13May/20

Silverline Double Feature kickstarter is live!

Silverline Double Feature kickstarter is live!

If you follow any Silverline social media at all, you’ve seen us post SOMETHING over the last two weeks about our two exciting new titles: Divinity and Twilight Grimm. Our kickstarter is live now, and as I type, we’re 25% funded, so we’re very excited that it is going so well out the door. So, what are they?

Divinity

…is the story of Divinity Gray, an eleven year old girl whose life changes forever after the suspicious death of her parents. Marine Sgt. Zach Gray, the older brother she barely knows, becomes her guardian, but when he discovers Divinity’s mysterious healing powers, their lives take a dangerous turn. With the help of a few friends, Zach and Divinity must go on the run to keep Divinity—and her powers—out of the hands of an evil cabal.

Kevin Van Hook, filmmaker and creator of Bloodshot said this about Divinity: “Divinity #1 manages to bring a fresh take to this story of a young girl with mysterious healing powers. Alex Sarabia’s pencils combined with veteran inker Barbara Kaalberg keeps the tale moving and makes you care for the characters as you’re along for the ride. Good stuff!”

Maggie Thompson said, “It’s one of the moments that tells the reader a comic book has succeeded. It’s the moment when the reader says, “Hey! That’s all I get right now? What happens next?

       “That reaction means the story works. It means the elements have gone together to make a great mix. It means the reader cares.

       “And that’s the reaction readers will have, when they get to the last panel of Divinity #1. It’s the issue that introduces the Marine who’s had to return to the States to take care of his half-sister. And it introduces the girl who has a talent neither of them can explain.

       “Now the question is: How long will reader have to wait until #2? Because they’re going to care.”

Divinity is by: creator/co-writer/inker Barb Kaalberg, co-writer R.A. Jones, penciler Alex Sarabia, colorist Steve Mattsson, and letterer Mike W. Belcher.

Divinity #1 is full color, 22 pages. #1 is the first of a four-issue mini-series. The comic is COMPLETELY FINISHED.

Twilight Grimm

Twilight Grimm is by R.A. Jones and Rob Davis. They are joined by colorist Mickey Clausen and letterer Mike W. Belcher.

Twenty years ago, the  city of Hallowed Heights was nearly destroyed as the result of warfare between  humans and vampires. In its aftermath, the  two factions forged a most unusual “peace plan.” A high and heavily  guarded wall now splits the two sides of the city.  On one side of the wall  reside the middle and upper classes of humans.  It is clean, beautiful and  safe.

On the other side of the  wall, where a teenaged petty thief named Suzi Q has just been exiled, lies the  darkest and most horrible ghetto imaginable.  Here, amidst squalor and  vice, dwell the poor, the homeless, the forgotten.

And the vampires, led by the family of Gregor Radovic.

As long as the vampires stay on their side of the wall, the humans on the other side are willing to  pretend they don’t exist and let them rule over this so-called “Blood Zone” as  they see fit.  This includes turning a blind eye as the vampires feast upon the Zone’s human inhabitants.

Amidst rumors that the long-held truce may be unraveling, there is no human law in the Blood Zone —  save for that dispensed by a mysterious and violent young man who has appointed  himself its sole guardian from the depredations of the vampires.

His name is…TWILIGHT GRIMM.

Twilight Grimm #1 is a supernatural/horror comic; full color, 22 pages. #1 is the first of a four issue mini-series. The comic is COMPLETELY FINISHED.

Silverline Live

We’re working on over two months of Silverline Live and it’s going well. So well, of course, that we’re going to increase our frequency in June. More about that as we get a little closer. Please, if you haven’t already, consider subscribing to our youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/silverlinecomics

New Projects

We’re not going to go into them just yet, because it’s a little too early…but in the last 2 weeks, we’ve started THREE, yes, T-H-R-E-E new projects…and we can’t be more excited.

Remember, Make Mine Silverline!

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!

28Apr/20

Silverline Title Spotlight: Sirens issues 1 -4

The streets of New Orleans have come alive. Mardi Gras is in full swing and the streets of the French Quarter are packed with celebrators, tourists, and the dead!

   Jeff Delmer, a resident of the Crescent City and investment broker, has been rather down and out during the week-long celebration. It’s a week without work and, while he isn’t fond of his job, it’s all he’s got. Until he and an enchanting gal exchange glances across the street. Their fling turns into a romance and then to love. There’s just one hitch in this love story. Remember earlier when I said the dead were also walking the streets?

As it turns out, Lois, Jeff’s new love, is a Siren looking to break free from the voodoo-practicing witch she’s been enthralled to. Unwittingly brought under the effects of a centuries-old curse, Jeff wakes up one day to find Lois missing, his face-melting, and the adventure of a lifetime before him.

