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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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.

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Breaking the 10 banded set

In September you have the first chance to get volume 1 and volume 2 our of book with NBM together as one banded set, at a special price:

 

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Pages from the book can be seen HERE

Meanwhile, I am currently more than half way through writing volume 3 of our other book with NBM, ‘The Story of Lee’. Currently, Lee is in a serious discussion while walking home with her Uncle Jun, via Chambers Street and Middle Meadow Walk – two well known streets in my hometown of Edinburgh.

Nice!

And related news – the 2018 Independent Publisher Book Awards results were just announced and our book, ‘Portraits of Violence’ got a award!

Category 29. GRAPHIC NOVEL/DRAWN BOOK – GENERAL
BRONZE MEDAL: Portraits of Violence: An Illustrated History of Radical Thinking

The artist from our Breaking the 10 book, Michiru Morikawa, has one chapter in the Portraits of Violence book. That’s my 2nd medal in the Independent Publisher Book Awards, and happy to get it.

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Sean

 

Breaking the 10 vol 2 nice mention

Nice of Down the Tubes website to do a page on our BREAKING THE 1O book:

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Click on the above image to go to the web site.

Order it from Previews December Customer Order Form, page 27 (or p377 in the full catalogue), under the publishers name ‘NBM'(and with a cute ‘Certified Cool’ stamp of recommendation). Diamond Code: DEC17 1696

With Volume 1 of the book re-listed, code: DEC171697

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NBM’s page for the book HERE

 

Breaking the 10 volume 2 – listing now!

After quite a bit of difficulty and rearranging of the book’s ending Volume 2 of our BREAKING THE 10 is finished… and is presently listed in this month’s Previews catalogue from Diamond distributor.

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Order it from Previews Customer Order Form, page 27 (or p377 in the full catalogue), under the publishers name ‘NBM’ (and with a cute ‘Certified Cool’ stamp of recommendation).

Diamond Code: DEC17 1696

With Volume 1 of the book re-listed under code:  DEC171697

 

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Despite the trouble we had I’m very proud of this book and really looking forward to seeing volume 2 come out printed well.

Nice!

NBM’s page for the book HERE

And more pages from the book can be seen at my WEB SITE

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Workshop

I rarely give workshops for kids anymore, but when I was invited by my local primary school for an interview with the editors of the school magazine, I thought it would be a good idea to make the event into a mini-workshop. And it worked out great!

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There were six kids and they were all so enthusiastic and creative! One of them even had made me a special drawing, with me in it!

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I had not really planned anything solid, but as soon as I drew some examples of how you can set up your own comic character, they were off…

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If there’s anything I like to get across about drawing comics, it’s to have FUN with it. Fun always translates. The rest is just handy tips & tricks about using thick markers so your lines are solid, adding black to make it look instantly professional, and putting jokes in.

In the meantime, they asked me questions for the school paper interview. They ranged from “Do you have hobbies beside comics?” (Yes: writing) to “Is that your real hair color?” (No).

At the end, I offered to make them all a drawing per their request – and the result reads almost like a comic:

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Lots of thanks to the Rosa Boekdrukkerschool in Amsterdam and Mechteld Jansen, who helps out with the school paper and invited me to do this. It was great fun!

PRIDE lives!

Copies of Pride Of The Decent Man are beginning to arrive in the hands of readers. This is feels like the end of something, but also the beginning of another stage – promotion!

It’s actually been two years (!) since sending off the initial short proposal for the book, and now it’s done, real, and ready to be (hopefully) enjoyed by the public.

I’ll be making my first two appearances in support of PRIDE soon at the Small Press Expo in Maryland and the Brooklyn Book Festival in NYC. Details to come very soon!

I’m also posting a new tour poster image I’ve got with some other dates as well. More are being added soon.

Pride Of The Decent Man is now available through many fine booksellers.

For more info, go here.

Thanks again – and thanks for reading.

T.J.

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