The Silent Invasion World Tour

Announcing our World Tour of 2018!!!

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Both Larry Hancock and I will be appearing at the Small Press Expo in Bethesda, Maryland on September 15. And then through the magic of Amtrak we’ll be at the Brooklyn Book Festival on September 16.

If you’re in the area, and want to talk about conspiracies, secret government organizations, the Great Alien-Earth War of 1943, alien-human hybridization, the perils of the deep state, or why there were once two teams with the same nickname in the 9-team CFL look for us at the NBM booth and Larry will be happy to answer all your questions.

We’ll have more details in soon.

Here’s a scene from one of our previous appearances at a comic book convention.

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And remember to watch the skies!

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The Silent Invasion – More early promotional material

Back when we originally released The Silent Invasion as a comic book, we heavily promoted it within the comic book media. We prepared a new ad to tease each issue just before its release. In a previous posting I shared the ad which heralded the release of the first issue.

Here are the ads that led up to the release of issues #2 to #6

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Stay tuned and, watch the skies!!

For more information on The Silent Invasion click here.

You can follow us on Facebook as well.

Some Lost Art of The Silent Invasion

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Here are some lost sketches from The Silent Invasion. Some of these were done as convention sketches while you’re sitting around wondering when someone will come by your table and talk to you. Others were cover roughs, and I’ve included an old ad we created for Renegade Press promoting our third issue back in the day of floppy comics. The art for this ad has been adapted for the cover of NBM’s second volume, The Great Fear.

You can tell that in the above sketch, Matt Sinkage is not worried about the alien takeover. There are no flying drops of sweat or crazed worry lines. He has obviously already been brainwashed by The Deep State into believing the alien takeover of American institutions will be a positive development.

Here’s a cover rough…

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A couple of convention sketches…

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Below is the old ad for Renegade Press and the new cover for NBM’s upcoming second volume of The Silent Invasion. The ad was scanned from the original “paste-up.” Remember those days using waxers and X-acto knives or scalpels? You really had be on the ball so you didn’t bleed all over the art board…

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The cover to The Great Fear…

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That’s it for now.

And remember: Watch the skies for things that go bump in the night!

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The Silent Invasion – Accolades

When  The Silent Invasion  was released, first as a comic book by Renegade Press in 1986, and then as a series of graphic albums by NBM in 1988, the series was well received by reviewers.

Upon seeing the first NBM album, Publishers Weekly said, “A series that will undoubtedly become a classic… This comic has it all: great plotting, humor, suspense and excellent stylized black-and-white drawings.”

But even during its comic book days, our series was getting serious acclaim. Amazing Heroes magazine chose The Silent Invasion as #10 on its list of ten best comics of 1986 – not just #10 of indie comics, or black-and-white comics – but of all comics released that year!

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We were also finalists in the category of Best Black-and-White for the 1987 Jack Kirby Comics Industry Awards (the precursors of the Harveys and the Eisners).

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The Comics Buyer’s Guide referred to The Silent Invasion as “one of the lesser-known gems of comic books today” and went on to say that “the art style, which seems at first like a drawback, is actually one of the series’ strongest assets. It is a stark, no-frills style that makes some of the best uses of solid black areas.”

Maclean’s (Canada’s weekly newsmagazine) , in an article entitled “The comic book’s quest for maturity” said that “Hancock’s smart, slangy dialogue… and Cherkas’s blocky black-and-white artwork have the melodramatic charge of theme music from Perry Mason” and said that the series is “rich in ambiguity.”

In his article in Playboy in the December 1988 issue, Harlan Ellison included The Silent Invasion as one of several examples of the blossoming of comic books as a significant and meaningful art form.

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To conclude, for the time being, I want to give you one of my favorite quotes about our series. This is from the Amazing Heroes article describing why we were included on the list of ten best comics of 1986. “Both the writer’s and the artist’s vision seem to spill from the same fever-dream of dimly remembered images and horrors that it’s hard to believe this is the work of a team and not a lone, obsessed cartoonist. This is one of the most unsettling comics I’ve ever read…. This is a very original work of great potential.”

In a future posting, we’ll bring you some more reviews and excerpts from letters we received from other comic professionals!

Stay tuned and, watch the skies!!

For more information on The Silent Invasion click here.

You can follow us on Facebook as well.

Behind the scenes with The Silent Invasion

Larry and I are long-time collaborators on The Silent Invasion and other comic book work. We work the “Marvel method.” That is we discuss the story and roughly formulate the plot over a pizza or burger. I make a few rough sketches, then go away and do tighter layouts and send them to Larry. He scripts the story. I take the script and pretend to make it work. We make additional edits over much gnashing of teeth, fist fights, Sugar ‘n’ Spike inspired tantrums and other childish behaviour. I pencil it using non-repro blue pencils; letter; and ink the page.