Sirens is a story about zombies, witches, Louisiana’s mythology, and most of all love. The story takes place in New Orleans, home to a handful of stories in the Silverline catalog. Like those other stories, the city and the cultures that call it home play just as much a part of the story as the characters do. The hero of this story is Jeff Delmer, an investment broker who has inherited the business from his father. Jeff is as unlikely a character as anyone for the kind of mess he gets wrapped up in. He perseveres, however, driven by a love, unlike anything he’s felt before, aided by some strange friends, and with a little help from divine relics.

The story of Sirens starts in the French Quarter during Mardi Gras. There Jeff catches sight of Lois standing in the rain and is immediately taken by her beauty. He invites her to grab some coffee with him and something about Jeff sparks Lois’s interest. As they leave the packed street, neither of them spots the mysterious watcher who has been following Lois. Jeff and Lois immediately hit it off and spend the next several days going on a series of dates. They are inseparable and love blossoms.

The watcher in the street is not the only one who has been keeping an eye on Lois, however. Felicity Green and her cabal watch Lois through a mystic looking glass. Lois had belonged to Felicity, and Felicity is not just jealous but covetous and vengeful. She wants Lois back bad, and she has an assortment of minions to do her work for her. One of those tools is a big and burly sailor turned thrall.

Jeff wakes up to find Lois gone, a hex splattered across the wall, and a zombie at the door. The zombie, mouth stitched shut and unable to speak, hands Jeff a note. It simply reads “You are in danger!” Jeff gets dressed and follows the zombie to a shop of curios owned by Velvet Green. Velvet is an expert in the tradition of voodoo and has been keeping an eye on Felicity’s cabal long before Jeff got involved. Jeff, naturally, has his doubts about the situation but after Velvet explains Jeff’s very mortal and critical situation, he listens.

Velvet explains that Lois is one of a group of Loup Garou, commonly known as werewolves, but not quite the way folklore tells it. Her group is enthralled by Felicity Green, a voodoo witch, who uses the group as sirens to seduce men and feed off their life essence. In the process, Felicity and her sirens are kept young and the men are reduced to zombies. Velvet reveals she knows all this because she is Felicity’s daughter. As Velvet explains, Jeff is under the effect of the Loup Garou curse and has begun the transformation into a zombie.

It’s not all grim news, however, his professed love for Lois has broken her from Felicity’s enthrallment. Their romance has created an opportunity to strike at Felicity and end the curse. He’ll just need some help. She introduces him to Sheck, the zombie he’d followed and Felicity’s ex-husband, as well as Father Milligan. The good father has taken a post to confront evil in New Orleans should it arise. He is often overlooked by the church but he takes his role seriously. After performing a quick sanctification of Jeff the father says it will be up to Jeff, as his love for Lois will be what strengthens him in his fight with the Loup Garou.

The story continues as Jeff investigates the curse and searches for Lois who has been taken prisoner by Felicity. He’ll find himself going from the dingiest apartments to the swankiest hotels of the French Quarter, and even relic hunting in the bayou. Jeff’s race against time will grow more frantic as he continues to fade from the world of humanity and become more zombie-like with each day. Along the way, he meets and relies on a varied cast of characters. Jeff grows from a man who had nothing outside of his 9-to-5 to a man with love, friends, and a divine calling.

That’s part of what really sets Sirens apart from other adventure-horror stories. The human elements motivate everything in the story. While the events are surely traumatic, Jeff has experienced more positive growth from the connections he made along the way.

The characters he connects differ from the traditional stereotypes that can found in horror. The roles and titles they fill are definitely staples of the genre but they act in ways not typical of titles that share the same shelf-space.

First of all, Jeff Delmer. The well-to-do business guy is certainly a mainstay of horror and is usually a hyped-up playboy who the audience loves to see get killed. Jeff, however, is quite the opposite. Jeff is rather down about his lot in life because he didn’t choose it. Romance was something he didn’t think about until he saw Lois. His change really shows what good purpose and meaningful connection can do for a person.

There is also the case of Velvet Green. Every story having to do with the occult or voodoo has a mystic of sorts. Even better if they are related to the bad guy. Rarely, however, are they as practical as Velvet. Mystic types are often portrayed as aloof, their head wrapped up in ritual and esoteric elements of the problem at hand. Velvet, however, is thinking the next step forward. She is aware of the very real and physical danger the group is in and is thinking of how to combat that with the combined arms of brunt and mysticism. When she comes into play, she very easily takes the role of leader, knowing exactly what needs to be done and how to do it as efficiently as possible.

