First Comic News: You’re crowdfunding Cat & Mouse #3 with a new comic, Trumps Book 1. It is good to see the next installment of C&M, but can you tell us why two at a time?
Roland Mann: Sure! Since I last talked to you about C&M #2, Silverline has really grown, so much so we’ve got over a dozen comics in the works. If we’re going to crowdfund them all, we’ve got to do some doubling up.
1st: What’s the story of Cat & Mouse?
Roland: Brett gets a call from his ex-fiancé, asking that he go get her kid sister who ran away from home and bring her back home. He doesn’t really want to do that because, well, it’s his EX-fiancé, but he’s studying to be a police officer so says he’ll try. He goes to New Orleans only to discover she’s been caught up in a human trafficking ring. So he has to figure out how to get her out of the human trafficking ring and get her home. And yes, there are ninjas involved.
1st: This is the second volume of Cat & Mouse. Do readers need to have read the first volume from the early 90s?
Roland: Nah, these are brand new characters with brand new stories. There will be secondary characters old readers will know, but the new ones will be introduced to them in a way that they won’t need to be familiar with volume 1.
Roland: I think human trafficking is one of the biggest terrible issues in the united states today…and the general populace either just doesn’t care, or doesn’t think it’s as bad as it is. The various sources for numbers don’t all agree exactly, but they DO all point to it as a horrible problem that—for the most part—is just ignored. While I want to entertain readers with this story, I hope that it will shed a little light on a real issue as well. Also, as a parent of two kids, the thought of someone taking my kids and doing terrible things to them and me never knowing is one of the scariest things I can think of.
1st: How much of the series is completed?
Roland: The third issue—the one we’re kickstarting—is done. Alex, the penciler, is hard as work penciling the fourth and final issue of the series.
1st: Can you get issues 1 and 2 if you back #3?
Roland: Absolutely! They’re easy to add, and directions to do that are in our FAQs!
1st: Your creative team has some considerable experience, inker Barbara Kaalberg has inked for a lot of companies, and colorist Kevin Gallegly was a Malibu colorist back in the early 90s. How did you find Alex Gallimore?
Roland: Simple, social media. I saw him post some sample pages he’d done while at The Kubert School and immediately liked what I saw. I reached out to him and just started a conversation with him. Explained to him the situation and Silverline, and he was ready to get to work!
Roland: Trumps is a science-fiction superhero story set on a world called THE DECK. Four kingdoms inhabit the world and each new season battle for supremacy. Every season sees a new kingdom of power or TRUMPS. Only one kingdom can hold the title of Trumps at one time.
1st: How did it come about?
Roland: When my family gets together on holidays and such, we play a lot of card games, things like Shanghai Rummy, King’s Reverse, Pinochle, and Hand and Foot. We sit around the table and have a lot of fun. There are so many different games and different combinations of cards and what cards can “beat” another card…one thing led to another…and a comic story was born!
1st: In today’s political climate, do you have any concerns about the title?
Roland: Y’know, yeah there was definitely some concern. The Trumps title predates the current president, but the title just fits the story. We kicked it around a lot, but ultimately I decided: if people take a look at it because they love President Trump, great! They’ll see it has nothing to do with him, but maybe they’ll like what they see. And if people take a look at it because they hate President Trump, great! They’ll see it has nothing to do with him, but maybe they’ll like what they see. It isn’t difficult to see it isn’t about current politics, but if the title will help get eyes to it—well, that’s really what I want anyway, right?
1st: Who’s the creative team with you on Trumps?
Roland: There are 48 pages in the crowdfunder. Anthony Pereira pencils the first 24 pages, and Thomas Hedglen pencils the second 24 pages. They are both stellar storytellers. Industry veteran and my long time friend Thomas Florimonte. Sid VenBlu is the colorist. Both Sid and Thomas Hedglen are Kubert School grads.
1st: What can backers get with the crowdfunder?
Roland: We always offer a Kickstarter exclusive cover—just means if you want that cover on the comic(s), you have to get it from the Kickstarter. One of the other things we always offer is what we call “Retro” editions. The Retro versions are simply black and white interiors with color covers. I like to tout them as “just like we did in the 80s!” LOL But fans seem to like the black and white editions and so…yeah, we’ll keep doing them.
Also, there’s a lot of original art rewards available. With creators doing so much work digitally these days, or even scanning in pencils for the inks, we’ve got pages from the comics that you can get both the penciled version and the inked version, depending on your preferences. There’s a LOT of pages. It’s perfect for someone who loves to own original art. Also, it’s a good chance to own originals from artists Alex Gallimore and Thomas Hedglen, artists at the start of their career!
1st: What makes your crowdfunder different from other crowdfunders and why should fans and readers support the campaign?
Roland: Our books are finished. Theoretically, I could print and ship them tomorrow—if I had the money. We’ve seen all the fans upset about being burned about crowdfunders, creators taking their money, and then not delivering the promised comic for months on end. I don’t want that to ever be Silverline, so we make sure we’re finished by the time we launch the crowdfunder…or with just a few things to do that are doable by the time the campaign ends so that we can ship immediately. I am happy to say that I’m 7 for 7 on delivering crowdfunders on time! I’m pretty happy about that.
1st: With so many projects, what makes Silverline different from other independent companies.
Roland: Aside from being able to deliver in a timely fashion, we want fans to have fun reading our comics. We believe that comics are supposed to be fun, no agendas, just fun. When readers finish the last page and say “that was fun,” then we’ve done what we set out to do. And I believe that is indeed what we do.