Tag Archives: Roland Mann

17Nov/20

Fulfillment done…and ComiConway 2020!

Fulfillment done!

We’re happy to report that fulfillment for Cat & Mouse #3 and Trumps Book 1 is done! Well, with the exception of one…and then five whose addresses I don’t have (if you’re reading this and don’t have your comic yet—please make sure I have your address). Some of the digital rewards have gone out—mostly the “catch-up” comics. I’m still putting together the other pdfs, but hope to deliver those to backers by the weekend (I’m shooting for Friday).

Please drop us a line and let us know what you think! We know you’ve got a lot of stuff to read…but we’re anxious to hear your thoughts!

ComiConway 2020

Despite the fact you may have heard the world is in the middle of a plague, life moves on…and that’s what ComiConway is doing…and they’ve invited Silverline to be a part of it in a big way—and we couldn’t be more excited. Roland Mann and Jeff Whiting were both guests of the show in 2018 and both had only great things to say.

So how will Silverline be participating? Thanks for asking. On three consecutive Saturdays (Nov 7, 14, and 21), Silverline will be hosting four panels each day starting at 10am (Central time). The panel schedule looks like this:

November 7
(to view these panels, head to the video at ComiConway’s facebook page: https://fb.watch/1P48vkfEEZ/  Be warned…the first one starts late…we had technical difficulties)

10 am
Who and what is Silverline?
Panelists: Roland Mann (moderator), Thomas Florimonte, Kurtis Fujita, and John Metych.

11 am
Silverline: What are Cat & Mouse, Kayless, Divinity?
Panelists: Kurtis Fujita (moderator), Roland Mann, Barb Kaalberg, Brent Larson, Alex Gallimore, Wubba Fett, Roberta Conroy, Mike W. Belcher.

12 pm
Breaking into the comic industry
Panelists: Kurtis Fujita (moderator), R.A. Jones, Roland Mann, John Metych, Thomas Florimonte, Aaron Humphres, Roberta Conroy, John Martin.

1 pm
Silverline: What are Twilight Grimm, Friar Rush, Sniper N Rook?
Panelists: Scott Wakefield (moderator), R.A. Jones, John Metych, Rob Davis, Ron Fortier, Aaron Humphres, Mike W. Belcher, John Martin.

November 14
(to view these panels, head to the video at ComiConway’s facebook page: https://fb.watch/1P45qqAGLz/ )

10 am
Tools and strategies of comic book penciling
Panelists: Kurtis Fujita (moderator), Aaron Humphres, C. Michael Lanning, Peter Clinton, Wubba Fett, Rob Davis.

11 am
Silverline: What are Steam Patriots, White Devil, and The Rejects?
Panelists: Kurtis Fujita (moderator), Scott Wakefield, Rory Boyle, Dan Hosek, R.A. Jones, Roland Mann, C. Michael Lanning

12 pm
Tools and strategies of comic book Inking
Panelists: Scott Wakefield (moderator), Thomas Florimonte, John Martin, Haley Martin, Jeff Whiting, Rob Davis.

1 pm
Silverline: What are Trumps, Beah, and ChampFury?
Panelists: Roland Mann (moderator), Thomas Florimonte, Sid VenBlu, Haley Martin, Peter Clinton, Roberta Conroy,

November 21
https://www.facebook.com/ComiConway/ is the link for this coming Saturday (times are CENTRAL. We’ll need some questions for the Q&A, so y’all come!)

10 am
Tools and strategies of comic book Coloring
Panelists: Kurtis Fujita (moderator), Roberta Conroy, Sid VenBlu, Jeremy Kahn, Dan Hosek, David Rios. Tentative-Haley Martin.

11 am
Silverline: What are Teen Beetle, Wolf’s Hunter, and Satin’s Ways?
Panelists: Kurtis Fujita (moderator), John Crowther, Tim Thiessen, Ron Fortier.

12 pm
Tools and strategies of comic book Writing
Panelists: Scott Wakefield (moderator), Roland Mann, R.A. Jones, John Metych, Scott Wakefield, Tim Thiessen, John Crowther, Tentative: Brent Larson and Dan Hosek.

1 pm
Silverline Q&A
Panelists: Roland Mann(moderator), Kurtis Fujita, Alex Gallimore, Roberta Conroy, Mike W. Belcher, Rob Davis, Aaron Humphres, Thomas Florimonte, Sid VenBlu, C. Michael Lanning, R.A. Jones, Peter Clinton, John Metych, Tim Thiessen, John Crowther, Haley Martin, Scott Wakefield, Wubba, John Martin, Jeremy Kahn. Tentative: Brent Larson.

Again, we’re pretty excited to be participating, as 2020 Plague year has pretty much shut conventions down. Like you, we’re ready to get back to things!

Signings!

Roland Mann and Thomas Florimonte will be signing copies of Trumps (and other stuff) at Coliseum of Comics in the Fashion Square Mall on Saturday, November 21, from 4pm-7pm. Coliseum supported the kickstarter and they have special editions of the comics that sport their store logo. VERY limited copies are available. You can bring your other stuff for us to sign, too, or pick up something different from them while you’re there.

