Tag Archives: Ron Fortier

25Dec/20

Silverline creators share Christmas and holiday memories

Merry Christmas!

The Thanksgiving Memories from the gang of us here seemed to go over pretty well with y’all…so we thought we’d do it again. We asked Silverline Creators: What’s your favorite childhood Christmas memory?

-Brent T. Larson
When I was a sophomore in college, my family and I drove from southern Arizona to Moab, Utah, to spend Christmas with my Aunt Mary and Uncle Mark. They loved life and the outdoors, and Mark led mountain tours for a living. One day we drove to nearby Arches National Park, a vast open space with these contorted monolithic rock formations. We practically had the place to ourselves. Soon it began snowing, and the only sound was the wind blowing eerily off the high desert. It was one of the few times in my adult life where I could feel magic in the air. It was a fun, intimate Christmas, moreso because it was the last time I ever saw Mark alive.  A year later, he was leading a tour in the mountains when they were caught in an avalanche.   

-Becca Winslow
My favorite Christmas memory growing up was when my siblings and I all got coal for Christmas. My sister was crying, my brother was so angry and I was so excited. Even after my parents told us it was all a joke and gave us our real presents, I spent the rest of the day playing with my lump of coal… I was a weird child.

-Jeremy Kahn
When asked to recall a fond holiday memory, I can’t help but think of two Hanukkahs that delivered disappointment after raised hopes. Like every kid in the 90s, both my brother and I bugged our parents to no end with our desire for a Gameboy. Up till that point, we were strictly a PC family. We had some PC ports of Nintendo and Sega games, but we still had a need to play on the original systems. Hanukah rolls around with the promise of finally getting that treasured Gameboy. We excitedly open our gift for the night. While most nights we get one gift each, there were some cases where we would get a shared gift (something to share that was usually a high ticket item). In this case, we knew we were getting the fabled handheld. And, lo and behold, upon opening the gift wrapping there it was. A SEGA GameGear…

Another Hanukah comes around and I am not missing an opportunity to let my parents know of a certain movie I want. About every other trip to Blockbuster results in me renting, among a couple of other VHS tapes, Tiny Toons How I Spent my Summer Vacation. I’m fairly confident that they bought me my own copy after showing how much I like this movie. Adding to my anticipation is them saying they bought me that animated movie I liked and asked for. I eagerly pick my present up and un-wrap it. I see the WB’s logo. The anticipation rises. I finish removing the wrapping. There, in all its glory is The Jetsons Meet the Flintstones…

These two memories may seem odd to fondly remember, but they just show how much my parents tried and did for my brother and me. They may have gotten some things wrong, but their love still came through. That is why I consider these two events good memories.

-Aaron Humphres
I do remember coming back from college during Christmas one year to visit my mother and she had the house all decorated just right that it really brought out the season for me. If that makes sense. I remember a lot of great decorations and the house smelling like ginger or something Christmas like. We watched some Harry Potter movies and just had a good time. So that is a memory that stood out for me. Hope this helps.

-Barb Kaalberg
I was raised in a 2-story farmhouse in rural Iowa. There was a 1 story porch attached to the house with 2 parallel power lines that ran above the porch.  One Christmas in the early 60’s, there was an ice storm a few days before Christmas.  On Christmas Eve day, it snowed and snowed.  At least 4 inches.  That night, the air warmed just enough to make the ice clinging to those two power lines slip off the lines and fall in two perfect, parallel lines into the snow on the porch roof.  On Christmas morning my Dad, coming in from doing the morning livestock chores, called for us to get our snowsuits on and come out.  We raced outside to see what he was pointing at.  There, across our porch roof, WERE THE SLEIGH TRACKS FROM SANTA’S SLEIGH!  We were ecstatic as my Dad grinned knowingly.  That Spring, while plowing up the field in front of the house, he unearthed a large, round, antique sleigh bell from some long ago horse drawn sleigh.  He presented it to us, still dirt covered, as further proof that Santa had, indeed, been to our house that Christmas, left tracks and dropped a sleigh bell on his way to the next house.  We believed for many years and, who knows, maybe it wasn’t a trick of the weather or a forgotten antique? 😉

-Sid VenBlu
I could share some Christmas memories but I don’t really have a big one. The holiday is a rather relaxed one over here. No big dinner nor turkey. It’s too hot to wear ugly sweaters or drink hot coco! But at least you can go try your brand new bike out in the street the 25th, hahaha. Probably the present I remember the most was the arrival of our dog and first pet. House went to chaos as soon as she arrived and started digging into my mother’s indoor plants!

