The kickstarter for the Silverline Double Feature of Divinity #1 and Twilight Grimm #1 is close to making goal as I write this up. Currently, there are 134 backers pledging $5,576 making 92% of goal. If you’re reading this and haven’t backed, remember that the comics are done, we just need the funding to print and ship them to you! And of course, we know you’re going to love them. So get on over and pledge if you can: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/rolandmann/silverlinedoublefeature1
Silverline Live now 3 times a week!
Yep, it’s true, and that’s our big news this week. Tomorrow (Wednesday, June 3), longtime Silverline creator Sidney Williams will be talking with a good bit of the creative teams behind Divinity and Twilight Grimm. We have it on good authority that even R.A. Jones will be joining the group via phone! https://www.facebook.com/events/2660675587554560/
Then, Sunday night (June 7), Roland will talk with a host of those who weren’t part of the Wednesday chat. They’ll talk about crowdfunding in general. Then, on Monday night, the first Silverline Live: 1on1 will debut as Roland sits down to talk with Thomas Florimonte (who will be inking at the same while he talks!).
So, if you’ve got questions, post them on the Silverline FB group page. We’ve created event pages on FB as we’re going to try them out, see if they work to help generate questions before we go live.
Kickstarter Exclusive cover by Steven Butler
We know the current one isn’t over yet, but we wanted to let you know that we already know what we’ll be kickstarting in July, after we’ve got fulfillment (or at least most of it) for the Silverline Double Feature #1 done. July will see two Sidney Williams written comics: the first is Bloodline, an adaptation of the short story written by Sid and Robert Pettit. Bloodline is penciled by Rob Sacchetto, inked by Terry Pallot, and colored by Jeremy Kahn. The other is Friar Rush #1, the first of a three issue mini-series. It’s penciled by Aaron Humphres, inked by John Martin, and colored by Rebecca Winslow. And oh—guess what, BOTH of these are already finished. RIGHT? Two months before we even crowdfund, these are done!
Don’t forget to like us, follow us, heart us, favor us, subscribe to us, and all those social media things! As always, thanks for your support!
If you follow any Silverline social media at all, you’ve seen us post SOMETHING over the last two weeks about our two exciting new titles: Divinity and Twilight Grimm. Our kickstarter is live now, and as I type, we’re 25% funded, so we’re very excited that it is going so well out the door. So, what are they?
…is the story of Divinity Gray, an eleven year old girl whose life changes forever after the suspicious death of her parents. Marine Sgt. Zach Gray, the older brother she barely knows, becomes her guardian, but when he discovers Divinity’s mysterious healing powers, their lives take a dangerous turn. With the help of a few friends, Zach and Divinity must go on the run to keep Divinity—and her powers—out of the hands of an evil cabal.
Kevin Van Hook, filmmaker and creator of Bloodshot said this about Divinity: “Divinity #1 manages to bring a fresh take to this story of a young girl with mysterious healing powers. Alex Sarabia’s pencils combined with veteran inker Barbara Kaalberg keeps the tale moving and makes you care for the characters as you’re along for the ride. Good stuff!”
Maggie Thompson said, “It’s one of the moments that tells the reader a comic book has succeeded. It’s the moment when the reader says, “Hey! That’s all I get right now? What happens next?
“That reaction means the story works. It means the elements have gone together to make a great mix. It means the reader cares.
“And that’s the reaction readers will have, when they get to the last panel of Divinity #1. It’s the issue that introduces the Marine who’s had to return to the States to take care of his half-sister. And it introduces the girl who has a talent neither of them can explain.
“Now the question is: How long will reader have to wait until #2? Because they’re going to care.”
Divinity is by: creator/co-writer/inker Barb Kaalberg, co-writer R.A. Jones, penciler Alex Sarabia, colorist Steve Mattsson, and letterer Mike W. Belcher.
Divinity #1 is full color, 22 pages. #1 is the first of a four-issue mini-series. The comic is COMPLETELY FINISHED.
Twilight Grimm is by R.A. Jones and Rob Davis. They are joined by colorist Mickey Clausen and letterer Mike W. Belcher.
Twenty years ago, the city of Hallowed Heights was nearly destroyed as the result of warfare between humans and vampires. In its aftermath, the two factions forged a most unusual “peace plan.” A high and heavily guarded wall now splits the two sides of the city. On one side of the wall reside the middle and upper classes of humans. It is clean, beautiful and safe.
