23Mar/21

Craft: Haley Martin – Balancing Act

Hey there Silverline Family! I got a hold of Haley Martin who is something of an auteur. You can really see this with her ongoing comic Heroic Shenanigans. She does everything. For a lot of people looking to get into comics, this is the natural way to get your first story/book done and out there. Haley was gracious enough to share some tips on how to look past the daunting work and keep your eyes on the goal as a creator. Hopefully, after this, you feel like you have a bit more of an idea of how you can bring your passion to life.

Balancing Act – Managing Different Parts of the Creative Process


I dove headfirst into comics by making my own from scratch: writing the story, designing the characters, and sketching, inking, and coloring the pages. It’s a lot of work for one person! I’ve since experienced how much quicker and more streamlined the comic-making process can be when working on a team, but if you’re like me and enjoy having your hand in every step of your passion project, there are ways to speed up the process and keep yourself organized.

Have a checklist and a schedule, but be flexible. When I sit down to work on one of my comics, especially if it’s been a while, I can feel overwhelmed by how much work stands between me and a completed page. That’s when an organizational tool like this spreadsheet from comic artist Michael Regina is very helpful. Just plug in how many pages are in your comic and all the steps that are needed to complete a page (thumbs, inks, flats, etc) and then update the spreadsheet when you finish a task. It’s really satisfying to see that percentage go up and give you an idea of how close you are to completion. If you’re working on a large graphic novel project it may be helpful to break it down into chapters/issues rather than tackling a whole 200+ page book at once.


If you’re working as part of a team, the inker generally needs to be completely finished with a page before the colorist can start their job. But if you’re doing all those jobs yourself, you have the freedom to jump around. For example, I might be struggling with the sketch of a particular panel and need to look at it later with fresh eyes, but another panel on the same page might be ready for inks. So I’d start on that one before the pencils of the whole page are technically done. As long as the comic gets done and done well, it doesn’t matter if you do the steps a little “out of order”.

However, you don’t want to go so crazy with it that you get confused and forget steps. And you don’t want to finish all of your favorite parts of the process and then leave yourself with a full workday of only the tasks you don’t enjoy as much. As one of my college drawing professors said, “leave yourself a candy bar”. Save a part of the process you know you’ll enjoy as a reward for completing one of the less fun parts.

I know I’ve advocated “jumping around”, but you don’t want to do that all the time. You’ll get more done at a faster pace if you let yourself get into the zone. You’ve no doubt heard how important it is to warm up. If my first sketches of the day are frustrating, I’ll try to push through because I know my hand needs time to warm up. Next thing I know, an hour or two has passed and I’ve sketched more panels than I planned because I got on a roll.

The last thing I want to mention to help you juggle your different comic-making tasks is to set up a schedule. That spreadsheet I mentioned earlier can help you see how many steps you need to get done, and I would advise taking it a step further and outlining when you plan to work on each step. Schedule your work out so that you’ll be able to get the project done within your deadlines, but also leave some wiggle room. Life happens, so I find it better to give myself a range for when a task should be completed rather than a hard-and-fast I need to work on this specific task on this specific day. For example, I could schedule myself to ink page 12 on Monday and page 13 on Tuesday, or I could say I’m going to spend Monday and Tuesday inking pages 12-13. What’s the difference? Say I end up having more time on Tuesday than Monday, so I only ink half of a page on Monday but ink a page and a half on Tuesday. All the work gets done in the allotted time, but I can be more flexible about when it gets done within the time frame.

Remember, all this is just the advice of one artist, and you should do what works best for you. But I believe that once you have a system in place, your projects won’t be nearly as daunting and you’ll be finishing pages before you know it!

16Mar/21

Silverline Creator Spotlight: Rob Davis

Each month we’ll be shining the spotlight on a Silverline creator and sharing their secret origin story, learning what makes them tick, and giving you the scoop on how they came up in the comics world.  

Up this time is Rob Davis, an artist who has worked for such comic titles as Scimidar, Merlin, Straw Men, Maze Agency…as well as the recent Twilight Grimm for Silverline Comics, of course–for which the 2nd issue is kickstarting right now: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/rolandmann/tg2fr2

Now, without further ado, we present to you…

Questions with … Rob Davis

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

My name is Rob Davis. I hail from the state of Missouri and have my whole life.

