UFOs, Flying Saucers, Conspiracies and Union City

Many fans and readers have asked us (all right, maybe one or two) “Where is the Union City that we see in The Silent Invasion?” Now is a good a time as any to try to answer this burning question.

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As you can see by the sign in the above panel, Union City is miles from “Rockhaven” (see “The Rockhaven Conspiracy” in our upcoming book The Great Fear), but only a short drive from Endicott which is just down the road from Johnson City and Binghamton, New York. However, Orangeville is northwest of Toronto. Obviously the aliens have been messing with our universe.

It is a place dripping with paranoia.

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The Union City found in The Silent Invasion is not located in New Jersey, California or Ohio. It could be located in Ohio—but not where the real Union City, Ohio is on the border of Indiana. And it’s not in Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Michigan, Montana, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania or Tennessee (other states that have places named Union City).

Our Union City is a place where the streets are have no names and are devoid of life. Buildings tower and twist over the few brave souls who venture out into the lonely night where newspapers blow through the empty streets.

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When we set out to create The Silent Invasion, Larry and I both wanted to set the series in a generic comic book city much like Superman’s Metropolis, Batman’s Gotham City or The Spirit’s Central City. It would be a place that was fairly large, close to a million people in population. It would be located in a fictional part of America that’s not far from deserts, mountains, cottage country or rolling farmland. Union City is close to whatever setting a particular story demands.

And of course it’s always 1957, whether the actors in our stories like it or not.

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But where in that fictional America? We like to think it’s located on one of the Great Lakes. No deserts or mountains nearby, but it’s an alternate universe. How do we know that? Because in The Silent Invasion Union City is one of 12 American cities to have a franchise in a 24-team Canadian Football League. More on this in a future post for all you CFL fans out there!

In this page from a new story set in 1970, we see Walter Sinkage’s work pals trying to get him to watch a game between the Union City Pipefitters and the Sarnia Imperials.

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At the end of the day, I think our real inspiration for Union City was Buffalo, New York.

I grew up in Oshawa, Ontario; Larry in nearby Whitby. They’re on the north shore of Lake Ontario, about 50 kilometres east of Toronto and almost directly north of Buffalo. As kids, we watched American television coming out of Buffalo. American TV was always more exciting than the fare being served on Canadian channels. Commander Tom was on at 3:30 showing the old Superman TV show; Irv Weinstein read the news on Channel 7; and there always seemed to be a fire somewhere in Buffalo with “film at eleven!”

And Toronto didn’t start to become exciting until at least 1967, maybe even a few years later.

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Larry has said Union City might be located somewhere on the south shore of Lake Ontario between Buffalo and Rochester.

But I think the real location is in the dusty corners of our imaginations…

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Remember to watch the skies!

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For more information on The Silent Invasion click here.

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Afterword

I really like webcomics. My favorite part is how much you’re allowed to see the creator grow throughout the lifespan of the comic. That’s not something you get to see in most other mediums. Or, at least, it’s not as obvious. Watching someone master a craft little by little is really inspiring. Being able to, at any time, go back and see how they began was so powerful for me that it’s what got me to start drawing.

In other words: comparing a webcomic’s current art to its art from when it first started is mind-blowing to me. Everyone knows that “practice makes perfect,” but this is proof! Proof in a way that is rarely so easily seen.

19-year-old me saw this. He saw this, and he made his own webcomic.

Here’s my very first comic (with a caption added for my Best of Collection):

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And here is my 1000th comic:

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When I started, I knew I would be terrible. But it was okay! All these artists that I admired so much, these heroes, they were all terrible at first too. Of course, logically I knew that. No one is instantly amazing at something they’ve never done before. Of course! But I had proof. And I have proof.

Making things is hard. Getting started is hard. You know you’re going to be terrible, so why start? The answer is simple. One day you won’t be terrible.

Just look at the proof.

You can find Jon on Twitter where he posts his silly drawings and sometimes brags about his kids, and you can find out more about LOOK here.

NBM Heads to MoCCA Arts Festival

mocca.19.sliderOn April 6th & 7th, NBM Graphic Novels will be attending The MoCCA Arts Festival, a 2-day multimedia event and Manhattan’s largest independent comics, cartoon and animation festival, which draws over 7,000 attendees each year.

With 400 exhibiting artists displaying their work, award-winning honorees speaking about their careers and artistic processes and other featured artists conducting workshops, lectures and film screenings, the Festival mission accelerates the advancement of the Society’s broader mission to serve as Manhattan’s singular cultural institution promoting all genres of illustration through exhibitions, programs and art education.

This year, NBM and Papercutz will be premiering two titles at the show.

Appearing on behalf of NBM is Ted Rall, writer of THE YEAR OF LOVING DANGEROUSLY.

