Hey guys, here’s another throwback issue for you. This week, we’re turning the time-dial back to over a year ago. This is one of our first Creator Spotlights featuring Luis Czerniawski.
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?
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.
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.
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!
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.
Happy Treason Day, you ungrateful Colonials!
Grab your musket, powder your wig, and oil your robot-horse. Silverline is on the march in the Steampunk world of Steam Patriots. That’s right, your favorite indy press has just released a hot and very steamy take on the landmark war between The Thirteen Colonies and The British Empire. It’s history but way cooler than it actually was!
Steam Patriots #1 just finished its Kickstarter campaign and will be available for purchase through Indy Planet soon. Stay tuned so that you don’t miss out!
Steam Patriots follows a young lad by the name of Felix Ward in Colonial America right as the War of Independence kicks off. Like every other American boy, Felix has his share of family drama. Only this family drama pits him in the center of the conflict that’s about to dominate the continent.
Felix finds himself at odds with his father over their involvement in the war. Perhaps unfortunately for both Felix and his father, a family friend of theirs is Benjamin Franklin. Only instead of just parlaying with the French Republic as he does in our timeline, Ben Franklin is also developing some pretty high-end weapons for the colonies.
In a world where the British Empire can mobilize by air, and Paul Revere makes his ride on a mechanized horse, the power of this weapon is going to be something, unlike anything we’ve seen before. That means that the gaze of the British Empire now rests on Felix and his Father.
In the first issue, Felix finds himself elevated to an unsuspecting level of importance. He has the special ability to recall precise details perfectly. When technology and schematics play heavily into each nation’s win conditions, Felix’s gift because priceless
We meet a wide array of different characters from history as Felix begins his journey to deliver the information stored in his head. Character’s whose fates are not already written in textbooks as this is not the American Revolution we were taught in school.
Steam Patriots is the brainchild of Co-creators Scott Wakefield (Left) and Rory Boyle (Right). Two U.S. coast guard veterans with a wide variety of historical costume jackets. This is the first comic and it is one knock-out punch of a debut. Be on the look for the rest of Steam Patriots and the stories coming from these lads in the future.
Colors and Letters are courtesy of Dan Hosek (Center). Dan worked in Marvel’s editorial department in the mid-’90s. There he fell in love with the collaborative aspect of comic making. If you’re a long-time comic reader, you’ve probably read something that received notes from him. Dan will be picking up more responsibilities on Steam Patriots as the series goes on, and we look forward to what all he decides to share with the Silverline family!
Illustration was provided by David Mims. Some of his other credits include All Hallow’s Eve and Neotheric.
What’s a Macaroni, anyway?
Hey there Silverline Family!
As we talked about at the start of the month, we’re now doing something a little different with the blog schedule. Something new, something old. Fresher content, and an exploration of what throwbacks we have sitting in our back issue box.
This week we’re throwing back to the start of our live show series. Our weekly live casts are the best way to stay up to date on Silverline news, get to know our creators or even let the creators get to know you. We also just upped our schedule to three shows a week. The first Tuesday show goes live tonight at 8 PST!
Be sure to swing by and pitch your idea of what the show should be called. If we like, your idea might just be the official name for this new show.
In the meantime, please enjoy Silverline Live Issue #1.
Howdy and happy Wednesday Silverline Family! No, your notifications did not glitch out on you, this one is posted a day late. Turns out hard drive crashes are not great for maintaining digital content scheduling. Barring anymore catastrophic tech errors, this is the new craft post this week. I managed to get a hold of the writing/creator of upcoming Action-Espinoge thriller Wolf Hunter and the associate editor at Silverline. . . Me . . . It’s me. After over a year of craft entries from Silverline creators all around the world, I figured I’d put my two cents in.
History and Questions to Ask Yourself
Writing something set in real history poses a unique set of challenges. Those challenges can seem especially daunting if the setting is a period that is well documented. There’s a lot of details that are known hard facts. History enthusiasts also try to know as many of these facts as they can in regards to their favorite periods. It’s part of the fun, I’m one of those people too. The issue comes in balancing a story of fiction rooted in that history. To make a story that I wanted to write both as a spy nerd and as a history buff, I have to ask myself a lot of questions. These questions guided me to break the facts and rules in the right way.
I’m not saying you need to sell the part of the story of fiction as 100% truth, you just need to do enough to allow the reader to join with you in asking “What if?”
Is this something you need to worry about? Well, yes but maybe for not the reasons you’d think. Armchair historians aren’t going to nitpick your story simply because you took liberties. They’re going to nitpick it because the story is bad and they lost interest. The elements of your story that are fiction can’t just exist outside the history the makes up the rest of the setting.