-Scott Wakefield
This is another tough one for me to narrow down. I’ve been surrounded by love from my family, so my memories blend together as a happy assortment of gatherings, meals, gift-giving, laughter, hugs, music, snow (mostly), and countless other cheerful happenings, so it might be easier to recount a favorite tradition, rather than one event. Our family tradition for stockings was that our parents would sneak into our rooms and place them near our beds. I’m not sure if this is common, or has roots in a larger tradition, but I’m positive it was a way to keep us quiet and in our rooms for a few minutes longer. My older brother was usually awake first, and he’d get me up by jumping on my bed, and we’d immediately tear into the tiny presents. Each year was similar: matchbox cars, Pez dispensers, Hershey’s Kisses, the plastic candy cane filled with cheap chocolates, and always an orange. I know – and I knew then – that this a tradition from the Great Depression, during which fresh fruit in the winter was a luxury, but we couldn’t resist turning them into weapons by stuffing that orange into the foot of our stockings and whomping on each other. After that was out of our system, we’d sneak out into the living room to peek at the gifts and wait for everyone else to wake up for a wonderful day.

-Mike W. Belcher
Best Christmas. This one is kind of hard. I was truly blessed growing up. I had a very good Christmas every year. Maybe the first time that Kerry was a part of our tradition. She didn’t have grandparents growing up and going to my Mamaw and Pop’s house was truly a gift to her. Watching her be the center of attention and how happy it made her was a great thing to see. 

-Ron Fortier
I’ve had a fascination for toy figures since way back when. Growing up I remember watching the Roy Rogers TV, then unaware Roy and I share a birth date, Nov. 5 – But I digress. I was 10 the year the Sears giant wish catalog showed up in early Nov and as soon as Mom let me see it, I went straight to the toy section. My to my amazement, offered that year was an entire Roy Rogers Double R ranch set complete with Roy on Trigger, Dale on Buttermilk and Bullet their German shepherd dog, Pat Brady in his Jeep Nellybelle, the ranch house, barn and various animals. It was simply mind boggling and I spent the next few weeks letting it known this is what I wanted from Santa.

So come Christmas morning, 1956, me and brother George are up at the crack of dawn and race downstairs to living room to find tons of brightly wrapped gifts under the tree. But my eyes went straight to the Roy Rogers ranch pieces all set up among those gifts. Dad had opened the box they came in and set up all the pieces before going off to bed that night so they’d be ready for me.

I never forget that wonderful Christmas surprise.

-Rob Davis
It was the year my younger, by one year, sister and I began suspecting Santa wasn’t real. My Dad got wind of this and told us a story that on Christmas Eve he’d seen a little plump man in a red suit carrying a bicycle into our across-the-street-neighbor’s house. Now, our Dad was not a very good lie teller so we were nearly convinced it was true. Then, a few days after Christmas we saw that neighbor boy riding a shiny new bicycle down our street (southern Missouri where I grew up seldom got below 40 degrees most days, so a jacket or coat to ride a bike in December wasn’t out of the ordinary). That convinced my sister and me to continue belief in Santa for at least a couple more years. 

Much later we learned the true story. The little plump man was the High School Band Director who lived across the street from us for a few years. We didn’t know it at the time, but he was notorious for his maroon business suit. So it was not a complete lie…

