All posts by Roland Mann

04Jul/21

Silverline Creators Share July 4 Traditions

On July 4th, those of us in the US take a day out to celebrate .
So, in the spirit of Independence, we asked Silverline Creators: What are some of your July 4th traditons?

Mike W. Belcher

Growing up, we didn’t have big Fourth of July events. We always had a flag flying outside the house. Typically this small carnival would come to town for a few days usually ending on the night of the fourth. It was your typical traveling carnival. The workers usually looked pretty sketchy. The rides looked old and you’d take your life in your own hands riding them. But there was something fun and comfortable about. We’d walk back home and cook out a small meal. Usually just hamburgers and hot dogs. We’d end the night walking out the back door to watch the fireworks the city would set off. Friends would come over to watch them with us. It was small but we had fun.

Growing up, we still watch the fireworks the city sets off. We cook out if we have the time. Adulthood has set me too straight on going to the carnival now. But at the end of the day, we all know what we’re celebrating and are grateful for what we have and what this country offers us.

Rob Davis

July 4th celebrations at the Davis household:

Pre-COVID our family had a yearly get together with family friends who live a couple of hours away here in Missouri. We are fortunate to live on a property outside any city limits of about five acres with a big field to the south of the house and a patch of trees on about one and a half acres to the east of the house blocking the nearby two lane highway from the house. Living where there are no restrictions on fireworks use and a piece of property big enough to have the staging ground safely away from our house and any others nearby we would host a modest fireworks display and feast. I start early in the day grilling and smoking the meats and vegetables for our guests who usually arrive in time for a late lunch. We visit while we eat inside if it’s too hot or enjoy the deck or patio if it’s not. We might do some video or board games until the sun gets behind the house a bit then head outdoors to set off “daytime” fireworks like smoke bombs, snakes, firecrackers and “poppers”. The daytime highlight is always the parachute poppers that each of the younger generation set off and then chase down and attempt to catch the floating chutes. Despite all of the “kids” being grown up this is still as much fun as it was when they were little. By the time the daytime event has finished it’s time to consume the leftovers from lunch, watch a video or play more games until the sun goes down enough for night-time pyrotechnics. At dusk we start with sparklers and graduate to the display fireworks alternating roman candles, rockets, and waterfall like displays with mortar shells that explode in the sky with spectacular flower-sprays. There’s usually one last set of explosives to cap off the celebration and our family friends head back home while we clean up what we can of the aftermath and make sure any embers are well extinguished.

With everyone of the folks in the two families now vaxxed that can be we’re looking forward to starting up the tradition again in 2021.

Tim TK

I like to think I celebrate the Fourth of July in much the same way as most others, but with my own little twist on it. The standard procedure is grill some juicy burgers for lunch and then head over to the riverfront park which has usually been converted into something like a fair for the week leading into the holiday. The walkways are lined with vendors and the central promenade hosts a large stage featuring some okay, bordering on good, talent. We do the standard thing, buy some over priced elephant ears, set up some camp chairs and watch the fireworks over the river once it gets dark.

What I think is really dope happens during the parade that crosses two of the suburbs in our metro area. I happen to know the guy who used to have a long board factory in the area and he has a slot in the parade each year. He gets a bunch of skate boarders and longboarders together, and we cruise up and the down the parade as it travels, blasting past the retirement home floats, and bombing/carving down the hill that happens to be on the parade route. It was cancelled last year, as most things were, but two years ago, I did this while wearing an American Flag onesie. I found myself in several photos later as well as in the reel the city put together. Unfortunately, it looks like I won’t be able to break the onesie out again this year, but maybe next year!

Roland Mann

The Manns often find themselves in Piggott, Arkansas for the 4th of July celebrations. Piggott is a small town in NE Arkansas with a population fewer than 4,000. They celebrate the 4th, however, like a much larger town.

The 4th of July serves as a bit of a family reunion for the community of Piggott and Clay County in general. For as long as I can remember, trips to visit family happened during Christmas and on July 4th.

On the morning of the 4th, the Huffmans (my Mom’s family) would make their way to a spot near the railroad tracks around 8:30am to get a good viewing spot for the parade. Starting at 9am, the parade, which runs about one mile from the First Baptist Church down Main Street until it reaches the fairgrounds. Like many small town parades, it features the local ball teams, beauty queens, and politicians. Occasionally a state politician would make the visit and participate in the parade.

At 10am, the politicians take the stage and blow all their hot air. I never really paid any attention to them except that short while I was an editor at the local rag. Depending on how hot it was would generally determine how long they talked. They’d be followed by bands/singers throughout about lunch.

