The Silent Invasion: Dark Matter is almost here!

NBM will be releasing Book 4 of our Silent Invasion series in October. This is the first brand new material that we have produced in the series since we did the Abductions story in 2002 (which NBM released as Book 3 last year)

Above you will see a synopsis from the back cover of the book.

Over on his portion of the Blog, Michael has been posting some artwork from the book. Check that out.

Some of you reading this may not be familiar with The Silent Invasion. So for a bit of background information here is the text that we wrote as an Afterward for a french language edition of Book 1 which was published in mid 2020.

The Silent Invasion; Aliens Ate Our Brains

The Silent Invasion was first published by Renegade Press in comic book form in 1986. This volume contains the first six issues and, in the beginning, that was all that there was supposed to be.

We had contributed a couple of back-up Dick Mallet stories to Dave Sim’s Cerebus, published by Aardvark-Vanaheim. When Deni Loubert left Aardvark-Vanaheim to start Renegade Press she asked us if we wanted to develop a series for the new line. We jumped at the opportunity. Michael knew that at that time he had no chance at working in mainstream comics.

As we searched for a topic, our minds turned to our childhood fantasies and fears for inspiration.

During the 1950s, and well into the 1960s when we were growing up, there were numerous UFO sightings across North America. UFO researchers called them “UFO flaps.” Michael in particular was fascinated by these UFO sightings. He grew up in Oshawa, a city located on the north shore of Lake Ontario about 50 kilometres east of Toronto. In looking for diversions and excitement he would, with a couple of friends, spend long evenings staring into the night skies hoping to see one of those mysterious discs visiting us wretched earthlings from the deep reaches of outer space.

Our imagination was fuelled by “bad” sci-fi movies; Fate Magazine; the charlatan, George Adamski, who claimed to have been taken on tours of the solar system by friendly aliens; and the story of Barney and Betty Hill, the New Hampshire couple famously abducted by aliens in 1961.

We thought we could have some fun by creating a series that would follow the adventures of a delusional reporter (Matt Sinkage) as he tries to link the UFO sightings and “alien abductions” of the 1950s and 1960s to the Cold War and the communist witch hunts that were orchestrated by Joseph McCarthy and his crowd of right wing hooligans. And this link would be a deep-state (in the days before we knew what the deep state was) conspiracy run by a shadowy government organization.

The series was always meant to be a light-hearted and somewhat satirical pastiche of 1950s film noir thrillers and science fiction movies.

Visually, Michael looked to the European cartoonists for inspiration. He was first introduced to European cartoonists around 1970-71 through the fanzines Graphic Story World and Graphic Story Magazine. Additionally, he found that he could buy Pilote and Tintin at a smoke shop/pool hall/magazine stand in “culturally-deprived” Oshawa. It was then that he discovered Jean Girard, Hergé, Hugo Pratt; and then later Yves Chaland, Serge Clerc, Jacques Tardi and others. His eyes were truly opened as to what was possible in comics.

The premise of The Silent Invasion is that there is something terribly rotten in the American government. This book and the second volume are set in the 1950s during the time of the communist witch-hunts. But Matt Sinkage, our main character, thinks he is on to something when he believes he discovers evidence that a recent rash of UFO sightings is somehow connected to the so-called communist infiltration of government departments and agencies. What’s never clear is whether the “communists in government” is a cover story to detract from the “alien invasion of earth” or the other way around. And as with any good conspiracy theory, the conspiracy can never be resolved. It can only get more complex.

And now, in 2020, the world has caught up with The Silent Invasion. As we type these words, the Pentagon has just released videos of “unidentified aerial phenomena” – videos which it admits are real, but unexplainable. A President has been elected about whom conspiracy theories abound – was he fairly elected or was there manipulation by foreign or, dare we speculate, alien powers? And we are all locked indoors, fearing the worst from Covid-19!

In the months before the release of the original comic book series, our promotional campaign used headlines such as… “What kind of alien is your neighbor? What kind are you?” and “We are under surveillance! Who do you trust?” and “There are 187 aliens in Congress! Who did you vote for?” These phrases speak to the atmosphere of the 2020s just as much as they did to the 1950s.

Today The Silent Invasion resonates even more: the current president is no stranger to creating, and sustaining, conspiracy theories. It is unlikely that he’s ever seen a conspiracy theory he didn’t like. Is he under the influence of aliens? If so, are they terrestrial or extra-terrestrial?

As we mentioned, The Silent Invasion began as a six issue series in 1986, and that is what you presently hold in your hands. This was a staggeringly innovative year for comic books. Amazing Heroes magazine chose The Silent Invasion as one of the ten best comics of 1986, a list which was topped by Frank Miller’s Batman: The Dark Knight and also included Watchmen, Love and Rockets and Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing. We were also nominated for a 1987 Kirby Award for best black-and-white comic of the year (losing to Cerebus by fellow Canadian Dave Sim)

Before we completed those issues we realized we wanted to continue the story, and wrote and drew a further six issues. Several years later, aliens possessed us and forced us to tell yet another tale. And we are currently are working on a brand new story to be published soon.

Hopefully you will enjoy this book enough that Delcourt brings you the next perplexing adventure of Matt Sinkage!

Meanwhile… Watch the skies!

THEY….. are… out… there!!

Michael Cherkas and Larry Hancock

Toronto, Canada

May 2020

For more information on The Silent Invasion click here.

You can follow us on Facebook as well.

You can find Larry’s previous blog posts here

And posts by Michael Cherkas, here

Author: Larry Hancock

Larry Hancock is a professional accountant living in Toronto, Canada. Along with Michael Cherkas he has created several comic books/graphic novels including The Silent Invasion, Suburban Nightmares and the Purple Ray. Larry Hancock was born in Toronto in 1954 and has been a science fiction fan ever since discovering Andre Norton, Alan E Nourse and Robert Heinlein in the children's library. He has been a dedicated comic book fan for just as long. As a professional accountant (CPA CA), he has many clients in artistic fields - writers, artists, animators, films. However, counter to the view of accountants as boring, he has written graphic album/comic books The Silent Invasion and The Purple Ray with Michael Cherkas and Suburban Nightmares with Cherkas and John van Bruggen. It should be noted that, while the credits on Amazon and other sites often list Larry as the writer and Michael as the illustrator, Larry and Michael plot their work together, with Larry supplying the scripting and Michael the drawings. While still an avid fan of science fiction, in recent years Larry's reading has turned much more to British crime novels. In recent years, Larry's vacations have taken him further afield, to Costa Rica, Peru, Kenya, Madagascar, Indonesia, Egypt, Jordan, Nepal, Bhutan and Tibet.

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