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It’s New York City in the 1980s and Ted Rall is in college. Everything is fine before his pranks, lack of focus and restlessness get him expelled. Unable to find a job and rejected by his parents, he considers suicide. By happenstance he finds comfort in the arms of many women as he bed-hops around the five boroughs. It’s better than homelessness, but the psychic toll of selling himself and his affection was higher than he imagined.

Both acidly funny and brutally honest, Rall, a cartoonist both beloved and reviled for his edgy politics, pours out his guts in this remembrance of this most difficult chapter in his life in this revised paperback edition.

Ted will be appearing at the NBM Booth (#D149-150B) throughout the show and will be signing during the following times:

Saturday

  • 11:00-12:30 PM
  • 2:00-3:30 PM
  • 5:00-6:30 PM

Sunday

  • 12:30- 2:00 PM
    3:30-5:00 PM

Also premiering from our sister company, Papercutz, is THE ONLY LIVING GIRL. Writer/co-creator David Gallaher will be in attendance.

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Zandra ‘Zee’ Parfitt is one of the last human survivors of a cosmic disaster that merged hundreds of planets into the mysterious patchwork wasteland of Chimerika. After learning that the experiments of her late father, the diabolical Doctor Once, created this world, Zee and her companions — classmate Erik Farrell and mermaid warrior Morgan — embark on a dangerous quest filled with robots, monsters, unknown civilizations, and unlikely allies. Together they push back against the relentless Consortium, who want control of this new world at any cost. Through it all, Zee searches for the truth of her past so she can redeem her father’s legacy.

David will be appearing at the NBM Booth (#D149-150B) throughout the show and will be signing during the following times:

Saturday

  • 12:30-2:00 PM
  • 3:30-5:00 PM

Sunday

  • 11:00 – 12:30 PM
  • 2:00 -3:30 PM

All of our latest titles will be available at our table and we’ll also have looks at upcoming releases.

The 2019 MoCCA Arts Festival will take place at Metropolitan West in New York City with programming mere steps away at Ink48 (653 11th Ave).

UFO Aliens Seize Farmer and Steal His Brain!!!

With the upcoming release of NBM’s new reprint of The Silent Invasion: The Great Fear, we thought we’d share a few covers from the original floppy comics published by Renegade Press way back in the summer of 1987 during the last century. Because I worked—and still do work—as a graphic designer, I treated the covers as as mini-experiments in design. Sales were “fair to middling,” so we determined we really had nothing to lose.

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Issue 7 featured the “crazy farmer.” We wanted the cover to emulate one of those trashy National Enquirer-like supermarket tabloids, since at this point in the story, our hero—Matt Sinkage—is moonlighting for a similar publication. The crazy farmer is a real person—a work colleague at the time—who decided it would be fun and hilarious to photo-copy his face using the new photocopier the design studio had just purchased. (Graphic designers really know how to have fun.) I took the image and continued to copy it until it had been degraded to coarse black and white areas, with no grey-tones.

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With number 8, I thought I’d go for the old Life magazine look, and was only moderately successful. Looking back, the image should have been black and white and preferably a photo, but where we going to get a real person to pose as Matt Sinkage? Then with number 9, the explosion was used to “deconstruct” the standard cover elements, harkening back to one of my favourite old-time DC covers (Batman 194 by Carmine Infantino and Murphy Anderson). My attempt at this was not nearly as dramatic.

In a future post, we’ll look at the covers for issues 10, 11 and 12.

Next time: Where is Union City, and why does it always seem to be 1957 in The Silent Invasion?

And remember to watch the skies!!!

For more information on The Silent Invasion click here.

You can follow us on Facebook as well.

 

 

The Silent Invasion: The Great Fear coming in May!

The Silent Invasion: The Great Fear full coverI see Stefan has posted the great news that NBM will be releasing The Great Fear, Book 2 of The Silent Invasion in May! Michael Cherkas and I are incredibly excited about this imminent release! Stefan has posted the front cover of the book, but I wanted to share Michael’s full cover design with you …..

There are some great reviews mentioned on the back cover and I want to highlight those for you in my next blog post!

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

NBM May 2019 Releases

Here are upcoming titles, now being solicited in comics stores through Diamond Previews for a May 2019 release.

NEW!

The Silent Invasion Vol. 2: The Great Fear
By Michael Cherkas and Larry Hancock

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The paranoia and conspiracy theories continue! Beleaguered reporter Matt Sinkage’s quest to discover the truth behind an apparent, government-backed alien invasion of earth leads him to investigate a quasi-religious UFO cult based in an idyllic small American community.

