Tag Archives: Cat&Mouse

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!

02Jan/20

Silverline: Looking ahead to year 2(020)

2020 looks to be a busy year for Silverline…and that’s pretty exciting to all of us!

Panels from Friar Rush #1

For non-comics, we’ll be launching a weekly live stream. Current plan is for them to be Wednesday’s at 8pm EST. We’ll have a couple of different segments, including an indy comic review and a segment on the craft of making comics. Stay tuned for the exact launch date for it.

We’re still working on appearances for 2020, we’ve already been invited back to Daytona Beach Comic Con—and have accepted. Just not sure exactly which ones of us will be there. Roland will be at Three Rivers in Pittsburgh, his first show ever in the state of PA! More dates and appearances to come, be we hope to see a bunch of you at a bunch of shows!

We’ve got a big slate of books we’ll be releasing in 2020, so many that we may experiment with some Silverline crowdfund “packages.” Meaning, more than one book per crowdfund. Honestly, it’s exciting to look at this list to see all the content will be delivering to you—we know you’re gonna like them!

Mentioned last week in title only, the projects that are nearly complete and should ready to crowdfund very soon:

*Bloodline, 1 shot: by Sidney Williams (writer), Rob Sachetto (penciller), Terry Pallot (inker), Brian Dale (letterer). This one is finished except for the colors, which is being done by Keith Wood.

*Friar Rush #1, 3 issue mini: by Sidney Williams (writer), Marc Thomas (penciller), John Martin (inker), Rebecca Winslow (colorist), Brian Dale (letterer). The first issue is being both colored and lettered at the same time.

A page from DIVINITY #1

*Divinity #1, 4 issue mini: Created by Barb Kaalberg and co-written by R.A. Jones. It also features Alex Sarabia (penciller), Barb Kaalberg (inker), Steve Mattson (colorist) and Mike Belcher (letterer). It is nearly complete.

*Twilight Grimm #1, 4 issue mini: by R.A. Jones (writer) and Rob Davis (artist), Alex Gallimore (colorist), and Mike Belcher (letterer). The first issue only needs color!

*Kayless #2, 4 issue mini: by Brent Larson (writer), Luis Czerniawski (artist), Leandro Huergo (colorist), Mike Belcher (letterer). This issue needs colors and letters.

A bit later in the year, these should be ready:

A page from WHITE DEVIL #1

*Cat & Mouse #3, 4 issue mini: by Roland Mann (writer), Alex Gallimore (penciller), Barb Kaalberg (inker), Kevin Gallegly (colorist).

*White Devil II, 4 issue mini: by R.A. Jones (writer), Jaxon Renick (penciller), with inks by Mike Keeney and Chuck Bordell. The first issue only needs color!

*Trumps book 1; by Roland Mann (writer), Anthony Pereira and Thomas Hedglen (pencillers), Thomas Florimonte (inker), Sid VinBlu (colorist), Brian Dale (letterers).

24Dec/19

Silverline: Review of Year 1

Merry Christmas to one and all. As 2019 draws to a close, I thought I’d take a short peek back at the first year. Oddly, thinking about it reminds me of one of the very first “group” Silverline (phase 1) art pieces…30 years ago! Note the date on Steven’s art is 1988!

In June of 2018, I ran the kickstarter for Cat & Mouse #1 (vol 2). The creative team had such a blast doing it and we got to reminiscing about our old Malibu days and Silverline and such…well, they encouraged me to bring back Silverline—which was not my intent in doing Cat & Mouse again…I just wanted to make some comics and have some fun. Ultimately, I caved because they vowed help…

The Silverline Facebook page was launched in February. It now has 1370 people who like it and 1377 who follow it (so…I guess this means that 7 like but have unfollowed). Immediately, and much to my surprise, I started getting submissions and feelers for submissions. I told them all to wait until 2020 (all but one—more on that later) that I just wasn’t prepared for it.

