Category Archives: Creator Spotlight

14Jul/20

Silverline Creator Spotlight: Steve Mattsson

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 Steve Mattsson, a comic book artist whose work in comics began in the 1980s!

Now, without further ado, we present to you…

12 Questions with … Steve Mattsson

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

My name is Steve Mattsson and I live in the lovely city of Portland, Oregon.

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

Add color to the beautiful artwork of Alex Sarabia and Barb Kaalberg for the new series Divinity.

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

I colored lots of DC and Marvel covers. I also colored long runs of Green Lantern and Untold Tales of Spider-Man.

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

My day job is working as a paramedic in the emergency department of a large hospital in Portland. Because of “circumstances,” I’ve been putting in copious amounts of overtime. Once the world returns to normal, I look forward to hiking and climbing with my wife. I also have a side hustle as a SAG eligible actor that is currently on hold. You can check out some of the bits and bobs I’ve done at my IMDB page. https://www.imdb.com/name/nm4590371/?ref_=fn_al_nm_1

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

I actually took a long break from comics and it was a perfect storm of Barb Kaalberg’s passion for Divinity and my daughter Sage’s interest in coloring comics that brought me back.

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

The issue that got me hooked on comics was The Brave and the Bold #106 featuring Batman and Green Arrow vs. Two-Face. The story was drawn by Jim Aparo. This team-up title introduced me to many heroes in the DC Universe. The big draw, though, was Aparo’s artwork. He had a effortless spontaneity to his line that, somehow, resulted in realistic images. His work became a lifelong favorite of mine. I had a dream come true when I co-wrote a story that he illustrated in Superboy and the Ravers #8.

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

I listen to a lot of ‘80s punk. A contemporary band whose music I enjoy is Skating Polly. https://www.skatingpolly.com/ They have also, obviously, listened to a lot of ‘80s punk. For contrast, I also listened to several L. Frank Baum “Oz” books on Audible while coloring Divinity.

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

I had a wonderful art teacher in high school who was into comics and I had the very good fortune of working for Paul Gulacy as his assistant. Both experiences were priceless.

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

I colored Gulacy’s cover of Miracleman #5 for Eclipse Comics.

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

Oh yeah. I loved Alan Moore’s work on the title and I didn’t screw up my bit.

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

I’m enjoying Karl Kesel’s Section Zero from Panic Button Press https://www.panicbuttonpress.com/ and Ron Randall’s Trekker https://trekkercomic.com/ Both titles are self-published, Kickstarter funded, and worth your support.

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?

If one of the founders of Image Comics asks you to color his new series for a percentage of profits, but no upfront money, take the deal.

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

Neither, I’d like my memorial to be a long run of Divinity from Silverline Comics!

09Jun/20

Silverline Creator Spotlight: Thomas Florimonte

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 Thomas Florimonte, a comic book artist who has worked for such companies as Marvel, DC, Gallant, Chaos, Malibu, and others…as well as Silverline Comics, of course. Tommy is also a partner in the premiere digital comic printer, Ka-Blam.

Now, without further ado, we present to you…

12 Questions with … Thomas Florimonte!

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

Hi! My name is Thomas Florimonte, Jr. Although I never developed that sweet southern accent, I grew up in south Mississippi. I now live in the central Florida area with my wife Rene’. So I guess I’m officially now a Floridian.

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

Currently, I’m inking the upcoming title Trumps. BUT this isn’t the first Silverline-ish book I’ve worked on. Back in the day, I inked several of the original run on Cat & Mouse and Demon’s Tails. AND have worked with Roland Mann on so many books for Silverline, Malibu Comics and others. I give Roland, along with buddies Steven Butler and Mitch Byrd the credit of helping me break into the comic business and giving me some of my first paying work.