-Tim TK
Ever since I was little, I wanted to snowboard. I saw it once on TV and knew that I had to do it. My mother, out of fear for my life since I was just barely out of my toddler years and, as the doctor would say, a total spaz, decided we would take it slow until I got older. In order to find a compromise, she decided we would go sledding instead. I was not eager to relent on my need to get pitted on some powder, so in order to appease my want for adrenaline, we didn’t just go sledding down the back of the foothill we lived on. No, we went to a mountain proper with a slope groomed just for sledding and tubing. One day she woke us up in the dark, and we got into our warmest clothes and we drove 2 hours to Saddle Mountain. I’m not sure if this is still the case but back then when it snowed, the hiking trail was converted into a small snow park. We rode the trail all-day and I loved every second of it despite the spills, bumps, and snow snakes. On the way down, we stopped at a logging camp and got dinner at a cabin style diner. This is where the memory gets a little sour, so I’ll spare the details. In essence, the mac and cheese, that I had devoured to recoup precious calories, was transformed into a Pollock painting spewed forth my small face onto the interior of our van. Even with that hiccup, this day is still the one I hold responsible for developing my love of snow and the mountains. Though my mother did not let my 4 year old self ride a snowboard, I now do so every year from late October to April and didn’t suffer any spinal injuries as a minor, so I guess the compromise worked. 

-Roland Mann
I have a lot of great memories of Christmas with my family at home, and then making the trek to Arkansas to visit with grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. Most of my memories include me waking up on Christmas day before my sister and being so anxious that I had to wake her up before checking out the tree. One Christmas, I don’t remember exactly how old I was, but I as probably not more than six, I awoke extremely early and got my sister. We peeked at the tree to see presents there waiting for us. We went to wake our parents, excited that Santa had come…but my Dad yelled “Go back to bed!” It seems I had gotten up about three o’clock in the morning and our parents hadn’t actually been IN bed all that long. I joined my sister in her room where we sat and giggled in anticipation of what Santa had brought us until the approved time we could get up. At which point in time, we promptly woke our parents!

Merry Christmas everyone

and remember

#makeminesilverline

26Nov/20

Silverline creators share Thanksgiving memories

On Thanksgiving, we’re encouraged to take the day out to be thankful for our many blessings. We here at Silverline are thankful most of all for YOU, who continue to support us and read our comics…and that allows us to continue to make comics, which we love doing.

So, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, we asked Silverline Creators: What’s your favorite Thanksgiving memory (childhood or otherwise)?

-Barb Kaalberg
I grew up on a farm in Iowa a half mile from my Grandparents, a stereotypical old farmer couple with bib overalls for my Grandfather and a dress with an apron for my Grandmother. For Thanksgiving, my Aunt and Uncle and my 3 cousins would join my Dad, Mom and us three kids on my Grandparents farm for the usual huge meal. My Grandmother would make every single person their favorite dish and their favorite dessert in addition to the expected Turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy and homemade, yeast raised dinner rolls. Everything, of course, was made from scratch. There were so many dishes of different kinds of food and desserts that she could have fed half of a small country, but she cherished making everyone happy with her (amazing, drooling good, from scratch, homemade) cooking that she relished making everyone’s favorites. Desserts would include pies, cakes, cookies, jam filled kolaches and homemade cinnamon buns. An awful lot of food for 12 people! But it was all made with love, and that was the best thing of all.

-Thomas Florimonte
My Grandmother’s turkey “Dressing.” Not that nasty “Stuffing” stuff that northerns pass off as a “side dish” during the Thanksgiving meal. I’m talking about good ‘ol Southern Cornbread Turkey Dressing. In most cases, it’s not a side dish to the Turkey itself. It’s a “Main Dish” served along side, right next to the turkey. In “my” house, if you don’t serve “Dressing” during the Thanksgiving meal, then you might as well not serve a turkey at all. And my Grandmother made the best dressing in the world- Fight me.

-Mike W. Belcher
Best Thanksgiving was probably the one time that both sets of my grandparents came to our house for the holiday. Until then, everything was very separate with my family going to one or the other every year. Having everyone together for once was nice and one of the few times I enjoyed Thanksgiving. Can’t say it’s one of my favorite holidays for whatever reason.

-Sid VenBlu
I only have one Thanksgiving memory because I’ve celebrated it just once. That’s a holiday only in the United States after all.
Sean Wolfe invited my close friend Sarah and I to have dinner together at his house, there I not only got awesome food, but also I got to meet the man behind “Cooking with Stupid.” It was a very pleasant evening all in all.

-Rob Davis
My father attempting to pull off turkey and stuffing ( which at our house were prepared separately) one Thanksgiving when my mother was in the hospital. He nearly pulled it off, but he came close to burning the stuffing. It was pretty dry and needed a lot of gravy to be edible. Seeing my WWII era dad a bit out of his depth but soldiering through was priceless.

