Silverline is a genre spanning independent comic book and graphic novel publisher.
BJ Mann: CEO
Roland Mann: EIC and Publisher
Barb Kaalberg: CFO
Tim T.K.: Associate Editor
Brad Thomte: Logo Design
Mike W. Belcher: Production Designer
Scott Wakefield: Associate Editor
Brett Mann: Tech Support
Jeff Whiting: I.T.
Eric Sims: Administrative Intern
Silverline began way back in the late 80s at the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg. While trying to drum up support for his then girlfriend’s (now wife BJ) run for Homecoming Court, Roland Mann spotted a painting of a hero he’d never seen before. It was a painting of an original character created by Steven Butler. The two exchanged notes about their desire to break into the comic industry (and their stacks of rejection letters), and agreed to meet up later to talk comics.
The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were at the forefront of an independent comic revolution then, so Roland and Steven decided independent comics would be the route to take to “break in.” Roland had been working with long time friend Barry Gregory for years trying to figure out “making comics,” and Steven’s art fit the bill. One of Steven’s suite-mates was Mitch Byrd, and they went on to create Cat & Mouse, SilverStorm, and an anthology title would lead into a team book title Hero Task Force.
Initially, they went with the name Top Comics. Mitch designed a logo and solicitations were sent to all the distributors (there were more than just Diamond in those days). Orders for about 4,400 copies rolled in.
It was there that things got jammed. Roland and Steven didn’t have the money to actually print and ship the comics — they were still in college, after all. Additionally, none of the banks in Hattiesburg would loan them money to print the comics.
So, orders were cancelled and plan B was enacted. As fate would have it, a local comic shop owner knew someone who had just started a small press company and was looking for content. That company was EF Graphics run by John Drury. Roland and Steven signed with EFG; Cat & Mouse was the first title. It was to be followed by SilverStorm (written by Thomas Fortenberry); followed by an anthology title with stories by Barry Gregory…which would lead into a team book: The Hero Task Force.
But since they weren’t publishing, they couldn’t really use Top Comics as a name. This was before the idea of all the “studios” popped up later, but that’s kind of what they were. After some time, they settled on the name Silverline. The idea was that since they loved the SILVER AGE of comics, they wanted to do comics that had a modern sensibility with a silver age spirit. They’d be a “line” of comics from EFG…Therefore, they would be “the Silver Line.” That was shortened to one word…and that is how the name came about.
EFGraphics unfortunately folded after publishing Cat & Mouse #1 (along with a few issues of Jazz Age Chronicles by Ted Slampyak), so Roland and Steven took the printed #1 as well as photocopies for 2-5 (in various stages of completion), SilverStorm, as the anthology title…
(more to come)