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

I broke into the comic biz way back in the early 90’s. In that 25+ years, I’ve racked up a long list of comic creator credits (writing, penciling, inking, coloring, publisher…) and have worked for just about every major publisher out there: Marvel, Malibu, Chaos!, Acclaim, Gallant Comics (to name a few), working on various titles such as Spiderman and Lady Death to Magnus Robot Fighter & Nightman… I’m still plugging away with my own creator owned projects through INFERNO Studios’ line of Kid Hero comics: Zomboy: Kid Hero, Lil Na’ & SoSo, Vinny: Things that go WOOF in the night… My latest projects include new issues of Mystery GirlzZomboy: Kid Hero  (INFERNO Studios), Miniature Man (Gallant Comics / Inks) and a new upcoming project titled Trumps (Silverline / Inks). I also co-own and run the very popular comic printing company: Ka-Blam Digital Printing- The one stop print house for all comic creators. And also IndyPlanet– A online print-on-demand comics shop that works directly with Ka-Blam.  

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

Other hobbies? Who has spare time?  My main time sink is keeping up with the day to day running of Ka-Blam Digital Printing. Oh- Did I not mention that I’m co-owner of the best print-on-demand comic printer in the world? I am, so when I’m not printing other people’s comics, inking the Silverline Trumps comic I’m working on my own creator owned Kid Hero line of comics from INFERNO Studios (www.infernostudios.com): Zomboy, Lil’ Na and SoSo, Mystery Girlz… Did I forget to say that what little time I have left, I spend it all with my wife and friends at the Disney Parks and riding my bike. I try to put in 10-30 miles a week on on my bike. More if I can.

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

Always loved comics: Read them as a kid. Read them as a teen. Read them in college. Started making comics professionally right out of college. Started a business to print comics for myself and others shortly there after. Still doing it now. Doesn’t feel like a job. In fact, I’ve always said I doing my best not to get a real job.

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

Never thought that. But my first comics, though I didn’t know they were comics, had to be Sunday strips in newspaper. Loved reading Peanuts and all that stuff when I was younger.. But comics- I fell in love with Spiderman as a kid. Always have and still am. Doesn’t matter what it is- Spiderman and his bunch are my favorite. I read other stuff, both Marvel and DC, but Spiderman… That and Star Wars was what I nerded, before being a nerd was cool, out for. Anything and everything that had the web head or Darth Vader I could get my hands on, was mine. I’m so easy to buy for.
So when it looked like I was going to start making comics, in the back of m mind, my main objective was to work on the Spiderman comics. AND I did.

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

Music- NO. I watch TV when working on comics. I learned a long time ago that I could watch TV and work on comics at the same time. Not a problem.  I’ve also thrown in Podcasts. And now that I draw and ink everything digitally, I don’t spill ink all over the couch.

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

I’m all over the place. I really don’t have one. Everybody I guess. I’ve had the knack of being able to analyze different styles then pick the stuff I wanted to copy. But I’d say, if there’s any one style I’m known for, most everyone likes the clean dynamic lines I get.

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

While I worked on a TON of uncredited background work, my first published book was on Scum on the Earth from Aircel Comics (one of Malibu Comics imprints).

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

Better yet. I still have several hundred copies of it in my garage AND also still have some of the original pages.

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?

I think I did pretty well: I got in young. Worked on a ton of books. Met a ton of people. Made just as many friends. Had a great time doing so. Fans liked my work. What more could I ask for? I’m still in the business. I always knew that only a few could be “Super Stars.”

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

Die? Who’s doing that? Never going to happen. But… Overpass or Parking lot? Neither. I’d like a INFERNOCoaster. Yeah!!! Make a roller-coaster in my name. I’m going to start working on that now. Fun 🙂

 

05May/20

Silverline Creator Spotlight: Luis Czerniawski

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 Luis Czerniawski, a comic book artist who has worked for such companies as IDW, Image, and Amigo Comics…as well as Silverline Comics, of course.

Now, without further ado, we present to you…

12 Questions with … Luis Czerniawski

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

I’m a simple man (like the song) with a lot of dreams. I’m from Buenos Aires, Argentina, but still trying to find my ship to return to my planet.

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

Here I am, working with good people and doing interesting and fun things for readers, those people like us who wait there trying to read something new every day… oh, and trying to dominate the world.

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

I’ve done a lot of things, IDW publishing, Zenescope entertainment, Mohak media, Avatar press, Amigo Comics, SQP, and  hundreds of pages and covers with James Heffron and many many independent jobs.

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

Draw and draw things for me. I also take care of my plants. I like to be surrounded by green and cats. I also watch TV series, etc. … simple things can also be great.