The Silverline website launched on June 18. It wasn’t—and still isn’t—complete by any stretch of the imagination, but thanks to our IT support (and fantastic comic creator, too!) Jeff Whiting, we managed to put a pretty decent site together and have new content published regularly since then.

We worked with IndyPlanet to get a Silverline “store” online, and currently, these titles can be found for sale there: Cat & Mouse (v2) #1, Kayless #1, Tiny #1, Tiny #2, Tiny GN, Demon’s Tails classic GN, Switchblade classic GN, Krey classic GN, Sadomannequin one-shot, Jetstream #1. Soon to be added Cat & Mouse (v2) #2, SilverStorm (v2) classic GN, Switchblade GN.

Around that same time, we started a mailing list (email) because everyone said we should do it—so we did. Using mailchimp, we’ve got almost 400 lovely fans who have the website updates emailed to them. Eventually, we’ll do some mail list only stuff…but that’s down the road a bit…and we don’t want it to turn into “dreaded spam.”

In late June, we successfully crowdfunded Kayless #1 by Brent Larson, Luis Czerniawski, and Leandro Huergo. It was fully funded in less than 12 hours thanks to the support of many of you! (it was completely fulfilled by August, as an FYI…we need that known these days as so many crowdfunded titles are shipping late)

In September, we successfully crowdfunded Cat & Mouse #2. In doing so, we introduced upcoming superstar artist Alex Gallimore to the world! It fulfilled in late October and in November…

The Wellness Family Coloring Book, the first non-comic print publication by Silverline was also successfully crowdfunded, thanks to Silverline CEO, BJ Mann. It features art by Thomas Florimonte!

Silverline made the first official appearance at the Daytona Beach Comic Con! It was the largest gathering of Silverline at a show ever—in any phase (I think 5 was the previous record set, and that was done at Coast Con in the early 90s).

Also, at various points in time SINCE February, we dusted off a few formerly shelved projects:

  1. *Bloodline, 1 shot
  2. *White Devil II, 4 issue mini
  3. *Friar Rush, 3 issue mini

We also put into production:

  1. *Divinity, 4 issue mini
  2. *Twilight Grimm, 4 issue mini
  3. *Speck, OGN

We’ve sent out two additional publishing agreements: one to an indy writer I met on the con circuit, and one to a former student of mine. Once those are signed, we’ll add their projects to our growing list!

2019 was very busy for Silverline. Next week I’ll write about what 2020 has in store, including some of the projects mentioned above. Merry Christmas to you all!

28Nov/19

Silverline November news

Happy Thanksgiving

All of us at Silverilne Comics want to take this moment to wish you all a very happy Thanksgiving. May you eat lots of turkey and pumpkin pie! Take the day to remember to be thankful for friends, family, and COMIC BOOKS! At Silverline Comics we’re thankful for all of you supporting us which allows us to do the thing we love so much: make comics! Please know we don’t take you for granted as we know you have a lot of choices where to spend your comic dollars. THANK YOU!

Daytona Beach Comic Con report

L-R Sidney Williams, John Metych, Brent Larson, Roland Mann, BJ, Mann, Skylar Sims, Alex Gallimore

DBCC was a big success for Silverline. There were seven and a half* of us there, the biggest ever turnout for anything Silverline (the record before, I think, is five). We even snagged a nice photo of the crew at the booth.

* The “half” was Thomas Florimonte who was a guest of the show separate from Silverline…but he’s still family.

We offered four exclusives for convention attendees: Cat & Mouse #2 (DBCC cover); Kayless #1 (DBCC cover); a preview edition of Bloodline one-shot (DBCC cover); and a special DBCC edition of SNIPER & ROOK! More on that below! The Make Mine Silverline wrist bands debuted (kickstarter backers were first) for all attendees of the show.

Sniper & Rook to Silverline!