Father Milligan also lives outside of the norms of how religious authorities are portrayed in the genre. This role is portrayed by some stories as the subject of ridicule for sounding crazy despite being right, or as the powerful and domineering voice of authority. Father Milligan is neither. He is not ridiculed, he is just unimportant and often overlooked. Nor is he domineering, he is thoughtful and patient. This is Jeff’s crusade and Father Milligan knows that and simply offers him help and resources where he can.

One of the most unlikely characters is Sheck, the zombie. Not mindless or a monster. Sheck is Jeff’s stalwart protector and is oddly charismatic. Despite being unable to speak, Sheck’s body language and physical presence in panels provide to be both eerie and endearing. Through acts like watching over Jeff as he sleeps or just the way he holds his face, Jeff and Sheck develop a tight but strange relationship that is reminiscent of the central relationship in a “buddy- cop” story. In the end, the reader finds themselves rooting for the two as friends fighting back to back.

Through smart characters and a new take on Creole mythology Sirens does a lot to set itself apart and is a memorable and engaging read. This is a great comic for fans of action/adventure stories and classic horror.

Sirens was written by Sidney Williams, known to comic fans for writing The Mantus Files, Marauder, and the upcoming Bloodline and Friar Rush. He is best know for his novels such as Gnelfs, and Night Brothers, as well as for many pieces of short fiction.

Art for Sirens was penciled by John Drury, who created Pendulum, and inked by Chuck Bordell, whose credits include Marauder, Switchblade, and several games like the Neverworld RPG.

Sirens 1, 2, and 4 were lettered by Brad Thromte who has worked on such titles as Mouseguard: Tales of the Guard, Pantheon, Switchblade, and Marauder. Issue 3 was lettered by Todd Arnold.

As can be seen in assorted color panels above, Sirens is getting the color treatment from Silverline’s own super-talented Barb Kaalberg, and will be available as a color trade once complete.

21Apr/20

Craft: R.A. Jones – Writers are Artists Too – or at least they should try to be

Hey there Silverline Readers and Comic Makers! I was able to get a hold of R.A. Jones and have him give us the low down on part of his writing process. R.A. has made quite the name for himself working on titles like Bullet Proof Monk, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and Wolverine & Captain America. As someone who has read a couple of R.A.’s scripts, I can tell you that the second you pick it up, you can immediately see how every detail would translate to panels.

This entry of Craft is about just that. R.A. goes over why writers should think about their comics visually and how he does that himself. It’s our hope that the following entry helps you, dear reader, go about writing your own comic scripts that develop synergy with your artist and better engage your reader.

Writers Are Artists Too – Or At least They Should Try To Be
by R.A. Jones

Years ago, a professional comic book artist gave me a hypothetical and somewhat exaggerated example of the kind of bad scripting of which writers are occasionally guilty. It went something like this:

Panel 1: BATMAN AND ROBIN SLIDE DOWN THE BAT-POLES, RACE ACROSS THE BATCAVE, LEAP INTO THE BATMOBILE AND DRIVE OFF INTO THE NIGHT.

The problem this presents should be obvious – though it always isn’t to some writers. The hypothetical scribe has asked their artist collaborator to visually portray at least four separate actions in a single panel!

Writers also sometimes forget that it takes longer to draw the Statue of Liberty than it does to simply write: Draw the Statue of Liberty. One of the quickest ways for a writer to get on an artist’s bad side is to hand him a script heavy with panels that are so elaborate, so full of characters and actions that he/she is practically reduced to tears of frustration.

A writer does not have to be able to draw any better than does a typical 5-year-old. But they do need to be knowledgeable about the ins and outs of visual storytelling. That is a talent that is often lacking even in those who can draw, at least early in their careers.

Stating that a writer needs to be able to visualize when they write is obvious in certain media, such as comic strips, comic books, and television and motion pictures. But it is a talent that is important to writers of prose as well; useful in describing people, places, and things and thereby creating pictures in the mind’s eye of the reader.

There is a bit of advice I’ve given to many aspiring artists over the years – and I would offer it to writers as well. Choose one of Alfred Hitchcock’s classic films (or director of your choice). Play that movie with the sound off and don’t just watch it – study it.

Get to understand the hows and whys of his varying camera shot choices – from establishing shots to close-ups. Study how he uses the camera to direct our eyes to where he wants them to go. See how much information can be conveyed without the need for any words at all. Develop an appreciation for the creative uses of lighting.

Then apply what you learn to your writing.

There, of course, is no single “right” way to write a comic book script, but I’ll tell you about mine; you find the method that works best for you. This applies to my preferred method of writing a story – full script – but can also be applied when employing all but the briefest and loosest of “Marvel Style” scripting.