-Ron Fortier
Okay, I’ve lots of them but they are all jumbled together.
My mother was one of ten children so Thanksgiving were pretty much us celebrating at home. On those rare occasions when she and her sisters decided to do it up big, we’d all go to my grandparents home in Maine. Now consider, my grandfather and grandfather, their ten children and their spouses…and all their kids. Honestly I had more cousins than the populations of small towns. Mom and my aunts would do all the cooking, each of the five ladies bringing individual dishes like some giant pot-luck gathering. Dad and his brother-in-laws would take out the extra tables and chairs from the attack and set them up through the living room and kitchen area. There was one giant table for the grown-ups and at least three smaller round tables for us munchkins.
I remember mounds of food, deserts and then when all had eaten their fill, we kids were cut loose to go out in the huge backyard to play games. Growing up in a big family is an amazing blessing and though the elders for the most part are all gone now, the memories of those gatherings keep me warm as I move on in this journey.

-Jaxon Renick
The Thanksgiving that comes to mind is the one when I was in art school, away from home and my buddy opened up the pizza shop he worked at for all of his friends and co-workers to have a Thanksgiving Dinner and not be alone. That was some damn fine pizza!

-John Metych
We used to go to my grandmother’s each Thanksgiving. My grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins would all be there. The dining room table was large and accommodated seating all the adults. My cousins and I, however, got to sit at “the kiddie table.”
That wasn’t a bad thing, as it was an exclusive table for our generation. We would talk and act goofy, common for our age.  The table was always placed against a small wall separating the dining room from the kitchen.
My grandparent’s house was older – built in 1921 – and had age appropriate wear. During one Thanksgiving, we took note of a small crack in the wall. As kids are goofy and do silly things, one of my cousins used a spoonful of the instant mashed potatoes from their plate as spackle! They filled the crack with rehydrated potato flakes… surprisingly, the colour was a fairly close match!
We cousins still laugh about that impromptu Thanksgiving “MacGyvered This Old House” style repair!

-Brad Thomte
When I was young, my family would have the traditional Thanksgiving meal each year.  It was my mother, father, my younger brother, and me.
One of the items on the menu was cranberry sauce.  It wasn’t homemade, it was canned.  This was in the 70’s and 80’s and the cans had an embossed expiration date on the bottom instead of an inked stamp.
This caused an imprint of the date to transfer to the gelatinous blob
that was the cranberry sauce.
This phenomenon created a rivalry between my brother and I.  We
constantly fought as to who “gets the numbers.”  It got so bad that we
had to keep track of who got the numbers the year before.
Unfortunately, the last few years we were at home together, the cans
had switched over to the inked stamp instead of the embossing, so we
were unable to continue the rivalry.

-Peter Clinton
As I spent the last 3 years studying in the US I did get to participate in 3 thanksgivings. Usually those of us staying in student accommodation and near by would gather to have a ‘Friendsgiving’ where we’d all bring food and drink and have a bit of a party.
And one year my class mate Jose invited me to spend Thanksgiving with him and his family out in Pennsylvania, where his wife made a hell of a lot of food and I made sure to confuse his kids with a great many lies about life in the UK. Yes, we all live in castles!
We ended the evening with their family tradition where they all sit down and watch White Christmas, which I’m embarrassed to say I had never seen!

-Kevin Gallegly
I do t have a single one… just the ceremony around it… the good dishes… candles… the spread of snacks and finger foods… a college football game on because my grandfather was a big USC fan!

-Scott Wakefield
This is a tough question, because I have a large family and we love being together. Childhood Thanksgivings have been in New York, Massachusetts, Indiana, Illinois, West Virginia, New Hampshire, and places I’m sure I’ve forgotten. Our gatherings are always noisy and full of laughter, often requiring the ability to maintain multiple conversations at once.
One of my favorite Thanksgivings was at my aunt & uncle’s house in Indiana. I think I was 12 or 13 years old. They had a big house, with a big finished basement and tons of Nerf guns. My cousins, my brother, and I played almost non-stop, running, jumping over furniture, laughing and yelling and being sweaty adolescent lunatics. They also had a new computer with games I had never seen before, and I wanted to stay up all night playing. To make it even better, my grandparents lived nearby, so we were all able to spend time together. I think the meal was good, but then, I’ve never had a bad Thanksgiving dinner.
Family is a big part of my life, and I’m glad to have trouble finding one happy memory.