That’s right, Beta3’s own John Metych has agreed to bring his popular title to SILVERLINE. While details are still be being worked out, it’s exciting to see the Silverline family growing.

Once again, thank you for the support and Happy Thanksgiving!

 

29Oct/19

Silverline hits Daytona Beach in big way!

Daytona Beach Comic Con

has always been a favorite of locals. One of the true “comic” conventions, DBCC focuses on –get this: comics. A few years ago, Silverline founder Roland Mann noted “There are more back issue comics here than at MegaCon.” There is also always a nice assortment of comic creators at the show.

And this year, Silverline will be making its first “Phase 3” appearance as a company. In attendance will be Sidney Williams (Mantus Files, Scary Book, Marauder, Sirens and the upcoming Bloodline!), Brent Larson (Kayless), Alex Gallimore (Cat & Mouse), John Metych (Sniper N Rook), Roland Mann (Cat & Mouse, Demon’s Tails, Switchblade, Krey, Tiny). Additionally, Thomas Florimonte is a recent addition to the show. Thomas inked Demon’s Tails and is working on an upcoming project—more news on that later.

There will be limited Daytona Beach Comic Con exclusive comics, so be sure to show up early to get them—supplies ARE limited!

Lastly, there is a Silverline “goody” in the convention bags for all attendees! It’s a surprise that not even those in-the-know at Silverline know. Roland has had a very difficult time keeping it a secret!

So much fun happening there, don’t miss the show on November 3. That’s THIS Sunday!

Other appearances:

November 15-17, Memphis Comic and Fantasy Convention, Memphis TN. Roland Mann and Thomas Florimonte will be comic creator guests.

Cat & Mouse #2 fulfillment happening!

As you read this, I’m likely at Ka-Blam helping them (getting in their way, more than likely!) package up comics with goodies to mail out to all the lovely folks who supported the recent kickstarter.

Thanks again to all of you who follow this page and support us in so many different ways.

08Oct/19

Silverline Creator Spotlight: Barb Kaalberg

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

Up today is Barb Kaalberg, who inked a great number of comics for a wide variety of publishers. Some of her work has been seen in Impulse and Primal Force for DC Comics; Captain Marvel for Marvel; The Badger for Image; Planet of the Apes, Mantra, The Solution, Solitaire for Malibu.

Now, without further ado, we present to you…

10 QUESTIONS WITH… BARB KAALBERG

1. So, who are you and where do you hail from?
 
My name is Barbara Kaalberg, and I’m a comic book artist from the Madison, WI area.  I’ve been here since 1986 when there was a fairly sizable comic book community here, including Capital City Comics distribution and Kitchen Sink Press.  Steve Rude and Mike Baron were also a couple of locals, amongst others.
2. What would you say it is you do here?
 
I’ve been an inker for 30 years and I’ve just recently branched out into storytelling, too.  I say storytelling because I’m not a scripter.  There are more talented people out there (RA Jones, for instance) that script comics 10 times better than I, but I have ideas and stories in my head. It’s kind of daunting, stepping out of my wheelhouse and venturing into creating a whole book.  A lot rides on it.  I’m confident, however.  The name of the project is Divinity and I have a really, really good feeling about it.  I’m also the CFO of Silverline.
 
3. Where might Silverline readers have seen your work previously?
 
Hoooooo Boy, that is a long, long list, my friend.  I’ve worked on something like 200 books from companies all across the spectrum, from Eternity, Malibu, WaRP Graphics, Now Comics, Innovation, Acclaim to Dark Horse, DC and Marvel. Probably some other companies that I’ve forgotten.  You can see some of the stuff I’ve done on the Comic Book Database, although they have a tendency to leave out a lot of independents and kickstarter stuff, which has been what I’ve been doing the last few years.   http://www.comicbookdb.com/creator_chron.php?ID=2238
4. Many creators at Silverline have been in the comics industry for years — what’s kept YOU plugging away at comics? What do you enjoy most about the medium, as well as your specific trade?
 