First, I write myself a short plot synopsis of that story/issue: usually no more than 3-5 pages long. Along the margins of that plot, I make pencil notations regarding how many pages I think each scene should require to be told visually. Among other things, this lets you know if your plot is too dense for the space allotted and adjust accordingly.
(You will find few if any artists who are happy about working on a script that requires them to cram 12 panels into each page to get all of that story into 20 pages!)

Once I’ve done this, I literally draw the entire issue myself. Full disclosure: my “drawings” are extremely simple and crude, sometimes little more than stick figures. But that’s all I require to make sure the pacing is correct and to be able to fully and understandably explain to the artist what I want from each panel of each page.

Only then do I write the actual script that will go to the editor and artist. If I can draw the story within the required limits and without cramming too much into each panel/page – I know any good, professional artist can comfortably do so as well.

And be flexible; even the method I’ve described should allow artists to flex their creative muscles in terms of layout, etc. Don’t let ego prevent you from recognizing that their visual ideas and instincts can be better than or improve upon your own.

Doing your job well in visualizing your story – makes it easier for your artistic collaborator to do their job!

14Apr/20

Silverline starts a Facebook “Group”…and other news

Join the chatty fun!

After last week’s stream, it was determined that Silverline Comics needed more than just a Facebook “page,” it needed a Facebook “Group,” so all interested parties would have greater opportunity for interaction with readers, fans, and creators. Thus, the Silverline Group page is here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1065603887155592/. Please go join and chat with us there!

Kayless #2 kickstarter a success!

Thanks to all who helped bring Kayless #2 to life! We’re simply waiting on the funds from kickstarter, then we’ll get it printed and shipped! As a reminder, remember, it’s done! And we can’t wait for you to see it!

Covid-World

Most of us are living under quarantine in this Covid World. It’s just flat strange. That does give a lot of folks more time to read, and it gives many of the Silverline creators more time to MAKE AWESOME COMIC BOOKS FOR YOU! Stay safe!

Tune in to Silverline Live stream

Whether it’s just timing and strange luck, SILVERLINE LIVE started about the same time as the quarantine orders began. Tomorrow will be our fifth straight week. Just to let you know some of what we’ve been talking about:

  • Issue #1 was just a general chat and introduction (we’re calling our episodes “issues.” I know, I know…but we’re COMIC folks, whaddaya want?).
  • Issue #2 we started our “Craft” segment and discussed PLOT. The craft segments will hopefully go hand-in-hand with the craft segments on this page that Silverline Associate Editor Tim Theissen has been doing a great job on! This issue also featured the debut of Silverline Indy Comic Reviews as Silverline friend Martin Pierro of Cosmic Times did his first crowdfund comic review. Martin reviewed the kickstarted Broke Down and 4 Dead bodies. Martin should return for another crowdfund comic review in two weeks.
  • Issue #3 was part 1 of the Craft segment PROTAGONIST.
  • Issue #4 featured a gaggle of us talking about Covid and how it is and has affected the comics industry.
  • Issue #5, tomorrow night, will be part 2 of the PROTAGONIST segment.

You have 3 options to watch us live:

  1. On twitch:  https://www.twitch.tv/silverlinecomics/
  2. On Facebook live:  https://www.facebook.com/SilverlineComics/
  3. On Youtube live: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCD_wuBxQzysURBxKkW-T5wg

Whatever your viewing choice is, please considering liking, subscribing, following, etc…and sharing! Come watch us live if you can—ask us some tough questions!

Silverline month at Comic Chat Authority

Comic Chat Authority head honcho, Cody Johnson asked Roland if there would be any interest in a Silverline month. Dedicated followers here might remember that CCA gave Silverline a pretty good review not long ago (https://youtu.be/d7VGh8AIfR8) sparking their interest in talking with a bunch of us. SO, Silverline month start this coming Saturday!

April 18 = Sidney Williams
April 25 = Alex Gallimore
May 1 = ME (Roland Mann)
May 9 = Barb Kaalberg

Upcoming Silverline Comics!

May will see the kickstarter for Divinity #1 and Twilight Grimm #1. Divinity is created, inked, and co-written by Barb Kaalberg, co-written by R.A. Jones, penciled by Alex Sarabia (this guy is going to be hot—you heard it here first!), and colored by Steve Mattsson.

Twilight Grimm #1 is written by R.A. Jones, penciled and inked by Rob Davis, with colors by Mickey Clausen! It’s veteran comic writer R.A.’s return to comics after several years. R.A. has been writing several novels—you should check them out! Fans of his Protectors work will read some familiar names.

