Tag Archives: Silver Dollar

02Feb/21

Silverline Title Spotlight: SilverStorm (vol 1)

There Is No Shelter From This Storm!

A SilverStorm (Volume 1) Retrospective by John Metych, III

A wealthy playboy philanthropist whose father engineered some of the most futuristic technologies of the day now dons a suit of armour to protect both innocents and those he cares about.  Who immediately comes to mind when you read that description?  Yup, me too.  Christopher Kastle, AKA Silver Dollar!

A beautiful woman who overcame extreme poverty and traumatic childhood experiences was blessed, at birth, with the gift of wind manipulation.  Thus far, she has attempted to keep her abilities hidden from the world but eventually must utilize her powers to escape captivity and, later, in public in order to preserve the lives and safety of others.  I know you’re picturing the same model-turned-adventurer / heroine as I am . . . the supermodel who professionally goes by one name . . .Natashia , AKA Tempest!!

And who doesn’t immediately picture the one – the only – cloaked villain, operating behind the scenes while he sends out his agents to do his dirty-work bidding, infatuated with the concept of developing, perfecting, and utilizing a legion of clones to attack the very foundation of assembled government, made up of constituents representing their individual interests and homelands?  You know it! Of course! It is none other than Doctor Fear!!!

Originally published in the Spring of 1990, Silver Dollar, Tempest, and their newly minted arch-nemesis, Dr. Fear, were the main characters in the Silverline packaged, Aircel Comics published, SilverStorm four issue miniseries . . . and what a miniseries it was!!  Further expanding from Cat & Mouse, their buddy, Demon, and the still enigmatic “Chicago Champion”, SilverStorm was the next title, entry, and step in establishing and expanding the interconnected “Silver” universe of characters and stories.

SilverStorm (volume 1) lead off with a strong, character driven autobiography presented by none other than Christopher Kastle himself.  Speaking to his closest confidant, his Uncle Miya, he chronicles his affluent upbringing, though light on responsibilities, his internalized worries regarding how his father viewed him as he grew from youth, to a college student, to an adult and lamented how his life has become empty, unfocused, since his father’s passing and his lingering inability to follow family tradition by swearing an oath to upload the traditions and values of his family, upon a Silver Dollar that has been passed down through family generations.

Kastle’s narration continues through mourning his father, assuming leadership of the Kastle Foundation – a research organization previously lead by his father, through introduction to a specialized suit of armour created by the foundation.  Kastle becomes enamoured with the suit and dedicates himself to the utilization and mastery of this incredible piece of technology!  He also describes the mental and emotional journey he has undertaken in trying to understand his father’s death, when things don’t seem to quite add up but, at the same time, all the powers-that-be insist that there was nothing out of sorts, out of the ordinary, nor nefarious in terms of his father’s passing.

A serendipitous mutual attendance at the Symposium of Earth and Natural Sciences (hosted by the Kastle Foundation) brings Christopher and Natashia into the same venue and Kastle, who had been attendance at one of Natashia’s (Nat for short) model shows several years prior, makes a point to introduce himself to her.  Nat’s external beauty is only surpassed by her intelligence – as illustrated by her deep interest in, and ongoing study of, geology.  (She was way before her time in terms of STEM!)

Invited to accompany her on a modeling gig on a nearby island, Kastle joins Natashia and becomes even more twitterpated with her in all respects.  As the two canoodle during their walk back to their respective accommodations for the evening, they are savagely attacked by a duo going by the names Hunter and Axe.  Kastle is beaten unconscious, which allows Natashia to unleash her mastery of the winds without him bearing witness.  As she attempts to blind Hunter with a face full of blown sand, Hunter responds, in kind, with warning shots bullets and takes her, as well as Kastle, prisoner.

Hunter and Axe deliver the newly romantically linked couple to their employer – Doctor Fear.  Kastle recalls meeting him, long ago while on a business trip with his father, and remembers that Dr. Wilderman (now, FEAR) was once an impressive biochemist on a global scale, nothing close to the scarred, mutated, blistered and disfigured man that stood before them now.  Kastle persuades Fear to reveal what had happened to him . . . a story which consisted of scientific discovery, partner treachery, attempted murder, arson, and a near-death experience culminating in being submerged in an experimental formula designed to grant super-human strength and power.  Though Fear survived, and became physically stronger than ever, he would never recover from the physical or mental scars nor his ever-increasing passion for revenge including against the very world itself!  Information vital to Fear’s forthcoming plans has been in the possession of a man associated with both Kastle and Natashia – from different social and professional spheres – yet intertwining the destinies of all involved!!!

