Independent Weekly


Though I’ve had a number of big pieces the last few months, I haven’t taken the time to update them here!  Let’s rectify that.

Here’s some of my best pieces from the last few months.

Here is a two-part interview with Jim Starlin on his run on Marvel’s WARLOCK — including his creations Drax, Gamora and Thanos, who appear in the GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY film.

Part One
Part Two

 

Here’s an interview I did with screenwriter John Ridley just before he won the Academy Award for scripting this year’s Best PIcture, 12 YEARS A SLAVE, discussing his work on the film and his background writing in comics and animation.

Part One

Part Two

Going Their Own Way: The Creator-Owned Comic Book Renaissance

Here’s an extensive piece I wrote for PASTE about how more comic creators are going the route of creator-owned comics, featuring interviews with Ed Brubaker, Jonathan Hickman, Kieron Gillen, Cullen Bunn and others.

 

 

Here’s an interview I did with Siblings Scott and Sage Stossel (editor of THE ATLANTIC and major cartoonist for it, respectively) about their books on anxiety — of which Sage’s is a graphic novel on an anxious superhero called STARLING.

When I read my friend Tom Scioli would be doing a G.I. Joe/Transformers comic, I called him up to talk about those old shows.  Good call — it’s now one of the year’s most acclaimed books!

Another two-parter: I talk with the creators of the internet’s top podcast, WELCOME TO NIGHT VALE, about their show, their favorite comics, and more.

Part One

Part Two

I also talked to Ben Acker of THE THRILLING ADVENTURE HOUR about their show’s NIGHT VALE crossover.

Here’s a talk I did with Minty Lewis, who writes for REGULAR SHOW and voices Eileen, about doing an issue of the REGULAR SHOW comic.

And on a stranger note, I did an “interview” with the character of Lumpy Space Princess from ADVENTURE TIME.

Did a great talk with acclaimed creator Gene Luen Yang on his new graphic novel THE SHADOW HERO.

Paperhand Puppets rehearse in<br /><br /><br /><br />
the troupe’s Saxapahaw studio.” /></p>
<p><a href=Here’s a retrospective on Paperhand Puppet Intervention, a local theatrical troupe that does wondrous shows year after year.

 

PHOTO BY JUSTIN COOK - Film projection is moving from rollers and reels to cables and hard drives.

And here’s a look at how traditional film prints are being replaced with digital packages.

Finally, if you haven’t had a chance to check out my ADVENTURE TIME podcast, here’s a link to the episodes to date, which include interviews with show actors Olivia Olson and Hynden Walch, and co-hosts including Lev Grossman, Maria Bustillos and more super-smart people!

And a LOT more stuff is coming — did a whole bunch of interviews lately that are now going online.

Cheers!  Will try to update more.

 

The Oscar shorts return

by  @thezacksmith

Oscar shorts
Carolina Theatre
Opens Jan. 31

There’s an international flavor to the short films nominated for Academy Awards this year, with no American entries in live-action and only two in animation (one of which is by Disney). Though there’s a predictable quality to some of this year’s nominees, there’s also work that features more inventiveness in a brief running time than most features exhibit in two hours.

Read my take on the shorts here!

Did a short interview with William Shatner for a local paper — you can read it here

Here’s the extended version of our talk.

#

He’ll forever be known as Star Trek’s Captain Kirk, but William Shatner’s willingness to embrace his campy persona has made him more prolific than most actors a quarter of his 82 years – and he’ll explore his long, strange trip in detail in his one-man show Shatner’s World: We Just Live in It at Duke Energy Center on Jan.12, a performance Shatner says has left him “moved to tears” many times by the audience’s reaction.

Shatner began his show at the suggestion of an Australian fan, figuring “if it fails, nobody’ll know – it’s the way of the wild.”  It’s become a consistently evolving beast, touring Australia, Canada and the United States, including a sojourn on Broadway.  “The show, which had its original inspiration in Australia, has become inspirational to me as a result of doing it,” says Shatner in a phone call from Los Angeles.

Shatner had one of his most acclaimed projects with Chapel Hill’s Ben Folds on the 2004 album Has Been, which reinvigorated Shatner’s oft-derided musical career.  “I fell in love with Ben Folds and his family – we’ve remained friends over the years and I would love to perform with him again,” says Shatner, who recently released the prog-rock album Ponder the Mystery with Billy Sherwood of Yes.  “He’s a musical genius.  I like him and admire him very much.”

Captain Kirk and Star Trek typecast the stage-trained Shatner for years, something he addresses in Shatner’s World.  What does he make of the modern state of television, where shows are sometimes held up as superior to film or prose literature?  “I absolutely agree with you – television has become a great medium, and people are looking to it for works of art as well as wide entertainment or circus entertainment.  There seems to be a deepening of people’s taste, requiring artists to fulfill that yearning by coming out with things that appeal to their more fundamental tastes, rather than just on the surface.  That applies to movies, television and now things like Facebook and Twitter and all those viral networks.”