I’m pretty methodical about it the process once I start pencilling. I begin with page one at each stage and work from the top left-hand panel on the first page to the bottom right-hand panel on the last page. A creature of habit, I guess.

Here’s a sample page ( a page from chapter 4 of “Abductions”) from the first rough sketch to final product:

The initial sketch done at the pizza meeting:

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Larry’s script with my scribbles:

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The page layout:

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The pencilled page:

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A test ink sketch that I usually do while I’m finessing the point on my brush:

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And the final page:

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Next time: more on the CFL in The Silent Invasion!

Remember to watch the skies, because they are watching you!

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The Silent Invasion – early promotion

When The Silent Invasion was first released in 1986 by Renegade Press, we promoted its release with a few teaser ads in various publications that comic readers regularly purchased. In his previous posting, Michael Cherkas showed you one of those.

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And here are two more.

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And here is the full page ad to promote the first issue.

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In future blog posts we will share more behind-the-scenes materials with you!

Stay tuned and, watch the skies!!

(The above ads have been slightly revised to remove some dated references)

For more information on The Silent Invasion click here.

You can follow us on Facebook as well.

 

 

 

The Terror of the 1950s

The Roots of the Silent Invasion

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The Silent Invasion first appeared back in the age of dinosaurs, 1986, to be precise. It was released by Renegade Press, a line of indie comics published by Deni Loubert. We had contributed a couple of back-up stories to Cerebus; when she left Aardvark-Vanaheim to start Renegade, Deni asked us to develop a series for the new line. I (we) jumped at the opportunity. I knew I had no chance at working in mainstream comics (couldn’t draw then, still can’t today). So I quit my day job as a graphic designer and art director and committed myself to the project for the next few years. 

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And that’s when we looked to the skies for inspiration. 

During the 1950s — and well into the 1960s when I was growing up — there were numerous UFO sightings across North America. UFO researchers called them “UFO flaps.” Even my older brother claimed to have seen a flying saucer.

I was fascinated by these UFO sightings. I grew up in Oshawa, a city located on the north shore of Lake Ontario about 30 miles east of Toronto. It’s claim to fame is the junior hockey team, the Oshawa Generals, and the GM plant. Oshawa is not not the entertainment capital of the world, so in looking for diversions and excitement, I would — with a couple of pals — spend long evenings staring into the night skies hoping to see one of these mysterious discs visiting us wretched earthlings from the deep reaches of outer space. 

But, alas, we had no such luck. 

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My 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 back in 1961.

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Larry and I decided to build the series around these UFO sightings and abductions; and the communist witch hunts of the 1950s that were orchestrated by Joseph McCarthy and his crowd of hooligans.

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Our main character — the diligent, idealistic reporter Matt Sinkage — gets caught up in this mess. whose grip on reality might be described as tenuous. Sinkage is sure there is a deep state of corrupt capitalists, politicians and scientists who are manipulating events to the benefit of the chosen few. He just needs to convince the public through the efforts of his investigative reporting. Of course no one believes him. He’s accused of being paranoid and worse. He is our classic “Dickian” (as in Philip K. Dick) anti-hero.

I had “discovered” Dick in the mid-1970s (long after everyone else had). I’d been aware of him since I started reading science fiction as a young lad but didn’t read any of his books until I was at art college Then I read Time Out of Joint and I was hooked. 

Time Out of Joint

Into that bubbling stew of UFOs, “commonists,” and the shifting realities of Matt Sinkage, we added aspects of film noir, the wacky 1950s, bad sci-fi movies and good European comics. The Silent Invasion was born. 

After the first 12 issues of The Silent Invasion were completed we didn’t abandon comics all together. We collaborated with John van Bruggen on a 4-issue mini-series called Suburban Nightmares. Then, with John Sabljic, I worked on The New Frontier (not to be confused with DC’s The New Frontier by Darwyn Cooke). The New Frontier was an alternate world political satire that in retrospect seems somewhat prescient as it resembles Trump’s America.

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In 2001, we returned to The Silent Invasion with a sequel set in the 1960s. NBM serialized the 5-part story, titled “Abductions” as a floppy comic and next year they will publish it for the first time in a more widely available collected edition. For those completists out there, I will be redrawing three pages for the new collection.

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Now, over to you Larry…

For more information on The Silent Invasion click here.

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