To develop good fiction, I try to develop good characters. Good characters have history. Your characters are living breathing people in your story. They would have also impacted or be impacted by the world outside the story.
To develop the fiction in Wolf Hunter, I had to ask a series of questions to understand who my characters are. I needed to know who they were in the world during World War 2.
In a war story, that might seem a bit straightforward. What factions (if any) do they have allegiance to and what is their role in the war? But I still had to look at what politics looked like before the war. Who would go where to do what? How did people end up where they are now and thinking the way they do? What events would impact their philosophy? What were the major schools of thought in the world during this period?
Understanding the facts of history helps you skirt around them in just the right way, finding the way you need to write the story. Giving yourself the perimeter of operating within the facts, besides where you have broken them, also adds another dimension to the story and will force you to get very creative and smart with your writing and editing. In addition, it adds another layer of interest for the reader who likes historical accuracy in their fiction.
What I did for Wolf Hunter, to find the right place to skirt around the facts, is look for areas of that era that were less documented than others. I challenged myself to match up the details as much as I could to the actual records, but for these core conflicts it exists in an area where I can ask myself “What if my characters existed here?” and hope the reader asks the same question.
Then I researched the other events related to this central event that were better documented as well as other notable dates that same year. This created the second challenge, weaving the elements that were my creation into a life that existed within these events. It may seem like a lot to dig into, but even just a brief overview will give you a place to start distilling down your character’s essence.
Howdy Silverline Family!
Welcome back to the blog! You might have noticed last month was a little void of content. Unfortunately, due to increased demands on my schedule and prioritizing some other new exciting content *wink wink*, the blog slipped through the cracks and had to be placed on the back burner.
That’s changing now! Today! The very second you’re reading this! Whatever second that is!
We’re updating the schedule to allow for more time to be spent on the quality of each post as well as make use of our growing back-catalog of video content. It’s starting to get dusty in the back corners of our youtube channel, so we thought we’d open them back up. Get some airflow in there.
What this means going forward is that every other week, starting next week will be fresh, spanking, new content. On the off-weeks, we’ll be going through the back issues to find some of our favorite throwbacks to share with you. So, if you’re new to Silverline and haven’t experienced some of our older shows or content, it should be coming to your feed soon.
This new schedule will give us extra time to reach out to our creators across the continents and produce some really great quality Craft entries, Creator and Title spotlights, and blog One-Shots.
Our first piece of new content will be Craft returning next week. Be sure to check it out! If you’re hankering for a Silverline throwback from Year 1, be sure to check this feed in two weeks.
I hope you can forgive the lack of content last month and will stick with us as we begin working with this new schedule. Stay well, and Make Yours Silverline!
Literally all of us, every single Silverliner is in your house right now! That’s a lot of people, you may have to check with your fire marshal if you have the square footage.
Okay, maybe we are not literally in your house, but we can be metaphorically! Did you know that Silverline has not just one but two weekly shows that are broadcast live on Facebook, Twitch, and Youtube! We also have started turning those shows into an easy-to-consume podcast that you can listen to on the go!
That’s right, we’re in your house and your car!
, , , You can’t escape the Silverline. No one escapes the Silverline.
What does all this mean for you, receiving this newsletter in your email, or checking out this blog post on the site of your favorite indie comics publisher? It means that you have unlimited access to untold hours’ worth of comics and nerd culture content.
Spend your commute on Monday listening to the crew of Wednesday Wham put their degrees to work and dig into the craft of writing, art, and making killer comics. Spend your Sunday evening relaxing with an iced tea watching the Silver Sunday team as they flex their cultural knowledge and dig deep into comics history. Or vice versa!
What I recommend is having Silverline content on 24/7. Listen to us while you drive, work, and exercise. Watch our shows while you decompress in the evening and on the weekend. Read Silverline comics before you go to bed every night. Dream of Silverline and our immortal comics wisdom. Let us grant you eldritch knowledge of all things nerdy.
I have been told by my editor that the last line may have been too much.
However you like it, there is plenty of Silverline content out there for you to enjoy, and a ton of ways for you to make thine Silverline.
Hey Silverline Family! This month, nepotism won out. Our featured creator is none other than AJ Cassetta, the fantastic artist providing pencil work for my own book Wolf Hunter. He talks about a part of the craft that not many artists may think about. He provides a lesson in world building using an anecdote about his personal experience working on Wolf Hunter. Love ya, man!