The love of this crazy industry and the people in it is what keeps me going.  I had to leave for personal reasons back around 2000 and I missed it like phantom limb.  It wasn’t easy (by any means!) to come back in 2014 after 15 years of being out of the game, but comics  is like the chickenpox virus – once it’s in your system, in never really leaves.  I love the comics industry.  It’s crazy, unpredictable, passionate, complex, frustrating and so much fun.  It’s full of the most AMAZING people! Another thing that keeps me going is ego.  Every artist wants recognition and acceptance.  I have bouts of terrible self doubt and self confidence.  I’m always striving to feel like what I do measures up even fractionally to many of my peers.  I’ve realized that this is a struggle that will never be won but it drives me to keep trying.
5. What was the first comic you remember reading that made you think, “Hey, I could do this!”
 
Elfquest by Wendy Pini.  I discovered Elfquest in the mid-80’s.  I was already a pretty good amateur painter, working in acrylics, when I was reading her black and white comics.  I realized I could take my brush skills and turn them into inks.  I’d been reading comics since I was a teenager. I worked in a pharmacy and one of my jobs was to rip the covers off of unsold comics so they could be returned to the retailer and then I was supposed to throw the body of the comics away.  Yea, I threw them away . . .  right into the trunk of my car.  Anyway, I digress, I’d read comics for years but it wasn’t until I really looked at this B&W comic did I SEE the art.  Really look at it and study the lines.  That was it for me!
6. Who were some of your earliest influences on your trade?
 
Without a doubt, Dick Giordano.  The first year I went out to SDCC I took a portfolio of everything including the kitchen sink.  Sketches, painting, stuff I’d done in high school.  It was embarrassing.  I had NO idea what I was doing.  Editors crucified me, as they should have.  But Dick was giving this seminar on inking and it was amazing.  I took notes like I was getting graded for it.  It was like my Holy Bible.  Then I looked at inks from Wally Wood, Bernie Wrightson’s ‘Frankenstein’, Joe Simon and other greats.  I gravitated toward controlled inks like Mark Farmer’s  more than loose, organic inks like Bill Sienkiewicz because it came easiest to me.  I practiced for a year and went back out to SDCC with a better portfolio and got a job right off the bat.
7. What was the first comic you ever worked on professionally? 
 
You are going to laugh, but the first thing I ever did was NOT inking, but grey washes.  I think it was Chris Ulm who hired me to do the washes for Eternity’s ‘Tiger-X’.  He asked me if I could do grey washes and I told him no problem.  I lied through my teeth.  I’d never water colored in my life.  I worked in acrylics.  The minute I stepped off the plane from SDCC I headed for the library and checked out around 6 books on watercolors.  Did about 2 or 3 issues of washes before they started giving me inking gigs which, honestly, I was 10 times better at (and even that wasn’t that good) Eternity jobs (like Planet of the Apes) led to Malibu and that was when things really took off.
 
8. Follow up Q — Can you still read that comic today without wincing?
 
Oh, Hell no.  The washes were bad enough but the first couple of books I inked, Jack the Ripper (Eternity), are absolutely cringe inducing.  I’m surprised they kept me on, but it paid off for them in the end to have the patience with me to get better.
9. If you could go back in time and give your younger self one piece of advice that would help them better navigate the comics industry, what would it be?
Don’t compromise your principles.  It happened a couple of times that I let things slide that I shouldn’t or took a job or two that weren’t worth it.  My biggest regret, however, was leaving the industry all together for 15 years.  Yes, the reasons were for my family but, looking back, there were probably ways that I could have kept my hand in.  I lost so much ground and there are so many new faces, now, that I don’t know and they don’t know me.
10. After you die, would you rather your memory be memorialized with an overpass or a parking lot? 
 