July will see the kickstarter for Bloodline one-shot, and Friar Rush #1. It’s the Sidney Williams month as Sid is the writer for both comics. Bloodline is penciled by Rob Sacchetto, inked by Terry Pallot, and colored by Jeremy Kahn. Friar Rush is penciled by Marc Thomas, inked by John Martin, and colored by Rebecca Winslow. Sid’s been cooking up a lot of great rewards for these and we can wait to get the May and July books in your hands!

Until next time, Make Mine Silverline!

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!

05Apr/20

Kayless kickstarter ending

Kayless kickstarter ending

Kayless ends in about 2 days and we still need your help. We’re pushing hard to try to beat the kicstarter for #1, but we’ve got a ways to go. $2000 is the final stretch goal we would really love to achieve. So, share share, and back/support if you can.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/rolandmann/kayless-1-and-2

31Mar/20

Craft: Barb Kaalberg – The Bare Bones: Essential Tools for Inking

Hello, Silverline Family. I was able to reach out to Barbara Kaalberg and get her input on what her set-up for inking looks like. Barbara has been inking comics for a while now, and is a master of line work. She has worked on titles like Cat & Mouse, Hawkman, Captain Marvel, Ultraforce, and many more. With her experience she could teach a masterclass on the subject. In this entry, she talks about her preferences for the tools needed for inking comic books.

The Bare Bones: Essential Tools for Inking

Hi, my name is Barbara Kaalberg and I’ve been an inker for a little over 30 years. I’ve recently stuck my toe into the world of digital inking, because I’ve been curious, and I’ve got one penciller whose style, I think, really lends itself to that form of inking but, for the most part, I’m an old school inker and still stick with traditional methods. I like to have something to sell at conventions, ya know?

Back in “the day,” old school inking was either done with a pen and nib (which I never really got into) or it was all about the Windsor & Newton, series 7, size 2 brush, which most brush inkers swore by. It was a round, finely pointed brush made out of Kolinsky Sable, and was the top of the line brush. In the last few years, however, the quality seems to have declined and, while I still use them, I am finding that I prefer the Raphaél 8404’s, sizes 1 and 2. Again, they are made from Kolinsky Sable and have a nice, springy feel to them. Very finely pointed, they create a smooth line that is easy to vary in size. You’d have to test both out to see which you prefer. It used to be you would have to order these from an art store, like Dick Blick, but now you can order these right off of Amazon!

As for the ink, again, qualities have changed over the years. When once Higgins ‘Black Magic’ used to be the gold standard, it’s opacity has shifted slightly over the years. I don’t know if they messed with the formula but I’m not the only inker who’s switched to other options. I now use Speedball ‘Super Black’, which I get in 32 oz. squeeze bottles. These are available from Dick Blick and, strangely enough, JoAnn Fabrics/Crafts and Walmart.com.

When I’m not using a brush, I use the Sakura Pigma Micron pens. Just any old marker or pen won’t do, because they will fade and/or eat away the paper over time. A sharpie is absolutely the worst marker you could use on your artwork. Microns are acid free, archival pens that are fade-proof in sunlight and UV lighting. They come in a variety of sizes but I find myself using the size 2 most of the time. Again, you can get these straight off of Amazon.

Every inker has their own preference for white out. Some swear by Daler Rowney ‘Pro White’ or Dr. Martins ‘Bleed Proof White’. Some even use just plain old white correction pens (although they are very definitely NOT archival friendly!). I use a simple ninety-nine cent white acrylic craft paint like Apple Barrel or Delta Ceramcoat. It comes in a little squeeze bottle and can be found in any Walmart or Target or craft store. Why? Because it dries quick, it dries waterproof and it is very, very easy to ink over. It won’t yellow or eat the page, either. One of my pet peeves is to have my black ink mix with a white correction and turn into grey mud. Fortunately I make very, very few mistakes and rarely have to use white out.

There you go. The bare bones basics of what essentials are needed for comic book inking.

 

24Mar/20

Silverline Title Spotlight: Cat & Mouse Vol. #1, issues 9 – 12

The Greatest Foil
(A literary review of Cat and Mouse issues 9 – 12)

One of the greatest debates of the 20th century has been “what constitutes the greatest foil?”  Let’s review a few of the major contenders:

Tin foil, a product introduced in the late 19th century, was the primary metal foil food wrap through World War II. Although stiff, tin foil was practical. However, tin had a penchant to inadvertently leech an unwanted metallic taste from its silver sheathe into its consumable contents.

Tin’s eventual replacement, Aluminum Foil, was more malleable, was less likely to alter the tastes of the food contained therein, was less expensive and was – all around – a welcomed upgrade from the tin standard.