We would make our way to the “kitchen” or hamburger stand and grab lunch…then head home. Often, family would all head to my grandparents’ house—in later years, that house became my parents’ house. The next several hours were full of conversations, catching up, naps, and lots of laughing.

The family would head back to the “picnic” (which is really just a small fair) and eat and ride some rides (younger ones), watch the beaty pageants, or just catch up with friends and extended family.

At 10pm, the community heads to the high school football field for the yearly fireworks. Then, when that is done, the “raffle” winners are announced and everyone heads home.

All the money raised at the Fourth of July Picnic in Piggott goes to the upkeep and care of the city cemetery. Every weekend following and into August, the surrounding communities have their own picnics to raise money for their own cemeteries.

And that’s pretty much the 4th traditions for the Manns.

Peter Clinton

Happy Treason Day, you ungrateful Colonials!

 

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!

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.

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.

19Jan/21

Silverline Creator Spotlight: John Crowther

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 John Crowther, lawyer and writer of lots of wrestling comics, Rochelle the Teen Cockroach, and the upcoming Teen Beetle for Silverline, which is currently on Kickstarter for issue #1!

Now, without further ado, we present to you…

12 Questions with John Crowther

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

My name is John Crowther. and I am a dad, husband, son, brother, writer, and reluctant lawyer with somewhat redneck tendencies.  I was born just a few blocks from the World’s Most Famous Beach in Daytona Beach, Florida and, after making the usual college and post-college tours, I now make my home in the artsy Central Florida college town of DeLand.

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

My primary role with Silverline is writer and creative spinster.

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

You can find a few of my earlier series (Rochelle, Horror Comics, Exciting Comics and Turnbuckle Titans, to name a few) with Antarctic Press, as well a collection of biographical professional wrestling comics with Squared Circle Comics. In addition, I have appeared in several anthologies and graphic magazines, most notably for Heavy Metal Magazine, Unlikely Heroes Studios, Oneshi Press and Tin Sky Media.

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

It’s not what I would consider a hobby, but when I’m not plugging away on a Silverline comic, you’ll most likely find me typing away on the desktop at my law office, where I have been practicing law for nearly 29 years. Away time from the offices will generally find me in my garden, at the beach, or browsing antique malls on one-tank road trips with my better half — my amazing wife, Gigi.

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

Writing comics has become a passion for me over my relatively short 6-7 year comic writing career, so everything about it still rings fresh to me. I love seeing my words brought to life by the incredible artists I’ve had the honor of working with. I love to see the enjoyment in a fan’s eyes or  hear their excitement when they’ve read something that I have created. And I love the comradery that I find in the comic book industry among other creators. It’s the combination of all of these things that drives me to continue with that passion.

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

For me, it wasn’t a particular comic that convinced me that I could “do this.” I have been a comic book reader for almost as far back as I can remember. I still recall passing the old Rexall drug store near my bus stop after school each day, where I would hit the spinner rack for a handful of $.75 comics — everything from Sgt. Rock to X-Factor, to Conan, to Swamp Thing. I was a huge fan of Mad Magazine and Cracked back then too. If it had a cool cover, I’d grab it. But I never really imagined that I would be a part of the industry in the future — my career was set as soon as I was born —  was groomed to be a lawyer. When I hit my 40s, looking for an outlet from the daily office grind, I stumbled across a Facebook group called ICC (Independent Creators Connection.) It was a diverse collection of comic book fans and industry hopefuls, who were really supportive of each other regardless of their skill or knowledge level. I thought, “What the heck,” and went for it — sharing my concepts and scribblings — and was received with open arms by folks I’d never met before. It was that positive encouragement that set me on my way and gave me the gumption to try my hand at comics on a more professional level.

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

Oh, gosh. I’m about as eclectic as it gets when it comes to music, although my usual fallbacks are country (Clint Black, Waylon Jennings, Charlie Daniels, Hank Williams, Jr., Johnny Cash, Chris Stapleton) and classic rock (AC DC, Black Sabbath, Led Zeppelin.) But I’m not discriminatory when it comes to music, as you can see by my concert list: Milli Vanilli, Smashing Pumpkins, Earth, Wind & Fire, Neil Diamond, Kansas, B52’s, Jefferson Airplane, Yellow Man, and Boy George to name a few. And no — it comes off when I write, as it would be too distracting. I talk through the stories in my head and out loud when I write (if you passed my desk you’d think I was insane). 