On the other side of the wall, where a teenaged petty thief named Suzi Q has just been exiled, lies the darkest and most horrible ghetto imaginable. Here, amidst squalor and vice, dwell the poor, the homeless, the forgotten.
And the vampires, led by the family of Gregor Radovic.
As long as the vampires stay on their side of the wall, the humans on the other side are willing to pretend they don’t exist and let them rule over this so-called “Blood Zone” as they see fit. This includes turning a blind eye as the vampires feast upon the Zone’s human inhabitants.
Amidst rumors that the long-held truce may be unraveling, there is no human law in the Blood Zone — save for that dispensed by a mysterious and violent young man who has appointed himself its sole guardian from the depredations of the vampires.
His name is…TWILIGHT GRIMM.
Twilight Grimm #1 is a supernatural/horror comic; full color, 22 pages. #1 is the first of a four issue mini-series. The comic is COMPLETELY FINISHED.
We’re working on over two months of Silverline Live and it’s going well. So well, of course, that we’re going to increase our frequency in June. More about that as we get a little closer. Please, if you haven’t already, consider subscribing to our youtube channel: https://www.youtube.com/silverlinecomics
We’re not going to go into them just yet, because it’s a little too early…but in the last 2 weeks, we’ve started THREE, yes, T-H-R-E-E new projects…and we can’t be more excited.
Hey there Silverline Readers and Comic Makers! I was able to get a hold of R.A. Jones and have him give us the low down on part of his writing process. R.A. has made quite the name for himself working on titles like Bullet Proof Monk, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and Wolverine & Captain America. As someone who has read a couple of R.A.’s scripts, I can tell you that the second you pick it up, you can immediately see how every detail would translate to panels.
This entry of Craft is about just that. R.A. goes over why writers should think about their comics visually and how he does that himself. It’s our hope that the following entry helps you, dear reader, go about writing your own comic scripts that develop synergy with your artist and better engage your reader.
Writers Are Artists Too – Or At least They Should Try To Be by R.A. Jones
Years ago, a professional comic book artist gave me a hypothetical and somewhat exaggerated example of the kind of bad scripting of which writers are occasionally guilty. It went something like this:
Panel 1: BATMAN AND ROBIN SLIDE DOWN THE BAT-POLES, RACE ACROSS THE BATCAVE, LEAP INTO THE BATMOBILE AND DRIVE OFF INTO THE NIGHT.
The problem this presents should be obvious – though it always isn’t to some writers. The hypothetical scribe has asked their artist collaborator to visually portray at least four separate actions in a single panel!
Writers also sometimes forget that it takes longer to draw the Statue of Liberty than it does to simply write: Draw the Statue of Liberty. One of the quickest ways for a writer to get on an artist’s bad side is to hand him a script heavy with panels that are so elaborate, so full of characters and actions that he/she is practically reduced to tears of frustration.
A writer does not have to be able to draw any better than does a typical 5-year-old. But they do need to be knowledgeable about the ins and outs of visual storytelling. That is a talent that is often lacking even in those who can draw, at least early in their careers.
Stating that a writer needs to be able to visualize when they write is obvious in certain media, such as comic strips, comic books, and television and motion pictures. But it is a talent that is important to writers of prose as well; useful in describing people, places, and things and thereby creating pictures in the mind’s eye of the reader.
There is a bit of advice I’ve given to many aspiring artists over the years – and I would offer it to writers as well. Choose one of Alfred Hitchcock’s classic films (or director of your choice). Play that movie with the sound off and don’t just watch it – study it.
Get to understand the hows and whys of his varying camera shot choices – from establishing shots to close-ups. Study how he uses the camera to direct our eyes to where he wants them to go. See how much information can be conveyed without the need for any words at all. Develop an appreciation for the creative uses of lighting.
Then apply what you learn to your writing.
There, of course, is no single “right” way to write a comic book script, but I’ll tell you about mine; you find the method that works best for you. This applies to my preferred method of writing a story – full script – but can also be applied when employing all but the briefest and loosest of “Marvel Style” scripting.
First, I write myself a short plot synopsis of that story/issue: usually no more than 3-5 pages long. Along the margins of that plot, I make pencil notations regarding how many pages I think each scene should require to be told visually. Among other things, this lets you know if your plot is too dense for the space allotted and adjust accordingly. (You will find few if any artists who are happy about working on a script that requires them to cram 12 panels into each page to get all of that story into 20 pages!)