Then the sudden death of a prominent politician paves the way for Senator Harrison Callahan to seek the Presidency of the United States. But Sinkage, believing that Callahan is an alien pawn, is determined to stop him at all costs.
7×10, 160pp., B&W TPB, $16.99; ISBN 978168112206951699; DIAMOND CODE: MAR191886

 

AVAILABLE AGAIN!

The Silent Invasion Vol. 1: Red Shadows
By Michael Cherkas and Larry Hancock

rsIn this era of fake news and ‘deep state’ this couldn’t be more timely!

The paranoid cult-classic science fiction mystery of the early days of indie comics returns! The series will begin with two books reprinting the original volumes, followed by the never before collected third album and concluding with an all-new fourth book of this epic series of conspiracy and paranoia.

Set against the background of a nightmarish 1950s crawling with communist spies, corrupt FBI agents, McCarthyites, Stalinists, cold warriors, flying saucers, mysterious government organizations, The Silent Invasion weaves a byzantine tale of mystery and deceit as a bewildered investigative reporter Matt Sinkage pursues the truth behind an apparent alien invasion of earth that points to involvement at the highest levels of American government officials.
7×10, 160pp., B&W TPB, $16.99: ISBN 978168112174151699;  DIAMOND CODE: MAR191887

 

The Provocative Colette
By Annie Goetzinger & Rodolphe

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Many biographies describe this uncommon woman and author. It is her years of formation which are focused on here, from her marriage at the age of 20, until her divorce.

“One dies only from the first man,” she wrote in 1909. But this death was a new beginning, and the one that signed “Colette” from 1910 on gradually opened her eyes to her condition of a woman who was an exploited writer and a betrayed wife, and who will emancipate herself by writing, and with what talent!

Incredibly complex, powerfully determined, truly gifted, Colette challenged herself to reinvent her life and assert herself as a free woman. In her day, her behavior scandalized and vexed the establishment. But in the end, she helped to free women in their thinking and became member and then president of France’s prestigious Académie Goncourt, among many other honors as one of France’s preeminent authors. For mature readers.
7 ¾ x 10 ¼”, 128pp., full color quarter-bound HC, $24.99; ISBN 978168112170352499; DIAMOND CODE: MAR191890

 

Marie Antionette, Phantom Queen
By Annie Goetzinger & Rodolphe

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During the 1930s, Maud, an artist, discovers she has a psychic gift. The first signs manifest themselves in the royal gardens of the Trianon where gradually she understands that a woman from the beyond is attempting to communicate with her.

The revelation is beyond belief: it is the ghost of Marie Antoinette appearing to her to share a terrible secret that has tormented her for centuries. After being guillotined, the Queen is said to have been thrown into a common grave but then exhumed and buried with her husband, Louis XVI, in the Saint-Denis basilica. Yet the ghost tells Maud that her remains are still in the pit, on which a chapel stands today. The queen asks Maud to move her body to the right place so she can finally find peace and no longer haunt people.

Part fantastic ghost story, part biography, this is a delicious beautifully illustrated look into French revolutionary history by the artist of the bestselling Girl in Dior.
8 ½ x 11, 68 pages, full color HC, $18.99, ISBN 978168112029451899; DIAMOND CODE: MAR19 1889

 

Girl in Dior
By Annie Goetzinger

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The Girl in Dior is Clara, a freshly hired chronicler, fan of fashion and our guide in the busy corridors of the brand new house of Christian Dior.

It’s February 12, 1947 and the crème de la crème of Paris Haute Couture is flocking to the momentous event of Dior’s first show. In a flurry of corolla shaped skirts, the parade of models file down the runway. The audience is mesmerized: it’s a triumph! Carmel Snow of Harper’s Bazaar cries out: “It’s quite a revolution, your dresses have such a new look!“

Dior’s career is launched and Clara’s story begins. Soon, she is picked by Dior himself to be his model…

A biography docudrama marrying fiction and the story of one of the greatest couturier in history, it is also a breathless and stunning presentation of his best designs such as Lauren Bacall wore, rendered by bestselling artist Annie Goetzinger, seen for the first time on this side of the Atlantic.
8 1/2x 11, 128pp., full color quarterbound, foil stamped and embossed cover, $29.99 ISBN 978156163914452999; DIAMOND CODE: MAR191888

Update in my lawsuit against the Los Angeles Times

You may have followed my three-year lawsuit against the LA Times for defamation and wrongful termination. Whether journalists in California will keep basic employment protections and whether libel will remain actionable are now important issues in the hands of the California state Supreme Court. We filed our Petition to Review with the court yesterday. Please read it here. It’s a good primer about an important case. And please wish me luck. I need it!

Thank you for your continued support.

https://www.scribd.com/embeds/400652560/content?start_page=1&view_mode=scroll&access_key=key-K8zgwzhF5kkLMQ5MkGXF&show_recommendations=true