Pop Candy


As I’ve had some articles published all over the place recently, figured it was time to start a new compilation post.

Chris Rousseau sorts through records at Nice Price Books in Carrboro.

Very Sad: Beloved local used bookstore Nice Price Books is closing, and I talked to them and several other used bookstores to get the reasons why.

Jonathan M. Katz - Zach Hetrick

Here’s an interview I did with reporter Jonathan M. Katz about his new book on life in Haiti and the failed policies of relief efforts, THE BIG TRUCK THAT WENT BY.

Madeline Trumble and Con OShea-Creal as Mary Poppins and Bert

Here’s a strangely detailed review I did of the touring production of Disney’s MARY POPPINS, and how it compares to both the original books and the film.

LIzzy Caplan and Geoffrey Arend in SAVE THE DATE

For Valentine’s Day: A look at some anti-romantic movies, SAVE THE DATE, CHILLY SCENES OF WINTER, THE HEARTBREAK KID, AN UNMARRIED WOMAN and MARGARET.

Kyle Baker recently put his classic graphic novels including WHY I HATE SATURN and THE COWBOY WALLY SHOW online for free, and here’s my look at why these are worth checking out.

MOL_salesproof_3pass.jpg__approved_jacket___1_.jpg

I interviewed  Brandon Sanderson on his besteselling conclusion to Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time series, A MEMORY OF LIGHT!

Ron Rash - Photo by Mark Haskett

Here’s my interview with SERENA author Ron Rash on his new short story collection NOTHING GOLD CAN STAY!

George Romero's "Dawn of the Dead" plays Saturday at 7 p.m.

A look at the films of the Nevermore Film Festival in Durham this weekend, including JOHN DIES AT THE END and a 35-mm print of the original DAWN OF THE DEAD!

My new interview with Ryan Browne of the webcomic GOD HATES ASTRONAUTS on his Kickstarter Campaign!

Here’s my talk with Michel Fiffe on his acclaimed self-published comic COPRA!

My interview with the creators of the webcomic TRIP FANTASTIC!

The creators of HACK/SLASH and HOAX HUNTERS Pay Tribute to Fake 1980s Toys with MINI COMICS INDLUDED on Kickstarter!

The Book of Mormon comes to Durham Feb. 11-23, 2014.

A Look at the Durham Performing Arts Center’s New Broadway Series!

Follow-up to earlier piece: Nice Price Books is having a closing sale that will help raise money for the Chapel Hill Library.

A review of a local production of the play THE LAST FIVE YEARS!

Jeffrey Brown talks the adorable VADER’S LITTLE PRINCESS!

A look at the many (many, many…) faces of Superman’s foe General Zod!

NEW TOY BLOGS:
ARCHER ACTION FIGURES ARE COMING!

Archer_30_Bang_FXWEB_1280x720_13009987726

My Little Pony Meets Doctor Who with “Doctor Whooves!”

Coming soon: New JURASSIC PARK Toys!

New “Presidential Monsters” with Baracula!

The Many (Toy) Faces of Slyvester Stallone

New Batman “Movie Masters” Trilogy 3-Pack!

The Return of Captain Power Toys?

Some high-end pieces of IRON MAN 3 Merchandise!

Check Out This Chic Han Solo in Carbonite Business Card Case!

Yes, they finally made a figure of Jack Nicholson in THE SHINING

New WALKING DEAD Michonne 3-Pack

New Target “New 52″ Justice League 7-Pack!

Title

How to Build Your Dragon — Getting Down with Masters of the Universe Classics’ Granamyr!

New Reverse-Flash FUNKO at Dallas Comic-Con!

These ‘Alien” Pint Glasses are Xenomorphically Awesome!

New WALKING DEAD toys from FUNKO!

UPDATED: This is going to be a repository for links to my published stuff for a bit.

I haven’t been posting about toys because I got a paying gig blogging about them for MTV Geek!  Here’s my first few posts:

Power Lords Return

Django Unchained Toys Pulled from Shelves

Django Unchained Toys Now Banned on eBay

Sideshow Toys Unveils Sixth Scale Joker Figure

ADVENTURE TIME Marshall Lee Plush Now in Stores

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

Marvel Select Toys Rhino Figure in Stores

Hasbro’s new STAR WARS BLACK 6-Inch Figure Line

Toys based on 1966 Batman TV Show Coming Soon

New Superman MAN OF STEEL Toys

He-Man Plush Toys

Interview with THE WALKING DEAD creator Robert Kirkman on New Michonne Statue

Exclusive look at DC/Domo Funko Figures

New Star Wars Jango Fett Statue

Sideshow Toys Black Widow Sixth Scale Figure

Game of Thrones toys coming with PLUSH DIREWOLVES!

Four Horsemen’s New York Toy Fair Party!

SUPER-EXCLUSIVE: Todd McFarlane Reveals THE WALKING DEAD Season 3 Blu-Ray Case, Recreating The Governor’s Fish Tank!

Did a piece recapping one of my favorite 1990s comics, QUANTUM AND WOODY.

I also did a two-part talk with James Kochalka on the end of his web journal AMERICAN ELF and on his web cartoon SUPERF*CKERS.