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

Growing up as a kid, I read comics and books equally. My favorite genres being fantasy, horror, and sword and sorcery. Some of the authors who I drew influence from include Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and Terry Brooks. In comics, I was drawn to the writing of Marv Wolfman and Robert Kanigher, and to the art of Bernie Wrightson, George Perez and Joe Kubert.

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

Rochelle: The Teen Cockroach was the first comic I ever worked on professionally, when it  appeared as an add-on story for Femforce #170 from AC Comics, before having a successful run with Antarctic Press as simply, Rochelle. Oddly enough, the title character can trace her origin back to a sketch I did as part of an art challenge in the ICC Facebook group. It was the positive reception I received from that post that encouraged me to bring Rochelle to life.

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

Absolutely — I still enjoy reading  it and feel that it was a fairly good effort for a first comic. It’s also garnered a bit of a cult following and has very recently stirred some interest in  genres outside of comics, so hopefully you’ll be hearing exciting news on the Rochelle front in the months ahead.

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

There are definitely some good independent titles out there. I would highly recommend a couple from Inverse Press: Vicious Circus, and Last Ride of the 4 Horsemen. Those folks specialize in horror and these books will not disappoint. For younger readers, I would recommend a new title from writer Rob Andersin and Scoot (Scout Comics imprint) called Cat Dad & Super Mom. I had the privilege of previewing the book and it’ll knock your socks off.  I’m generally reluctant to recommend anything I’ve been a part of, but I would be remiss if I didn’t recommend Cthulu Invades Oz, from Travis Gibb and Orange Cone Productions. It’s a really well done anthology from a collection of top-level creators that combines the worlds of L. Frank Baum and H.P. Lovecraft.

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?

Start younger and don’t hesitate. There’s nothing that will hold you back more than yourself. I honestly wish that I hadn’t surrendered to my own self-doubt when I was younger. 

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

Strangely enough, this is a tough question. My initial thought was a parking lot, because I would love to leave a space where others could stop, suspend reality for a moment, and absorb themselves in the stories I left behind. But that wouldn’t be me. I don’t want be remembered for sitting still, so I would have go with the overpass, launching above that parking lot. I would want others to remember me for always moving forward — seeking, reaching and surpassing my goals and never stopping to rest on my laurels.

Teen Beetle is currently kickstarting and the first issue is available there now: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/rolandmann/teenbeetle1switchblade1

06Jan/21

Silverline: Looking Ahead to Year 3

2021!

We finally made it out of 2020!

Whew! Many of you thought we’d never make it, yet—here we are! And Silverline is ready to tackle it…nay, we’re psyched that’s it’s here so we can get back to convention going!

We’ve definitely got some exciting things lined up for the coming year. Much of this is going to happen whether we get out of plague-world or not. So…just what do we have planned? Thank you for asking!

Crowdfunding

KS exclusive cover by Ben Dunn

We know that’s at the top of your list of questions: What’s next? What comics are we going to put into your hands? On January 14th we’ll launch our first for 2021. We’ll launch Silverline Double Feature: Teen Beetle #1 and Switchblade #1 RemiX. Both of the issues are complete and ready to print and ship as is the Silverline way (we’ve got a thing here or there on a cover or two, but the interiors are finished!)!

Teen Beetle is the new mini-series by Rochelle creator John Crowther. You’ve probably also seen John’s work in a whole slew of wrestling comics from Inverse Press. With art by long time industry veteran Dell Barras, Teen Beetle is a 3-issue mini-series and is part of the Rochelle universe. Teen Beetle is colored by GeriLou Smith and lettered by Hector Negrette. Ninja High School and Warrior Nun creator Ben Dunn provides a kickstarter exclusive cover.  

KS Exclusive cover by Mike W. Belcher and Aiden Belcher

Switchblade is the RemiX version of Switchblade #1 originally printed in black & white and on newsprint back in the late 90s. It has been digitally remastered and has been colored by Aiden Belcher (Man in the Mask). It was written by Roland Mann, pencilled by Leonard Kirk (Supergirl), inked by David Rowe, and lettered by Brad Thomte.

Here’s the link if you would like to sign up to be notified on launch: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/rolandmann/teenbeetle1switchblade1

Beyond that, we know the kickstarter schedule, if not the exact titles. We know, we’re stinkers like that, not telling you what’s when. So, we plan to have crowdfunders run: March 9-28, May 4-23, July 6-25, Sept 7-26, and Nov 9-28. That’s six total kickstarters for the year—one every other month—bringing you what should be TWELVE comics! (unless we do another double like Trumps—then it will be MORE!) So…start socking away your pennies so you can get in on these. They’re always special.