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

It’s a beautiful road but sometimes difficult. Most of the cases work like in soccer leagues, big and small: some arrive, others don’t … but there they are. In my case, I never stopped being. It’s one way and I’ll never lower my arms.

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

I was very young. I don’t remember exactly which one was the first, but I remember the drawings were from Kirby and other title of Batman with Deadman maybe from the ’70 by Neal Adams. My mother still keeps my version of that inked cover imitating Neal.

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

Love music and I can’t be without it. In fact, I sang in heavy metal bands. Yes, please don’t laugh. And I still listen to some classic bands like Queensryche. I listen to a lot of progressive rock, old and new, from unknown bands or underrated ones, like Road, that maybe they have only one disc but they are great, to Opeth. I also listen to Neil Young, Patrick Watson (Love song for robots),White Buffalo, etc ,uffff a lot !!!

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

As I said before, it was definitely Kirby. I read too many horror magazines with lot of great artists from the 70s that I don’t remember the names of … and then Moebius.

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

My first professional comic was for IDW, a long time ago; a miniseries called CVO, African Blood.

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

Oh, yes I can read it but not look at it, hahahaha. It’s a good story, like the one El Torres writes.

SILVERLINE: What are some non-Silverline independent comics you would recommend to readers? (no Marvel or DC, please)

I wouldn’t know which ones exactly, there are many new and interesting things to read. Amigo Comics has many interesting things, or look for something old.

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?

Ohhh, it’s a good question. I would say come out, not to stay behind the hidden curtains, that nothing matters to you, show what you do!!!

Luis is penciling and inking Silverline’s Kayless!

07Apr/20

Creator Spotlight: Jaxon Renick

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 Jaxon Renick, a comic book artist who has worked on Deathstroke: The Terminator, SilverStorm II, Marauder, and Open Space!

Now, without further ado, we present to you…

12 Questions with … Jaxon Renick      

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

I am Jaxon Renick, I come Bartlesville Oklahoma (Home to Phillips Petroleum) and have lived in Aizona, Texas, Missouri, Utah and Washington. In some cases, more than once over the years.

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

I interpretate and coalesce the writings of talented word smiths through the use of pencil and paper…the interpretative dance part is just for me.

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

CHAOS Magazine, Marvel’s Open Space and DC Comic’s Deathstroke: The Terminator

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

Collecting action figures, writing short stories, 3D designing homes on my computer using Sketchup. I also seem to collect cigar boxes.

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

I’ve been in and out over the years. Sometimes due to burn out, just busy with other stuff and in complete honesty, depression, but there’s always a spark awaiting to flare up into full blown artistic mode. Always! Plus, Roland’s hard to say “no” to!

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

I don’t recall there being that first comic moment for me, but I do have drawings of Tono and Kono The Jungle Twins that I did when I was just a wee little one.

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

Music’s a big influencer when drawing. What I listen to while at the ol’ drawing board is dependent on what I’m drawing  and what energy or emotion/mood I’m wanting to convey.

In terms of a playlist…X, Leonard Cohen, Joan Jett, Lou Reed, Laurie Anderson, Sinatra, the Beatles, the Stones, Kate Bush, John Doe, John Williams soundtracks, Rocky Horror, Queen, Talking Heads, Bowie…and the list goes on! 

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

Neal Adams, John Byrne, Don Newton, Jose Louise Garcia Lopez, Michael Golden, John Buscema, George Perez, Gil Kane, Curt Swan, Howard Chakin, Walt Simonson…to name a few.

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

 Marvel’s anthology book ‘Open Space’ #7 I believe.

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

Next question!

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

I do not have an answer for this one.

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?

There’s an abundance of artists out there, none of them are YOU! Now go do that voodoo that you do, so well!

03Mar/20

Silverline Creator Spotlight: Dean Zachary

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 Dean Zachary, a professional comic book artist, who has worked with famous characters ranging from Batman, Wonder Woman and Green Lantern for DC Comics, to titles such as Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic for Dark Horse Comics.

Now, without further ado, we present to you…

10 QUESTIONS WITH … DEAN ZACHARY

Dean Zachary
SILVERLINE: So, Dean, who are you and where do you hail from? 
 
DEAN ZACHARY: Jonesboro, AR.
 