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

I’m a penciller/inker for R.A. Jones’ TWILIGHT GRIMM mini-series.

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

My greatest claim to fame, such as it is, was on the Star Trek books for Malibu and DC comics in the 1990s. Deep Space Nine for Malibu, Star Trek (Kirk, Spock, McCoy in their movie incarnations), and a single issue of Next Generation for DC. My first big “break” was before that on R.A.’s SCIMIDAR book for Eternity Comics—a precursor to Malibu.

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

I just recently retired, so I don’t have a “day job” anymore. I do, however, drive a bus for a local college. Mostly I transport their Mock Trial group but I also have been tapped to drive for the Volleyball and Bowling teams as well as shuttle the college’s International students on fun field trips. I’m hoping to dive into Model Railroading and finally do some work on my N-Scale layout that’s lain dormant for about 20 years.

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

It’s in the blood. I fell in love with comics as a kid and have never gotten over it despite it kicking me around once in a while. It scratches a lot of my creative itches.

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

I don’t think I ever had that particular thought. Mine was, “this looks like a cool, creative thing to do. I’m going to figure out how I can do that!” That first thought came reading AVENGERS issue #2. Kirby IS king!

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

I mostly listen to the oscillating fan in my studio run. I used to listen to NPR/Classical music in the studio many years ago but the stereo radio I had burned up and I have yet to replace it. I could use the desktop computer I have in the studio to either tune in via the internet or play my collection of mp3s but I’ve gotten used to not having anything playing and just “zen out”
drawing.

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

The aforementioned Jack Kirby is the biggest, but I’ve been accused of channeling Curt Swan
(long time Silver age Superman artist) and feel some influence from Gil Kane.

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

Oh, lord! I hate to bring that up but I was letterer and inker on SYPONS for NOW comics back in the late 1980s. The writer/artist on the series seemed to really despise my inking, so that’s a hard one to bring to memory. It was an interesting concept playing off the X-Men/Teen Titans vibe.

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

No! “laughing”

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

Wow, I’m not reading much these days. I liked Grimjack, and Badger back in the days when they were active. Concrete is another favorite. Maze Agency by writer Mike Barr is in there, too. I probably should widen my horizons but not much that I see of today’s comics excites me. The last independent that looked interesting and I tried was so thin plot-wise I gave up on it after a couple of issues. I remember the days when you got three eight-page complete stories in a comic book. Anyone who has some suggestions can goad me on Facebook. 🙂

SILVERLINE: If you could go back in time and give your younger self one piece of advice that would help them better navigate the comics industry, what would it be?

Toughen up and widen your network. When the industry imploded in the mid 90s my connections had moved on and out. I did start to move that way but kept getting the rug yanked out from under me on projects: editors dying, creators yanking their projects from publishers and publishers not quite making up their minds what they wanted. That was a rough period that was hard to take.

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

Ew! Neither. No asphalt or concrete for me. Spread my ashes over a sunny, green spot.

10Mar/21

Kickstarter #2 of 2021

The TWOS!

This should have come to you yesterday (Tuesday), but I was busy putting some final touches on the Kickstarter, which goes live on Thursday. Kickstarter has finally added the ability to include ADD-ONS to a kickstarter campaign, and it took me a little extra time trying to figure it all out. I’m still not 100% sure I got it right…but I guess we’ll see in a few days.

Twilight Grimm #2 and Friar Rush #2

So—what are we kickstarting this time? I’m glad you asked. We’re kickstarters a couple of issue #2s: Twilight Grimm #2 and Friar Rush #2. Twilight Grimm #2 is done by writer R.A. Jones, artist Rob Davis, colorist Mickey Clausen, and letterer Mike W. Belcher. Friar Rush #2 is by writer Sidney Williams, penciller Aaron Humphres, inker John Martin, colorist Jeremy Kahn, and letterer Brian Dale. Don’t worry, if you missed #1, you’ll have the opportunity to add it to your pledge.

Like most of our kickstarters, there’s a lot of original artwork just waiting for you to snag and put on your wall! And like always, we’re going to count on you to help spread it around and let people know they need to come back us and help independent comics!