While we can’t tell you the exact titles for specific dates, what we CAN tell you, though, is what you should be seeing. (remember, not necessarily in this order!)

All these Silverline comics are VERY close to being done:

panel from Kayless #3

Kayless #3 and #4 (of 4); Twilight Grimm #2 (of 4); Divinity #2 (of 4); Silverline Team-Up: Champion and Ms Fury #1 (of 4).

These are pretty close:

Friar Rush #2 (of 3); Rejects #1 (of 3); Steam Patriots #1 (of 4); Beah #1 (of 4); Wolf Hunter #1 (of 3); Cat & Mouse #1 (volume 3!)

These are still early in production…but we’re still excited about them.

Cat & Mouse #4; Trumps Book 2; Capetown #1.

Streams

We’ll continue doing the Silver Sunday and Wednesday Wham streams every Sunday and Wednesday night at 9pm (EST). While we’ve got a short list of topics, what are some thing YOU would you like to hear us talk about? Don’t be shy, speak up!

In case you have forgotten (or never knew), 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! 😉

Roland has pitched some ideas out to the Silverline team and there’s very likely more content coming on the Silverline channels! Stay tuned.

Discord

Yes, we’ve got a Discord server. Yes, it’s live. No, it’s not terribly active, but we’re working on fixing that. It came as a result of our recent foray into gaming. “Gaming?” you say. Yes…but more on that later. For now, here is your invite to join our discord server: https://discord.gg/4SFwhtUJz8

Podcasts

Silverline Sunday stream producer Brett is hard at work turning the streams into podcasts. The goal is to have them start hitting around February. So, if you prefer podcasts over visual streams, this might be a way for you to get your Silverline team fix.

Special items for ‘21

If you supported any of our kickstarters with a physical reward, you should have received the first ever Silverline Christmas card. We were SO excited to make that happen as just something small to let you all know we appreciate you so much.

The other thing you may not have seen yet is the very first ever Silverline poster! Yes, that’s right, it’s 18X24 and needs a place on your wall! They’ll be available live at conventions or you can have one mailed to you. It’ll be available through the Facebook Store…very soon.

The Silverline Signature Book will be available soon on IndyPlanet and at conventions near you. The twenty lucky Mystery Box winners got the 20 first ever limited run, but now everyone else can pick up a copy.

Project news

The addition of John Crowther’s Teen Beetle led to additional talks, and while nothing is solidified yet, we’re happy to announce that Silverline will be the home for a new volume of Rochelle the Teen Cockroach! More to come on that later.

What’s the status of the other titles?

Cat & Mouse

Alex Gallimore is working on pencilling issue #4, the last issue of Cat & Mouse volume 2. Just a few pages in, this will be the final issue and will be the first of the series started to finish.

Several of you Cat & Mouse fans asked me if that was it, though, and I’m happy to tell you that it is NOT it for Cat & Mouse. In fact, Wubba Fett is already about half-way finished with the pencils for #1 of volume 3! My pal Jeff Whiting will be inking and you’re going to absolutely LOVE what you see.

art for volume 3 of Cat & Mouse by Wubba Fett (p) and Jeff Whiting (i)

Fans of Alex, don’t fret, though. While #4 (v2) is Alex’s last issue of C&M, Alex has fallen in love with Demon (haven’t we all?) and is actually chomping at the bit to tell a new Demon story. He’s so excited, he’s already recruited Thomas Florimonte on to ink it!

Kayless

Kayless #3 is nearly done. It’s completely lettered (by Brad Thomte) and a little more than half colored. Kayless #4 has about 10 pages of pencils and inks, so it should be the 2nd series to wrap up this year.

Divinity

panels from Divinity #2 by Alex Sarabia (p) and Barb Kaalberg (i, c)

Alex Sarabia has just started pencilling issue #3 of Divinity while creator Barb Kaalberg finishes up the colors. Barb took on the colors when Steve Mattsson had to step aside. Barb is doing a bang-up job on the colors!

Twilight Grimm

Rob Davis has finished the third issue. Yes, you read correctly, the third issue! And he’s working on #4 as we type. Issue #2 is still being both lettered and colored, but we anticipate completion literally any day now. Twilight Grimm will likely be the third completed mini of Silverline thanks to Rob’s blue collar work ethic in getting the work done!

Friar Rush

Friar Rush #2 is a little over half inked by John Martin, but it is completely lettered.

work from Friar Rush #2 by Aaron Humphres (p) and John Martin (i)

Trumps

Thomas Hedglen is working on a special Trumps…”thing” before beginning issue #3 (or the first part of Book 2)…and we think you’re going to like the thing he’s working on! Hopefully within just a few weeks he’ll be starting on issue #3.