An overpass, for sure!  Much more traffic than a mere parking lot!  It’s all about staying in the public eye, right?
—–
Barb is currently busy inking Cat & Mouse as well as co-writing and inking her creator owned project Divinity, coming soon.
01Oct/19

Silverline October news: Cat & Mouse #2 fully funded; 4 days remaining

C&M Kickstarter: Four days left to fund some stretch goals!

It’s pretty exciting for us to be able to report to you that the kickstarter for the 2nd issue of C&M is fully funded and still in search of some stretch goals. If you’ve backed, thank you. If you’ve shared, thank you. If you haven’t shared—what are you waiting on? That’s EASY to do. If you haven’t backed, take a peek at it again—bet there’s something there for you! There are still several original art rewards left.

  • 2 “convention commissions” by Cat & Mouse penciller Alex Gallimore
  • Mike W. Belcher original Cat & Mouse
  • Alan McMillian and Bill Nichols original Cat & Mouse
  • WidowMaker design original art (by Dean Zachary and Barb Kaalberg)
  • Original art by Alex Sarabia (pencils) and Barb Kaalberg (inker) featuring Cat & Mouse with characters from the upcoming Divinity series created by Barb!
  • Original art featuring Cat & Mouse with The Baboon by The Baboon creator/artist Jamie Jones!

So if you’re into original art, there’s still some great choices for you! And, coming later today will be a new reward tier. Our Colonel of Color, Kevin Gallegly has created some MOUSE earrings. They are sweet! So be on the lookout for those—probably 7-ish (EST) this evening.

Only four days left, so don’t miss out. Click here: https://tinyurl.com/y3c6sdcr

Kayless

The art rewards for Kayless #1 are all out. So Kayless is now 100% fulfilled. For those who had art, we apologize for the delay. It took longer to get the art from Luis than we anticipated because it came all the way from Argentina!

The good news is that the Kayless team is about 10 pages into #2, so it’s moving right along!

Other Silverline title news

There are still several projects in various stages of completion. We won’t go too deep into any one of them until they’re nearly ready to present to you. But just a run-down to keep you posted.

Twilight Grimm (4 issue mini) – by R.A. Jones (writer) and Rob Davis (artist). The first issue has about 18 pages of art complete. Yes, EIGHTEEN! Mike W. Belcher will be lettering and … well, we’ll let you know the colorist soon.

Bloodline (one-shot) – by Sidney Williams (writer), Rob Sachetto (penciller), Terry Pallot (inker), and Keith Wood (colorist). The only thing remaining on this one is the colors!

Divinity (4 issue mini) – by Barb Kaalberg/R.A. Jones (writers), Alex Sarabia (penciller), Barb Kaalberg (inker), Mike W. Belcher (letterer), and we’re about 95% settled on the colorist…but not yet. If we can get who we’re trying—you’re gonna love it! The art team is almost 10 pages into the first issue with this one, too. Can’t wait to show you some of this! WOW!

Speck (OGN) – Roland Mann with Alan McMillian and Bill Nichols. Wait…we can’t talk about this one just yet. Who put this here? Sorry, dear reader, you’ll have to be patient.

Daytona Beach Comic Con

Don’t forget that November 3 will see the first real “official” Silverline (phase 3) convention appearance. Roland (Cat & Mouse, Demon’s Tails), Brent Larson (Kayless), Sidney Williams (Bloodline, Marauder, Mantus Files), Alex Gallimore (Cat & Mouse, &…), John Metych (Sniper & Rook, Silverline editor), will all be on hand to sign comics for you. There will be some EXCLUSIVE versions of the comics available, as well as an appearance by MOUSE (by Karrigan Walsh). Make plans now!

