July 2007


Our talk with the author of the acclaimed superhero novel! 

Read the full interview here.


by Zack Smith

“Graphic Novel.” The phrase has been bandied about by countless critics, journalists and fans, becoming a term that’s sometimes seen as distinct from “comic books.”

But what truly constitutes a graphic novel, and what are the realities of creating one?

At the “Many Faces of the Graphic Novel” panel held at the San Diego Comic-Con International on Thursday, six of today’s most acclaimed creators tried to answer that question.

Full story here.


by Zack Smith

For years, the work of Golden Age comic book creator Fletcher Hanks lingered in obscurity. That recently changed with the release of Fantagraphics’ I Shall Destroy All the Civilized Planets: The Comics of Fletcher Hanks by Paul Karasik, which has introduced such surreal, vengeful characters as Stardust and Fantomah to an all-new generation.

In the panel “Fletcher Hanks: The Ed Wood of Comics?”, held at the San Diego Comic-Con International on Thursday, Karasik showed a packed house the history of Hanks’ work, and argued why comparisons to “the worst director of all time” might not be warranted.

Full story here.

With Simone Bianchi just announced as the new artist on Astonishing X-Men with writer Warren Ellis, we checked in to hear his thoughts on the upcoming project, and find out what was up with the “X” shaved into his hair at San Diego Comic-Con. Even without a script in hand yet, Bianchi still had plenty to say about his upcoming run. Full story here.


by Zack Smith

Whiteout and Watchmen, two of the most-anticipated film adaptations of comics…well, ever, were previewed at San Diego Comic-Con International on Friday. Hall H, the largest exhibition room at the convention center, was packed wall to wall with thousands of fans waiting to hear some of the first news about the upcoming films in Warner Brothers’ presentation.

Here are the highlights…


by Zack SmithAt their panel today at SDCC, IDW announced a new project by a known/unknown author (depending on what you’ve heard). Author Joe Hill is a young writer’s who’s just coming into his own thanks to the reception his novel Heart-Shaped Box has seen. Hill was ”outed” by Variety in 2006 (after his book was published though) – his fill name is Joseph Hillstrom King, and he’s the son of Stephen and Tabitha King.But – as any number of critics have pointed out, Hill was making a name for himself before his genealogy was known. He’d even sold a comic story to Marvel amidst his early career. And now, Hill’s Locke & Key, a six issue miniseries, will be launching in January.

We spoke with the author.

Full story here.

Building Blount Street Commons
Linking one of Raleigh’s oldest districts to the new downtown


540 N. Blount St. in downtown Raleigh has seen better days. A thin layer of black dirt covers the outside, and if you want an invitation inside, you probably shouldn’t touch the broken plastic button that was once a doorbell.

The inside boasts some ugly blue carpeting, fluorescent lights and a water fountain from the days when the state government used it as a headquarters for investigating white-collar crimes.

“There were guys with nightsticks and 9 mms on their hips wandering around,” muses Doug Redford, a senior project manager with LNR Property Corp.’s commercial property group. “Why did you need a 9 mm to investigate white-collar crime, anyway?”

One of the grand old dwellings of the Blount Street district in Raleigh
Photo by James Preiss

The North Blount Street historic district contains some of Raleigh’s oldest and most historically important homes—most of which have been turned into state offices. Now, a redevelopment plan called Blount Street Commons could turn them back into homes and help transform the district into one of downtown’s most upscale neighborhoods.

Full Story Here!

Empty warehouses, no trains
What to do with TTA’s empty buildings in downtown Raleigh?


The seven red-brick buildings adjacent to the large Dillon Supply building off of West Martin Street in downtown Raleigh are a melancholy sight. They’ve remained empty since late 2005, when they were bought out by the Triangle Transit Authority as part of the TTA’s plans for a 28-mile rail line.

Problem: The rail line’s still in limbo, and so are the buildings.

A view of the Dillon Supply building off West Martin Street in Raleigh
Photo by James Preiss

Aly Khalifa and Isaac Panzarella are two members of DesignBox, a creative collective that opened an office near the old Dillon buildings in March. They’ve proposed a solution—why not repurpose the buildings as live/work spaces for artists?

 Full story here: http://www.indyweek.com/gyrobase/Content?oid=oid%3A157584


Did a chat session with my friend, film critic Craig Lindsey, which ran on the Raleigh News and Observer’s web site….along with that photo of me with Rosario Dawson. 

Lindsey’s observations on the chat:

“But this convo is perhaps the most significant for me because Smith helped me deal with something that was tearing me up inside, something that no mature adult should have to deal with: my increasing hatred for ‘Transformers.’ I’ll forever be indebted to him for being there for me. You’re a true friend, playa!”

 Aw!  Right back at you, Craig!

 You can read our chat here.


by Zack Smith

ENIGMA THE FIRST: the lone survivor of an alien world, a nameless man of somber, impassive visage, garbed utterly inappropriately in garish blue-and-red. ENIGMA THE SECOND: James-Michael Starling, age twelve raised in near-isolation by parents who (he discovered on the day they “died”) were robots. ENIGMA THE THIRD: the link between the man and the boy, penetrating to the depths of the mind and body, causing each to question his very reality of self.

In-depth interview with the MacArthur “genius” grant recepient about his upcoming series at Marvel Comics. 

Read the Full Story here.

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