Kastle confides the legacy of his familial Silver Dollar and Oath to Natashia and she not only matches his level of trust and faith during a daring escape from Fear, his henchmen, and their compound.  They encounter several armed guards as they evacuate, noting that each of these guards had identical appearances save different tattooed numbers on their foreheads.

This observation foreshadowed Dr. Fear’s endgame . . . he has expanded his biochemistry interests into cloning, creating and growing a clone army that he utilized to launch an assault on the United Nations building, in New York City, and upon completion of his clones seizing and securing the building, as well as the UN Representatives now held hostage within, Dr. Fear declares his takeover of the world itself!

Nat and Kastle descend upon the battle scene; flanked by reporters and live television coverage, the duo is swarmed and questions fly . . . including if the individual in the suit was the Chicago Champion (it isn’t) and what they call themselves.  Christopher invokes the name of his family tradition and bestowed upon himself the code name SILVER DOLLAR and dubs Nat TEMPEST in honour of her wind-controlling talents.

Collaborating with the government-sanctioned armed forces, Silver Dollar and Tempest battle countless identical, mute, and loyal combatants ‘til death.  Our heroic duo infiltrated the occupied United Nations building, decimating clone troopers along the way, battling (and evoking revenge) Fear’s henchmen Hunter and Axe, leading to a final face-to-face showdown between Silver Dollar and Dr. Fear and with a HUGE detonation and the apparent death of Dr. Fear.  But, in comics, is anyone ever really dead?  This very author may have something to say about that fact in the not-so-distant future, in fact . . . as well as the long-ago planned (and abandoned – nay, “long-hiatused”) Silverline Universe team book . . . also in the works by yours truly!

The cadre of talent that brought these characters, issues, and Silverline’s first mini-series to life was comprised of this most excellent lineup of creative talent:

Roland Mann – the Mann with the Plan! Cat and Mouse writer and Silverline Editorial Director, Roland provided scripting duties on the latter part of the SilverStorm series and served as series editor.  In time, he would become writer, editor and eventually Managing Editor at Malibu Comics.  Roland has been the driving force of Silverline as a publisher, including the current relaunch of the brand and the ringleader of the impressive collective of Silverline talent!

Thomas Fortenberry – SilverStorm’s plotter, writer, and scripter. His Amazon biography notes that he is also an American author, editor, reviewer, and publisher. A Pushcart Prize-nominated writer and history teacher, he has also judged many literary contests, including The Georgia Author of the Year Awards and The Robert Penn Warren Prize for Fiction. Thomas was the second writer, after Roland Mann, to work on a Silverline title when wrote this very four-issue SilverStorm miniseries!

Steven Butler – Steven, who had already provided stellar inks on the Cat & Mouse series and both pencilled and inked several of the series most dynamic covers, all while serving as Silverline Art Director, contributed his first sequential pencils for Silverline’s on this very title, “SilverStorm”!  Having already cut his teeth on sequential work on First Comics’ “Badger”, Mr. Butler’s artwork on SilverStorm can only be described as “detailed, beautiful, kinetic, and perfect!”  He also provided colours for the series covers and created all the additional promotional art to support the title! Steven’s future projects would include illustrating titles for Malibu, Marvel, and Archie, to name a few. He held notable runs on Marvel’s “Silver Sable” and “Web of Spider-Man” and will forever be favorably remembered for his illustrations of Ben Reilly, the Scarlet Spider!  Steven recently collaborated with his Silverline friends and colleagues for a special guest artist variant cover for the recently released TRUMPS. He has also recently fulfilled his first Kickstarter campaign for issue #1 of Fianna McCool and the House of Ulster under the Duo Comics imprint in conjunction with his incredibly talented daughter, Lily Butler.  Oh, and Steven is one of the top, all time favourite artists of this author . . . if you couldn’t already tell who I am honored to have come to know thanks to the wonders of the internet!

Roland Paris – the first of two inkers on this SilverStorm miniseries, Roland also providing his inking talents on it’s sister title, Cat & Mouse. Roland later went on to ink many titles at Marvel Comics.