Silverline Peeps

We’ve been doing some creator spotlights and will keep doing them, but in coming posts, we’ll be talking about some of the folks that work behind the scenes at Silverline. Those of you who have known Roland for a long time, or have known Silverline for a long time know that Silverline was Roland and Steven when it first started in the 80s(I’ve taken to calling that Phase 1), but it was all Roland in the 90s (Phase 2). As this is Roland writing this post, I’ll say that I couldn’t do it this time (yes, I’m calling this Phase 3) without all the help. Though Dean Zachary had life changes that doesn’t allow him to participate at the moment, his encouragement with Barb and Kevin and their offers to help are really what launched Phase 3. BUT, I’ve assembled a nice little crew of talented people who love comics…and that’s really the lifeblood of Silverline: Love of comics.

Okay, before I get all sappy. I’ll stop there.

24Sep/19

Silverline Creator Appearances October 2019/Kickstarter update

You can find your favorite Silverline creators here October 2019:

October 6: Lake Collect-A-Con, Leesburg FL
Roland Mann

October 12: Mighty Con Dupage, Dupage, IL
Barb Kaalberg

October 19: Brick City Comic Con, Ocala, FL
Roland Mann,

October 25-27: Wizard World Madison, Madison WI
Barb Kaalberg

Make your plans to visit these shows and bring your comics for them to sign!

Cat & Mouse Kickstarter update

Cat & Mouse with The Baboon by Jamie Jones

As of this typing, the Cat & Mouse kickstarter is 87% funded with 11 days to go. That means we’ve got about $500 more to earn in that time. We’re feeling good about hitting it, but Roland is getting both anxious and antsy.

“I’d like to get a couple of stretch goals announced,” he said, “and one of them is that I’d really like to hit 250 backers. We had 221 for issue #1, so it would be special if we could surpass what we had for the first issue.”

Divinity with Cat & Mouse by Alex Sarabia (pencils) and Barb Kaalberg (inks)

There are still several nice pieces of original art left, work by The Baboon’s Jamie Jones, Cat & Mouse inker Barb Kaalberg with penciller Alex Sarabia, a design piece by Dean Zachary and Barb, Cat & Mouse by Mike W. Belcher, and Cat & Mouse by Alan McMillian and Bill Nichols. Some good stuff, ORIGINAL art–which means you would be the SOLE owner of the art.

Anyway, check it out. Pledge if you can, share either way. Thanks!

17Sep/19

Silverline Character Spotlight – DEMON

This week’s character spotlight focuses on the Kevin Bacon of the Silverline Universe, although “six degrees” are more than necessary to connect Demon (Dr. Keith Grayson) to each of the major heroes (and villains) in the Silverline Universe– and beyond!  In fact, Demon is even destined to encounter the newest incarnation of Cat and Mouse in their next issue! The Kickstarter for Cat & Mouse #2 is live NOW . . . why don’t you go check it out now! It’s ok . . . we’ll wait for you while you take a peek and hopefully become a backer!  https://tinyurl.com/CnM-2-KickStart

From the inception of the Silverline Universe, Demon has been the most prolific character, appearing across a multitude of titles and issues.  Beginning with his first-page appearance in the original Cat & Mouse series, continuing through his own Demon’s Tails mini-series, making a surprise multi-page appearance in the second SilverStorm mini-series, inadvertently providing the base of operations for the combined forces of characters from both Silverline and Beta 3 Comics (which was the first in-cannon synergy of these two universes!), and, now making his presence known in the aforementioned forthcoming Cat & Mouse Volume 2, Demon’s connections are varied and far-reaching!

Over the course of his many appearances, Dr. Keith (Demon) Grayson has worn many hats.  A veterinarian. A small-business owner. A hopeless romantic. A god-figure for a murderous cult (what?). A brother. A long-term goldfish sitter. A laboratory-accident survivor. A reluctant adventurer. An avid TV watcher.  A son. A Led Zeppelin fan. An emergency surgeon. A confidant. An aficionado of fedoras and trench coats. A man who lives out his days in seclusion in a mutated body distinguished by giant crests on his head and his body encased in brown fur with not one . . . not two . . . but THREE tails. Did we mention that all three tails can regenerate should they become severed from his body???? This revelation was equally surprising to Dr. Grayson, after finding himself on the wrong end of a katana blade (double what??)

