April 2009


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Mondo Moore: Looking Back on The Black Dossier

In the penultimate part of our discussion with Alan Moore on Century: 1910, the latest installment of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen, Moore discusses the reception to the last installment of the League’s adventures, the sourcebook The Black Dossier, and just how that work pays off in the League’s world.

Read the full interview here!

Mondo Moore: Sinclair’s Norton & Remembering Farmer

By Zack Smith


Our six-part look at Century: 1910 with Alan Moore continues today as Moore talks about one of the newer and most unusual additions to the League – Norton, the Prisoner of London, created by modern novelist Iain Sinclair. And Moore offers a special tribute to the late Philip José Farmer, whose “World Newton” series was a major inspiration for the League.

Read the full interview here!

Reprinted from the Independent Weekly
Triangle Game Conference

Marriott City Center-Save your jokes about “Pac-Man Fever.” Just as comic books have gained respectability as a form of literature and a popular entertainment, the video game industry has grown in leaps and bounds over the last decade to include some of the most innovative and immersive forms of storytelling. In the last few years, games ranging from Braid to BioShock have boasted the kind of narrative complexity found in the best novels and films.

Now, the Triangle stands to take its place at the forefront of this movement with the first Triangle Game Conference, an exploration of the local game industry and where it’s headed. Taking place over two days, the conference promises to be an intense gathering for newcomers and industry veterans alike. With more than 40 local companies participating, the event explores why the Triangle has become a leading developer of game engines and instructional “serious games,” along with such bestsellers as the Gears of War series from Epic Games.

About 50 speakers and panels are spread across five tracks, with keynote addresses by Epic Games president Michael Capps and Atomic Games president Peter Tamte. Other major companies that will be represented include Virtual Heroes, Insomniac Games and Emergent Game Technologies.

The five tracks (Game Technology, Game Design & Production, Serious Games & Advanced Learning Technologies, Games & Media and The Business of Games) include panels on everything from advice to starting your own company to such philosophical discussions as “Physics for Game Programmers” and the less-philosophical Gears of War 2-themed “Reinventing the Chainsaw.”

Program Director Alex Marcis helped organize the event as part of the Triangle Game Initiative, a trade association designed to establish the Triangle as a major hub for the gaming industry. “It’s not super-well-known yet, but the Triangle is the game engine capital of the world,” Marcis says. “What makes the Triangle special as a hub is that this is really a home for innovation in entertainment. This is where the games get made, and where the technology that powers the games gets created.”

Marcis, who’s also president and CEO of Durham’s Themis Group, which publishes the award-winning online gaming magazine The Escapist, believes that the Triangle’s role in the industry puts it at the center of a major creative and technological movement. “I think games and interactive entertainment are going to be the most important medium of the 21st century,” Marcis says.

Tune in next week for our coverage of the conference’s highlights. For more information, visit www.trianglegameconference.com. -Zack Smith




Mondo Moore: Alan Moore on New Ideas, Old Ideas

By Zack Smith


In the massive mid-point of our six-part interview with Alan Moore on Century: 1910, Moore talks about his upcoming projects, including the massive novel Jerusalem, explains how the world has moved past his 25-year old ideas, moves closer to a grand unification theory of fiction, and discusses the use of the relatively recent character Norton the Prisoner of London in Century, and offers a fascinating behind-the-scenes look at his process for creating lunar life in Century’s backup story.

Read the full interview here!

Mondo Moore: Alan Moore on the League, Watchmen, & More

By Zack Smith


Our six-part look at Century: 1910 with Alan Moore continues. In today’s installment, Moore talks about the League of Extraordinary Gentlemen dealing with changing times. And in a thoughtful examination, the man credited with reinventing superhero comics explains why that might not have been the case, and the future of superhero comics.

Read the full interview here!

Alumni Achiever Profile: Loren Harrell

All in the Family; NC State Experience Drives Entrepreneurial Spirit

Loren Harrell graduated as part of one of the Computer Science Department’s first classes in 1972.  Since then, he’s had a successful career with various companies, but he may be best known for his entrepreneurial efforts starting several companies including SoftPro, the leading provider of real estate closing and title insurance software.  Now, more than 35 years after his graduation from NC State, he’s working on a new entrepreneurial venture with a fellow CSC alum – his son.

Read the full profile here!

Alumni Achiever Profile: Brad Abrams

Building the Framework: Alum Helps Microsoft Develop Applications for Developers

Every time you use a new application for Microsoft Windows, you might want to thank Brad Abrams.  A Product Unit Manager for Microsoft, Abrams is part of the engineering team that designs the .NET Framework, the tools that help build new applications.  “This is important to Microsoft, as it helps build our tools business as well as our platform services,” says Abrams, who regularly blogs at http://blogs.msdn.com/brada/.

Full profile here.

Mondo Moore: Alan Moore on League: 1910, Part 1

By Zack Smith


In celebration of the latest volume of Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill’s The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen from Top Shelf, we’ve got a special treat: A six-part series of interviews with Moore himself examining the themes and ideas around his creation.

The first part of our extra-length interview is here!

Pug, T. Runt!, and More: A Derek McCulloch Primer

By Zack Smith

Derek McCulloch is a name you’ll be hearing a lot from in the near future. The writer, who made a splash with the acclaimed Stagger Lee, has two new projects coming out from Image this June – Pug, a tale a boxer on the ropes, and the kid-oriented T. Runt!. He’s also got a number of gestating projects gathering buzz, including the long-awaited Displaced Persons with Rantz Hoseley and Gone to Amerikay with Colleen Doran at Vertigo. We chatted with McCulloch about his two vastly different books, and what we can expect from him in the future.

Read the full interview here!

Reprinted from The Independent Weekly

It’s rare thing to say this, but the musical of Happy Days is a stage production that could have actually benefited from jukebox tunes. For a show that helped put “Rock Around the Clock” back on the charts, the only nostalgic song to be found in the stage show is, yes, the theme song to Happy Days. The remaining songs are by Oscar-winner Paul Williams, and not one of them makes an impression. The same can be said for the show.

This is surprising, because series creator Garry Marshall wrote the book for the musical. Despite helming a number of hit films and stage shows since the series, Marshall’s book for the stage show barely contains enough plot for a single episode.

Basically, Arnold’s malt shop is in danger of being bulldozed by a developer, so the Fonz (Joey Sorge) agrees to a televised wrestling match to help save it; only Richie (Steven Booth) knows a reason why he shouldn’t wrestle; so the Fonz must risk losing his reputation and the heart of his longtime flame Pinky Tuscadero (Felicia Finley). Meanwhile, Mrs. Cunningham (Cynthia Ferrer) wants to be more than a housewife. Also: Joanie (Whitney Bashor) loves Chachi (Chris Fore).

To use a phrase that may be Happy Days‘ most enduring contribution to the American pop culture lexicon, this show might be where 1950s-nostalgia musicals jump the shark. The jokes are corny, there’s very little drama to drive the plot and the bland, forgettable songs do no justice to an era that’s defined by its music.

What is memorable is Sorge’s work as the Fonz; even with thin material, he does a remarkable job of aping the body language and mannerisms that Henry Winkler brought to the part.

On TV, Happy Days was about an idealized, unironic look at the late 1950s, but the musical doesn’t recapture the energy of the show, nor offer any fresh perspective on the material. In fact, it’s much weaker than an average rerun (well, maybe not the one where Potsie sang at the rodeo). Perhaps this musical is for baby boomers, such as the crowd that gave a standing ovation on opening night.

But those looking for a first-rate night of nostalgic theater may be better off waiting for Jersey Boys in June. Ayyyyyy!

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