Featured Publisher: Silverline

All Silverline Comics is a genre-spanning comic book and graphic novel publisher. That’s what we tell everyone, but if you look under the hood, you’ll find Silverline is made up of creators who love comic books and who love making them. Some people have hobbies like bird watching or jogging… The creators of Silverline love to make comics.

Some of you might be thinking you’ve heard of Silverline Comics before, and that’s entirely possible, as Silverline has been around—off and on—since the late 1980s.

Long story short: When I first got into comics, I tried to self-publish with my college buddies Steven Butler and Mitch Byrd. We tried to self-publish a comic we created called Cat & Mouse. We solicited under the name of Top Comics. Ultimately, we didn’t have the money to get the book printed, so we sought out a publisher. We found one in EFGraphics, but we had multiple titles we had planned, so we were going to become a distinct “line” for EFGraphics. Steven and I, being big fans of the Silver Age of comics, wanted the name to reflect what we were trying to do with our comics, capturing the spirit of that era. We didn’t want to replicate those comics, but we wanted the excitement and energy that surrounded them. We wanted to be like “a Silver Age line of comics.” And while it seems obvious now, we decided on simply Silverline.

Unfortunately, EFGraphics published only one issue of Cat & Mouse in 1989, in color, and went belly-up. We took that issue and shopped around for a new home, courting several popular Indie publishers of the 1980s; if you can think of them, we likely sent them our stuff. We settled on Malibu Comics, and the first issue of an 18-issue run of Cat & Mouse was published in 1990.

Because we had a couple of titles, we wanted to maintain the identity we established as Silverline, and it was Malibu who suggested that our role was actually that of a “packager.” Simply, we were putting together entire teams on new comics and submitting them. Meaning, Malibu only had to like what we sent them, and then publish it. They didn’t have to “edit” in the sense of putting the creative teams together, that’s what we were doing.

That was Silverline 1.0.

Shortly after that, we ended Cat & Mouse and Mitch went on to do other things. Steven got work drawing Badger for First Comics, and then I was offered an editor’s job at Malibu. While there was never an official ending or dissolution, Silverline just kinda stopped doing stuff as we each moved on to other things.

Fast forward to 1998. Malibu had been bought by Marvel, Marvel declared bankruptcy, and a whole bunch of folks lost their jobs because of it—including me. But I had decided that I was equipped with a decade of experience and so launched Silverline Comics as a full-fledged publishing company. This I now call Silverline 2.0. From 1998 until 2001, I published 13 comics under the Silverline banner… and then I, too, had to call it quits because I lost a lot of money… I mean, a LOT.

So, I left comics, went back to school, got an advanced degree, and started teaching college. I still do that today, by the way, and am fortunate to work at a place that encourages my continued involvement in the comic industry.

In 2009, while doing research for a book that I was teaching in my class, I stumbled upon a company looking for someone to write a graphic novel adaptation of The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, one of my all-time favorite novels. I got the gig (was published by Campfire Entertainment) and realized that even though I’d quit comics, I still enjoyed the heck out of them. So, I started poking around to make some during my free time.

A few years later, I discovered Kickstarter and had reconnected with an artist who did a bunch of work for me when I was an editor with Malibu. He, and inker Barb Kaalberg, convinced me to relaunch Cat & Mouse. We did so and had a successful campaign. That was 2018. Then my wife suggested I relaunch Silverline, which Barb soundly seconded. Knowing it would be a lot of work, I said I’d only do it if they helped me. They quickly agreed… and Silverline 3.0 was born in 2019.

As part of that idea, I immediately reached out to some creators I’d known for a long time and loved their work, the first of which was R.A. Jones. Once folks caught wind that I was doing Silverline again, the submissions came pouring in. So much so, I had to stop accepting them because I do still have a full-time job and can’t devote enough time to handle too many new projects.

Since 2019, Silverline has successfully funded and fulfilled on time, 48 comics! We’ve done traditional superhero comics, which I love, some science fiction, some horror, some alternate history, some comedy—really, a little of everything. There’s seriously something for any comic reader.

We’ve been able to finish five mini-series up to this point: Cat & Mouse (4 issues), Friar Rush (3 issues), Kayless (4 issues), Twilight Grimm (4 issues), and Trumps (4 issues). Starting in early 2024, we’ll be soliciting and shipping them nationwide and internationally through Diamond and Lunar and any other distributor who will carry us.

We stream three times a week with three different stream teams: Sunday nights at 8 pm EST, Tuesday nights at 11 pm EST, and Wednesday nights at 8 pm EST. We talk about our comics, how to make comics, comics we like, and a wide assortment of geeky/nerdy stuff that we enjoy. We interact with the listeners who are active on chat, and love it when they do so.

We’ve got dates laid out for six Kickstarters in 2024 as we work to wrap up even more of our exciting stories. We anticipate completing the popular Divinity mini-series with #4, seeing the second issues of several others: Wolf Hunter, White Devil, Beah, Silverline Team-Up, and Capetown. Honestly, I’m super excited about what we’ve done and what the future holds for Silverline.

As we’ve taken to saying to close out our streams, Make Mine Silverline!


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