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).
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:
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!
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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 R.A. Jones, who wrote a tremendous number of titles for Malibu Comics, including Dark Wolf, Fist of God, Scimidar, Merlin, Sinbad, White Devil, Protectors, The Ferret, Pistolero, Prototype, Night Man, Air Man, and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Jones has written for myriad other publishers including Dark Horse, Image, DC, and Marvel.
Now, without further ado, we present to you…
10 QUESTIONS WITH … R.A. JONES
SILVERLINE: So, who are you and where do you hail from?
RAJ: My name is R.A. Jones and I was born and raised here in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where I still reside.
And, yes: like many people born in Oklahoma, I have been told that I do have a little Indian blood!
SILVERLINE: What would you say it is you do here at Silverline?
RAJ: I am a writer, currently working on the series Twilight Grimm and Divinity for Silverline.
SILVERLINE: Where might Silverline readers have seen your work previously?
RAJ: Depending on how old you are, you might have seen my work as long ago as the 1980s, when I wrote a review column for the comic book fan magazine Amazing Heroes.
As far as actual comics credentials, I did quite a bit of work for Malibu Comics, including Dark Wolf; Scimidar; Merlin, The Protectors; Ferret; Star Trek: DS9 and their Ultraverse Line.
I have also written for Marvel (Wolverine/Captain America); DC (Showcase ’95); Dark Horse (Harlan Ellison’s Dream Corridor) and Image (Bulletproof Monk). The latter inspired a movie of the same title; and two short comics stories I wrote were adapted as episodes of the French television series The Metal Hurlant Chronicles.
In recent years, I have mostly written prose novels, including The Steel Ring (using some of the same Golden Age superheroes who appeared in The Protectors); Deathwalker; Scimidar; and Comanche Blood.
SILVERLINE:Many creators at Silverline have been in the comics industry for years — what’s kept YOU plugging away at comics?
RAJ: It was Stan Lee and the Marvel Comics of the 1960s that first inspired me, when I was just a boy, to want to become a writer.
(I still keep a small bust of Stan next to my computer for inspiration. No lie!)
Like many comic book creators, I was/am a movie buff as well – so the idea of telling stories through pictures seems to be kind of hard-wired into our creative DNA.
By the time I actually started submitting work to editors, my specific desire to write comics had evolved into a more general desire to just be a writer, period – in any form or medium I could.
But obviously I still possess a special love for wedding words with images – and still get a big kick out of seeing one of my written scripts turned into a visual story through the talents and efforts of artists.
SILVERLINE: What was the first comic you remember reading that made you think, “Hey, I could do this!”
RAJ: While I had voraciously read anything that fell into my hands since the first or second grade, it was a specific spring day in 1965 that really sealed my fate.
That was the day I actually bought my first comic book, off the spinner rack of a neighborhood drugstore.
The book was Avengers #17 (first series).
To the best of my memory, I had no previous exposure to or knowledge of Marvel Comics or any of its characters – so why I bought that particular book, I couldn’t say for sure. But it hooked me as quickly and strongly as if it had been crack cocaine!
About the same time, I wrote a short “play” that was performed in front of my fifth grade classmates.
I’ve been writing ever since.
SILVERLINE: Who were some of your earliest influences on your writing?
RAJ: Obviously, Stan Lee would prove to be an early and powerful influence. Shortly after I started collecting comics, the work of Roy Thomas would make a strong impression.
Outside of comics, I was always drawn to the work of such adventure writers as Robert Louis Stevenson and Jack London. I was a big fan of Edgar Rice Burroughs work, especially the Tarzan and Pellucidar novels. In the summer of 1967, I discovered the first of the Conan the Barbarian books that made me a fan of Robert E. Howard.
Movies also left their mark on my creative psyche. The authors work that stood out most starkly to me was often in films that adapted stage plays (Inherit the Wind; 12 Angry Men; Cat on a Hot Tin Roof). The directors (Hitchcock; Leone; Ford) taught effective ways to blend words and pictures in telling a story.
Through a sort of “creative osmosis” common to all of us in the arts, and often on an unconscious level, all these and more combined inside my brain to become my “style.”