Join us this Saturday for our signing with Roland Mann – Writer and Thomas Florimonte Jr from 4PM – 7PM! 🎨#Orlando #OrlandoFL #ComicBooks

Posted by Coliseum of Comics on Monday, November 16, 2020

So make your plans and come see us.

Keep your eyes peeled here, too…we’re planning something special in the days to come!

 

27Oct/20

Title Spotlight: Demon’s Tails

Demon’s Tails: More than a Mini (Series)

By John M. Metych, III

It’s not often that a “supporting character” in a new comic title is not only introduced prior to the namesake “main characters” of the new series, but is actively (and impressively) spotlighted – even including a complete origin story reveal! – within the first six pages . . . OF SOMEONE ELSE’S TITLE!  It doesn’t happen often . . . but it happened in Cat & Mouse (Volume 1, Issue 1) and it happened to Demon!  From those very first pages, readers knew that Demon was destined to be more than a traditional “supporting character.”  He was destined for more than a supporting character role.  He was destined for greatness.  He was destined for his OWN title.  He was destined for . . . Demon’s Tails!

Originally released by Silverline through Adventure Comics, and currently available directly from Silverline in a nifty graphic novel format (https://indyplanet.com/demons-tails), Demon’s Tails chronicles Keith Greyson’s adventure to put an end to the Church of Abaddon once and for all, adds additional context and details to his origin, and serves to beautifully wrap up his focused story arc, using the final two issues of Cat & Mouse as a launching pad for his own series and his own adventure!

However . . . history has a tendency to repeat itself, and it absolutely does so here!  Mirroring how Demon was given spotlight treatment in someone else’s new title (Cat & Mouse), here we find that Demon’s new title . . . isn’t all about him!  Champion, AKA Dan, AKA the Chicago Champion, AKA “the inspiration for several heroes in the Silverline Universe” makes sure that he’s along for this four issue ride and that his story gets some time to shine as well!  Ah, Demon . . . we didn’t want you to get lonely!

Not that Demon would have a chance to be lonely . . . introduced within the first few pages of the title are his estranged sister (Cheryl) as well as a trio of his old college buddies (Mike, Chris, and Stan – who are now on a road trip to reconnect with Keith/Demon), Champion makes an appearance in New Orleans (still thinking that he’s working with official law enforcement – see Cat & Mouse 17 and 18 for deets on that), and a small cadre of Church of Abaddon cultists tussle with Demon as he saves a damsel in distress, with the cultists later recanting their actions and pleading for forgiveness, all while referring to Demon as “Master.”

We get insight into what the Church of Abaddon really is . . . a front  . . . a fraud . . . a cult whose leader (Isaac) is focused on power . . . and money . . . and is willing to kill, in the most horrific ways, to protect his interests.

Meanwhile, Keith’s buddy, Mike, surprises him by showing up at his place, revealing his transformation from Man to De-Man (Demon, get it?!? HA!).  An expanded origin story is shared between the gentlemen, explaining the metamorphosis to his current appearance, the revelation that the road trip, prompted by the phone call Mike had received from Cheryl, was to deliver a devastating message – Keith’s father had passed away.  Keith/Demon, still fearful of a society that would fear him, shun him, or . . . worse . . . indicated that he wouldn’t be attending the funeral because of his current “condition.”  This infuriated not only Mike, but also his sister Cheryl, who decided to conduct a pilgrimage to New Orleans to speak with her brother herself . . .

Champion, still on the hunt for Cat & Mouse, believes he finally located Cat. Champion was given the description “There’s no mistaking them” so when he sees Demon (who is furry . . . and has tails . . . like, I dunno, a CAT), he assumes (and you know what they say about assume, right?!?) Demon is truly Cat. Before he can engage him, however, the cultists blow a dog-styled whistle, causing both Demon and Champion to pass out. The cultists whisk Demon away – to Isaac – who then extracts blood from Demon’s unconscious body and injects it into caged rabbit and puppy as an experiment.  But to what ends . . . ??  Well, the animals go crazy, become muscularly buffed up, burst from their cage, and escape from the building only to soon after “writhe in pain, and come to an unpredicted end” as they dissolve into a puddle of goo . . .

Isaac, already power hungry, and only seeing the effect on the animals to the point of their escape, is urged by one of his lackeys to inject himself to increase his own power . . . now not only psychological over his followers . . . not only financially through his bogus church . . . no, now Isaac has the opportunity become physically powerful in ways he never could have imagined before.  All he needed to do was “go get some more blood from the freak” for this to happen . . . but it wasn’t going to be that easy.  While the animals were metamorphasizing (yes, I coined a new word here), Demon awoke, escaped from his oppressive bonds, and finds his way home.  Unfortunately, this is the same home that his sister, Cheryl, had visited hours before . . . as had a new cadre of cultists . . . who took it upon themselves to kidnap her and bring them to Isaac, who is none to pleased about Demon’s escape prior to being able to extract blood for his own injections.

