is Barbara Kaalberg, and I’m a comic book artist from the Madison, WI area.  I’ve been here since 1986 when there was a fairly sizable comic book community here, including Capital City Comics distribution and Kitchen Sink Press.  Steve Rude and Mike Baron were also a couple of locals, amongst others.
2. What would you say it is you do here?
 
I’ve been an inker for 30 years and I’ve just recently branched out into storytelling, too.  I say storytelling because I’m not a scripter.  There are more talented people out there (RA Jones, for instance) that script comics 10 times better than I, but I have ideas and stories in my head. It’s kind of daunting, stepping out of my wheelhouse and venturing into creating a whole book.  A lot rides on it.  I’m confident, however.  The name of the project is Divinity and I have a really, really good feeling about it.  I’m also the CFO of Silverline.
 
3. Where might Silverline readers have seen your work previously?
 
Hoooooo Boy, that is a long, long list, my friend.  I’ve worked on something like 200 books from companies all across the spectrum, from Eternity, Malibu, WaRP Graphics, Now Comics, Innovation, Acclaim to Dark Horse, DC and Marvel. Probably some other companies that I’ve forgotten.  You can see some of the stuff I’ve done on the Comic Book Database, although they have a tendency to leave out a lot of independents and kickstarter stuff, which has been what I’ve been doing the last few years.   http://www.comicbookdb.com/creator_chron.php?ID=2238
4. Many creators at Silverline have been in the comics industry for years — what’s kept YOU plugging away at comics? What do you enjoy most about the medium, as well as your specific trade?
 
The love of this crazy industry and the people in it is what keeps me going.  I had to leave for personal reasons back around 2000 and I missed it like phantom limb.  It wasn’t easy (by any means!) to come back in 2014 after 15 years of being out of the game, but comics  is like the chickenpox virus – once it’s in your system, in never really leaves.  I love the comics industry.  It’s crazy, unpredictable, passionate, complex, frustrating and so much fun.  It’s full of the most AMAZING people! Another thing that keeps me going is ego.  Every artist wants recognition and acceptance.  I have bouts of terrible self doubt and self confidence.  I’m always striving to feel like what I do measures up even fractionally to many of my peers.  I’ve realized that this is a struggle that will never be won but it drives me to keep trying.
5. What was the first comic you remember reading that made you think, “Hey, I could do this!”
 
Elfquest by Wendy Pini.  I discovered Elfquest in the mid-80’s.  I was already a pretty good amateur painter, working in acrylics, when I was reading her black and white comics.  I realized I could take my brush skills and turn them into inks.  I’d been reading comics since I was a teenager. I worked in a pharmacy and one of my jobs was to rip the covers off of unsold comics so they could be returned to the retailer and then I was supposed to throw the body of the comics away.  Yea, I threw them away . . .  right into the trunk of my car.  Anyway, I digress, I’d read comics for years but it wasn’t until I really looked at this B&W comic did I SEE the art.  Really look at it and study the lines.  That was it for me!
6. Who were some of your earliest influences on your trade?
 
Without a doubt, Dick Giordano.  The first year I went out to SDCC I took a portfolio of everything including the kitchen sink.  Sketches, painting, stuff I’d done in high school.  It was embarrassing.  I had NO idea what I was doing.  Editors crucified me, as they should have.  But Dick was giving this seminar on inking and it was amazing.  I took notes like I was getting graded for it.  It was like my Holy Bible.  Then I looked at inks from Wally Wood, Bernie Wrightson’s ‘Frankenstein’, Joe Simon and other greats.  I gravitated toward controlled inks like Mark Farmer’s  more than loose, organic inks like Bill Sienkiewicz because it came easiest to me.  I practiced for a year and went back out to SDCC with a better portfolio and got a job right off the bat.
7. What was the first comic you ever worked on professionally? 
 
You are going to laugh, but the first thing I ever did was NOT inking, but grey washes.  I think it was Chris Ulm who hired me to do the washes for Eternity’s ‘Tiger-X’.  He asked me if I could do grey washes and I told him no problem.  I lied through my teeth.  I’d never water colored in my life.  I worked in acrylics.  The minute I stepped off the plane from SDCC I headed for the library and checked out around 6 books on watercolors.  Did about 2 or 3 issues of washes before they started giving me inking gigs which, honestly, I was 10 times better at (and even that wasn’t that good) Eternity jobs (like Planet of the Apes) led to Malibu and that was when things really took off.
 
8. Follow up Q — Can you still read that comic today without wincing?
 
Oh, Hell no.  The washes were bad enough but the first couple of books I inked, Jack the Ripper (Eternity), are absolutely cringe inducing.  I’m surprised they kept me on, but it paid off for them in the end to have the patience with me to get better.
9. 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?
Don’t compromise your principles.  It happened a couple of times that I let things slide that I shouldn’t or took a job or two that weren’t worth it.  My biggest regret, however, was leaving the industry all together for 15 years.  Yes, the reasons were for my family but, looking back, there were probably ways that I could have kept my hand in.  I lost so much ground and there are so many new faces, now, that I don’t know and they don’t know me.
10. After you die, would you rather your memory be memorialized with an overpass or a parking lot? 
 