Gold foil is, as you would expect, exponentially more expensive than either tin or aluminum. This foil is utilized by NASA in a variety of products including space suits, space craft, and satellite design.  Radiation (remember Cosmic Radiation??) is one of the many dangers Gold Foil protects spacefaring astronauts from – thus ensuring astronauts will not return to Earth with Fantastic Four-esque powers and abilities.

Gold Foil, in flake form, is the defining trait of the popular cinnamon schnapps liquor known as Goldschläger.

Comic books with Gold Foil enhancements – from logos to backgrounds to the entire comic cover – helped fuel the fires of comic speculation in the 1990s, but as these enhancements became commonplace and lost their luster, they also contributed to the decline – and near decimation – of the comic book industry as a whole within a decade.

And Chromium comic book enhancements . . . don’t even get me started on the ‘90s chromium bandwagon . . . the same bandwagon that seems to be re-gaining traction this generation, in fact . . .  🙂

But the concept of a FOIL, from a literary definition, is a widely used writer’s tool. When used properly, it provides the reader with an impactful method of comparing and contrasting characters – characters who may have parallel backgrounds, a shared history, or competing goals.  Developing literary foil(s) in a story allows the reader to experience and understand the main character(s) via a delivery method that is infinitely more powerful than simply comparing and contrasting characters through overtly factual, detailed, BORING, narrative passages.

Literary foils may, or may not, be adversaries of the characters they mirror, although they often are.  Some of the best adversarial foils in comics share similar origins.  Science is the foundation for both Spider-Man and the Green Goblin.  The gift of Power Rings grants both Green Lantern and Sinestro abilities constrained only by their imaginations.  The X-Men have had a number of similar foils including, but not limited to, the Hellfire Club, the Reavers, and the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants.  Wolverine vs. Sabretooth. The Fantastic Four vs. Doctor Doom.  Professor X vs. Magneto.  Thor vs. Loki.  The Justice League vs. the Crime Syndicate. Hawk and Dove vs. Kestrel. You get the idea.

Writer Roland Mann is a master of the “slow burn” . . . foreshadowing important characters, situations, or actions yet to be revealed.  During the previous story-arc, Wearin’ and Tearin’, you will remember that Mann introduced a mysterious and brutal duo, through cameos across the four issue arc, and dropped clues as to their origins. Brutal this mysterious duo is indeed, as they tracked police officers with known Mafia ties and executed them in cold blood. Few details of this duo were released outside of the fact that they were “specialized” Yakuza-associates who predated Cat and Mouse’s enlisting with the organization.

This provides the first of many foils that are presented within this story arc.  This duo – as we will learn is code named Tooth and Nail – is the Yakuza’s Yin to the Mafia’s Yang.  Both are ruthless crime syndicates but they hold and practice significantly different codes of honour, etiquettes, and protocols.  As Tooth and Nail were mentioned in the same breath as our protagonists, Cat and Mouse, the reader instinctively begins to mentally compare and contrast the two duos . . .the two duos that were both trained by the same martial arts sensei – Kunoichi!

When confronted with information pertaining to current crimes in New Orleans, Detective Martin Rossman, Jerry (Cat’s) superior officer, exclaims that he really wants “to nail the Yakuza.”  Jerry, in response, asks “What about the Mafia?”  Rossman stares blankly at Jerry.  Jerry knows Rossman is on the take; another layer of foil resurfaces.

Jerry continues his quest to recover a bullet used in the slaying of an officer in order to match calibers and markings to the bullet that veterinarian Keith (Demon) Grayson extracted from Mouse’s (Mandy’s) back (as illustrated in our first issue).

At the grave of fallen officer Claude Beauchamp an unplanned, but game changing, face-to-face encounter between Rossman and Cat occurs. Wait . . .I mean between Rossman and Jerry.  Actually, I mean both.

As Rossman and Cat face off, verbal barbs are exchanged and Cat removes his cowl, revealing his identity to his boss in a power play where he blackmails Rossman into collaborating with him against the Mafia and Yakuza, threatening to bring Rossman’s career and life crashing down on him should he reveal the secrets he knows. A cop acting to end all gang activities in New Orleans vs. a cop holding secret allegiances to a criminal organization. Yet another foil.The long-awaited first meeting between Cat (note: no Mouse – just Cat) and Tooth & Nail emerges unexpectedly.  The long anticipated first epic battle . . . didn’t happen. Tooth referred to their ongoing “slay” list, and stated that they have only come to kill Martin Rossman. They have zero interest in engaging with Cat.  They promise to return for Rossman when he is alone and start to take their leave.  Shocked, Cat exclaims that they “can’t do that” and lunges towards Nail, fists flying, attempting to stop them from leaving.  However, what can’t even be described as a scuffle quickly ends as Cat finds himself greatly outmatched by Nail, who had only toyed with Cat, keeping him at a distance without striking back, while Cat was physically giving his all.  The duo quietly and peacefully exited the graveyard . . . while promising Rossman that another visit will indeed follow. . .