Champion and Demon finally face off, misidentifications come to light, some good, fun, old school “hero vs hero misunderstandings lead to fighting” occurs and the duo both succumb to the mighty . . . whistle of the cultists.  Again.

In an ornate ceremonial room, replete with sacrificial altar, the eclectic “team Demon” finally comes together.  Demon, bound and upside down, recognizes his sister, Cheryl, as the woman being prepped for the altar. Champion, also bound (but right-side-up) is a witness as well and knows he must save her.  Demon’s trio of college buddies – Mike, Chris, and Stan – impersonate cultists and infiltrate the ceremonial room at the precise time of Demon’s bloodletting at Isaac’s hands. Demon begins yapping in hopes of distracting Isaac’s attention away from Cheryl, Champion struggles with his bonds in an attempt to get free so he could save Cheryl, and the trio decides it would be best to cut Demon loose so he could . . . save Cheryl. 😊  Remember, at this point, that Mike is the only one of the three who knows who Demon really is . . .

Upon ingesting Demon’s blood, Isaac follows a path similar to his lab animals . . . he physically metamorphasizes (new word #2!), the change affects his brain (even more negatively, if you could believe it!) and an epic battle between Mega Isaac and the now allied duo of Demon and Champion ensues. Isaac is defeated, Cheryl is saved, Demon is revealed to be Keith to all assembled, Champion and Demon become buddies, and Isaac dissolves into a puddle of goo. Just like the animals.  Just like Ben Reilly too, come to think of it, although Isaac met his fate three years prior.  Always ahead of its time, Silverline has been!!!

The series wraps up quickly and ends with Demon visiting his father’s grave to pay his final respects.

The talent that brought these issues to life consisted of:

  • The ever inspiring 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, successful relaunch of the brand!
  • Paul Pelletier, who bounded into Silverline and on to the comic book scene with Demon’s Tails! Having already produced work through Alpha Productions, Paul joined with Roland to tell Demon’s first expanded solo story and Paul would go on to have a most excellent career in comics, working for Malibu Comics, DC Comics, Marvel Comics, and CrossGen comics, among others. His pencil has brought life to world renowned characters including, but not limited to, Aquaman, Batman, Robin, Nightwing, Batgirl, Green Lantern, Superman, The Incredible Hulk, all four of the Fantastic Four, Nova, the Silver Surfer, and Wolverine. Whew!
  • The mighty Thomas Florimonte provided his first published inks on this mini-series (issues 2 – 4), and would also produce beautifully inspired inks for publishers including (but not limited to) Marvel, Malibu, Chaos!, Acclaim and Gallant, and his own imprint: Inferno Studios, home of Zomboy! Thomas also co-founded the industry changing Print-On-Demand service, Ka-Blam as well as its sister division, IndyPlanet!  Plus, Thomas is back at Silverline, currently inking multiple current Silverline projects, including the just successfully funded first issue of TRUMPS! (as in card games!) (https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/rolandmann/trumps-and-cat-and-mouse/)
  • Demon’s Tails’ Issue 1 inks were provided by Tom Romano, who is still contributing to the comic book field through his own studio, Tom Romano Art Studio.
  • Very unique and distinctive lettering was provided by Rik Mayo for all four issues.
29Sep/20

Silverline Creator Spotlight: Roland Mann

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

Up this time is Roland Mann, a comic book writer and editor who has worked for such titles as Cat & Mouse, Miss Fury, Planet of the Apes, Battletech…and for such companies as Aircel Comics, Adventure Comics, Eternity Comics, Caliber Press, Comico, and others…as well as his work for Silverline Comics, of course.

Now, without further ado, we present to you…

12 Questions with … Roland Mann

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

I’m Roland Mann. I was born in Memphis, Tennessee, and grew up in Mississippi. I often call Arkansas my home, because that’s where most of my people are. Anyone who knows me knows that I cheer for the University of Arkansas Razorbacks…that’s kinda in my blood.

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

I’m the co-founder (along with Steven Butler, who went on to a stellar career!), chief wrangler of getting things done, and writer of a bunch of things.

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

The first volume of Cat & Mouse saw print in 1989 under EFGraphics. It then moved to Aircel Comics (a division of Malibu) for the complete run. I wrote other comics for companies like Adventure (Planet of the Apes), Eternity (Battletech), Caliber (Krey), Comico (Vortex), Malibu (Arrow, Ex-Mutants), and even had an Ultraverse title (Eliminator). A lot of people know me for my editing time at Malibu, though, where I edited the Protectors line of comics as well as a bunch of Ultraverse comics.

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

I don’t have a whole lot of spare time since re-launching Silverline as I teach creative writing at Full Sail University. I enjoy spending time with my family. My hobbies are mostly boring as I love to both read and write in my spare time. I’ve got three finished novels that I’m hoping to do something with some day. I’m a huge student of history and was a civil war reenactor for several years until I just couldn’t find the time to put in to it. While I still enjoy it, it isn’t very PC today.

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

That’s a simple one: I love comics. I love the medium and what it can do. I love the art of the stories. Yeah. I love comics.

