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 Roland Mann, a comic book writer and editor who has worked for such titles as Cat & Mouse, Miss Fury, Planet of the Apes, Battletech…and for such companies as Aircel Comics, Adventure Comics, Eternity Comics, Caliber Press, Comico, and others…as well as his work for Silverline Comics, of course.
Now, without further ado, we present to you…
12 Questions with … Roland Mann
SILVERLINE: So, who are you and where do you hail from?
I’m Roland Mann. I was born in Memphis, Tennessee, and grew up in Mississippi. I often call Arkansas my home, because that’s where most of my people are. Anyone who knows me knows that I cheer for the University of Arkansas Razorbacks…that’s kinda in my blood.
SILVERLINE: What would you say it is you do here at Silverline?
I’m the co-founder (along with Steven Butler, who went on to a stellar career!), chief wrangler of getting things done, and writer of a bunch of things.
SILVERLINE: Where might Silverline readers have seen your work previously?
The first volume of Cat & Mouse saw print in 1989 under EFGraphics. It then moved to Aircel Comics (a division of Malibu) for the complete run. I wrote other comics for companies like Adventure (Planet of the Apes), Eternity (Battletech), Caliber (Krey), Comico (Vortex), Malibu (Arrow, Ex-Mutants), and even had an Ultraverse title (Eliminator). A lot of people know me for my editing time at Malibu, though, where I edited the Protectors line of comics as well as a bunch of Ultraverse comics.
SILVERLINE: When you’re not making great Silverline comics, what do you do in your spare time? What are your hobbies?
I don’t have a whole lot of spare time since re-launching Silverline as I teach creative writing at Full Sail University. I enjoy spending time with my family. My hobbies are mostly boring as I love to both read and write in my spare time. I’ve got three finished novels that I’m hoping to do something with some day. I’m a huge student of history and was a civil war reenactor for several years until I just couldn’t find the time to put in to it. While I still enjoy it, it isn’t very PC today.
SILVERLINE: Many creators at Silverline have been in the comics industry for years — what’s kept YOU plugging away at comics?
That’s a simple one: I love comics. I love the medium and what it can do. I love the art of the stories. Yeah. I love comics.
SILVERLINE: What was the first comic you remember reading that made you think, “Hey, I could do this!”
Cobra. It was an independent comic published by the guy who ran the local comic shop. It was the first time I ever met anyone who’d worked on a comic. I bought it. Read it and immediately thought “I could do this!”
SILVERLINE: What’s on your playlist? Who/what music do you listen to, and do you listen to it while you work?
I’m a metal/prog rock guy. I don’t really do a lot of variety. I pretty regularly listen to Neal Morse and Theocracy. There are others, of course, but these two always work their way to the top. Neal Morse puts out so much new music, he’s an inspiration to anyone who creates!
SILVERLINE: Who were some of your earliest influences on your writing ?
In comics, that’s easy: Stan Lee, Roy Thomas, and Steve Englehart. Otherwise, Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, and Stephen Crane. It’s been a couple of years, but I read Red Badge of Courage every couple of years.
SILVERLINE: What was the first comic you ever worked on professionally?
Cat & Mouse #1, published by EFGraphics in 1989!
SILVERLINE: Can you still read that comic today without wincing?
I can. Oh sure, there are things I’d edit today. But while it was my first professional work, I’d been honing my craft of writing for several years.
SILVERLINE: What are some non-Silverline independent comics you would recommend to readers?
I think Elementals should be read by all. Scout is another favorite of mine. I also like Bone, Cerebus, Saga…and several others that I’m drawing blanks on right now.
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?
It isn’t enough just to learn how to write and tell stories, learn to navigate the business end of things and learn how to market. You can write the greatest story in the world, but if no one knows about it, you’ll only hear good things from your friends and your mama.
SILVERLINE: After you die, would you rather your memory be memorialized with an overpass or a parking lot?
An overpass. I like the idea of high-fiving everyone as they pass by!