The kickstarter exclusive covers are both pencilled by Peter Clinton, and up-and-coming superstar who’s working on the upcoming Silverline Team-Up: Champion and Miss Fury. He’s cranking it out—already on issue #2—and it’s looking great! So if you want his covers on these books (and you DO!), you’ll need to get over and back the kickstarter. You can go ahead and sign up for it here and you’ll get a message when it goes live: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/rolandmann/tg2fr2/

Streams

Just a reminder that we stream twice a week, Sundays and Wednesdays at 9pm EST. It’s pretty interactive, so tune in and ask us questions!

We stream on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/SilverlineComics), on Youtube (https://www.youtube.com/silverlinecomics) and on Twitch (https://www.twitch.tv/silverlinecomics). Free to watch!

Discord

While the Discord server is live, it hasn’t been that active. We’ll take suggestions and recommendations as to how we can make it better for you. Here is your invite to join our discord server: https://discord.gg/7dnAp9Yy

Podcasts

They’re coming. We’re close. Watch this space.

Conventions

Slowly but surely, they’re restarting. Roland will be appearing at OLO on March 28 in Orlando, Fl. More new to come as we get them scheduled.

23Feb/21

Silverline Community Highlight

Hey Silverline Family. It’s a new year, and a new us, so we figured we’d give this concept a test drive. The one thing that allows us to be comic creators and comic pros, is you, the comic reader! What is special about where Silverline is now is that a lot of our readers are creators in their own right. This has allowed us to create a unique and truly amazing community. 

Whether you just enjoy our new releases, interact with our social media, follow our blog for tips on how to better make your own comics, or catch our live-casts, we appreciate you. We figured we could show some of how much we appreciate you guys by highlighting some members of our community who shared their comments with us. 

If you want the chance to have your comment highlighted, just post it! Whether on our blog, our Facebook, Youtube, Twitch, one of us will see it. If it stands out for whatever reason, you have a chance of being featured. 

All the featured comments today were taken off the live-casts on Facebook. They’ll probably be more varied in the future but we figured this was a good place to start. So here’s what you said:

Rob Davis: “>turning down my hearing aid<” 

Wednesday WHAM! producer Tim T.K. has a unique and loud method for introducing the show. Utilizing years of musical theatre, and punk band experience, Tim delivers a sonic experience that is sure to take a few hours off your lifespan. (I’m sorry . . . okay, I’m not sorry.)

Quinton J. Bedwell: “Yes… It’s time for a new system. CRT screens are outdated Roland”

Recently, the Silverline family got together on Silver Sunday as they surprised EIC Roland Mann with the means to get a new computer after his old system went out to pasture. This comment is great because it commemorates this awesome gesture and also points out that our EIC is, in fact, not the youngest member of the team. (Don’t fire me)

Ovin Armando Reyes: “I really loved infamous 2 it was my first platinum trophy”

Ovin is a Silverliner since the before-times! It was great to have him in the conversation on the week we were discussing video games. Achievement hunting is not something every gamer does. It requires commitment, and to platinum a game, you have to hunt every single achievement in a game. The first time you platinum or 100% a game, it’s a special feeling that you want to celebrate. It’s also great to hear how a piece of media brought Ovin so much joy because that is ultimately what we want our comics to do for someone. 

Kasisi D. Harris: “Ergokinesis”

This comment got picked for a weird and personal reason. When the Wednesday WHAM! crew was discussing the best superpowers, Kasisi brought up Ergokinesis. Which is a great power, the ability to manipulate raw energy. Elemental, cosmic, electrical, what have you. Energy manipulation is a classic. However, I (Tim T.K.), had a brief moment where I thought it was related to Ergonomics. You know, like office chairs. I had nearly fallen out of my seat with laughter, as I imagined a hero whose power allowed them to make any surface good for their joint and back health. 

Patrick Lugo: “In the 80’s John Byrne claimed Superman’s powers were all subconscious telekinesis.”

This one just blew my mind. Thinking of Supe’s powers as subconscious telekinesis makes so much sense and yet I can’t wrap my head around it. Superman has such a wide array of powers, but telekinesis could explain them all and yet it almost feels too simple. Although I suppose, he has superstrength, eyebeams, and flight because of the sun is also a bit too clean when you think about it. The question is, is that preferable over muddying the waters with fifty-thousand types of kryptonite.

I hope you guys liked having the spotlight on you for a second. Let us know, should we keep doing these, try something else, stick to the classics? Who knows your comment might just be featured next time.  

