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Moonstone's Silencers
By Brian Jacks


Moonstone Books, the guys behind The Phantom and Kolchak: The Night Stalker books, have announced the launching of The Silencers, a crime/superhero hybrid-genre comics series from writer Fred Van Lente and artist Steve Ellis (the creative team behind the award-winning Tranquility comics). This new ongoing series will launch this spring as the flagship title of the company's new line of standard-format 32-page full-color comics series.

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Moonstone is the publisher known for their high-quality line of graphic novels based on fan-favorite licensed properties such as the aforementioned The Phantom and Kolchak the Night Stalker, as well as Vampire: The Masquerade, Werewolf the Apocalypse, and Boston Blackie. Moonstone started out strictly as a publisher of 32-page, black-and-white, creator-owned comics.

“We made the big push into color with our licensed properties about a year ago and followed that up with our Noir black-and-white graphic novels,” explains Moonstone Publisher Joe Gentile. “Now, we feel the time is ripe to add a standard-format comics line – starting with a great series like The Silencers – as a way to continue expanding our market reach, retailer appeal and fan base.”

Writer Fred Van Lente describes The Silencers as a gritty crime/noir series set in a superhero universe. Unlike typical superhero comics, however, The Silencers follows the criminals rather than the colorful crime-fighters (who are often disparagingly referred to as “tights” because of their costumes and attitudes).

The series’ central character is Cardinal, leader of the Silencers, a group of super-powered enforcers for New York City’s most powerful crime family, the Provenzanos. Cardinal’s plans for finally retiring from a life of super-crime are turned upside down when the Syndicate, a mysterious and powerful international cartel, “whacks” the Provenzanos and takes over as the new crime power in New York. In retaliation, Cardinal takes the remaining Silencers underground, and exacts payback from the Syndicate through a spectacular series of heists, hits, scams and stings.

“Super-gangsters! Come on, what’s not to like?” laughs Gentile. “The thing I really enjoy is that these guys have given us a story with a smart, different slant on a world with super-powered characters: it’s not just the same old straight-up, main-line superhero tale.”

“If The Silencers hadn’t come Moonstone’s way, I’m not sure how soon we would have tried a regular format ongoing comic,” confides Gentile. “I just so dug the concept that it made me realize it was the perfect series to help us make the leap.”

For the creators’ part, artist and co-creator Steve Ellis -- whose comics credits include DC’s Lobo and Hawkman, Wildstorm’s Jezebel, Marvel’s Professor X & The X-Men, and more -- cites the “Moonstone Noir” line, featuring characters such as Jack Hagee: Private Eye and The Mysterious Traveler, as a major factor in the decision to pitch The Silencers series to Moonstone rather than another comics publisher.

“I like Joe’s ideas about publishing comics, his ethic, his long track record, and the way he keeps making strides forward,” says Ellis, who has worked on Moonstone’s Vampire and Werewolf titles. “Fred and I like the idea that Moonstone can grow with The Silencers as much as our series can grow with Moonstone.”

The Silencers is a 32-page, full color, ongoing series published by Moonstone Books for sale at the suggested retail price of $3.50. The Silencers issue #1 solicits in February (Previews Item Code Feb032049) for shipment in April 2003.


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