An overpass, for sure!  Much more traffic than a mere parking lot!  It’s all about staying in the public eye, right?
—–
Barb is currently busy inking Cat & Mouse as well as co-writing and inking her creator owned project Divinity, coming soon.
01Oct/19

Silverline October news: Cat & Mouse #2 fully funded; 4 days remaining

C&M Kickstarter: Four days left to fund some stretch goals!

It’s pretty exciting for us to be able to report to you that the kickstarter for the 2nd issue of C&M is fully funded and still in search of some stretch goals. If you’ve backed, thank you. If you’ve shared, thank you. If you haven’t shared—what are you waiting on? That’s EASY to do. If you haven’t backed, take a peek at it again—bet there’s something there for you! There are still several original art rewards left.

  • 2 “convention commissions” by Cat & Mouse penciller Alex Gallimore
  • Mike W. Belcher original Cat & Mouse
  • Alan McMillian and Bill Nichols original Cat & Mouse
  • WidowMaker design original art (by Dean Zachary and Barb Kaalberg)
  • Original art by Alex Sarabia (pencils) and Barb Kaalberg (inker) featuring Cat & Mouse with characters from the upcoming Divinity series created by Barb!
  • Original art featuring Cat & Mouse with The Baboon by The Baboon creator/artist Jamie Jones!

So if you’re into original art, there’s still some great choices for you! And, coming later today will be a new reward tier. Our Colonel of Color, Kevin Gallegly has created some MOUSE earrings. They are sweet! So be on the lookout for those—probably 7-ish (EST) this evening.

Only four days left, so don’t miss out. Click here: https://tinyurl.com/y3c6sdcr

Kayless

The art rewards for Kayless #1 are all out. So Kayless is now 100% fulfilled. For those who had art, we apologize for the delay. It took longer to get the art from Luis than we anticipated because it came all the way from Argentina!

The good news is that the Kayless team is about 10 pages into #2, so it’s moving right along!

Other Silverline title news

There are still several projects in various stages of completion. We won’t go too deep into any one of them until they’re nearly ready to present to you. But just a run-down to keep you posted.

Twilight Grimm (4 issue mini) – by R.A. Jones (writer) and Rob Davis (artist). The first issue has about 18 pages of art complete. Yes, EIGHTEEN! Mike W. Belcher will be lettering and … well, we’ll let you know the colorist soon.

Bloodline (one-shot) – by Sidney Williams (writer), Rob Sachetto (penciller), Terry Pallot (inker), and Keith Wood (colorist). The only thing remaining on this one is the colors!

Divinity (4 issue mini) – by Barb Kaalberg/R.A. Jones (writers), Alex Sarabia (penciller), Barb Kaalberg (inker), Mike W. Belcher (letterer), and we’re about 95% settled on the colorist…but not yet. If we can get who we’re trying—you’re gonna love it! The art team is almost 10 pages into the first issue with this one, too. Can’t wait to show you some of this! WOW!

Speck (OGN) – Roland Mann with Alan McMillian and Bill Nichols. Wait…we can’t talk about this one just yet. Who put this here? Sorry, dear reader, you’ll have to be patient.

Daytona Beach Comic Con

Don’t forget that November 3 will see the first real “official” Silverline (phase 3) convention appearance. Roland (Cat & Mouse, Demon’s Tails), Brent Larson (Kayless), Sidney Williams (Bloodline, Marauder, Mantus Files), Alex Gallimore (Cat & Mouse, &…), John Metych (Sniper & Rook, Silverline editor), will all be on hand to sign comics for you. There will be some EXCLUSIVE versions of the comics available, as well as an appearance by MOUSE (by Karrigan Walsh). Make plans now!

Silverline Peeps

We’ve been doing some creator spotlights and will keep doing them, but in coming posts, we’ll be talking about some of the folks that work behind the scenes at Silverline. Those of you who have known Roland for a long time, or have known Silverline for a long time know that Silverline was Roland and Steven when it first started in the 80s(I’ve taken to calling that Phase 1), but it was all Roland in the 90s (Phase 2). As this is Roland writing this post, I’ll say that I couldn’t do it this time (yes, I’m calling this Phase 3) without all the help. Though Dean Zachary had life changes that doesn’t allow him to participate at the moment, his encouragement with Barb and Kevin and their offers to help are really what launched Phase 3. BUT, I’ve assembled a nice little crew of talented people who love comics…and that’s really the lifeblood of Silverline: Love of comics.

Okay, before I get all sappy. I’ll stop there.