The synopsis printed of the back cover of “The Cat & Mouse Collection”, this titles’ first compilation graphic novel, succinctly began with the following quote: “Jerry was a cop. Mandy was a crook.”
This statement was short, brief, accurate, and immediately provided the reader insight into the foundations of the series’ two main characters. However, both Jerry and Mandy, as well as the very “Cat & Mouse” comic itself, would quickly evolve far past that base introduction into something much more intricate and even more compelling . . .
As Silverline’s first, and longest-running, title, “Cat & Mouse” established itself as the cornerstone of a growing Silverline Universe. “The Cat & Mouse Collection” bundled the first four issues in the series (though FIVE issues worth of pages due to a double-sized first issue!!) into one easy-to-read volume. The Collection chronicles the lives of our titular duo – Cat (police officer Jerry (Jared) O’Neil) and Mouse (crook and reform school inmate Amanda (Mandy) Paige) and also establishes the world in which their adventures take place.
Eschewing formulaic first issue introductions, neither Cat nor Mouse were featured in the title’s opening segment. That honour went to Dr. Keith Grayson, who would assume the name of Demon in this very opening sequence and, through a series of events, became cemented as one of the most important – if not the most important – supporting cast member. Dr. Grayson served in many capacities throughout this series, which helped establish him as a key linchpin to the entirety of the Silverline Universe. Both the reader and Dr. Grayson are introduced to our title characters, and are brought up to date on their story, together. Dr. Grayson’s – Demon’s – first encounter with Cat and Mouse occurs as our duo are midway through an adventure of their own and find themselves in desperate need of assistance. Would Dr. Grayson answer the call?
Meanwhile, a mysterious martial artist, later revealed to be named Kunoichi, stalks our main duo for the better part of this story arc – but why? Is she friend or foe? Or something all together in-between? After a series of breaking and enterings to gather intel on Jerry and Mandy, Kunoichi locates and infiltrates their apartment, lying in wait for their return. Demon uncovers Kunoichi’s plan to (possibly) ambush his friends, leading him to rush to their domicile to warn our duo . . . especially one of them. An epic battle between Kunoichi and Demon ensues, relationships and intentions are revealed, and Demon is left . . . altered . . . from this encounter.
The first “Cat & Mouse” story arc also, very subtly, introduces a character who would become deserving of his own title (one day!!) and who would serve as the role model for many others in the growing Silverline Universe of characters. This character reveal also serves to expand the scope of the title – and therefore the Silverline Universe itself – past the confines of New Orleans and well into the metropolis known as Chicago.
The adventures Cat and Mouse undertake in this first collected edition span multiple genres and themes including crime, martial arts, vigilantism, the advent of masked heroes, and yes, even romance. However, romance does not always have to spark between the two main characters of a title . . .
“Cat & Mouse” is an action packed series that focuses on establishing and developing fun characters, utilizing witty dialogue, and integrating some of the best sound effects to ever grace the pages of a comic book. The series never shys away from delving into deep topics such as police corruption, worries about public acceptance for being “different”, and evolving roles from adversaries to reluctant partners to caregiver and patient. It also expertly explores themes of trust, loyalty, honor, mentorship, progeny, redemption, and legacy.
The team behind the creation of “Cat & Mouse”, the series, is impressive to say the least. Three previously unpublished creators united to create this wonderful series.
Roland Mann, series writer and Silverline Editorial Director, would, later in his career, become writer, editor and eventually Managing Editor at Malibu Comics. He has been the driving force of Silverline as a publisher, including the current relaunch of the brand!
Mitch Byrd, series artist, would, later in his career, grace multiple Malibu comics with his artwork as well as provide artwork for myriad publishers on a plethora of titles. Mitch held a notable run on the Green Lantern character “Guy Gardner: Warrior” title.
Steven Butler, inker and Silverline Art Director, served as penciller on Silverline’s second title, “SilverStorm” and would go on to produce work for Malibu, Marvel, and Archie, to name a few publishers. Mr. Butler was able to showcase his range of artistic skills while illustrating characters as diverse as The Badger to Sonic the Hedgehog and holding notable runs on Marvel’s “Silver Sable” and “Web of Spider-Man”.
Also providing inking skills to this first collection was Roland Paris, who later went on to ink many titles at Marvel Comics.
On the cover of “Cat & Mouse” #1 features the following quote from Steve Englehart (noted and celebrated comic book veteran): “Talk about your one-two punch! Fun characters, fun art! This is what every new comic ought to be!” Mr. Englehart was right, of course. He was so very right!! If you have not yet read the original “Cat & Mouse” collection yet, what are you waiting for? ?
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
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.
At the top of the list this week is the Kayless #1 kickstarter. As I type this, we’re at $1,800 and 67 backers. We’ve got about 7 days left, so I feel confident we’ll make it to 100 backers and we could possibly get to $3,000! We can do it with your help! We’ve added some stretch goals and I’m still chatting with Brent about adding some more. It ends on July 9, at 8:55am, SO, don’t forget to keep spreading the word.
Also, while I don’t have it in my hands yet, new C&M artist Alex Gallimore is doing a special variant cover and that cover will be added as a reward level. So if you’re an art collector and you want the opportunity to get the work of a young artist that is going places, keep your eyes open. I’ve seen an unfinished piece and it is WOW!