Rejects

C. Michael Lanning has completed the pencils for the first issue and WOW—you’re going to be blown away by what he’s done. Rebecca Winslow is just getting into the inks, but hopefully we can start showing you some of that soon, as well as C. Michael’s pencilling on #2 (which he will likely do some of during the live stream!).

work from Rejects #1 by C. Michael Lanning (p) and Rebecca Winslow (i)

Silverline Team-Up: Champion and Miss Fury #1 (of 4)

Started out as a Champion solo comic…then Roland decided to add Miss Fury (she’s public domain AND he did the first “new” work after Tarpe Mills in the early 90s Miss Fury mini-series by Malibu)…and the title became what it is now. Peter Clinton has done a bang up job on the first issue. Keep you eyes on Pete—he’s a shooting star! Roland has finished the script (done Marvel style), and Thomas Florimonte is working on the inks. Roberta has colored a single page and the cover and should get on more of them as Tommy finished the inks. Meanwhile, Peter has already started pencils for issue #2!

work from Silverline Team-Up: Champion and Miss Fury by Peter Clinton (p), Thomas Florimonte (i) and Roberta Conroy (c)

White Devil

White Devil #1 is being colored by Phil Leon. We hope to have the first issue complete VERY soon. Issue #2 is lined up and waiting for him to complete #1, and Issue #3 is in the hands of inker Chuck Bordell.

art from White Devil #1 by Jaxon Renick (p) and Mike Keeney (i)

Steam Patriots

Issue #1 is being colored and lettered and should be done soon.

Beah

Haley Martin has finished roughly 6 pages of full pencil/inks/colors—she’s doing all the art! Be sure to catch her working on the pages during the Wednesday live stream.

art from Beah by Haley Martin

Wolf Hunter

pencils for Wolf Hunter by AJ Cassetta

AJ Cassetta is nearly done with the pencils for issue #1.

Capetown

The script for the first issue is done, and JW Franklin is waiting on Roland to release a final script to him so he can start drawing!

Teen Beetle

Issue #2 is just starting production.

Sniper & Rook

Should see the first issue of the new volume ready very soon!

RemiX

Several books are part of the RemiX line from Silverline. Switchblade is the first to see the light of day. These titles were originally published in the 90s in black and white and on newsprint. They have been (are being) digitally remastered and then colored to be released in the new RemiX format.

Jeremy Kahn is wrapping up coloring issue #5 (of 5) of Krey; David Rios is coloring issue #4 (of 4) of Demon’s Tails; Roberta Conroy is coloring #3 (of 4) of Pendulum; Barb Kaalberg is coloring #3 (of 4) of Sirens; Scott Gordon is coloring #3 (of 4) of SilverStorm V2; Eric Rossberg is nearly finished with #1 (of 4) of Scary Book; and Rebecca Winslow is slated to color Marauder.

Like we said, we’ve got a lot of fun stuff coming your way…and that’s what comics should be: FUN!

Remember to #makeminesilverline

29Dec/20

Silverline: Review of Year 2

Silverline: Review of Year 2

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to one and all. From all of us here at Silverline, we wish you and yours a very happy and safe holiday season! Love up on and cherish your loved ones!

So, despite the fact that the Plague raged over the earth, 2020 was a pretty good year for Silverline. We ran AND FULFILLED 4 successful kickstarter campaigns and we started the Silverline live streams…which has been more successful than we had imagined.

Crowdfunding

In March, we funded and shipped Kayless #2. We’ve had problems getting the art because this campaign was at the beginning of the global lockdown and the art sent from Luis got held up in Argentina…then it came to the US…and went back to Argentina…and went back to the US…then it went to Panama (why? We have no clue)…then it finally made its way back to Luis. Luis will be in the US shortly and is going to ship the art to me from wherever he is. Kayless is the brainchild of writer Brent T. Larson. It’s drawn by Luis Czerniawski with colors by Leandro Huergo and letters by Mike W. Belcher.

This would be the last of the “single issue” kickstarters of the year as production of comics ramped into high gear!

May saw the Silverline Double Feature Divinity #1 and Twilight Grimm #1. Divinity is the creation of long time industry inker (she also inks Silverline’s Cat & Mouse) Barb Kaalberg, her very first creator owned projects (we’re pretty sure it won’t be the last, judging by your responses). Barb was joined by penciller Alex Sarabia, colorists Steve and Sage Mattsson, and letterer Mike W. Belcher. Twilight Grimm reunited a creative team from the 1980s in hooking up writer R.A. Jones with artist Rob Davis. Mike W. Belcher lettered and Mickey Clausen supplied the colors. Again, based on your comments, you’re glad we made that reunion happen!