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

Cobra. It was an independent comic published by the guy who ran the local comic shop. It was the first time I ever met anyone who’d worked on a comic. I bought it. Read it and immediately thought “I could do this!”

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

I’m a metal/prog rock guy. I don’t really do a lot of variety. I pretty regularly listen to Neal Morse and Theocracy. There are others, of course, but these two always work their way to the top. Neal Morse puts out so much new music, he’s an inspiration to anyone who creates!

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

In comics, that’s easy: Stan Lee, Roy Thomas, and Steve Englehart. Otherwise, Ray Bradbury, Isaac Asimov, and Stephen Crane. It’s been a couple of years, but I read Red Badge of Courage every couple of years.

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

Cat & Mouse #1, published by EFGraphics in 1989!

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

I can. Oh sure, there are things I’d edit today. But while it was my first professional work, I’d been honing my craft of writing for several years.

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

I think Elementals should be read by all. Scout is another favorite of mine. I also like Bone, Cerebus, Saga…and several others that I’m drawing blanks on right now.

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?

It isn’t enough just to learn how to write and tell stories, learn to navigate the business end of things and learn how to market. You can write the greatest story in the world, but if no one knows about it, you’ll only hear good things from your friends and your mama.

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

An overpass. I like the idea of high-fiving everyone as they pass by!

#

02Jun/20

Silverline News: Double Feature KS ending in four days

Close as of this writing!

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.

Next Kickstarter

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!

26May/20

Silverline Title Spotlight: Cat & Mouse Vol. #1, issues 13 – 18

Welcome to the fourth, and final, spotlight on the original classic Silverline title, Cat & Mouse.

Yes.  Fourth.  And yes. Final.

You may be thinking “What?? Final spotlight?? Each preceding spotlight reviewed a four-issue arc. This spotlight encompasses SIX issues?  An entire one-third of the original series??”

This realization may lead to thoughts such as “No . . . that’s not true . . . that’s impossible!!!”, or even “This is madness!”

Fear not, friendly reader, for this final spotlight on the original Cat & Mouse run is neither madness nor impossible.  Sit back, take a deep breath, relax, take yourself back to the early 1990’s, drink an ice-cold Crystal Pepsi and chow down on a McDLT sandwich as we delve into the conclusion of Silverline’s original Cat & Mouse saga …

Issue thirteen picks up in the wake of Cat’s (Jerry’s) brutal battle with Tooth and Nail; as Cat remains hospitalized in intensive care, Demon takes it upon himself to look after Mandy’s (Mouse’s) mental health.  A trip to his veterinary clinic puts Mandy in a better mood, enjoying the cute puppies and even assisting with some basic pet care. Playful banter and some light flirting concludes with Demon introducing Mandy to some of “his” music … to which she responds “What? Sixties music?” and rolls her eyes.  I knew I liked this Mandy girl . . . ?

The next morning finds Demon twitterpated over his upcoming date with Mandy as he makes a rare daytime appearance at his clinic, gives his receptionist a raise, receives a grateful friends only hug and kiss in return, and muses about his apparent new “ladies man” status.

Mandy and Demon’s “floating concert on a sail barge” date goes awry as a tugboat collides with the musical barge.  Demon and Mandy heroically jump into action; Demon rushes to save the members of the 60’s cover band, Steelhammer, from possible electrocution from a fallen lighting rig while Mandy thrusts herself onto the tugboat and fights the thugs who intentionally rammed the musical barge. Demon delivers all of the band members to safety, save the guitarist who was, as was Demon, hit with an impactful electrical shock when a live speaker hit the open water.

Demon recovers, he and Mandy swim to shore to avoid any questions from the authorities (Demon’s appearance would certainly be question #1!), and Mandy explicitly tells Demon that, next time, they see one of her bands.

Again, I knew I liked this Mandy girl . . . ?

As the light-hearted dating interlude ends, issue fourteen thrusts Mouse back into action. She reconnects with her thieving skills in an attempt to secure financing for Cat’s hospitalization and medical costs.  Her initial break-in goes awry, but she finds herself wielding her new-found pistol with ease and certainty.

Demon and Mandy continue their playful canoodling, which Demon tried to turn into a serious conversation before being interrupted by Mandy’s friend’s unexpected arrival.  Hiding hijinks ensues and Demon finds himself fuzzier after being on the wrong end of a clothes dryer cycle.Unexpected visitations continue as Martin Rossman re-enters the title, stopping by Jerry and Mandy’s apartment unannounced. Mandy has her first one-on-one conversation with Rossman, who emphatically states that he wants to help prove Cat and Mouse’s innocence but will need the two bullets that were in Cat’s possession to do so.  After visiting Jerry, and a quick phone consultation with Demon, Mandy, this time as Mouse, meets Rossman in the dead of night to deliver the evidence.  However, he is not alone . . . accompanying him are his personal lawyer and a United States Marshall. Rossman announces that he is turning state’s evidence against the Mafia . . .

And Champion returned in this issue, as well, with shadowy figures in search of him.  For what nefarious reason? Only time will tell . . .

Martin Rossman’s deal to turn state’s evidence is on center stage of issue fifteen as his family goes into witness relocation and the Mafia boss is taken into custody, though later released due to “lack of evidence” (AKA – Jury Tampering).  The Yakuza are pleased with the Mafia coming under the microscope of the United State’s State Department and Kunoichi ordains her next pair of students as ready to take the names Skull and Crossbones.  Demon’s positive impact on Mandy continues after their first “overnight stay” as she takes his suggestion to complete her GED (High School Equivalency Certificate – AKA “Good Enough Diploma”) and she enrolls in classes to earn this certification.  The nefariousness around Champion continues as an individual claiming to “work for the government” offers him a job in New Orleans. And nary a panel featuring Cat appears this issue!

Issue sixteen begins with a bang (well, technically, a BOOM) as it picks up precisely from the moment issue fifteen wrapped. An assassination attempt on Martin Rossman follows his departure from the courthouse where mob boss Vito Ruggieri had just been released.  As Cat’s return to his own title begins, Ruggieri’s name is dropped multiple times.  Officers (on the take) continue to “look after” Cat, while wondering who he is and why Rossman ordered him protected, and state Ruggieri’s interest in the hospitalized (and still unidentified) Cat.  One of the officers provides a vial – from Ruggieri – to the attending physician who, in turn, injects its contents into Jerry’s motionless body.  “Coincidentally,” Jerry’s condition takes a turn for the worse this issue as his kidneys begin to shut down and a hospital official indicates that his only chance for survival is a complete kidney transplant.

Mouse’s quest for protection – in the form of Kevlar or an equivalent – continues as she “visits” an off-the-beaten-path police warehouse that Martin Rossman identified as one that would contain such body armor.  Mouse also imparts on a quest to secure a replacement kidney for Jerry from Japan’s black market.  She approaches her former teacher, Kunoichi, requesting her assistance in setting up such a purchase.  Meanwhile, Kunoichi is battling her own issues as an unsuccessful attempt to recruit her to assassinate the Yakuza’s leader (known as the Oyabun) leaves her on unsteady grounds with other powerful individuals in the organization . . . individuals that have located the off-the-grid Tooth, who had been in hiding since the conclusion of issue twelve, and recruits her to assassinate the Oyabun instead!  Her payment? Delivery of Cat for her to extract revenge as she sees fit . . .

Rossman, still alive after taking a bullet to the chest, is moved out of New Orleans under the cover of darkness en route to his waiting family, now in witness relocation, in South Dakota.  Family connections are strong in this issue as Champion finds himself now in New Orleans, having accepted the job from the guy “from the government,” encounters his ex-wife, unexpectedly, during his first walk through the city!

Kunoichi, loyal to the Oyabun, seeks his assistance in procuring the black-market kidney for Cat.  As the Oyabun inquires what he would gain in return, a disheveled and unhinged Tooth bursts in and announces she is there to kill him. Kunoichi pledges to protect his life in exchange for the kidney and pushes for an immediate agreement.  And cue the cliffhanger music as issue sixteen ends and issue seventeen begins, picking up at the same precise moment . . .

A protracted, bloody, brutal, limb-severing battle between teacher and student ensues and concludes with Kunoichi’s absolute victory over her former student.  Champion, in uniform and in the heart of New Orleans, receives his own “field agent badge” as he meets a “contractor,” also noted as one of the founders of a “new government branch.”  The badge? Fake.  The contractor?  Ruggieri.  The other “governmental agents?”  Mafia.  The stories they tell, including one where Cat and Mouse supposedly had killed Martin Rossman?  Lies.

And what of Mouse? She’s having vivid nightmares of impregnation with Demon’s child . . . well, children . . . well, litter of children. Being delivered by reverse-anthropomorphic  versions of Vet Demon and Nurse Nancy.  Visions of Cat chastising her lack of responsibility and self-control haunt her. The nightmare is interrupted by Kunoichi, arriving unannounced, who quickly catches Mandy up on her battle with Tooth, her deal with the Oyabun, and the danger that Cat is in now that his identity and location is known by both the Mafia and factions of the Yakuza.

Kunoichi’s newly ordained graduates – Skull and Crossbones – are shown to be loyal to the Oyabun’s chief rival, Inagowa, the one who called for his death.  The duo commandeers a Dirigible and make their way to the hospital, intent on kidnapping Cat, no matter how many Mafia members they need to kill on the way to fulfilling their mission.  Kunoichi and Mandy race to the hospital only to see Cat being loaded into the airship but are too slow as Skull and Crossbones sail away with him in tow. Turning to the Oyabun for assistance, Kunoichi and Mandy come face-to-face with his rival, Inagowa, who has anointed himself as the new Oyabun upon the dishonorable departure of his predecessor.  Inagowa, as the new Oyabun, offers the women the same deal he offered Nail – delivery of Cat upon the death of his predecessor.  Kunoichi refuses a second time while Mandy emphatically announces that she will do it.  Kunoichi and Mouse locate him, hiding on a ship, sailing away to hide. Kunoichi offers him one last opportunity to regain his honor and offers him a blade to do so with.  He refuses, lunges towards the port door to escape, and is confronted by Mouse, gun drawn and ready to fire!