First official appearance of “Silverline” at a convention.
Silverline will make their first appearance as a “small press publisher” at the Daytona Beach Comic Con on November 3. This show is a fan favorite in the area thanks to the heavy focus on COMIC BOOKS! Creator announcements to come, but we think—no, we KNOW you should be making your plans to attend now!
After fulfillment for Kayless #1 kickstarter is done (being handled by the most excellent folks at Ka-Blam!), we’ll be launching another kickstarter pretty quickly. There are two projects right now lining up for the “next” spot and it all just depends on completion—remember, we’re not going to kickstart a comic unless it is finished and ready to print and ship.
There’s so many exciting projects on the horizon we can’t wait to tell you about them! There won’t be another post/email until after the Kayless #1 kickstarter is over, so if you haven’t already given it a look, please head on over and at least check it out.
You can find your favorite Silverline creators here July 2019:
July Seems Silverline creators are taking the month of July off from con/store appearances. Never fret, though, we’re staying busy–and this is where you will get the updates on where to find us.
Kayless #1 Kickstarter update
Wow! We made goal in just under 12 hours! Y’know, I’m sure it comes as no surprise that we set goals we THINK we can make…but the speed at which we made it is truly humbling. Thank y’all so much for the support.
Brent has been busy talking to folks about Kayless. You can find him here with Wayne, a friend to Silverline, on Wayne’s Comics Podcast. Go give it a listen.
The EFGraphics publication of Cat & Mouse #1 by Roland Mann(w), Mitch Byrd(p), and Steven Butler(i).
All systems go for Silverline! 2019 is the 30 year anniversary of the publication of C&M #1 from EFGraphics, the very first published Silverline related title. We’ll tell an expanded version of the story later, but the short version is that we attempted to publish ourselves in 1988, but didn’t have the funds. John Drury and EFGraphics stepped in with a nice offer and published the first issue of Cat & Mouse #1 in color. EFG was also publishing Jazz Age Chronicles by the talented Ted Slampyak. EFG folded before C&M #2 could be printed (I still have all the color film for that issue–yes, I really do).
We took the EFG issue and submitted it all around, ultimately choosing Malibu’s Aircel as the new home. Cat & Mouse then ran for 18 issues before the series ended.
As it happens, May of 2019 is also the 20 year anniversary of the publication of John Metych III’s Sniper & Rook, from Beta3 Comics. We’ll talk more in the future about why that is important. But for now…
Kayless #1 Kickstarter is Live! Please check it out and consider supporting it.
In the 1960s, the CIA sent astronauts into space…and lost them. Until today…
Kayless: In the 1960’s, astronaut Scott Anders blasted off into orbit as part of a secret government-sponsored space program. Its purpose was to investigate a phenomenon in deep space known as the Kayless Rift. Three days later, Scott’s ship disappeared. The mission was covered up and forgotten.
Until today…and our series. Planned to be 5 issues, this is the first–and the comic is completely finished! Hopefully you’ll check it out!
While we could consider Tiny and C&M #1 (vol 2) to be Silverline crowdfunded projects, they were more unofficial, than official.
The website will be the home of the Silverline blog, which will be updated weekly. In rotating weeks, we’ll post: news, creator spotlights, appearances, title overviews. If you’ve got requests, send’em! We hope to make the creator spotlights personal and informative for you, not just a hype of the creator’s current projects. So if you’ve got a question you’d like to see a Silverline creator answer, send it in now so Wes can add it to the list. The appearances post will simply be a monthly listing of where you can find Silverline creators appearing: conventions, comic shops, podcasts(if we can get that info in time) so that you can find them and have them sign your favorite comics and maybe pick up some new ones.
The website also features bios of your favorite Silverline creators and summaries of Silverline titles. IndyPlanet is the Silverline select store for ordering, and there is a link to the Silverline store right on the website.
We’ve started an email list via mailchimp–some of you are getting and reading this via mailchimp already–thank you. We know that checking in on a blog can be difficult to remember and we encourage you to sign up for the email list. We’ll occasionally do things for those on the list before any other media–things like crowdfunding announcements so you can have first dibs at special rewards and early bird rewards.
We want to keep this list exciting and informative, so we’re not going to spill all the beans right here right now about everything Silverline has planned. Instead, we’ll tease you a bit. Hopefully you already know that Cat & Mouse volume 2 is already under way. The creative team is Roland Mann(w), Alex Gallimore(p), Barb Kaalberg(i), and Kevin Gallegly(c). Issue #1 was crowdfunded last year, and we’re well on our way to finishing #2!
In addition to Kayless, two Silverline veterans bring the next two books: Sidney Williams has penned a one shot entitled Bloodline, and R.A. Jones is teaming up with Rob Davis again to bring the four issue mini-series Twilight Grimm. More on these later, but that news is so exciting we just couldn’t keep it to ourselves!
Silverline creator appearances
While this isn’t the official “appearances” post, we wanted you to know where you could find your favorite Silverline creators the rest of June.
June 22-23; Might Con St. Louis, St. Louis, MO
Thank you for your support! Feel free to share this all around!