Ken Branch – the second inker over Steven Butler’s pencils on SilverStorm, Ken also provided inks on multiple issues of Cat and Mouse. Ken later went on to ink titles at Marvel Comics, DC Comics, Image Comics, Malibu Comics, Valiant Comics, First Comics, and Comico Comics.

Nick McCalip – Nick served as SilverStorm series letter. Nick has also lettered several other Silverline titles including The Mantus Files, Cat & Mouse, The Scary Book, , and Krey.

07Apr/20

Silverline Creator Spotlight: Jaxon Renick

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 Jaxon Renick, a comic book artist who has worked on Deathstroke: The Terminator, SilverStorm II, Marauder, and Open Space!

Now, without further ado, we present to you…

12 Questions with … Jaxon Renick      

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

I am Jaxon Renick, I come Bartlesville Oklahoma (Home to Phillips Petroleum) and have lived in Aizona, Texas, Missouri, Utah and Washington. In some cases, more than once over the years.

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

I interpretate and coalesce the writings of talented word smiths through the use of pencil and paper…the interpretative dance part is just for me.

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

CHAOS Magazine, Marvel’s Open Space and DC Comic’s Deathstroke: The Terminator

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

Collecting action figures, writing short stories, 3D designing homes on my computer using Sketchup. I also seem to collect cigar boxes.

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

I’ve been in and out over the years. Sometimes due to burn out, just busy with other stuff and in complete honesty, depression, but there’s always a spark awaiting to flare up into full blown artistic mode. Always! Plus, Roland’s hard to say “no” to!

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

I don’t recall there being that first comic moment for me, but I do have drawings of Tono and Kono The Jungle Twins that I did when I was just a wee little one.

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

Music’s a big influencer when drawing. What I listen to while at the ol’ drawing board is dependent on what I’m drawing  and what energy or emotion/mood I’m wanting to convey.

In terms of a playlist…X, Leonard Cohen, Joan Jett, Lou Reed, Laurie Anderson, Sinatra, the Beatles, the Stones, Kate Bush, John Doe, John Williams soundtracks, Rocky Horror, Queen, Talking Heads, Bowie…and the list goes on! 

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

Neal Adams, John Byrne, Don Newton, Jose Louise Garcia Lopez, Michael Golden, John Buscema, George Perez, Gil Kane, Curt Swan, Howard Chakin, Walt Simonson…to name a few.

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

 Marvel’s anthology book ‘Open Space’ #7 I believe.

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

Next question!

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

I do not have an answer for this one.

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?

There’s an abundance of artists out there, none of them are YOU! Now go do that voodoo that you do, so well!

17Sep/19

Silverline Character Spotlight – DEMON

This week’s character spotlight focuses on the Kevin Bacon of the Silverline Universe, although “six degrees” are more than necessary to connect Demon (Dr. Keith Grayson) to each of the major heroes (and villains) in the Silverline Universe– and beyond!  In fact, Demon is even destined to encounter the newest incarnation of Cat and Mouse in their next issue! The Kickstarter for Cat & Mouse #2 is live NOW . . . why don’t you go check it out now! It’s ok . . . we’ll wait for you while you take a peek and hopefully become a backer!  https://tinyurl.com/CnM-2-KickStart

From the inception of the Silverline Universe, Demon has been the most prolific character, appearing across a multitude of titles and issues.  Beginning with his first-page appearance in the original Cat & Mouse series, continuing through his own Demon’s Tails mini-series, making a surprise multi-page appearance in the second SilverStorm mini-series, inadvertently providing the base of operations for the combined forces of characters from both Silverline and Beta 3 Comics (which was the first in-cannon synergy of these two universes!), and, now making his presence known in the aforementioned forthcoming Cat & Mouse Volume 2, Demon’s connections are varied and far-reaching!

Over the course of his many appearances, Dr. Keith (Demon) Grayson has worn many hats.  A veterinarian. A small-business owner. A hopeless romantic. A god-figure for a murderous cult (what?). A brother. A long-term goldfish sitter. A laboratory-accident survivor. A reluctant adventurer. An avid TV watcher.  A son. A Led Zeppelin fan. An emergency surgeon. A confidant. An aficionado of fedoras and trench coats. A man who lives out his days in seclusion in a mutated body distinguished by giant crests on his head and his body encased in brown fur with not one . . . not two . . . but THREE tails. Did we mention that all three tails can regenerate should they become severed from his body???? This revelation was equally surprising to Dr. Grayson, after finding himself on the wrong end of a katana blade (double what??)