-Rory Boyle
Being from the great state of Ohio, we’re guaranteed to be graced with a healthy dose of lake effect snow. It shows up and accumulates in a hurry. Every Thanksgiving my family would pack up some classic dishes and make the drive along the coast of Lake Erie to my Aunt & Uncle’s house for our annual feast. Usually by then feet of snow had fallen. My Aunt and Uncle’s house was tucked away down long winding roads not frequently trafficked, leaving the roads paved with fresh white powder. The trees, being either blasted and caked with snow or standing tall and silent, their limbs would frosted with snow looking like skeletal fingers reaching over the road. We’d reach their driveway in our station wagon and turn onto the snow covered gravel. Pulling up to the party of cars, and rushing out to meet family, we were always greeted by the aroma of a turkey roasting on a spit, and the joyful shouts of welcome from the rest of the family. It was a beautiful start to every winter season.

Happy Thanksgiving from all of us at Silverline to all of you!
#MakeMineSilverline!

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03Nov/20

Silverline Creator Spotlight: Mike W. Belcher

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 Mike W. Belcher, a graphic designer by day and a comic maker by night. Mike provided letters for Scary Book #4, Divinity #1 and #2
Twilight Grimm #1 and #2. Mike is also the creator/writer/artist for Man in the Mask, a comic he does with his son Aiden on color.

Now, without further ado, we present to you…

12 Questions with … Mike W. Belcher

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

I am Mike W. Belcher  I hail from the great state of Kentucky, eastern Kentucky to be exact. Little place called Prestonsburg. Other than when I went off to college, it’s been my lifelong home.

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

I am the production designer and letterer for some of the fine books at Silverline  I developed the trade dress design overtop the logos of the books to give credit to all the hard working creator. Currently lettering Divinity and Twilight Grimm with more to follow I hope, including my buddy Ron Fortier’s new project, Satin’s Ways, coming soon from Silverline.

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

I also self publish and create my own comic under my AMK Comics banner called MAN IN THE MASK. Some have called it a throwback to a more fun time in comics. It’s story of a regular guy trying to live up to the masked legacy of his grandfather. It’s my attempt at trying to do a old fashioned masked man book where the guy is actually a hero to his community for many reasons not just because he can throw a good punch. I think a number of us were, of course, influenced by super hero comics. But the last 20 or so years have been very dark and not very fun. I’m writing a comic that I hope fills a need for something a little more fun and hopeful.

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

I’m kind of boring. If I’m not creating comics, I’m typically reading them. I do like to cook for my family. That’s one of the many things I learned from my grandfather who I loosely based the grandfather in Man in the Mask on.

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

I legitimately love comics. Ever since I discovered them, I have had no other interests. They are a fundamental part of my life. I found that I didn’t just want to write them, I needed to make them too. When I sit down to write or draw, I’m instantly transported to a new world and remember the fun I had when I was younger drawing on my board.

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

I found myself lucky enough to live through such an imaginative time in comics 1985-86. John Byrne’s Superman and Frank Miller’s Batman Year One made me want to create comics and it just went from there.

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

Wide range of bands like Metallica, Pearl Jam, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Huey Lewis and Johnny Cash keep me inspired and I can tailor my list to the type of page I’m drawing. I work in silence when I write though.

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

John Byrne, Frank Miller, David Mazzuchelli, Matt Wagner

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

Scary Book #4 for Silverline 2.0 in 1998

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

I was just learning to digitally letter and it shows, but yeah.

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

Lavender Jack by Dan Schkade on Webtoons. The Baboon by Jamie Jones. Mr. Jigsaw by Ron Fortier and Gary Kato. Fire Power by Chris Samnee.

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?

Don’t strive for perfection or that right time of ability. I was very hard on myself and it kept me from fulfilling my need to create comics earlier in life.

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

Parking lot. I would like to think people could relax and kick back at my lot.