July saw Silverline Double Feature #2 with Bloodline and Friar Rush #1. Both projects written by Sidney Williams, Bloodline is the comic adaptation of the short story written by him and horror writer Rob Petit. Bloodline was pencilled by Zombie art specialist Rob Sacchetto with inks by veteran industry inker Terry Pallot, letters by Brian Dale, and colors by Jeremy Kahn. Friar Rush #1 is the first of a three issue mini with pencils by Aaron Humphres, inks by John Martin, letters by Brian Dale, and colors by Rebecca Winslow.

September saw Silverline Two-Fer with Cat & Mouse #3 and Trumps Book 1. Trumps was essentially TWO issues, so it was too big to do the double feature flip book…so it was a Two-Fer instead. Both titles are written by Roland Mann, and Cat & Mouse #3 is pencilled by Alex Gallimore, inked by Barb Kaalberg, lettered by Brian Dale, and colored by Kevin Gallegly. Trumps was pencilled by Anthony Pereira and Thomas Hedglen, inked by industry veteran Thomas Florimonte, lettered by Brian Dale, and colored by Sid VenBlu.

If you missed them, they’re both available with our friends at IndyPlanet! www.indyplanet.com/silverline

Streaming

We started weekly streaming on Wednesday March 18. We hadn’t anticipated the Pandemic (who did, right?), but it was something we’d talked about a bit. We launched on three different platforms live: Facebook, Youtube, and Twitch. Our numbers grew and we enjoyed it so much—and you seemed to enjoy it as well, that just three months later we added a second and third stream.

On Sunday June 8, we started streaming weekly on Sundays, effectively splitting our stream team in half. Scott Wakefield, co-writer of the upcoming Steam Patriots, took over as host of the Wednesday Wham, and Roland started hosting the Silver Sundays. For several months there was a mostly-weekly Monday 1on1 stream where Roland talked one on one with Silverline team members. That went on for about 2 months and then the Monday stream went to once a month and teamed up with OCD for a “Silverline Spotlight.”

Conventions!

Well…Plague.

In November, however, ComiConway in Conway Arkansas decided to take their show virtual as well as very limited on the spot. Silverline participated in a big way virtually, doing a four-hour block of panels each of the three Saturday mornings! One of the days we were streamed AT the convention itself! We absolutely had a blast doing them and we were very happy to help the convention bring geeky-goodness to those who support them. We’re hoping we’ll be able to get a gaggle of us there live in 2021!

New Projects

We think we already had a pretty impressive lineup of comics with Cat & Mouse (v2), Kayless, Divinity, Twilight Grimm, Bloodline, Friar Rush, and upcoming Sniper & Rook.

We gave the okay and put into production EIGHT new projects!

Steam Patriots, Beah, Silverline Team-Up: Champion and Miss Fury, Teen Beetle, Rejects, Wolf Hunter, Capetown, and Satin’s Ways. If you’ve been watching the streams, you’ve seen several of these in the actual production process. We’ll talk more about them in the upcoming 2021 Silverline Preview!

ReMix

We’d been working on getting some of the classic Silverline comics colored to give them a second life, but there was really no solid plan other than to just “do them.” Silverline Creative Director Kurtis Fujita conceived a plan for our Silverline REMIX that will present some of the older Silverline titles, but in color. There are still details to work out, but it’s exciting to be able to bring this closer to life.

As noted, 2020 has been a pretty good year for Silverline…we’re excited to see where 2021 will take us!

#makeminesilverline

25Dec/20

Silverline creators share Christmas and holiday memories

Merry Christmas!

The Thanksgiving Memories from the gang of us here seemed to go over pretty well with y’all…so we thought we’d do it again. We asked Silverline Creators: What’s your favorite childhood Christmas memory?

-Brent T. Larson
When I was a sophomore in college, my family and I drove from southern Arizona to Moab, Utah, to spend Christmas with my Aunt Mary and Uncle Mark. They loved life and the outdoors, and Mark led mountain tours for a living. One day we drove to nearby Arches National Park, a vast open space with these contorted monolithic rock formations. We practically had the place to ourselves. Soon it began snowing, and the only sound was the wind blowing eerily off the high desert. It was one of the few times in my adult life where I could feel magic in the air. It was a fun, intimate Christmas, moreso because it was the last time I ever saw Mark alive.  A year later, he was leading a tour in the mountains when they were caught in an avalanche.   