This scene, coupled with the scene with Tooth and Nail debriefing with their Yakuza boss, is my favourite foil example in this series.  Tooth and Nail, the duo described as “more brutal than Cat and Mouse” seemed to be almost pacifist in their first encounter with Cat?  While Cat, a single individual with adrenaline pumping, was ready to engage a known dangerous pair in battle?  Nail is unquestionably stronger than Cat, yet Nail did not harm Cat even in the slightest, and even after Cat was the aggressor?  And the fact that Tooth and Nail, who, after being shown brutally killing others in previous issues, are shown to abide to killing those on their “list,” but only those on the list (IE – not Cat)?? AND, on top of that, they ultimately DO leave the graveyard in a pacifist manner.  These would not have been the actions expected by most readers, which highlights the brilliance of Mann’s writing strategy.  Provide the unexpected.  Foil. Foil. Foil.

Unfortunately, Cat’s unprovoked attack on Nail got him, officially, on Tooth and Nail’s “slay list” by authority of their Yakuza boss.

And where has Mandy Paige (Mouse) been all this time? Hanging out with Demon. Asking him about Kevlar upgrades she has in mind for her and Cat’s suits. Which led to a first date with Demon! To the movies (the movie just happened to be an adaptation Mann scripted for Malibu Comics). In public, no less! AND their first kiss afterwards.  Demon discusses, with Mandy, his Church of Abaddon problem (which provides the foundation to the amazing four issue Demon’s Tails mini-series!) and is later visited by Cat (while washing an alligator no less!) who asks for his assistance with retrieving the bullet that shot Mandy for comparison to the known mafia slug he “liberated” from the evidence room earlier in this story arc.At the onset of Cat and Mouse’s career, Mouse made mention about possibly working for the Mafia. Cat quickly denounced that idea and indicated “maybe the Yakuza, though. They have a sense of honour.”  Cat’s statement was proven true as FIVE armed Mafia agents stormed into Jerry and Mandy’s apartment in search of police officer Jerry and a package – on the orders of Martin Rossman himself. A fight ensues, the five Mafia agents come to believe that the cop (Jerry) is under the protection of Cat and Mouse (not putting 2 + 2 together that Jerry IS Cat – these Mafia types aren’t so smart, are they??), Mouse gets her hands on (and fires) her first gun (and likes it!!) and the duo quickly catch up to Rossman, on assignment, to let him know his assault squad failed and that they will not tolerate any more backstabbing. Foils galore shine here across Tooth, Nail, Cat, Mouse, Rossman, extending the range from honor, dignity, restraint vs. treachery, deceit, omission of information, to sole focus on self-preservation.

Cat tracks Rossman down to his home address and finds Tooth and Nail not only in his residence but IN POSSESSION of Rossman’s newborn child.  With Rossman and his wife knocked to the ground, Tooth and Nail give Cat the opportunity to leave without battle, but promise that his turn will be coming soon.  Cat turns and closes the door behind him, leaving the Rossman family unprotected against Tooth and Nail.But not for long . . .

As Cat focuses his chi and strategizes his plan to save the baby, Mandy and Demon go on another date, this time to celebrate Mardi Gras.  Mandy gets drunnnnnnnnnnnnnnnk as she and Demon are painting New Orleans purple, green, and gold. (And, yes, Mandy DID earn some beads while inebriated.)

But back to the action. This time, Tooth and Nail are empowered to engage Cat as he IS now on their “slay list;” an epic battle ensues. During the fight, Nail throws Cat through the front window and follows him outside to continue sparring.  Rossman gains access to his pistol and shoots Tooth, even as she is holding his child!  Rossman also shoots Nail, in the back, as Nail is battling Cat.  The two villains flee into the night with Rossman’s child. Rossman pleads for Cat to rescue his baby.  As Cat picks up a katana left behind by Tooth, he promises to – for the child.  Cat tracks Tooth and Nail through out the neighbourhood. Nail, having taken refuge in the branches of a tree, jumps down to confront a passing Cat. Cat instinctively slashes with the katana – severing all the digits on Nail’s right hand! Cat and Nail battle mano y mano after another katana cut slash relieves Cat of his weapon.  With Nail crushing Cat’s back, Cat grabs Nail’s neck, pushing his fingers deeply into Nail’s throat . . .