16Feb/21

Title Spotlight: Switchblade

The core mantra of boxers is fists up, chin down, and knives out. Well, at least it is for Scott Nathans, boxer by day, and vigilante by night. Scott is the man known as Switchblade, a defender of the defenseless in New Orleans and the eponymous character of the Switchblade comic.

With the recent launch of Switchblade Remix, this is a great time to add it to your wish list.



Switchblade is a classic vigilante origin story but with a splash of sports drama that ties into the core plot. Just because Scott Nathans has picked up the hobby of giving villains a gruesome end doesn’t mean he’s given up his life as a boxer, or the rivalries that come with it.

We’re first introduced to Scott Nathans in an action-packed opening as he hunts down two child predators that the jury let off. That’s also when we first see Scott use his infamous switchblade. The weapon that earned him his name.

Of course, vigilante justice is a crime itself. Enter detectives Rob and Sid. The two were tasked with finding Switchblade and bringing him to heel. The citizens of New Orleans, however, are grateful for the speedy removal of the scum terrorizing their city. The detectives are without any leads and there never seem to be any witnesses. Their job gets more confounded once dismembered bodies start popping up. These aren’t clean kills with a blade, and they don’t have criminal records. The m.o. doesn’t match Switchblade and that last thing the police want is two killers out in the city.



Scott’s life as a boxer also gets more interesting when a mysterious and skilled boxer starts training at the same gym as him. The gym’s owner, Simon, is essentially Scott’s adoptive father so he’s unlikely to pass the limelight onto this new fighter. After a few sparring matches, this new fighter, Don, gives the impression that he may be the strongest fighter there. After he brutalizes a few of the other boxers and shares some smack talk with Scott, a rivalry begins to form. One that transcends just the ring.

It’s not long after Scott’s first kills that detectives Rob and Sid receive a report of a missing fourteen-year-old boy. At the same, the butchered bodies send ripples through the ranks at Simon’s gym causing a stir among the longtime members and Don, the new arrival. As these events unfold, Scott, Don, and the detectives all set on a collision course with each other, that is sure to end with someone dead.

What stands out in Switchblade is that drama unfolds both in the world of masked crusaders at the same as in the ring and the way it ties together. As Switchblade, Scott tries to uncover the recent killings and child abductions. As himself, Scott develops enters into a rivalry with Don to prove he can’t come in and pick on the other boxers. When the predator’s identity is revealed both stories intertwine in a way that leads to a unique fusion of sports-drama and comic hero action.



Another element that gets explored rather well throughout is the moral dilemma faced by the detectives. They know that a person cannot take the law into their own hands and kill criminals who get off easy, but also that the system allows for those criminals to get off even after their wrongdoing is universally acknowledged. Rob and Sid are forced to confront their own beliefs on if the system of Switchblade is doing more good for the city.

If you like vigilantes heroes, boxing, and seeing the two be put together in a way that makes both integral to the story this is the book for you. Switchblade is a classic brawling hero but exploring the heart and skill required to be a good fighter.

Switchblade was written by Roland Mann who needs no qualifiers. Known for Cat & Mouse, Demon’s Tails, Trumps, Krey, a laundry list of more titles, running Silverline, and inspiring students.

Leonard Kirk penciled Switchblade (1-2). Leonard is known for such titles as Planet of the Apes, Galaxina, Dinosaurs for Hire, and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.

Chuck Bordell also provided art for Switchblade (1-3). Chuck’s work can also be seen in Sirens, Marauder, and Silverstorm.

David Rowe provided inks.

Brad Thomte lettered the series. He is also known for lettering Scarybook, Marauder, and Silverstorm.




09Feb/21

Craft: Aaron Humphres – Sketchy Technique

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.

02Feb/21

Silverline Title Spotlight: SilverStorm (vol 1)

There Is No Shelter From This Storm!

A SilverStorm (Volume 1) Retrospective by John Metych, III

A wealthy playboy philanthropist whose father engineered some of the most futuristic technologies of the day now dons a suit of armour to protect both innocents and those he cares about.  Who immediately comes to mind when you read that description?  Yup, me too.  Christopher Kastle, AKA Silver Dollar!

