February 2008

Dean for a day

Will Ferrell goes for the hole

27 FEB 2008  •  by Zack Smith
Starring in such “Frat Pack” films as Old School and Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy has immortalized Will Ferrell’s name on campuses across the country, and on Friday, Feb. 22, the actor and comedian proved he knows his audience well. In the next-to-last show of a seven-week tour promoting his new film Semi-Pro and his FunnyorDie.com Web site, Ferrell regaled the packed house at the Dean Smith Center with UNC/ Duke jokes, including a show-stopping bit with UNC men’s basketball coach Roy Williams.Full story here!

by Zack Smith

It’s 4.a.m. Do you know where your graphic novel is?


Alex Cox, the writer/director of REPO MAN, has written a graphic novel sequel to his cult film. 

Read all about it here!

by Zack Smith

The all-ages Marvel Adventures line has brought forth some of Marvel’s most fun and acclaimed books, and Paul Tobin is one of the line’s up-and-coming stars. Tobin, who did the Oni Press miniseries Banana Sunday with his wife, X-Men: First Class backup artist Colleen Coover, has just been picked to launch the latest MA book, Marvel Adventures: Super Heroes.

In a Newsarama exclusive, Tobin discussed the inside scoop on MA: Super Heroes (we could also call it MASH, but that makes it sound like it stars Hawkeye), giving a peak at some very offbeat stories…and even a hint at an upcoming project that hits close to home.

Read the full interview here!

by Zack Smith

Click here for Part One, and here for Part Two.

Our look back at PvP continues with creator Scott Kurtz offering his reminiscences on 10 years of snarky humor, good-hearted trolls, and the occasional panda attack. In this installment, Kurtz looks back at his time doing PvP as a comic through Dork Storm Press, and the events that led to his taking the book to its current publisher, Image Comics.

Read the full article here!

by Zack Smith

One of the most fun interviews I’ve ever done — read it here!


by Zack Smith

In celebration of PvP’s impending 10th anniversary, we’re talking with creator Scott Kurtz this week about his strip – how it evolved, both on-screen and off, and his personal journey through the last 10 years. Today, Kurtz talks about how he came to do the strip full-time, the real-life inspiration for Jade, and why everybody loves Skull.

Read the full interview here!

by Zack SmithFor what started out as an innocent online strip about video games, PvP (aka Player Vs. Player) has proven to be a groundbreaking work in comics. Not only is it a hugely-successful long-running creator-owned humor series, but it’s also one of the most successful webcomics ever. Each day, an estimated 100,000 readers follow the adventures of Cole, Brent, Jade, Francis, Marcy and Skull (and their various friends and enemies) as they riff on both pop-culture and each other.
Now, we’re doing a four-part look back at the series with creator Scott Kurtz, who’s telling the history of the strip in his own words.
Read Part One Here!

by Zack Smith

Final Crisis is DC’s biggest event of this year…and writer Grant Morrison is poised to shake the universe to its core. So when we had a chance to do a spontaneous interview with Morrison, we jumped at the chance to find out the secrets of this cataclysmic storyline.

Read the full interview here!

For four decades, George A. Romero has made a living off the dead.  The 68-year-old writer and director is celebrating two milestones in 2008 – the 40th anniversary of his debut film, 1968’s original Night of the Living Dead, and the release of his newest film, Diary of the Dead, which premieres in the Triangle this week.      Romero’s films helped make zombies icons of modern horror, even though the word “zombie” is never uttered in the original film.  After doing a large-scale production for his last film, 2005’s Land of the Dead, Romero went back to basics for Diary, shooting it on a low budget with digital cameras in Pittsburgh.  “The last zombie film I did just got too big,” Romero says in a phone interview.  “It lost touch with its roots, which was a little film made in 1968 by a bunch of young filmmakers in Pittsburgh.  While Universal let me make the film I wanted with Land of the Dead, it was a grueling experience.  It just got too big, and I didn’t know where I could go next.”

      So, Romero literally went back to the beginning, showing the start of the zombie plague from the perspective of film students shooting a low-budget horror movie. “I wanted to get back and see if I had the chops to really get down and do a guerrilla film with friends again,” Romero says, calling the experience both “great” and “nostalgic.” 

      Like his other films, including the original Dawn of the Dead, Diaryoffers its share of social commentary, in this case the rise of “new media.”  He hasn’t seen Cloverfield, which was shot after his film, though he attributes the similarities as “part of a collective unconscious.”  “I think everyone’s aware of the fact that everyone in the world has cameras these days,” Romero says.

     He enjoys several of the current zombie films, including Shaun of the Dead and Fido, though Diary does take swipes at the running zombies from 28 Days Later and the Dawn remake:  “It’s as if first thing they did when they stood up and walked was go get a membership a gym.”  Why are zombies these days?  “I really think video games, especially first-person shooters, have kept them out there,” Romero says.  “They’re everywhere now.  I keep expecting a zombie to show up with the Count on Sesame Street.”

      Romero says he feels like “a painter experimenting with new brushes” with his new film, and that he has “a hell of a lot more to say” about new media.  “I’m still learning,” says Romero. “The thing that really keeps me going is just trying to improve my handicraft.”

The proceeding interview was expanded from another version published in The Independent Weekly

From the Independent Weekly’s “Eight Days a Week” feature

Chapel Hill
Sebastian Maniscalco and Vince Vaughn’s Wild West Comedy Show
Student Union, UNC Campus—When comedian Sebastian Maniscalco (left in the picture) got to spend a month touring major venues across the country with Vince Vaughn, he was careful not to quit his day job as a waiter. “When I left to go on tour, I had every intention of going back to my day job,” says Maniscalco, whose tour is chronicled in the new documentary Vince Vaughn’s Wild West Comedy Show, which premieres tomorrow. “It’s basically the biggest break I’ve had in my career up to this point.”

The exposure Maniscalco received from the tour helped him finally go into comedy full time. January saw his second appearance on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson and his own Comedy Central Presents special. Tonight, he’ll appear at UNC as part of a special advance screening of the film at 7:30. Though Vaughn’s tour took Maniscalco everywhere from Bakersfield, Calif. to Des Moines, Iowa, this will mark the comedian’s first visit to North Carolina (he says he’d love to perform at Goodnight’s in Raleigh).

Maniscalco has nothing but praise for Vaughn, whom he calls “a truly unselfish guy.” He says the tour helped him learn to perform before a large audience: “It gave me a confidence that I didn’t have before.” He’s planning his own cross-country tour, along with trying to get a distributor for an hour-long DVD of his act. Eventually, he’d like to try his own tour with other up-and-comers. “It’d be a great thing to give back and pay it forward and do it for some other rising comedians,” Maniscalco says. —Zack Smith

For more information, visit www.wildwestcomedy.com or www.sebastianlive.com.

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