Creating the World
One of the most vital requirements of an illustrator working in comics is the ability to successfully create the world in which the characters will exist. In some genres, such as science fiction and fantasy, there is the necessity of crafting elements that are imaginary; time machines, laser pistols, dragons, and goblins can be forged solely from the artist’s mind. However, when an artist is tasked with illustrating a story based on real-world events and actual locations, they must hold themselves to the highest standard of authentic recreation, particularly if it is a story based on historical events.
In this case, the artist is confronted with the task of research, and a lot of it, if they wish their work to be believable, accurate, and true. For some artists, doing copious amounts of research and reference gathering on a subject can be as arduous as studying for a physics exam, but, for others, there is a special kind of joy in breaking a subject down into smaller and smaller parts, examining them, and putting them back together to create a work of art. I find myself in the latter category, as throughout my career to date I have held several jobs that demanded complete accuracy to real-world objects, vehicles, people, and locations, and I have loved every second of it.
Take for example the subject of airplanes, something I had little to no experience drawing when I began working on Wolf Hunter. My writer was thoughtful enough to provide me with great written specifics on the make, model, and year of the planes that would be used. What’s more, he gave me photographic references as well, which helped to get a general idea of what I would be doing. These, however, were not enough. In order to draw the fighter planes as they exist in reality, I spent hours looking at different images of planes and discerning what would be useful, and what would be merely another picture flipped past as I scoured for good material. As I was nearing the end of the research process I noticed something. It still wasn’t enough. For as many still images of planes that I had collected and burned into my brain, I was continuing to have trouble visualizing them from every possible angle. To remedy this, I opened up Zbrush (a digital sculpting program) and went about sculpting the planes so I could position them in the exact pose I needed for whatever drawing I may have been working on.
There are probably many artists who work in the same way I do when it comes to research, and it has worked for me as I’m sure it works for them. However, spending all the late nights collecting reference material and making sculptures of what I will be drawing has its enemy, time. In this industry, time is everything. For this particular project, I had the luxury of lots of time which gave me wonderful breathing room to focus. There have been other jobs, however, where the turnaround time for drawings was literally hours at most, and the comfortability of time was absent. I enjoyed both equally, and for different reasons, the jobs with strict deadlines provided an exciting challenge, and the work done with almost no deadline gave me time to look over my work, again and again, to make sure everything was perfect. Whatever the case of time may be, creating a realistic setting for the characters I am working with is the most fun part of the process for me, and using all the tools and time I have available to give that extra sense of life to their world is incredibly rewarding once all the drawing is done and I know it has been done right.
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…
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.
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.
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”
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: 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.
Ew! Neither. No asphalt or concrete for me. Spread my ashes over a sunny, green spot.
In my comic book Godlings, I have developed a different way to illustrate my pages from other comics. This is not so much in the style of art per se, but the technique I do to develop the final look of the page. I wanted the pages in my comic book to look old like they are from an ancient tome. I also wanted the look of the book to be somewhat sketchy like someone was drawing the story as you were reading. I got the idea from watching the old 101 Dalmatians animated movie. In the movie the outlines of the characters were sketchy, and they would purposefully leave in underdrawings in certain scenes. I thought that style would work for my comic. I decided to have the final art in my comic book be in pencil only, with no ink applied.
In order to do this, I went about developing a certain method of production for my comic pages. Over the years I have been drawing my pages on card stock and not Bristol board. For one thing, my book was going to be 300 pages when finished and I wanted to have enough paper on hand. I bought a ream of 11” x 17” cardstock from Kinkos. It cost me 17 dollars and should cover all the pages in my book. Card stock also has a different texture than Bristol and my pencil lines tend to be initially darker. I use a cardboard backing from an old drawing tablet to draw the pages on. The cardboard is soft enough that when I draw on top of it, it helps the pencil lines sink into the paper better. I start my pages as loose sketches and darken the lines I want to keep with a mechanical pencil.
Now that I have my pages all drawn in, I photocopy them at my local copy place. The first reason is that I need to shrink the 11” x 17” page down to 8” x 11” to fit my scanner bed. The second reason is that the machine will take my pencil lines and reproduce them in black. I also adjust the dark levels in the copy parameters by two notches towards dark. This darkens the lines in the photocopy just enough to where I like them.
I then scan the photocopies into Photoshop and adjust the levels. I usually darken the scan to the midway point in the levels panel. This gives me a nice dark line in the drawing and keeps some of the light underdrawings as well. This creates the sketchy look I want while making the art clear to the readers. From there I color my pages.