American comic creator Brian John Mitchell (who kindly promotes downthetubes on his web site) has a novel twist to his comics creation – he’s been creating them at the size of a pack of matches in various genres, from auto-bio to western to horror.
You can view his ‘Matchbook Comics’ here on Silber Media: they include diverse titles such as ‘Sailor’, ‘Mermaid’ and ‘Cyberpunk Apocalypse: Artistic Evidence’.
“I spent the month of November 2012 in Pittsburgh at the Cyberpunk Apocalypse house working on comics and art,” says Brian of the latter 284 pages collection of hundreds of images made over the stay. (There’s more information on that project here)
Silber Records officially started in 1996 with the release of the Alleviation compilation, though its conceptual birth can be traced back to autumn 1994 with the release of the first issue of QRD (the internet version of QRD still continues now having done about 1000 interviews with various independent musicians).
“I started the zine with every intention of it eventually turning into a record label,” says Brian. “The premise for the label was, and remains, simply to release music by people I like in order to sell enough of their records so they don’t have to work day jobs and to simultaneously sell directly to the consumer at a fair price.
“Of course, I didn’t understand distribution then…. But, it’s many years later and we continue to release innovative music that speaks a language we understand because it’s what we know how to do. Good music deserves to be heard & we’re doing our part to make sure it gets from the bedroom to your ears.
“It is our responsibility to release innovative music that we feel is relevant and important to us,” he says. “It is also our responsibility to be a model of morality and ethics, in both our musi and usiness practices.
“The truth is, we don’t think of Silber as a record label as much as we do a family of artists from around the world, sharing mutual respect for each other. The artists we showcase are stylistically and technically different from one another & because of this our audience is wonderfully varied. However, there are common threads that hold us all together, whether they be in the form of walls-of-sound or acoustic guitars.”
The music offered includes Punk rock, post rock, metal, sludgecore, freak folk and more. “It’s all about communicating in ways we can’t with words,” says Brian. For those of you who ae curious, there’s a label sampler, drones,loves, honesties, sounds – or just listen to a few hours of songs over on this page.
“The comics I guess started around 2003,” he reveals. “I loved comics as a kid and so at some point I decided to start making the kind I wanted to read, ones that could fit in my pocket and be read in just a few minutes.”
The comics are great fun, with one panel per page: Bottle Comics: Sailor, with art from Jason Young, is part of The Bottle Comics Project which put comics in bottles to be discovered by strangers in the distant future. Sailor is a haunting Twilight Zone type story about purgatory, while Mermaid reveals the true nature of the mythical sea creature.
These comics work really well read on a mobile device, as eclectic a mix of styles and storytelling as Silber’s music.
If you want print editions, you can also buy a 60 comic book box set collection (in a hand finished wooden box) of Silber’s first 60 books for a modest $75 (for non US readers) or as a digital download collection ($12).
• Check out Silber Music Comics here: www.silbermedia.com/comics
The founder of downthetubes, which he established in 1998. John works as a comics and magazine editor, writer, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. He is currently editor of Star Trek Explorer, published by Titan – his third tour of duty on the title originally titled Star Trek Magazine.
Working in British comics publishing since the 1980s, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Babylon 5 Magazine, and more. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War” and “Dan Dare”.
He’s the writer of “Pilgrim: Secrets and Lies” for B7 Comics; “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood.