Tag Archives: Roland Mann

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.

02Jan/20

Silverline: Looking ahead to year 2(020)

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

Panels from Friar Rush #1

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

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

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

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

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

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

A page from DIVINITY #1

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

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

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

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

A page from WHITE DEVIL #1

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

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

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

28Nov/19

Silverline November news

Happy Thanksgiving

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

Daytona Beach Comic Con report

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

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

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

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

Sniper & Rook to Silverline!

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

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

 

13Nov/19

Silverline Creator Spotlight: Chuck Bordell

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.

29Oct/19

Silverline hits Daytona Beach in big way!

Daytona Beach Comic Con

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

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

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

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

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

Other appearances:

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

Cat & Mouse #2 fulfillment happening!

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

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

24Sep/19

Silverline Creator Appearances October 2019/Kickstarter update

You can find your favorite Silverline creators here October 2019:

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

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

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

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

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

Cat & Mouse Kickstarter update

Cat & Mouse with The Baboon by Jamie Jones

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

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

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

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

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

10Sep/19

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

Cat & Mouse #2 kickstarter now live!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dan Sehn, Argo Comics

And…

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

Also…

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

Martin Pierro, Cosmic Times

Kayless #1

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

Daytona Beach Comic Con

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

03Sep/19

Silverline Title Spotlight: Cat & Mouse Vol 1., 5-8

“Wearin’ and Tearin’ “

Whereas the premiere Cat & Mouse volume established the world of the Silverline Universe and some of its premier denizens, these subsequent four issues (issues five through eight) allowed the creative team to further explore the motivations of Jerry O’Neil, deepen the Mafia / Yakuza conflict that is central to this title, introduce new characters (some that will be around for multiple story arcs to come while others that served a very short . . . and final . . . purpose), and provided opportunities galore for our duo to partake in action each and every issue – and often against antagonists who are also battling each other!

Wearin’ and Tearin’ ” continued to beautifully showcase the series’ ability to retain humour throughout, such as Demon’s surprising reveal to Nancy – his Gal Friday at his veterinary clinic – that he can now wear pants (in light of the climactic action scene in Cat & Mouse issue 4) and Demon’s subsequent locking himself in a cage – in his own veterinary clinic – when an overzealous police officer makes a surprise visit at Dr. Grayson’s clinic.  He did not make a very convincing canine, but enough to throw the officer off of his trail. ?

Demon’s appearances in this arc are limited, especially compared to a central role he played in the first Cat & Mouse story arc, but not all of his appearances were whimsical as those described above.  In fact, some of the most disturbing portions of this story arc include the first appearance of a mysterious cult – one which displays inverted crosses on their religious regalia, performs human sacrifices including the action of removing the heart from the victim’s body – and has a mysterious connection to our favourite fur-covered veterinarian.  In fact, the cult’s lair has a shadowy outline of their “master” on wall behind the sacrificial alter, references “the three tails”, and, as of this story arc, believes that their “master” has — literally — sent them a piece of himself.  Demon, uncharacteristically VERY angry, is on the trail of this cult, which begins the foundation for Demon’s own four-issue limited Silverline series, Demon’s Tails! (Demon’s Tails, his solo mini-series, is currently available in collected Trade Paperback Graphic Novel format from Silverline- order yours today! Shameless plug!)

Throughout this four-issue story arc, writer Roland Mann deepened the crime dynamic of the title providing the framework that both the Mafia and the Yakuza (the Japanese Mafia) have in the lives of Cat, Mouse, and Jerry O’Neil (Cat’s civilian identity.)  Corruption is key in New Orleans and the readers begin to have the depth of which the local police department is connected to the Mafia powerhouses of the city revealed to them.  Some corrupt officers who are happy to partake in extracurricular activities for the Mafia are introduced as are characters who now have second thoughts regarding this double-agent allegiances and feel guilty about these poor choices.  Several lists of officers “on the take” are floating around New Orleans , in the possession of dueling factions. One such list can be used as evidence in court against those who swore to serve and protect the citizens – not their criminal bosses – while another list of police officers on the Mafia’s payroll proved to be utilized for far more sinister purposes . . .

Throughout Wearin’ and Tearin’, Mouse – Mandy – notices that there has been a dramatic change in the demeanor of her partner.  Internal thoughts that Mouse shares with the reader, through thought balloons, include, “…(he) seems so careless. It’s not like Cat;” , “Something’s wrong with Cat tonight;” among others.  These internal thoughts illustrate her concern about her partner’s mental well-being, while Cat’s uncharacteristic actions such as yelling “Let’s do it!” while jumping into a fray without a plan, coupled with his 180-degree change on keeping Mouse out of seeing action and keeping her out of harm’s way, also give the reader insight that Cat has some demons of his own (yes, pun intended) that he is dealing with.

Cat – Jerry – discusses his thoughts about rejoining the police force with Mandy, as that may give them opportunities to obtain inside information that can be used to further their own interests (including paying rent!) and to clear their names with the authorities, who have, to this point, used Cat and Mouse as scapegoats for their own illegal actions.   Mandy – Mouse, already concerned about the change she’s seen in his personality, encourages him to do so.

Martin Rossman – the man who was hired for the department’s Detective position over a much more qualified and “next in line” Jerry O’Neill – rehires Jerry as an officer after reviewing his file and wondering why he never heard of Jerry before. Jerry immediately benefits from his re-established position within law enforcement when he overhears a private conversation that reveled information that put some pieces of the current puzzle together.  His decision to work against the system – from within the system – immediately paid off.

(One point of visual interest to be noted here is the remarkable similarity between Silverline’s Martin Rossman and actor Gary Oldman’s portrayal of a very well-known Police Commissioner in a very well-known cape and cowl movie trilogy – that was filmed decades later!! ? )

Wearin’ and Tearin’ featured not only strong plot and characterization but action, action, action galore!  From multiple heist scenes (against the Mafia AND the Yakuza) to plenty of fisticuffs, from bullets flying to grenades exploding, from beheadings to sword-inflicted deaths, from accusations to assassinations, a magical sense of action and adventure was still fostered and ingrained throughout the series.  Writer Roland Mann was masterful in keeping the title fun even when subject matter was dark.  And there were some dark, dark times . . .

This story arc also served as the protracted introduction of a duo that will play a much larger, pivotal role, in the future of the series.  Threaded throughout the four issues, references to “specialized” Yakuza-associates who predated Cat and Mouse foreshadowed future characters – and conflicts.  Phrases such as “Before them (Cat & Mouse) there were two others” and “The other two. They’re actually more brutal than Cat and Mouse.”

Brutal this mysterious duo is indeed, as they wander throughout New Orleans following a list, addressing officers by name before asking if they are on the Mafia payroll . . . before ending the life of each officer on the list.  This duo scratches names off the list one by one while bickering all throughout about who killed the last one and who gets to kill the next one . . .

Cat and Mouse are now in possession of a pair of items – a ledger and, now, a computer disc.  Between the two items, they hold the fate of many in their hands.  What will become of this revelation?  That, my dear friends, is to be continued . . .

Roland Mann, series 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.

A fantastic lineup of inkers provided their services to this installment of the Cat and Mouse series.  They include Roland Paris, John Drury, Karl Story, Brian Dale, Nick Centanni, and Floyd Robinson Jr.

27Aug/19

Silverline August 2019 News

Cat & Mouse #2 kickstarter scheduled for launch

Barring any unforeseen circumstances, the kickstarter for Cat & Mouse #2 will launch on September 10th! It will run for 21 days (the first one ran for 28 days) as did the kickstarter for Kayless #1. Kickstarters can be a grind not just for those running them, but for fans as well. Some of them can seem to go on and on. A 21 day window seems to be a bit of a nice change of pace and we’re hoping you’ll all be on board. Honestly, we’re VERY excited for you to see the book and read the second issue!

Reaction to Kayless #1

We’re in the process of collecting up some quotes in support of Kayless, but we’re excited to be hearing so many good things about Kayless #1. We’re also excited to tell you that Luis is already several pages into the art for #2!

Silverline to appear in grand style at Daytona Beach Comic Con

Yup, it’s true. There will be a total of SIX of us there: Roland Mann, Sidney Williams, John Metych III, Brent Larson, Alex Gallimore, Karrigan Walsh (who will be cosplaying as “Mouse” from Cat & Mouse). If you’ve never been to Daytona Beach Comic Con, now is the time to make your plans to go!