Once I’ve done this, I literally draw the entire issue myself. Full disclosure: my “drawings” are extremely simple and crude, sometimes little more than stick figures. But that’s all I require to make sure the pacing is correct and to be able to fully and understandably explain to the artist what I want from each panel of each page.
Only then do I write the actual script that will go to the editor and artist. If I can draw the story within the required limits and without cramming too much into each panel/page – I know any good, professional artist can comfortably do so as well.
And be flexible; even the method I’ve described should allow artists to flex their creative muscles in terms of layout, etc. Don’t let ego prevent you from recognizing that their visual ideas and instincts can be better than or improve upon your own.
Doing your job well in visualizing your story – makes it easier for your artistic collaborator to do their job!
After last week’s stream, it was determined that Silverline Comics needed more than just a Facebook “page,” it needed a Facebook “Group,” so all interested parties would have greater opportunity for interaction with readers, fans, and creators. Thus, the Silverline Group page is here: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1065603887155592/. Please go join and chat with us there!
Kayless #2 kickstarter a success!
Thanks to all who helped bring Kayless #2 to life! We’re simply waiting on the funds from kickstarter, then we’ll get it printed and shipped! As a reminder, remember, it’s done! And we can’t wait for you to see it!
Most of us are living under quarantine in this Covid World. It’s just flat strange. That does give a lot of folks more time to read, and it gives many of the Silverline creators more time to MAKE AWESOME COMIC BOOKS FOR YOU! Stay safe!
Tune in to Silverline Live stream
Whether it’s just timing and strange luck, SILVERLINE LIVE started about the same time as the quarantine orders began. Tomorrow will be our fifth straight week. Just to let you know some of what we’ve been talking about:
Issue #1 was just a general chat and introduction (we’re calling our episodes “issues.” I know, I know…but we’re COMIC folks, whaddaya want?).
Issue #2 we started our “Craft” segment and discussed PLOT. The craft segments will hopefully go hand-in-hand with the craft segments on this page that Silverline Associate Editor Tim Theissen has been doing a great job on! This issue also featured the debut of Silverline Indy Comic Reviews as Silverline friend Martin Pierro of Cosmic Times did his first crowdfund comic review. Martin reviewed the kickstarted Broke Down and 4 Dead bodies. Martin should return for another crowdfund comic review in two weeks.
Issue #3 was part 1 of the Craft segment PROTAGONIST.
Issue #4 featured a gaggle of us talking about Covid and how it is and has affected the comics industry.
Issue #5, tomorrow night, will be part 2 of the PROTAGONIST segment.
Whatever your viewing choice is, please considering liking, subscribing, following, etc…and sharing! Come watch us live if you can—ask us some tough questions!
Silverline month at Comic Chat Authority
Comic Chat Authority head honcho, Cody Johnson asked Roland if there would be any interest in a Silverline month. Dedicated followers here might remember that CCA gave Silverline a pretty good review not long ago (https://youtu.be/d7VGh8AIfR8) sparking their interest in talking with a bunch of us. SO, Silverline month start this coming Saturday!
April 18 = Sidney Williams
April 25 = Alex Gallimore
May 1 = ME (Roland Mann)
May 9 = Barb Kaalberg
Upcoming Silverline Comics!
May will see the kickstarter for Divinity #1 and Twilight Grimm #1. Divinity is created, inked, and co-written by Barb Kaalberg, co-written by R.A. Jones, penciled by Alex Sarabia (this guy is going to be hot—you heard it here first!), and colored by Steve Mattsson.
Twilight Grimm #1 is written by R.A. Jones, penciled and inked by Rob Davis, with colors by Mickey Clausen! It’s veteran comic writer R.A.’s return to comics after several years. R.A. has been writing several novels—you should check them out! Fans of his Protectors work will read some familiar names.
July will see the kickstarter for Bloodline one-shot, and Friar Rush #1. It’s the Sidney Williams month as Sid is the writer for both comics. Bloodline is penciled by Rob Sacchetto, inked by Terry Pallot, and colored by Jeremy Kahn. Friar Rush is penciled by Marc Thomas, inked by John Martin, and colored by Rebecca Winslow. Sid’s been cooking up a lot of great rewards for these and we can wait to get the May and July books in your hands!