-Becca Winslow
My favorite Christmas memory growing up was when my siblings and I all got coal for Christmas. My sister was crying, my brother was so angry and I was so excited. Even after my parents told us it was all a joke and gave us our real presents, I spent the rest of the day playing with my lump of coal… I was a weird child.

-Jeremy Kahn
When asked to recall a fond holiday memory, I can’t help but think of two Hanukkahs that delivered disappointment after raised hopes. Like every kid in the 90s, both my brother and I bugged our parents to no end with our desire for a Gameboy. Up till that point, we were strictly a PC family. We had some PC ports of Nintendo and Sega games, but we still had a need to play on the original systems. Hanukah rolls around with the promise of finally getting that treasured Gameboy. We excitedly open our gift for the night. While most nights we get one gift each, there were some cases where we would get a shared gift (something to share that was usually a high ticket item). In this case, we knew we were getting the fabled handheld. And, lo and behold, upon opening the gift wrapping there it was. A SEGA GameGear…

Another Hanukah comes around and I am not missing an opportunity to let my parents know of a certain movie I want. About every other trip to Blockbuster results in me renting, among a couple of other VHS tapes, Tiny Toons How I Spent my Summer Vacation. I’m fairly confident that they bought me my own copy after showing how much I like this movie. Adding to my anticipation is them saying they bought me that animated movie I liked and asked for. I eagerly pick my present up and un-wrap it. I see the WB’s logo. The anticipation rises. I finish removing the wrapping. There, in all its glory is The Jetsons Meet the Flintstones…

These two memories may seem odd to fondly remember, but they just show how much my parents tried and did for my brother and me. They may have gotten some things wrong, but their love still came through. That is why I consider these two events good memories.

-Aaron Humphres
I do remember coming back from college during Christmas one year to visit my mother and she had the house all decorated just right that it really brought out the season for me. If that makes sense. I remember a lot of great decorations and the house smelling like ginger or something Christmas like. We watched some Harry Potter movies and just had a good time. So that is a memory that stood out for me. Hope this helps.

-Barb Kaalberg
I was raised in a 2-story farmhouse in rural Iowa. There was a 1 story porch attached to the house with 2 parallel power lines that ran above the porch.  One Christmas in the early 60’s, there was an ice storm a few days before Christmas.  On Christmas Eve day, it snowed and snowed.  At least 4 inches.  That night, the air warmed just enough to make the ice clinging to those two power lines slip off the lines and fall in two perfect, parallel lines into the snow on the porch roof.  On Christmas morning my Dad, coming in from doing the morning livestock chores, called for us to get our snowsuits on and come out.  We raced outside to see what he was pointing at.  There, across our porch roof, WERE THE SLEIGH TRACKS FROM SANTA’S SLEIGH!  We were ecstatic as my Dad grinned knowingly.  That Spring, while plowing up the field in front of the house, he unearthed a large, round, antique sleigh bell from some long ago horse drawn sleigh.  He presented it to us, still dirt covered, as further proof that Santa had, indeed, been to our house that Christmas, left tracks and dropped a sleigh bell on his way to the next house.  We believed for many years and, who knows, maybe it wasn’t a trick of the weather or a forgotten antique? 😉

-Sid VenBlu
I could share some Christmas memories but I don’t really have a big one. The holiday is a rather relaxed one over here. No big dinner nor turkey. It’s too hot to wear ugly sweaters or drink hot coco! But at least you can go try your brand new bike out in the street the 25th, hahaha. Probably the present I remember the most was the arrival of our dog and first pet. House went to chaos as soon as she arrived and started digging into my mother’s indoor plants!

-Scott Wakefield
This is another tough one for me to narrow down. I’ve been surrounded by love from my family, so my memories blend together as a happy assortment of gatherings, meals, gift-giving, laughter, hugs, music, snow (mostly), and countless other cheerful happenings, so it might be easier to recount a favorite tradition, rather than one event. Our family tradition for stockings was that our parents would sneak into our rooms and place them near our beds. I’m not sure if this is common, or has roots in a larger tradition, but I’m positive it was a way to keep us quiet and in our rooms for a few minutes longer. My older brother was usually awake first, and he’d get me up by jumping on my bed, and we’d immediately tear into the tiny presents. Each year was similar: matchbox cars, Pez dispensers, Hershey’s Kisses, the plastic candy cane filled with cheap chocolates, and always an orange. I know – and I knew then – that this a tradition from the Great Depression, during which fresh fruit in the winter was a luxury, but we couldn’t resist turning them into weapons by stuffing that orange into the foot of our stockings and whomping on each other. After that was out of our system, we’d sneak out into the living room to peek at the gifts and wait for everyone else to wake up for a wonderful day.