SILVERLINE: What would you say it is you do here at Silverline?
 
DZ: Penciller.
 
SILVERLINE: Where might Silverline readers have seen your work previously?
 
DZ: I’ve done work with DC Comics, Malibu, and Dark Horse Comics, working with titles such as Batman, Wonder Woman, and massive franchises like Star Wars.
 
*Editor’s Note: Check out Dean’s extensive resume right here.
 
SILVERLINE: 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?
 
DZ: I’ve always been fascinated with telling Cinematic Stories through drawings.  Seeing the “Movie” in my head while reading the script, I have a natural ability to share the Signature Scenes that encapsulate and communicate the story in panels.
 
I also love Line Work, such as Contour Hatching, Motion Lines and Expressive Line to emphasize action and mood.  As my colleagues are well aware, I also like Atmosphere, and insist on populating my scenes with floating leaves, rain, ash, snow, sleet, fog or dramatic lighting to accentuate themes and elicit certain emotions.
 
Referencing Locations with photos also helps with establishing the Setting as a Character, which makes the story more memorable. I’ve also been known to use what I call a “Strobing Effect” which is basically drawing several positions of a thrown Punch or Kick as if it’s captured by a sequence of stills and pasted into one panel.
 
My preference is also to use Hatching and Line Work to define Form and Volume, instead of depending on the Colorist. I’m often heard saying things like, “Every Line Counts!”
 
SILVERLINE: What was the first comic you remember reading that made you think, “Hey, I could do this!”
 
DZ: Marvel Preview #11 Presents Starlord (1977) by Chris Claremont and John Byrne. Seeing the comic in black & white really inspired me!
 
SILVERLINE: Who were some of your earliest influences on your art?
 
DZ: Neal Adams. John Byrne. Frank Frazetta. Gil Kane. John Romita, Sr. Jim Lee. Marc Silvestri.
 
SILVERLINE: What was the first comic you ever worked on professionally?
 
DZ: ‘It: The Terror From Beyond Space”
 
SILVERLINE: Can you still read that Terror from Beyond Space today without wincing?
 
DZ: No, I still wince!
 
SILVERLINE: If you could go back in time and give your younger self one piece of advice that would help him better navigate the comics industry, what would it be? 
 
DZ: Hey, younger Dean, move to New York and go by the Marvel/DC Offices every day until they give you a job.
 
SILVERLINE: Morbid question, but still important — after you die, would you rather your memory be memorialized with an overpass or a parking lot? 
 
DZ: Neither. I’d rather be memorialized with a cool statue. Just sayin!!
 
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.

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.

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.
13Aug/19

Silverline Creator Spotlight: R.A. Jones

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 R.A. Jones, who wrote a tremendous number of titles for Malibu Comics, including Dark Wolf, Fist of God, Scimidar, Merlin, Sinbad, White Devil, Protectors, The Ferret, Pistolero, Prototype, Night Man, Air Man, and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Jones has written for myriad other publishers including Dark Horse, Image, DC, and Marvel.

Now, without further ado, we present to you…

10 QUESTIONS WITH … R.A. JONES

R.A. Jones

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

RAJ: My name is R.A. Jones and I was born and raised here in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where I still reside.

And, yes: like many people born in Oklahoma, I have been told that I do have a little Indian blood!

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

RAJ: I am a writer, currently working on the series Twilight Grimm and Divinity for Silverline.

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

RAJ: Depending on how old you are, you might have seen my work as long ago as the 1980s, when I wrote a review column for the comic book fan magazine Amazing Heroes.

As far as actual comics credentials, I did quite a bit of work for Malibu Comics, including Dark Wolf; Scimidar; Merlin, The Protectors; Ferret; Star Trek: DS9 and their Ultraverse Line.

I have also written for Marvel (Wolverine/Captain America); DC (Showcase ’95); Dark Horse (Harlan Ellison’s Dream Corridor) and Image (Bulletproof Monk).  The latter inspired a movie of the same title; and two short comics stories I wrote were adapted as episodes of the French television series The Metal Hurlant Chronicles.

In recent years, I have mostly written prose novels, including The Steel Ring (using some of the same Golden Age superheroes who appeared in The Protectors); Deathwalker; Scimidar; and Comanche Blood.