Dr. Keith Grayson’s introduction to the first duo who utilized the monikers of “Cat” and “Mouse” occurred after Mouse (Mandy Paige) was shot in the back and Cat (Jerry O’Neil) was seeking immediate medical assistance.  Seeing only the word “clinic” outside Dr. Grayson’s establishment, Cat carried Mouse into the building . . . the veterinary clinic . . . and demanded that the doctor extract the bullet and stabilize the patient.  After an initial quarrel about the medical legality and integrity of the demand, Dr. Grayson extracted the bullet, nursed the patient back to health, and eventually became Mandy’s romantic partner and confidant.  However, before the spark of romantic interest turned into a full flame of relationship, Demon, attempting to protect Cat and Mouse’s secret identities, faced their former trainer and master – Kunoichi – in battle.  It was at her hand that he lost his tails . . . but that made wearing pants on dates that much easier!

Demon’s attempts to track, and take down religious cult worshipers from the Cult of Abaddon began in the Cat & Mouse series and concluded in Demon’s own mini-series, Demon’s Tails (available for purchase in both digital and print form HERE – https://indyplanet.com/demons-tails and soon to be available in color!).  In this series, Demon was pursued by, and later partnered with, the Chicago Champion (better known in the Silverline Universe simply as “Champion”).  The two battled and took down the Church of Abaddon, its evil leader (who had undergone a physical metamorphosis himself), and rescued Demon’s sister Cheryl from being a human sacrifice.

Demon has also encountered Silverline’s most “in-universe” celebrated heroes – Tempest and Silver Dollar, who had, previously, saved the United Nations from the tyrannical attack by Dr. Fear and his clones.  In this quick, coincidental, almost accidental meeting, Tempest and Silver Dollar were tracking a duo of deadly ne’er-do-well’s, code-named Skull and Crossbones. Demon, knowing Kunoichi’s penchant for training male-female duos with distinctive yet complementary names, directed the heroes to her dojo to obtain leads.

Many, many months later, while watching TV during the day, Demon received a phone call from his employee – Nancy – who works as a nurse in his clinic.  She told him to quickly change the channel.  Live news coverage was showcasing a battle in downtown New Orleans.  Demon immediately recognized Tempest and Silver Dollar . . . but was shaken to the core when he saw two masked individuals in the brawl as well.  He sped from his apartment to the battle scene; the duo he thought he may have seen on TV was not them at all, but he had deduced (due to knowledge gained during his goldfish babysitting the night before), that there was a direct link between this duo and some long lost friends of his.  Along with Tempest, Silver Dollar, and Champion, Sniper and Rook (covert government operatives working under the command of General Davis Jefferson) joined Demon at his clinic that night and the group – which would strengthen to become more a team – and the collection of heroes began their globe-spanning adventure to save the planet from evil and tyranny.

At the end of that adventure, Demon’s whereabouts had become unknown except to his closest confidants (and the watchful eye of the United States government). Demon has remained, literally, in the shadows until his very unexpected, yet quite welcomed, upcoming reappearance in New Orleans (Cat & Mouse #2, vol 2).

Created and brought to life by Roland Mann, Demon truly has been the lynchpin of the Silverline Universe and Demon has been illustrated by some of the most impressive artists in the industry.  Mitch Byrd penciled Demon’s many appearances in the first Cat & Mouse volume, Paul Pelletier provided his artistic talents as penciller on the Demon’s Tails mini-series, Bill Maus is currently illustrating the globe-spanning adventure featuring Demon in the Beta 3 Comics / Silverline crossover series, and Demon’s return to Silverline in Cat & Mouse Volume 2 #2, now on Kickstarter as mentioned above, features Dean Zachary and Alex Gallimore as series pencillers.  Steven Butler, who had served as Silverline Art Director, penciled and inked some of the most definitive illustrations of Demon on two Cat & Mouse covers – issues 3 and 15.