The Oyabun is dead. Long live the Oyabun.  Issue eighteen, the final issue of the original Cat and Mouse saga, begins with Mouse and Kunoichi delivering the dead body of the original Oyabun to his usurping successor, Inagowa.  The large gunshot wound makes it crystal clear that it was Mouse who delivered the killing strike, as promised.  The new Oyabun identifies the local zoo as the location in which they can find Cat.  Mandy locates him, in a tiger cage, being “protected” by Skull and Crossbones.  Petty banter ensues but the assassins assure no interference will occur.  Mandy enters the cage and repentantly shoots an attacking tiger to protect Cat.  The two women accompany Cat to Japan, where a donor organ is provided, surgery is completed, and prognosis for recovery is positive.  After kidney implantation, a horrifying lucid dream jolts Jerry (finally) awake from his coma.

One final mission is performed; Mouse, having an uneasy feeling about the organ donor process, asks Kunoichi to accompany her and investigate the organ donor facility.  She had a bad feeling about it  . . . and she was right.  The “donors” were unwitting individuals, mostly homeless people and missing kids, who the Yakuza provide to the “facility” who, in turn, supply human organs as needed.  The “donors” are awakened by Kunoichi and Mouse’s arrival and lead an “undead” uprising against the guards, doctors, and workers at the “facility,” an uprising that the ladies refuse to interfere in, thus allowing the “donors” to extract their revenge.

The final page of issue eighteen reunites our title characters, finally!  As Jerry continues to recover from his injuries in Japan, Mandy catches him up on everything that had happened during the intervening passage of time.  Sporting a very Nick Fury eye-patch, and still requiring a wheelchair as he is at the very beginning of a multi-month recovery, Jerry thanks Mandy for everything she has done for him.  Overlooking the mountainside, she shares that she likes the thought of them staying there and leaving the mess of New Orleans behind . . . maybe permanently.

The End!

Well, not quite . . . ?

Although the “The End!” caption closed out issue eighteen, and with it, the original Cat and Mouse series, the final two issues also served to lay groundwork for the continuation and growth of the Silverline universe of characters!

Champion, still in New Orleans, attempts to woo his ex-wife back into a relationship.  It’s revealed that they have a daughter together.  As Champion (who we now know is named Dan) and his ex-wife (Ann) are out on the town, they encounter a shadowy creature assaulting a man in an alleyway.  Dan confronts the shadowy figure, who he (incorrectly) surmises must be Cat due to his appearance (brown fur, tails, glowing eyes . . . yeah, it’s Demon!) and, through his courageous intervention and bravery, impresses his ex-wife.  The story of Champion, working with “the new branch of government” will continue in one branch of the Silverline universe . . . more on that to come!

Demon, after departing from the alleyway (and after letting Dan know he’s “number one”), realizes how flustered he has become since the Church of Abaddon has entered his life.  The man he was assaulting in the alleyway?  A cult member who he was trying to extract information from, even if he had to “beat it” out of him . . . until he was interrupted by Champion, that is.  The Church of Abaddon saga continues in yet another branch of the Silverline universe . . . Demon’s first solo mini-series, Demon’s Tails! (available for purchase HEREhttps://indyplanet.com/demons-tailsshameless plug!  ? )

As we close the book(s) on the original Cat and Mouse series, we look forward to the continuing adventures of many of the supporting characters introduced throughout these eighteen issues, characters featured or starring in sister Silverline publications, and some special guest stars as well.  It’s almost 2021. Do you know who your heroes are? ?

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.

An assembly of guest pencilers pitched in to deliver issue 13, including Tim Eldred, Chris Cross, Tha Grimlen Jack, and Brian Dale!

The myriad talented Inkers over this six-issue run include:

The mighty Thomas Florimonte who also provided inks not only for Silverline’s Demon’s Tails mini-series, but also for titles from publishers including (but not limited to) Marvel, Malibu, Chaos!, Acclaim and Gallant, plus publications under his own imprint: Inferno Studios, home of Zomboy! Thomas also co-founded the industry changing Print-On-Demand service, Ka-Blam as well as its sister division, IndyPlanet!  Plus, Thomas is back at Silverline, currently inking multiple current Silverline projects!

Ken Branch, who also provided inks on multiple issues of Cat and Mouse’s sister publication SilverStorm, and also inked at Marvel, DC, Image Comics, Malibu Comics, Valiant Comics, First Comics, and Comico.

John Dell, who also inked at DC, Marvel, and Cross Gen and worked on titles including Robin, Lobo, Supergirl, and the JLA.

Dan Schaefer, who also contributed to art projects at Dark Horse Comics, Marvel Comics, Malibu Comics, and DC Comics.

Tom Romano, who is still contributing to the comic book field through his own studio, Tom Romano Art Studio.

19May/20

Craft: Roland Mann – Writing: Adapting “A Something” into a Comic.