A beautiful woman who overcame extreme poverty and traumatic childhood experiences was blessed, at birth, with the gift of wind manipulation.  Thus far, she has attempted to keep her abilities hidden from the world but eventually must utilize her powers to escape captivity and, later, in public in order to preserve the lives and safety of others.  I know you’re picturing the same model-turned-adventurer / heroine as I am . . . the supermodel who professionally goes by one name . . .Natashia , AKA Tempest!!

And who doesn’t immediately picture the one – the only – cloaked villain, operating behind the scenes while he sends out his agents to do his dirty-work bidding, infatuated with the concept of developing, perfecting, and utilizing a legion of clones to attack the very foundation of assembled government, made up of constituents representing their individual interests and homelands?  You know it! Of course! It is none other than Doctor Fear!!!

Originally published in the Spring of 1990, Silver Dollar, Tempest, and their newly minted arch-nemesis, Dr. Fear, were the main characters in the Silverline packaged, Aircel Comics published, SilverStorm four issue miniseries . . . and what a miniseries it was!!  Further expanding from Cat & Mouse, their buddy, Demon, and the still enigmatic “Chicago Champion”, SilverStorm was the next title, entry, and step in establishing and expanding the interconnected “Silver” universe of characters and stories.

SilverStorm (volume 1) lead off with a strong, character driven autobiography presented by none other than Christopher Kastle himself.  Speaking to his closest confidant, his Uncle Miya, he chronicles his affluent upbringing, though light on responsibilities, his internalized worries regarding how his father viewed him as he grew from youth, to a college student, to an adult and lamented how his life has become empty, unfocused, since his father’s passing and his lingering inability to follow family tradition by swearing an oath to upload the traditions and values of his family, upon a Silver Dollar that has been passed down through family generations.

Kastle’s narration continues through mourning his father, assuming leadership of the Kastle Foundation – a research organization previously lead by his father, through introduction to a specialized suit of armour created by the foundation.  Kastle becomes enamoured with the suit and dedicates himself to the utilization and mastery of this incredible piece of technology!  He also describes the mental and emotional journey he has undertaken in trying to understand his father’s death, when things don’t seem to quite add up but, at the same time, all the powers-that-be insist that there was nothing out of sorts, out of the ordinary, nor nefarious in terms of his father’s passing.

A serendipitous mutual attendance at the Symposium of Earth and Natural Sciences (hosted by the Kastle Foundation) brings Christopher and Natashia into the same venue and Kastle, who had been attendance at one of Natashia’s (Nat for short) model shows several years prior, makes a point to introduce himself to her.  Nat’s external beauty is only surpassed by her intelligence – as illustrated by her deep interest in, and ongoing study of, geology.  (She was way before her time in terms of STEM!)

Invited to accompany her on a modeling gig on a nearby island, Kastle joins Natashia and becomes even more twitterpated with her in all respects.  As the two canoodle during their walk back to their respective accommodations for the evening, they are savagely attacked by a duo going by the names Hunter and Axe.  Kastle is beaten unconscious, which allows Natashia to unleash her mastery of the winds without him bearing witness.  As she attempts to blind Hunter with a face full of blown sand, Hunter responds, in kind, with warning shots bullets and takes her, as well as Kastle, prisoner.

Hunter and Axe deliver the newly romantically linked couple to their employer – Doctor Fear.  Kastle recalls meeting him, long ago while on a business trip with his father, and remembers that Dr. Wilderman (now, FEAR) was once an impressive biochemist on a global scale, nothing close to the scarred, mutated, blistered and disfigured man that stood before them now.  Kastle persuades Fear to reveal what had happened to him . . . a story which consisted of scientific discovery, partner treachery, attempted murder, arson, and a near-death experience culminating in being submerged in an experimental formula designed to grant super-human strength and power.  Though Fear survived, and became physically stronger than ever, he would never recover from the physical or mental scars nor his ever-increasing passion for revenge including against the very world itself!  Information vital to Fear’s forthcoming plans has been in the possession of a man associated with both Kastle and Natashia – from different social and professional spheres – yet intertwining the destinies of all involved!!!

Kastle confides the legacy of his familial Silver Dollar and Oath to Natashia and she not only matches his level of trust and faith during a daring escape from Fear, his henchmen, and their compound.  They encounter several armed guards as they evacuate, noting that each of these guards had identical appearances save different tattooed numbers on their foreheads.