Kayless ends in about 2 days and we still need your help. We’re pushing hard to try to beat the kicstarter for #1, but we’ve got a ways to go. $2000 is the final stretch goal we would really love to achieve. So, share share, and back/support if you can.
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).
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 Chuck Bordell, who has inked for such publishers as Malibu Comics, Caliber Comics, Brainstorm Comics, Alpha Productions, and of course, Silverline Comics. Chuck has even produced art for Steve Jackson Games and Dungeon Magazine.
Now, without further ado, we present to you…
12 QUESTIONS WITH… CHUCK BORDELL
So, who are you and where do you hail from?
I’m Chuck Bordell and I grew up in Pennsylvania, but I’ve been living in Montana for the last 30 years. I stayed for the trout fishing and the 8 feet of snow we get every year, Oh yeah I’ve come across several bears as well. You’ve never felt fear until you see a bear in the wild…couple of locals, amongst others.
What would you say it is you do here?
Well, I mainly work as an inker, but I’ve done some pencil jobs as well. I’ve done a LOT of books for Silverline, including Silverstorm 2, Marauder, Sirens, and Switchblade. Right now I’m inking White Devil.
Where might Silverline readers have seen your work previously?
I’ve done freelance work for Malibu Comics, Caliber Comics, Alpha Productions, Brainstorm Comics. I’ve also done illustration for TSR, Steve Jackson Games, etc, and two graphic novels, Witness to War and Lunatic Fringe that I wrote and illustrated. I love the fantasy RPGs I’ve worked on because I like drawing monsters!
When you’re not making great Silverline comics, what do you do in your spare time? What are your hobbies?
I collect coins and militaria, enjoy fishing and visiting art galleries. Studying the Civil War is also a passion. I’d like to make another trip to Gettysburg in the near future.
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?
I just love the art form. It’s totally unique. That combination of images and words is just magic. There have been times when I thought of giving up, but I always come back to comics.
What was the first comic you remember reading that made you think, “Hey, I could do this!”
Probably a Ross Andru Spiderman from the mid 70s. He’s one of my all-time favorite artists. .I think his run on Spiderman totally defined the character for me. My Mom still has Spiderman comics I made when I was about 10.
What’s on your playlist? Who/what music do you listen to, and do you listen to it while you work?
I mainly listen to Metal, including Metallica, AC/DC, Triumph, Dream Theater, Megadeth, Kiss, etc, Always good to play while drawing. I need music that can keep my brain cranking while I’m working. So yeah I’m a metalhead, although I cut off my long hair a couple years ago.
Who were some of your earliest influences on your trade?
Ditko, Kirby, Miller, Andru, Golden. If I could have Frank Miller’s storytelling with Michael Golden’s art, I’d be a happy dude. But all of them show such creativity that I’m amazed every time I see their work.
What was the first comic you ever worked on professionally?
A book called Totem, drawn by Paul Pelletier, published by Alpha Productions. It was an ink job I did completely with Rapidograph pens! Last time I ever did that. I now have so many inking tools that I need one of those mini-houses to keep everything in!
Can you still read that comic today without wincing?
Nope. It makes me totally embarrassed even if no one else is looking, I mean it’s not totally hideous, but my style has change a lot over the years. Brushes are my friends now, and I use a lot of Micron Pigma pens.
What are some non-Silverline independent comics you would recommend to readers?
Courtney Crumrin, Bone, Pogo (that’s an old one, but it’s brilliant) any of the EC war books. I will pick up books I’ve never heard of before just to give them a chance. It’s only a couple bucks and you never know when you’ll find treasure.
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?
Write and draw your own work. It’s the best way to learn and it’s the most satisfying. Even if it never gets published, there’s a satisfaction to finishing a book that’s totally your own. I bet just about all comic artists/writers have unpublished projects in their archives.
After you die, would you rather your memory be memorialized with an overpass or a parking lot?
A parking lot. Open space in all directions. Then there could be enough parking for a comic convention. Chuck’s Blacktop Convention sounds good. A combination comic book/flea market/fantasy/coin show.
Chuck is currently busy inking Silverline’s upcoming White Devil written by R.A. Jones with pencils by Jaxon Renick. What, you didn’t know about that yet? No announcements have been made yet—but you heard it here first! Also, Chuck and Roland Mann collaborated on a civil war short that was published in Chuck’s Victor’s Horror Compendium.
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.