Hey there, Silverline readers and comic creators! I was able to get a hold of a very important person at Silverline, our Editor-In-Chief Roland Mann. Roland has a long and storied career in comics that you can read about in his Creator Page. He has also worked on many projects that involved adopting other mediums to comics.

With the world now familiar with comics being adapted into phenomenal blockbusters, I wanted to look at what that process looks like going the other way. Here, Roland talks about what is involved when a writer is asked to adapt something else into a comic. – Tim

Adapting “A Something” into a Comic.

If you had asked me when I first started writing if I would do so many adaptations, I’d have told you no, that I was only going to write original stories. Stuff I’d conceived in my own head. Yet, as I look back, I’ve done quite a few adaptations: Rocket Ranger (PC game), Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (novel), Wizard of Oz (novel), Gladiator (novel; the comic was never published, but I did the work!), SadoMannequin (short film), The Remaining (feature film), and She-Devils on Wheels (B-movie)…more recently, my adaptation of Thumbelina. Then there are the works that seem to be adaptations, but are rather a “sandbox adaptation,” meaning I’m playing in the original sandbox, but I am writing original content. My Battletech and Planet of the Apes series fall into that category.

The first thing you have to consider when writing an adaptation is what exactly does the editor/publisher want. If they want an exact adaptation, that’s one thing. If you can take some creative liberties, that’s another.

Straight adaptation is a little easier, but not as creative. Adaptation with some creative liberties is what writers really want to do because—well, they get a little creative freedom.

When writing an adaptation, the first thing you have to figure out is what are the important parts? Generally, you can’t get every word of the original thing into the adaptation—so, what’s vital? And what can be cut? I like to take the original and write a summary of it. It’s not creative work, just take the thing… and write a detailed summary of it.

This is where I start looking at the scenes and make notes—“vital”, “important,” “be cool to have,” “if this is gone, no one will miss it.” Things like that. The next thing I do is examine the scenes and try to visualize how many comic pages that scene will need. Yes, it’s often guesswork, but you’re generally working with a set page number established by the editor/publisher. You know what you have to work with.

Then, I add all the pages up. If I have too many—which I always do, I look at the scenes marked “no one will miss” and start crossing through them. Generally, I keep a running tally so I know the page count. Sometimes, though, I’ll just remove all the non-essential scenes all in one swipe and then add it up. I’ll work my way down until I get to the page count desired by the editor/publisher.

My next step is to work on a page by page plot. The old Marvel method allows me to more accurately visualize what will actually happen on each page. Sometimes I find that I’ve allotted too many pages for a scene, or sometimes—more often than the other—I find that I haven’t allotted enough. But I’ll go ahead and do this for the entire story and see what the total page count is.

Once I’ve done the entire thing, I won’t go auto-delete things, but I’ll reexamine the scenes labeled as “be cool to have” and see if I can reduce the pages required. If they’re marked that way, it’s something that would be good to have, but maybe I shouldn’t devote so much space to it. In all honesty, this usually works for me to get it down to the required page count. If it doesn’t, though, I’ll go through those same scenes and try to determine which one(s) can be cut to make room. This has always gotten me there.

It’s still a lengthy process, but it’s a different one than creating a story from scratch. The main thing a writer should remember is that it’s your job to be true to the original, to capture the things from the original that fans love.

14Apr/20

Silverline starts a Facebook “Group”…and other news

Join the chatty fun!

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

Kayless #2 kickstarter a success!

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

Covid-World

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

Tune in to Silverline Live stream

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

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

You have 3 options to watch us live:

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

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

Silverline month at Comic Chat Authority

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

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

Upcoming Silverline Comics!

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

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

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

Until next time, Make Mine Silverline!

05Apr/20

Kayless kickstarter ending

Kayless kickstarter ending

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

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

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!

28Jan/20

Silverline Title Spotlight: Krey,1-5

Oil your sword, and throw on your leather armor for a saga of fast-paced action, forbidden romance, and brutal betrayal set in a world where barbarians rage in an epic struggle with their mutant neighbors across desert steppes. Krey is the tale of a human raised by mutants who pursued battle, glory, and family.

Krey is a unique tale on the Silverline roster. This fantastical tale tells the story of a man born of humans, raised by mutants, called to battle, and longing for a familial relationship that has repeatedly been denied to him. Krey navigates social dynamics in a world divided through the eyes of a twice-orphaned foot-soldier who is driven to greatness. The reader follows Krey as he discovers his place in the world, and finds that his ability to change the world doesn’t just come from his prowess with the blade but also the depth of his convictions.

The legend of Krey begins when he is a babe in the realm of humans. Krey’s village is raided by mutants, the beings who inhabit this world alongside humanity. Years of hate on both sides have bent both factions against each other. While some try to live together, the powerful often find it easy to use the “others” as scapegoats for their wars. The mutant who stumbles across Krey as a babe proves to be compassionate and takes the boy as his own, along with the Krey’s family sword.