SILVERLINE:What was the first comic you ever worked on professionally?
RAJ: My first professional work in comics was actually as an editor for a small, short-lived independent publisher called Elite Comics. There I worked on such titles as Seadragon and Epsilon Wave. They were gearing up to release the first series written by me when they suspended publication (That series was Dark Wolf, done a short time later for Malibu.).
SILVERLINE:Can you still read that comic today without wincing?
RAJ: I’m reminded of a scene in an early episode of the TV sitcom Happy Days. In it, the character “Fonzie,” when contemplating how he should position the rearview mirrors on his motorcycle handlebars, says something like: “Eyyy – I’m not interest in seein’ where I’ve been – I’m interested in lookin’ cool gettin’ where I’m goin’!”
I seldom look back at even recent past writings unless I need to for reference purposes.
I do feel sure that in everything I have written – both then and now – I tried and try to make it the very best I am capable of.
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?
RAJ: Flippantly, I would tell him to write lots of letters of comment to DC editor Julie Schwartz, who often rewarded such correspondents by giving them pages of original art! Have you seen what those pages sell for nowadays?!
Seriously, I would probably tell him to do even more and better at networking. Like any and all other businesses, the contacts you make in comics – with other writers, with artists, with editors and publishers – can prove invaluable to you in getting and keeping assignments.
For young writers and artists today, I think a tool that did not yet exist when I was coming up through the ranks – personal computers, the Internet and Social Media – is one they should try to fully exploit!
SILVERLINE: After you die, would you rather your memory be memorialized with an overpass or a parking lot?
RAJ: A parking lot – it’s much less likely to collapse and kill people.
But I’ll settle for hoping that a hundred years from now a few people might still be reading a story with my name attached to it.
Keep an eye out for the titles Twilight Grimm, Divinity, and White Devil, coming soon from Silverline Comics!
Kickstarter funds have just been received (after taking their cut, of course)! Brent Larson and Roland Mann will be taking a trip to Ka-Blam soon so Brent can slap his signature on a bunch of them before they ship out. Brent’s script for issue #2 is already in the hands of Luis! Yes, it’s true: Kayless #2 is already in production before you even get your hands on #1. How cool is that?
Cat & Mouse #2
Alex Gallimore, Cat & Mouse’s new Lord of Lead is on the home stretch finishing up issue #2. Just to tease you with his awesomeness, here’s a panel from a recent page. We’re telling you now, keep your eyes on him. We predict great things for him, and you’ll be able to say you were there at the beginning supporting his work.
“I love the energy he brings to the pages,” said C&M scribe Roland, “It reminds me a lot of some of Mitch Byrd’s early work on the first volume. It’s the kind of pages that I can sit and stare at in an attempt to absorb all the energy!”
Cat & Mouse #2 is currently slated to be the next Silverline kickstarter after fulfillment of Kayless #1. “But it will be finished before we kickstart it,” Roland said. Cat & Mouse is the story of Brett, who gets a call from his ex-fiancé asking him to find her runaway kid sister and return her home. Brett goes to New Orleans only to find out said kid sister has been caught up in a human trafficking ring. Longtime fans will be excited to see the return of a key supporting character with issue #2. Attached also is a panel inked by Barb Kaalberg.
R.A. Jones and Rob Davis team up again!
We know you hoped that with Silverline returning you’d see some familiar names and this is just that. When we reached out to R.A. about doing something for the thrice revamped label, we barely had the question out of our mouths and he said yes! The immediate second thought was “let’s see what Rob Davis thinks.” Like R.A., Rob was answering yes before we could finish the question.
Jones and Davis will be teaming up for a 4 issue mini-series titled Twilight Grimm: In the city of Hallowed Heights, there are the “haves,” the “have nots” — and those who feast upon the blood of both.
It isn’t scheduled yet, but you heard it here first!
Barb Kaalberg’s Divinity
If you thought the Empress of Inks Barb Kaalberg could “only” ink in an extraordinary fashion, think again. Barb has dreamed up an amazing tale she’s titled Divinity. It is still early on in the process, but we had to tell you as she was anxious to make Silverline home to her mini-series. More to come later.