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

RAJ: It was Stan Lee and the Marvel Comics of the 1960s that first inspired me, when I was just a boy, to want to become a writer.

(I still keep a small bust of Stan next to my computer for inspiration.  No lie!)

Like many comic book creators, I was/am a movie buff as well – so the idea of telling stories through pictures seems to be kind of hard-wired into our creative DNA.

By the time I actually started submitting work to editors, my specific desire to write comics had evolved into a more general desire to just be a writer, period – in any form or medium I could.

But obviously I still possess a special love for wedding words with images – and still get a big kick out of seeing one of my written scripts turned into a visual story through the talents and efforts of artists.

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

RAJ: While I had voraciously read anything that fell into my hands since the first or second grade, it was a specific spring day in 1965 that really sealed my fate.

That was the day I actually bought my first comic book, off the spinner rack of a neighborhood drugstore.

The book was Avengers #17 (first series).

To the best of my memory, I had no previous exposure to or knowledge of Marvel Comics or any of its characters – so why I bought that particular book, I couldn’t say for sure.  But it hooked me as quickly and strongly as if it had been crack cocaine!

About the same time, I wrote a short “play” that was performed in front of my fifth grade classmates.

I’ve been writing ever since.

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

RAJ: Obviously, Stan Lee would prove to be an early and powerful influence. Shortly after I started collecting comics, the work of Roy Thomas would make a strong impression.

Outside of comics, I was always drawn to the work of such adventure writers as Robert Louis Stevenson and Jack London.  I was a big fan of Edgar Rice Burroughs work, especially the Tarzan and Pellucidar novels.  In the summer of 1967, I discovered the first of the Conan the Barbarian books that made me a fan of Robert E. Howard.

Movies also left their mark on my creative psyche.  The authors work that stood out most starkly to me was often in films that adapted stage plays (Inherit the Wind; 12 Angry Men; Cat on a Hot Tin Roof).  The directors (Hitchcock; Leone; Ford) taught effective ways to blend words and pictures in telling a story.

Through a sort of “creative osmosis” common to all of us in the arts, and often on an unconscious level, all these and more combined inside my brain to become my “style.”

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

RAJ: My first professional work in comics was actually as an editor for a small, short-lived independent publisher called Elite Comics. There I worked on such titles as Seadragon and Epsilon Wave.  They were gearing up to release the first series written by me when they suspended publication (That series was Dark Wolf, done a short time later for Malibu.).

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

RAJ: I’m reminded of a scene in an early episode of the TV sitcom Happy Days. In it, the character “Fonzie,” when contemplating how he should position the rearview mirrors on his motorcycle handlebars, says something like: “Eyyy – I’m not interest in seein’ where I’ve been – I’m interested in lookin’ cool gettin’ where I’m goin’!”

I seldom look back at even recent past writings unless I need to for reference purposes.

I do feel sure that in everything I have written – both then and now – I tried and try to make it the very best I am capable of.

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?

RAJ: Flippantly, I would tell him to write lots of letters of comment to DC editor Julie Schwartz, who often rewarded such correspondents by giving them pages of original art! Have you seen what those pages sell for nowadays?!

Seriously, I would probably tell him to do even more and better at networking.  Like any and all other businesses, the contacts you make in comics – with other writers, with artists, with editors and publishers – can prove invaluable to you in getting and keeping assignments.

For young writers and artists today, I think a tool that did not yet exist when I was coming up through the ranks – personal computers, the Internet and Social Media – is one they should try to fully exploit!

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

RAJ: A parking lot – it’s much less likely to collapse and kill people.

But I’ll settle for hoping that a hundred years from now a few people might still be reading a story with my name attached to it.

Keep an eye out for the titles Twilight Grimm, Divinity, and White Devil, coming soon from Silverline Comics!

09Jul/19

Silverline Creator Spotlight: Sidney Williams

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 Sidney Williams, author 11 novels including recent releases: Disciples of the Serpent, Dark Hours and Midnight Eyes. Sidney’s early books include When Darkness Falls, Blood Hunter, Night Brothers and Azarius. At Silverline, Sidney is the writer of Bloodline and Friar Rush.