Krey yearned to be a warrior from a young age, growing up in the mutant village. He would sneak out to train with his father’s sword. When Krey came of age, he joined the combat games. In these games, the mutant tribesman showed what kind of warrior they were. While he fell short as a marksman, Krey excelled as a swordsman. The games are cut short when the village is attacked by a band of human raiders. Krey watches as all his friends are cut down. Krey rushes to check on his adoptive father, who has been struck down in the attack. His last command to Krey is to run, take up his father’s sword, and never forget what he saw that day. In the surrounding melee, Krey kills his first man before escaping.

The second issue takes us to Tae Steppe in the Realm of the High Priestess. The city has allowed for humans and mutants to live in a stable if uneasy coexistence. Years have passed since Krey fled the annihilation of his human village and Tae Steppe is now celebrating the Time of Rebirth. The festival is divided into three events. Each event is a different test of martial skill. The victor of each will earn an honored posting in the High Priestess’s army. Krey has joined the festival with two other warriors of note, Etedh, and Calican. All of them hoping to use the festival as a way to accelerate their military career so that they might one day join the High Priestess’s elite force, The Red Guard.

He loses the archery competition to Etedh and the melee to Celican, but he quickly earns the adoration of the crowd. The human’s love his charisma and dominating presence. The mutants are proud of him as he was raised as a mutant. This earns him the spite of Etedh, who is revealed to have a strong prejudice against his mutant neighbors. During both of the previous events, a beautiful mutant woman catches the eye of Krey. Not only is he distracted but he is immediately driven to find out what her name is. The night before the final event, Krey accepts the hospitality of a mutant family. He shares their dinner table and sleeps in one of their guest rooms. The father of the family is also able to share the name of the woman Krey spotted, Netanya. Krey defeats Etedh in the last event, the test of swordsmanship, the Steel against Steel. As champions, Etedh, Celican, and Krey are all offered the opportunity to train to join the High Priestess’s army. Krey then offers the prize wreath he earned to Netanya.

Krey and Netanya unite in what becomes a controversial marriage. Krey’s story unfolds as he struggles with balancing his goals as a warrior and having a family after his birth and adoptive families were taking from him. He must also contend with the biases that dominate the world around him when he, himself, does not understand them. The story of this berserker and his family continues throughout the saga in a story of betrayal, rebellion, and revenge.

Krey isn’t just another fantasy sage. It weaves a tale of complex social politics and dynamics through the lens of a man who was molded by two different peoples that have spent their existence trying to put an end to the other.

Krey is a man of strong conviction in a world that challenges his beliefs at every level. Krey holds only love for mutants despite being told that, as a human, he should despise them. Instead, he lives among the mutants as one of them in hopes that they might share the world with humans. He is a skilled warrior who has spent his life seeking battle, yet takes no joy in the act of killing. This conflict gets highlighted in his relationship with the xenophobic Etedh. As these worldly matters tug at the fabric of Krey’s character, Krey finds himself struggling with the balance of family and duty. All he has known of a family is loss, so to Krey, a family is the most precious thing in life. He views his duty as a warrior also as a deep-seated part of his character. The Realm of The High Priestess espouses the idea of cohabitation between mutants and humans. To Krey, that is an ideal he will fight and die for. More than once, these dreams have come into conflict with each other. Sometimes with mortal consequences.

The conflict in Krey’s personality is smartly done and drives the story in ways other fantasy series have fallen short of. Though the action, big swords, and rippling muscles are a large aesthetic plus, the emotional conflict in Krey and the social conflicts of the world are what pulls the reader into the series.

Written by Roland Mann who, besides being my boss, is an accomplished writer and educator. He currently serves and the Editor-In-Chief and Publisher here at Silverline. Roland has also had postings at Malibu/Marvel Comics. Other titles Roland has written include Tiny, Rocket Ranger, Miss Fury, Planet of the Apes, Battletech, and Demon’s Tails.

Krey was originally published by Gauntlet Comics as issues 1-3, and Krey Special Edition.

Art for chapters 1,2, and 3 was done by Steven Butler. Steven is well known for his work on Archie Comics and Sonic the Hedgehog.

Criss Cross also provided art for chapter 3. He is known for working on titles such as Captain Marvel, Firestorm, and Blood Syndicate.

MC Wyman drew the art for Chapter 4. He is known for working on titles such as The Mighty Thor, Daredevil, Silver Surfer, and many others.

Chapter 5 was penciled by Jack Keefer. Jack also inked chapters 2,3,4 and 5. He has also worked on Marvel’s Northstar.

Chapter 1 was inked by Ken Branch who has worked for just about every major publisher including DC, Marvel, Valiant, Image, and Malibu.

Floyd Robinson also contributed ink to chapter 3. He has also worked on titles such as Thor and Batman.

Nick McCalip provided letters for chapters 1 and 3. Nick’s work can be seen in works such as Silverline’s Cat and Mouse and Malibu’s SilverStorm.

Chapter 2 received lettering from Dan Nakrosis. Who has worked on titles such as Archie, Sonic the Hedgehog, Berserk, and the X-Men Manga.
Rik Mayo also contributed letters to Chapter 3. Rik’s work can also be seen in The Mantus Files.

Debbie Woods lettered Chapter 4.