This observation foreshadowed Dr. Fear’s endgame . . . he has expanded his biochemistry interests into cloning, creating and growing a clone army that he utilized to launch an assault on the United Nations building, in New York City, and upon completion of his clones seizing and securing the building, as well as the UN Representatives now held hostage within, Dr. Fear declares his takeover of the world itself!

Nat and Kastle descend upon the battle scene; flanked by reporters and live television coverage, the duo is swarmed and questions fly . . . including if the individual in the suit was the Chicago Champion (it isn’t) and what they call themselves.  Christopher invokes the name of his family tradition and bestowed upon himself the code name SILVER DOLLAR and dubs Nat TEMPEST in honour of her wind-controlling talents.

Collaborating with the government-sanctioned armed forces, Silver Dollar and Tempest battle countless identical, mute, and loyal combatants ‘til death.  Our heroic duo infiltrated the occupied United Nations building, decimating clone troopers along the way, battling (and evoking revenge) Fear’s henchmen Hunter and Axe, leading to a final face-to-face showdown between Silver Dollar and Dr. Fear and with a HUGE detonation and the apparent death of Dr. Fear.  But, in comics, is anyone ever really dead?  This very author may have something to say about that fact in the not-so-distant future, in fact . . . as well as the long-ago planned (and abandoned – nay, “long-hiatused”) Silverline Universe team book . . . also in the works by yours truly!

The cadre of talent that brought these characters, issues, and Silverline’s first mini-series to life was comprised of this most excellent lineup of creative talent:

Roland Mann – the Mann with the Plan! Cat and Mouse writer and Silverline Editorial Director, Roland provided scripting duties on the latter part of the SilverStorm series and served as series editor.  In time, he would become writer, editor and eventually Managing Editor at Malibu Comics.  Roland has been the driving force of Silverline as a publisher, including the current relaunch of the brand and the ringleader of the impressive collective of Silverline talent!

Thomas Fortenberry – SilverStorm’s plotter, writer, and scripter. His Amazon biography notes that he is also an American author, editor, reviewer, and publisher. A Pushcart Prize-nominated writer and history teacher, he has also judged many literary contests, including The Georgia Author of the Year Awards and The Robert Penn Warren Prize for Fiction. Thomas was the second writer, after Roland Mann, to work on a Silverline title when wrote this very four-issue SilverStorm miniseries!

Steven Butler – Steven, who had already provided stellar inks on the Cat & Mouse series and both pencilled and inked several of the series most dynamic covers, all while serving as Silverline Art Director, contributed his first sequential pencils for Silverline’s on this very title, “SilverStorm”!  Having already cut his teeth on sequential work on First Comics’ “Badger”, Mr. Butler’s artwork on SilverStorm can only be described as “detailed, beautiful, kinetic, and perfect!”  He also provided colours for the series covers and created all the additional promotional art to support the title! Steven’s future projects would include illustrating titles for Malibu, Marvel, and Archie, to name a few. He held notable runs on Marvel’s “Silver Sable” and “Web of Spider-Man” and will forever be favorably remembered for his illustrations of Ben Reilly, the Scarlet Spider!  Steven recently collaborated with his Silverline friends and colleagues for a special guest artist variant cover for the recently released TRUMPS. He has also recently fulfilled his first Kickstarter campaign for issue #1 of Fianna McCool and the House of Ulster under the Duo Comics imprint in conjunction with his incredibly talented daughter, Lily Butler.  Oh, and Steven is one of the top, all time favourite artists of this author . . . if you couldn’t already tell who I am honored to have come to know thanks to the wonders of the internet!

Roland Paris – the first of two inkers on this SilverStorm miniseries, Roland also providing his inking talents on it’s sister title, Cat & Mouse. Roland later went on to ink many titles at Marvel Comics.

Ken Branch – the second inker over Steven Butler’s pencils on SilverStorm, Ken also provided inks on multiple issues of Cat and Mouse. Ken later went on to ink titles at Marvel Comics, DC Comics, Image Comics, Malibu Comics, Valiant Comics, First Comics, and Comico Comics.

Nick McCalip – Nick served as SilverStorm series letter. Nick has also lettered several other Silverline titles including The Mantus Files, Cat & Mouse, The Scary Book, , and Krey.