Whether you are being newly introduced to Demon, or are an old fan looking forward to his long-awaited return, the adventures that seem to follow him are wonderfully written and illustrated.  Be sure to check out all of his past appearances so you’ll be up to date when Cat & Mouse Volume 2 #2 becomes available!

10Sep/19

Silverline September 2019 News: Cat & Mouse #2 Kickstarter LAUNCH!

Cat & Mouse #2 kickstarter now live!

The big news today is that we will be launching the kickstarter for Cat & Mouse #2…literally…like, in mere minutes now. We’re planning to launch at noon today (Tuesday, Sep 10) and the campaign will run through Friday Oct 5. We know that you’re here because you support someone from Silverline—and we thank you—and now we’re asking that you go check out the kickstarter and hopefully you see some reward level you like and consider backing the second issue so that Silverline can keep fun and exciting comics coming for you.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/rolandmann/cat-and-mouse-2-the-second-of-a-four-issue-mini-series

Obviously, if you’re getting this update right as it is released, you’ll have to wait a little while until it goes live, but we wanted to get this info to you so that you could be there AT launch and not miss any of the early stuff. Roland will be going live on Facebook live a few minutes before noon–so check him out there.

There are pledge levels to get just the book itself, of course, but there are a lot of rewards for art: If you’re a fan of original pencils, inks, comic pages, you’ll want to jump on those quickly, so you don’t miss them. With original art—there’s only one, so you don’t want to let a piece you love get away. Of course, Cat & Mouse artists Dean Zachary, Barb Kaalberg, and Alex Gallimore have some original work available, but some of the other artists include: Mitch Foust, Timothy Lim, Javier Lugo, Alan McMillian, Willie Peppers, Mike W. Belcher, and Bill Nichols.

Also, consider telling your local comic shop about it. For our last kickstarter, we had a few WONDERFUL stores carry the book—they report they sold out of them completely! While we can’t guarantee a sell-out, we DO think fans will find something they like.

Roland, Alex, and Barb had the chance to talk with Silverline friend Wayne Hall over at Wayne’s Comic Podcast. You want to be among the first to hear upcoming star Alex Gallimore, don’t you? Then go give this a listen! http://majorspoilers.com/2019/09/08/waynes-comics-podcast-398-roland-mann-barb-kaalberg-and-alex-gallimore-brenton-lengel/

We’ve gotten some pretty nice response to the first issue, too:

“The story was well done and intriguing. Roland Mann is still a great writer on top of his game.”

Dan Sehn, Argo Comics

And…

“The artwork, story, and drama is there. This is really good, I really recommend it.” TheMtVernonKid,  GeekRamble

Also…

Cat & Mouse #1 “is a really good book, a well put together comic that is an example of masterful storytelling. Roland Mann rolls out each story beat one after the next. Great art! The overall concept of the book is perfect. Roland sets them up perfectly for modern audiences. I can honestly see this as a television pilot. I really enjoyed it. I highly recommend jumping on the Cat & Mouse train as soon as you can.”

Martin Pierro, Cosmic Times

Kayless #1

We’re getting some great feedback on Kayless #1. If you supported the kickstarter and had the chance to read it, we’d love to hear from YOU! Let us know what you think of it. We’re happy to report Luis is several pages into penciling the 2nd issue.

Daytona Beach Comic Con

Silverline will show up in a big way at the Daytona Beach Comic Con. If you’re in the area, this is a great show to attend and a great opportunity to meet a handful of Silverline creatives. In attendance for Silverline will be Roland Mann, Alex Gallimore, Brent Larson, Sidney Williams, John Metych III. Cosplayer Karrigan Walsh will be appearing as a special Silverline guest as she cosplays MOUSE, so come get your picture taken with her!