-Mike W. Belcher
Best Christmas. This one is kind of hard. I was truly blessed growing up. I had a very good Christmas every year. Maybe the first time that Kerry was a part of our tradition. She didn’t have grandparents growing up and going to my Mamaw and Pop’s house was truly a gift to her. Watching her be the center of attention and how happy it made her was a great thing to see. 

-Ron Fortier
I’ve had a fascination for toy figures since way back when. Growing up I remember watching the Roy Rogers TV, then unaware Roy and I share a birth date, Nov. 5 – But I digress. I was 10 the year the Sears giant wish catalog showed up in early Nov and as soon as Mom let me see it, I went straight to the toy section. My to my amazement, offered that year was an entire Roy Rogers Double R ranch set complete with Roy on Trigger, Dale on Buttermilk and Bullet their German shepherd dog, Pat Brady in his Jeep Nellybelle, the ranch house, barn and various animals. It was simply mind boggling and I spent the next few weeks letting it known this is what I wanted from Santa.

So come Christmas morning, 1956, me and brother George are up at the crack of dawn and race downstairs to living room to find tons of brightly wrapped gifts under the tree. But my eyes went straight to the Roy Rogers ranch pieces all set up among those gifts. Dad had opened the box they came in and set up all the pieces before going off to bed that night so they’d be ready for me.

I never forget that wonderful Christmas surprise.

-Rob Davis
It was the year my younger, by one year, sister and I began suspecting Santa wasn’t real. My Dad got wind of this and told us a story that on Christmas Eve he’d seen a little plump man in a red suit carrying a bicycle into our across-the-street-neighbor’s house. Now, our Dad was not a very good lie teller so we were nearly convinced it was true. Then, a few days after Christmas we saw that neighbor boy riding a shiny new bicycle down our street (southern Missouri where I grew up seldom got below 40 degrees most days, so a jacket or coat to ride a bike in December wasn’t out of the ordinary). That convinced my sister and me to continue belief in Santa for at least a couple more years. 

Much later we learned the true story. The little plump man was the High School Band Director who lived across the street from us for a few years. We didn’t know it at the time, but he was notorious for his maroon business suit. So it was not a complete lie…

-Tim TK
Ever since I was little, I wanted to snowboard. I saw it once on TV and knew that I had to do it. My mother, out of fear for my life since I was just barely out of my toddler years and, as the doctor would say, a total spaz, decided we would take it slow until I got older. In order to find a compromise, she decided we would go sledding instead. I was not eager to relent on my need to get pitted on some powder, so in order to appease my want for adrenaline, we didn’t just go sledding down the back of the foothill we lived on. No, we went to a mountain proper with a slope groomed just for sledding and tubing. One day she woke us up in the dark, and we got into our warmest clothes and we drove 2 hours to Saddle Mountain. I’m not sure if this is still the case but back then when it snowed, the hiking trail was converted into a small snow park. We rode the trail all-day and I loved every second of it despite the spills, bumps, and snow snakes. On the way down, we stopped at a logging camp and got dinner at a cabin style diner. This is where the memory gets a little sour, so I’ll spare the details. In essence, the mac and cheese, that I had devoured to recoup precious calories, was transformed into a Pollock painting spewed forth my small face onto the interior of our van. Even with that hiccup, this day is still the one I hold responsible for developing my love of snow and the mountains. Though my mother did not let my 4 year old self ride a snowboard, I now do so every year from late October to April and didn’t suffer any spinal injuries as a minor, so I guess the compromise worked. 

-Roland Mann
I have a lot of great memories of Christmas with my family at home, and then making the trek to Arkansas to visit with grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. Most of my memories include me waking up on Christmas day before my sister and being so anxious that I had to wake her up before checking out the tree. One Christmas, I don’t remember exactly how old I was, but I as probably not more than six, I awoke extremely early and got my sister. We peeked at the tree to see presents there waiting for us. We went to wake our parents, excited that Santa had come…but my Dad yelled “Go back to bed!” It seems I had gotten up about three o’clock in the morning and our parents hadn’t actually been IN bed all that long. I joined my sister in her room where we sat and giggled in anticipation of what Santa had brought us until the approved time we could get up. At which point in time, we promptly woke our parents!

Merry Christmas everyone

and remember

#makeminesilverline