26Jan/21

Craft: John Martin – Inking Lines

Hello everyone, I’m John Martin and I’m the inker on Friar Rush and Wolf Hunter for Silverline comics. Now, in my opinion, it’s easier to show than tell you about inking but I’ll give it my best. When it comes to inking the most important thing to keep in mind is the line. It’s the one thing that can make or break a page or cover. As an inker, it is the one aspect of the page that you have to bend and manipulate to make the pencils shine even more and become the finished product ready for color and print.

Now, having a healthy variation on line width is what you use to imply several things like depth, weight, light, and shadow. Heavy lines are used close and in the foreground, then they become lighter the further you go into the background. Outlines of characters, objects, buildings, etc. should always by a heavier line than the lines used inside them. For example, if you outline a person the lines should become thinner on the interior of it for all the normal details (eyes, nose, mouth, etc), then even thinner for the rendering of shadows.

If you weren’t using blacks for shadows you would then not only use the weight of the line for indicating distance but also where the shadows would be. The heavier line will be where the shadow is on the figure or object and of course, the lighter would be the indication of the light source.

Now, when you are using line weight for both depth and to help indicate a light source it can get a little tricky so you as the inker have to make the best decision based on what the focal point is in the panel/cover. These decisions are why no two inkers ink the same page the same way. A perfect example of happens during the Inkwell Awards, when they pick inkers to ink a piece to put up for auction.

In closing, lines are the biggest thing needed to bring a page/cover to its full potential and the most important thing for an inker to keep in mind and practice daily. So, get out there and start making a mess and laying some ink lines down. I know I am.


19Jan/21

Silverline Creator Spotlight: John Crowther

Each month we’ll be shining the spotlight on a Silverline creator and sharing their secret origin story, learning what makes them tick, and giving you the scoop on how they came up in the comics world.  

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

Now, without further ado, we present to you…

12 Questions with John Crowther

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

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

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

My primary role with Silverline is writer and creative spinster.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SILVERLINE: If you could go back in time and give your younger self one piece of advice that would help them better navigate the comics industry, what would it be?

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

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

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

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

12Jan/21

Creator Diary: Switchblade #1 and Teen Beetle #1

Hey Silverline Family!

If you’ve been following any of our socials for the past week, you’d know we announced two new books going up on Kickstarter soon! Switchblade #1 and Teen Beetle #1 will both be available for preorder starting January 14th. Remember when our books go to Kickstarter, they’re already done. You’re just preordering your copy, and telling us directly that you want to see more of it before it goes to the digital storefront.

Follow this link to be notified as soon as they go live!
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/rolandmann/teenbeetle1switchblade1

As the resident Blog-Dude, I thought it might be kind of cool to talk to some of the creators involved with the upcoming releases. Unfortunately, due to some at-home circumstances, I couldn’t reach out to everyone involved. With future iterations of this Creator’s Diary, I would like to give as many creators as possible a chance to talk directly to the readers.


I did manage to grab snippets from the writers of each project and the colorist of Switchblade.

First Up (Because he is my boss), Roland Mann, Writer on Switchblade:

“I’m a huge fan of black and white art, but I know a lot of fans prefer color. I’ll admit, seeing Switchblade in color really helps bring the characters to life. The RemiX has a crisp cleanness that the original version didn’t have. It’s exciting.”

Aiden Belcher, Colorist on Switchblade:

“Switchblade is the book that you should pick up if you love comics. I could tell that the very first time I saw it. Every page is filled with realistic, gritty, street-level vigilante action that I thankfully had the pleasure of coloring. I appreciate the chance that Roland Mann gave me in working on this project. Everyone should be on the lookout for this one, it’s a good showcase of what comics does best.”

KS exclusive cover by Ben Dunn


And for Teen Beetle, Writer John Crowther:

“John on Teen Beetle: What I enjoyed the most about working on Teen Beetle, was being able to reunite with artist Dell Barras. Dell was one of my favorite artists as a child, from his work on Blue Beetle and Death’s Head, and he was the artist on my first two comic series for Antarctic Press — Rochelle and Turnbuckle Titans: Nikolai Volkoff. I believe that Dell fully captures the stories I am trying to tell in his art and I feel readers will truly enjoy our chemistry in the Teen Beetle series.”

We hope you’re as excited for these books as we are! Remember January 21st, of 2021, we’re kicking the year off with some kick-butt comics!