We had to ask Shatner about the recent incident in North Carolina where Indian Trail Councilman David Waddell resigned in the form of a short letter written in Klingon.  Shatner hadn’t heard of this prior to our interview and is somewhat baffled by Waddell’s choice: “I would think he lessens the impact by being superficial in referencing this language that doesn’t exist,” Shatner says. “If it’s a joke, is he making his resignation a joke? I would think that he would serve his purposes better by writing a well-reasoned, carefully-worded letter that spoke of his desire to do good, rather than make a joke of it and write it in Klingon.”  He was more intrigued to hear noted Klingon language authority Lawrence M. Schoen will be in Raleigh for illogiCon the same weekend as him: “It brings to mind what is language, and how is language devised, and can you have subtlety in a made-up language?  It’s a really interesting creative question.”  He finds similar invented languages fascinating, but wonders how wide an audience they can reach: “Getting back to the guy that resigned, if he wishes to reach a large audience to express his opinion, he’s got a very limited audience of five.”

Going back to old policy of posting links to individual articles I publish this year.  Let’s see how long this lasts…

 

READING / INTERVIEWSAaron Becker takes children on an illustrated Journey

Posted by  @thezacksmith on Wed, Jan 1, 2014 at 10:36 AM

 

Journey Cover

  • Aaron Becker
  • Journey Cover

Aaron Becker has worked on such big-budget CGI-animated films asThe Polar Express and A Christmas Carol. But for his first picture book,Journey (Candlewick Press, $15.99), he turned to a simpler, old-school format. Although he uses computer models of his landscapes to help figure out the look and lighting cues for his dream-like landscapes, the final results are less digital than manual.

“The computer tends to be the beginning of the process, when I’m figuring out compositions, laying out scenes and stuff,” says Becker on the phone from a visit to his family in Chapel Hill. “It sounds a lot more complicated than it actually is.” The end result of his process are simple pen-and-ink drawings painted over in watercolor—though the world he creates is as deep and vivid as anything seen on screen.

Here are the most best things I wrote this past year.  I think this averages out to one great piece per week.  I am pleased by this.

COMIC BOOKS

The Strange History of Marvel Comics’ ULTIMATE ADVENTURES with Hawk-Owl and Woody

Peter Milligan and Brendan McCarthy, Pt.1

Milligan and McCarthy, Pt.2

Jeffrey Brown on VADER’S LITTLE PRINCESS, A MATTER OF LIFE and More

BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES 21st Anniversary

Paul Pope on BATTLING BOY

GRENDEL Retrospective with Matt Wagner, 1

GRENDEL Retrospective, 2

Fantagraphics Reprints Crockett Johnson’s BARNABY

Nick Offerman of PARKS AND RECREATION talks AXE COP, Comics and More

BONE Creator Jeff Smith on Self-Publishing

NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD Creator George Romero on EMPIRE OF THE DEAD

Jonathan Hickman and Mike Costa on GOD IS DEAD

Priest and Bright on the Return of QUANTUM AND WOODY

TOYS!

The Many (Toy) Faces of Sylvester Stallone

How to Build Your Dragon: Putting Together Mattel’s MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE Classics Granamyr Toy

Tracking down the ADVENTURE TIME Marshall Lee Plush Toy

Sillof and Patton Owsalt’s FASTER, EMPIRE!  STRIKE!  STRIKE!

Masterpiece Transformers Soundwave

CHILDREN’S BOOKS

Caldecott Winner David Wiesner on MR. WUFFLES

Jhn Agee (LITTLE SANTA) and Loren Long (OTIS)

A look at the musical MARY POPPINS and P.L. Travers’ original books (done in Feb., before SAVING MR. BANKS came out)

Jan Brett on CINDERS

Phyllis Rowan’s THE DAY BEFORE YESTERDAY

THE DARK IS RISING Author Susan Cooper

In Memorial: E.L. Konigsburg, Author of FROM THE MIXED-UP FILES OF MRS. BASIL E. FRANKWEILER

Zilpha Keatley Snyder on BELOW THE ROOT

Weird Picture Books That I Enjoy

More Weird Children’s Books: The Mushroom Planet, Chicken Trek, Suzuki Beane and More

LOCAL NORTH CAROLINA ARTS

Nice Price Books in Carrboro to Close

SERENA Author Ron Rash on NOTHING GOLD CAN STAY

Craig Zobel on Directing COMPLIANCE

Golden Age Bakery Puts Comics on Cookies

Elizabeth Strout on THE BURGESS BOYS

TV Production in NC with HOMELAND, BANSHEE, UNDER THE DOME and More

INSPECTOR LYNLEY Author Elizabeth George Visits

Attempting to understand CATS in a local production

Local Produce Delivery Startups

COMICS I WROTE:

Unseen REGULAR SHOW Script: “Bad Grammar”

My REGULAR SHOW story “Sombrero World”

Interview on “Sombrero World” in USA Today

Another Interview on “SomBrero World” in the News and Observer

My ADVENTURE TIME Story “Grocery Time” (Pt.1)

My ADVENTURE TIME Story “Grocery Time” (Pt.2)

FREE COMIC: “Decaffeinated” with Thomas Boatwright

MISC. TV

Shows You WON’T See This Fall

31 Loose Ends from Season 4 of ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT

Dean Norris Talks BREAKING BAD and UNDER THE DOME

Hugh Dancy on HANNIBAL: Season One

Why I Heart Megatron: A Transformers Post

400 or so SIMPSONS Quotes

More than 60 BEAVIS AND BUTT-HEAD Videos

The anniversary of the end of ST. ELSEWHERE

My Strange Obsession with LAW & ORDER: SVU

MISC. ESSAYS/ORIGINAL COMPILATION POSTS

THE HEARTBREAK KID, SAVE THE DATE and other films for singles on Valentine’s Day

Thunderbirds are Go(ne): A Tribute to Gerry Anderson

Miami Connection: All 230+ Things I Love About this Film

http://zacksmithwriter.wordpress.com/2013/05/06/400-or-so-simpsons-quotes/

Doing a clean-up and wanted to link some recent work.  I got to talk with some really brilliant people for a couple places.  My ego is inflated!

A chat with BONE Creator Jeff Smith on his work and being a self-publisher in the 1990s

Got to talk with Caldecott Winner David Wiesner on his new book MR. WUFFLES!

Here’s a (very quick) interview I did with George A. Romero on his new EMPIRE OF THE DEAD miniseries.

A talk with Elizabeth George, creator of INSPECTOR LYNLEY

THE DARK IS RISING Author Susan Cooper on her new book and the power of her series

Peter Milligan and Brendan McCarthy on the New Dark Horse Retrospective of their work, Pt.1

Milligan and McCarthy, Pt.2

Richard Kadrey on Sandman Slim and KILL CITY BLUES

A Very Silly Piece with Jonathan Hickman and Mike Costa on GOD IS DEAD.

QUANTUM AND WOODY Creators Christopher Priest and M.D. Bright talk returning to the characters

A recap of a BATMAN: THE ANIMATED SERIES Anniversary Panel from San Diego Comic-Con

Realized I hadn’t done a compilation of all the stuff I’d had posted in a while.  Here’s a quick gathering.

INDY WEEK:

Mitch O’Connell Interview

Comic Book Events in the Triangle

In-Depth Look at Television Production in North Carolina with UNDER THE DOME, BANSHEE, HOMELAND and More

NEWSARAMA:

Micahel Kaluta on STARSTRUCK

Graham Nolan on Bane

Ian Flynn on NEW CRUSADERS

GRENDEL All-Star Retrospective, 1

GRENDEL All-Star Retrospective, 2

Paul Pope on BATTLING BOY

Andy Ristaino on NIGHT OF THE LIVING VIDIOTS

DC vs. Masters of the Universe

Jeffrey Brown on A MATTER OF LIFE and Star Wars

 

MTV GEEK POSTS:

New Batman ’66 Figures Are Bat-Awesome

10 New TV Shows You WON’T See This Fall

Daft Punk Figures Do Everything But Make Music

Custom Mr. T Transformer

Japanese Human Doll Cloning

Hot Toys Mime Joker

Sideshow Collectibles Darth Vader

“Realm of the Underworld:” The Greatest 1980s Action Figure Line Never Made

Toy News Roundup: Friday the 13th, Super Best Friends and More

31 Loose Ends from “Arrested Development” Season 4

Toy News Roundup: Axe Cop, Walking Dead and More

New S.H. Figuarts Sailor Moon Figure Pics

Hot Toys SDCC 

Man of Steel’s Namek

Hasbro SDCC 2013 Exclusives

Toy News Roundup: Man of Steel, Power Rangers

Retro Mego Toys

SDCC Shazam Figure

Spider-Man 2099 and Hellcat Statues

New Man of Steel Movie Masters Figures

Six Million Dollar Man Figure

Toy News Roundup: Walking Dead, Big Bang Theory

Transformers Masterpiece Soundwave

INTERVIEW: Dean Norris on UNDER THE DOME, BREAKING BAD

NECA Simpsons Guest Star Figures

Toy News Roundup: Power Rangers, World War Z

INTERVIEW: Mike Vogel on UNDER THE DOME

Life-Sized Ark of the Covenant Replica

MattyCollector Ghostbusters Ecto Goggles

Jim Lee Superman and Batman Super Alloy Figures

Toy News Roundup: Gremlins, Doctor Who, Masters of the Universe

 

Next Page »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 13,111 other followers