Somehow, off-panel, Nail escapes Cat’s clutches.  Cat crosses paths with Mandy and Demon, who had been tracking the action by scent after being alarmed by the sounds of gunshots earlier.  Demon takes hot pursuit, tackles Tooth, which causes the baby to be launched into the air only to safely land into Mandy’s outstretched arms.

Meanwhile, the ongoing battle between Cat and Nail reaches a fever pitch as blood splatters off of both participants as they continue to punch, cut, and slice each other with impunity. Cat’s face and chest had been sliced a dozen times; deep, deep cuts as a lumberjack would inflict into a redwood with an axe. As Nail turns his attention to Mandy and the baby, beaten and bloodied Cat arises, lunges in the bravest act of protection, breaks Nail’s arm, and delivers a series of emotionally charged blows. This blood rage borders on possession and leaves Nail incapacitated – permanently.

Delivered to the hospital, and after sixteen hours of surgery, the title character lays in a coma.  Rossman, Mandy, and Demon are by his bedside.  Rossman uncovers a surprising sense of loyalty and gratitude as he looks at Jerry’s unmoving body and promises him, and the others, that he will do everything in his power to clear Cat and Mouses’ name.

This four-issue story arc also included a short story that focused exclusively on Martin Rossman and his Mafia connections; connections that reveal his fragile emotional state, his regret for the slippery slope into corruption he found himself in, and, finally, the fear he feels being a part of the Mafia world at all.  This “private” Rossman interlude provided the reader an introspective look at Martin Rossman that was a distinct foil to the seriousness, bordering on arrogance, often portrayed by “Officer Rossman.”

And, as Roland Mann does so extremely well, a short sequence in this arc introduced yet another duo trained by Kunoichi – who were bestowed the code names Skull and Crossbones at the end of their training with her, providing us with still another foil for Cat and Mouse.  (And, in the future, others . . . but that is a different story for a different spotlight!)

And, the MOST important thing that occurred during these four action packed issues?  In Issue 12’s letter column, Roland responded to a young high school kid who submitted a fan letter as Cat and Mouse was his favourite comic book.  A pen-pal friendship grew from that dorky teen’s submission – which, through technology, became an online friendship, a phone friendship, and nearly 30 years later brought him (and his own publishing house) to join Silverline! (Yes, it’s me!)

The talent that brought these issues to life consisted of the ever-impressive:

Roland Mann – the Mann with the Plan! Cat and Mouse 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.

Ken Branch, inker of each of the four issues in this story arc, later went on to not only provide inks on multiple issues of Cat and Mouse’s sister publication SilverStorm, but also worked for Marvel, DC, Image Comics, Malibu Comics, Valiant Comics, First Comics, and Comico.

Twelve issues of Cat & Mouse – Volume 1 down. Six more to go. Keep your eyes open for the next exciting Cat & Mouse series spotlight!

17Mar/20

Two big announcements!

Kayless #2 kickstarter is live!

Many of you have raved about Kayless #1, successfully kickstarted several months ago, and we’re happy to let you know that Kayless #2 is live on kickstarter NOW! #2 picks up right where #1 left off. If you missed #1, don’t worry, you can still pick up a copy.

The creative team of Brent T. Larson, Luis Czerniawski, and Leandro Huergo return and the book looks stellar! How do we know? Well, we’ve seen it. Yes, the entire thing. Mike W. Belcher joins them as letterer! In keeping with Silverline’s crowdfunding policies, we won’t kickstart a comic until the creative work is finished. Of course, the books still have to be printed and shipped, but in general, we always intend to start fulfilling crowdfunders within approximately 6-8 weeks. We’re batting 1000% so far! So please, back with confidence because Kayless #2 is finished and ready to print!

The kickstarter features an Alex Gallimore exclusive cover. The only way you’ll get Kayless #2 with that cover is to support the kickstarter, so what are you waiting for? Go back!

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/rolandmann/kayless-1-and-2

Silverline Live!

The second big announcement today is that starting tomorrow night, Silverline will be doing some LIVE streaming. We want to do it, yes, of course, to promote all the very cool projects we’re doing, but to also make the creators behind the awesome Silverline titles more real and accessible to you. Assuming we get questions, we’ll definitely be there to answer and address them; we’ll have regular indy comic reviews, complete with grades, and not just a summary of the story. We’ll get to discussions about the craft of making comics, and lastly, we’ll have artists drawing and working on Silverline projects while we talk.

We’ll be streaming live on three places tomorrow night (Wednesday) at 9pm:

Youtube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCD_wuBxQzysURBxKkW-T5wg

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SilverlineComics/

Twitch: https://www.twitch.tv/silverlinecomics/

So, hop on over at 9pm tomorrow night and give us a listen—say hello—ask a question.

And go support Kayless!

Make Mine Silverline!