Dr. Keith Grayson’s introduction to the first duo who utilized the monikers of “Cat” and “Mouse” occurred after Mouse (Mandy Paige) was shot in the back and Cat (Jerry O’Neil) was seeking immediate medical assistance.  Seeing only the word “clinic” outside Dr. Grayson’s establishment, Cat carried Mouse into the building . . . the veterinary clinic . . . and demanded that the doctor extract the bullet and stabilize the patient.  After an initial quarrel about the medical legality and integrity of the demand, Dr. Grayson extracted the bullet, nursed the patient back to health, and eventually became Mandy’s romantic partner and confidant.  However, before the spark of romantic interest turned into a full flame of relationship, Demon, attempting to protect Cat and Mouse’s secret identities, faced their former trainer and master – Kunoichi – in battle.  It was at her hand that he lost his tails . . . but that made wearing pants on dates that much easier!

Demon’s attempts to track, and take down religious cult worshipers from the Cult of Abaddon began in the Cat & Mouse series and concluded in Demon’s own mini-series, Demon’s Tails (available for purchase in both digital and print form HERE – https://indyplanet.com/demons-tails and soon to be available in color!).  In this series, Demon was pursued by, and later partnered with, the Chicago Champion (better known in the Silverline Universe simply as “Champion”).  The two battled and took down the Church of Abaddon, its evil leader (who had undergone a physical metamorphosis himself), and rescued Demon’s sister Cheryl from being a human sacrifice.

Demon has also encountered Silverline’s most “in-universe” celebrated heroes – Tempest and Silver Dollar, who had, previously, saved the United Nations from the tyrannical attack by Dr. Fear and his clones.  In this quick, coincidental, almost accidental meeting, Tempest and Silver Dollar were tracking a duo of deadly ne’er-do-well’s, code-named Skull and Crossbones. Demon, knowing Kunoichi’s penchant for training male-female duos with distinctive yet complementary names, directed the heroes to her dojo to obtain leads.

Many, many months later, while watching TV during the day, Demon received a phone call from his employee – Nancy – who works as a nurse in his clinic.  She told him to quickly change the channel.  Live news coverage was showcasing a battle in downtown New Orleans.  Demon immediately recognized Tempest and Silver Dollar . . . but was shaken to the core when he saw two masked individuals in the brawl as well.  He sped from his apartment to the battle scene; the duo he thought he may have seen on TV was not them at all, but he had deduced (due to knowledge gained during his goldfish babysitting the night before), that there was a direct link between this duo and some long lost friends of his.  Along with Tempest, Silver Dollar, and Champion, Sniper and Rook (covert government operatives working under the command of General Davis Jefferson) joined Demon at his clinic that night and the group – which would strengthen to become more a team – and the collection of heroes began their globe-spanning adventure to save the planet from evil and tyranny.

At the end of that adventure, Demon’s whereabouts had become unknown except to his closest confidants (and the watchful eye of the United States government). Demon has remained, literally, in the shadows until his very unexpected, yet quite welcomed, upcoming reappearance in New Orleans (Cat & Mouse #2, vol 2).

Created and brought to life by Roland Mann, Demon truly has been the lynchpin of the Silverline Universe and Demon has been illustrated by some of the most impressive artists in the industry.  Mitch Byrd penciled Demon’s many appearances in the first Cat & Mouse volume, Paul Pelletier provided his artistic talents as penciller on the Demon’s Tails mini-series, Bill Maus is currently illustrating the globe-spanning adventure featuring Demon in the Beta 3 Comics / Silverline crossover series, and Demon’s return to Silverline in Cat & Mouse Volume 2 #2, now on Kickstarter as mentioned above, features Dean Zachary and Alex Gallimore as series pencillers.  Steven Butler, who had served as Silverline Art Director, penciled and inked some of the most definitive illustrations of Demon on two Cat & Mouse covers – issues 3 and 15.

Whether you are being newly introduced to Demon, or are an old fan looking forward to his long-awaited return, the adventures that seem to follow him are wonderfully written and illustrated.  Be sure to check out all of his past appearances so you’ll be up to date when Cat & Mouse Volume 2 #2 becomes available!