Now, without further ado, we present to you…

10 QUESTIONS WITH … SIDNEY WILLIAMS

Sidney Williams
SILVERLINE: So, who are you and where do you hail from? 
 
SIDNEY WILLIAMS: I’m Sidney Williams. Not a lot of people know my middle name is Glover, which I suspect was a surname somewhere back down my family line.
 
I guess I come from a long line of Irish glove makers. I’m now, pretty much, from all over or from a lot of places any way. I was born in Alexandria, Louisiana, and spent quite a few years in and around Central Louisiana. I also spent a few years in Tyler, TX. Let’s not go there.
 
As of this writing, I’m Williamsburg, Virginia, following my wife’s career path and my career spiral. 
 
SILVERLINE: What would you say it is you do here at Silverline?
 
I’m a writer, and I’m pretty good with most software so I could do something else. 
 
SILVERLINE: Where might Silverline readers have seen your work previously?
 
SW: I’m a novelist. My newest books are Disciples of the Serpent about people battling giant things in Ireland, and Dark Hours about a girl trapped in a basement puzzle box by a twisted individual who doesn’t have her best interest at heart.
 
I wrote paperback horror thrillers a few years back, and in the comics world I’ve written things for Silverline before including The Mantus Files and others. I wrote a graphic novel called The Dusk Society for Campfire Comics, and I have written many short stories including a new one called “The Cooler of Craft Brew” for a collection called Quoth the Raven, a contemporary reimagining of Edgar Allan Poe’s tales. The collection made it to the preliminary ballot for the Bram Stoker Awards. 
 
SILVERLINE: 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?
 
SW: Comics represent some of the first reading that ever engaged me, and they played a big role in my putting pen to paper.
 
I don’t think my father knew what he was starting, but he used to read comics to me before I could read myself. We read a lot of Tarzan and super hero comics, and he read me things like Gold Key’s Ripley’s Believe It Or Not, which were really collections of short horror tales.
 
All of that stimulated my imagination, and so it’s fun to play in the sandbox where things all started for me. 
 
SILVERLINE: What was the first comic you remember reading that made you think, “Hey, I could do this!”
 
SW: Probably Tarzan. The stories are fun, high adventure really and when I was, I don’t know, five, they really enthralled me with all of the lost cities and dinosaurs and the like.
 
I’ve said this in many interviews, but before I could actually read and write but could make letters, I’d have my mom spell things for me, and I’d write new captions for a Tarzan coloring book. It’s hard to write when you can’t, so that produced some interesting material like Tarzan perched in a tree saying: “It’s far pretty far to the village.” 
 
SILVERLINE: Who were some of your earliest influences on your writing?
 
SW: I guess Joe Kubert is the first creator whose name I really knew. DC really celebrated him as the writer/artist on the Tarzan book when they picked it up from Gold Key.
 
I liked Russ Manning’s Tarzan as well, and in retrospect, I realize I saw a lot of his work in Gold Key earlier. I actually had a subscription to Superboy when I was a kid, and that morphed into Superboy and the Legion of Super Heroes, and from that I became a huge Legion fan, and Mike Grell became someone I recognized also.
 
All of this factored into my overall creativity. 
 
SILVERLINE: What was the first comic you ever worked on professionally?
 
SW: It was via Silverline for Malibu Graphics. I got to create a miniseries, The Mantus Files, which I mentioned earlier.
 
I had written about three books by then I suppose, so it was Horror Novelist Sidney Williams’ The Mantus Files or something like that. It was a black and white and sold pretty well at the time but it was a time of growth for Malibu, so it didn’t really get them excited sadly. 
 
SILVERLINE: Follow up Q — Can you still read that comic today without wincing?
 
SW: Yeah, I’m OK with it. I went through a period where I didn’t like my stuff. Confluence of reasons for that, I guess. I’m back to liking most things, or accepting that things were written by a different me, a me that I was at a given time. 
 
 
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? 
 
SW: Make more noise, I guess, though I did what I could to trumpet my work and do more. 
 
SILVERLINE: After you die, would you rather your memory be memorialized with an overpass or a parking lot? 
 
SW: Wow, I think an overpass. Name displayed in kind of an arched arrangement. That appeals to me. I guess it would be in danger of getting knocked down by a rampaging monster, though.