PART ONE

PART TWO

For ADVENTURE TIME fans – here’s Danielle Corsetto talking the new GN focusing on Flame Princess!

Dreama Walker in Compliance

Did an interview with Craig Zobel, director of the ultra-creepy indy film COMPLIANCE!

I also did some reviews of the short films nominated for Oscars, including Disney’s PAPERMAN.

Ever After Hardcover Cover

Here’s a new interview I did with Kim Harrison on her novel series THE HOLLOWS!

New theater review: BUS STOP at Raleigh Little Theatre!

New theater review: Joe Brack’s one-man show MY PRINCESS BRIDE!

Golden Age Bakery's Fletcher Hanks cookies

And I’ve gotten a lot of response for this interview with the creator of Golden Age Bakery, which puts edible comic book panels on cookies!

I have a few more pieces should hopefully come out by the end of the month, and I’ve been working on some odd projects — including a couple of new comic book one-shots that should come out from MonkeyBrain by year’s end.  My artists are working on spec, so good stuff takes time!

Might try to get some more original posts done in the future.  I’ve had some good feedback on the children’s book pieces and want to do some more.

Here are some things I wrote and things I did in 2012 that I thought were kind of cool and possibly of interest to people

In January, I wrote some more offbeat pieces, such as an interview with literary novelist Michael Malone about his time writing the daytime soap ONE LIFE TO LIVE as that show ended.  I also did a look at the insanity that was the locally-filmed ONE TREE HILL.

I also got to do a pretty funny interview with author Daniel Handler, aka Lemony Snicket.

In February, I did an interview with ADVENTURE TIME creator Pendleton Ward for Newsarama around this time, where I had guest-questions from people like Paul Pope, Scott Kurtz, Mike Allred and some others.  Here’s a link to Part Two, which links to Part One.  I also got Tony Millionaire to do an original piece of Lumpy Space Princess for the interview.

In March, I did an interview with Trace Beaulieu from MYSTERY SCIENCE THEATER 3000 and with Jason Mewes of Kevin Smith’s various films.  Later, I went to see Beaulieu and the rest of the MST3K/Cinematic Titanic crew when they performed live at the Carolina Theatre, and got my picture taken with Joel Hodgson.

Hodgson

Also in March, I went to the Mad Monster Party show in Charlotte.  They had a number of horror and B-movie legends there, and I certainly got my money’s worth.  I got to meet Angus Scrimm from PHANTASM, who was even nice enough to record a voice-mail message for me…that unfortunately he couldn’t quite figure out how to speak into my phone, so I just recorded it with my digital recorder, and can’t really figure out how to get the MP3 onto my voice mail.

Scrimm

(He’s sitting down, and extending his arm while I’m leaning against him.  I did not sit on the Tall Man’s lap.)

Soles

I also met the lovely P.J. Soles from ROCK N’ ROLL HIGH SCHOOL and many other films.  She signed a print based on HIGH SCHOOl that was done on a vinyl record for a recent screening.  I also got the print/record signed by Mary Woronov and Marky Ramone at the show.  It possesses supernatural powers now.

I also met Rutger Hauer at the show, but he was charging a lot for pictures.  I did get an autographed picture for my man Jesse Moynihan, to whom I traded it for a drawing of his ADVENTURE TIME creation the Ancient Psychic Tandem War Elephant.

War Elephant

Toward the end of March, I got to boost my nerd-cred with an interview with Ira Glass of THIS AMERICAN LIFE.

I also talked with Karl Kerschl about one of my favorite webcomics, THE ABOMINABLE CHARLES CHRISTOPHER.

March was quite productive.  No wonder I blocked subsequent chunks of the year out.

I recall April was a bit slower, as this might have been around the time I taught a class on “Great Films and Their Scripts” at an extended learning center.  I do remember I did this fun little piece on Garth Ennis and John McCrea’s HITMAN, with some quotes from older interviews I did with them.

May was also a mite slow, though I did enjoy doing this interview with Mark Waid about the end of his book IRREDEEMABLE.

I also quite liked this piece about the oddball characters from the old DC chestnut DIAL H FOR HERO.

And I did a piece about trying out some anime series.

In June, I got to host a panel with my man Jeffrey Brown at Heroes Con!  I did a whole slideshow and we showed some behind-the-scenes art for his book DARTH VADER AND SON and some footage from SAVE THE DATE, the movie he co-wrote that stars Alison Brie and Lizzy Caplan.

As is usual at cons, I got a bunch of artwork, including this watercolor of the 1960s characters the Atomic Knights by Matt Kindt.

Atomic Knights Strange Adventures #144 Cover Homage by Matt Kindt Comic Art

Throughout the year, I got to see a lot of great older movies on the big screen with 35-mm prints at the Carolina Theatre and other local houses.  Some films I saw included: THE JERK; PLANES, TRAINS & AUTOMOBILES; THE BRIDE OF FRANKENSTEIN; THE CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON; the 1979 DRACULA; STUNT ROCK; THE SWORD AND THE SORCERER; E.T. (not-special edition); WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBIT?; GHOSTBUSTERS; MASTERS OF THE UNIVERSE; THE NIGHT OF THE HUNTER; the 1980 FLASH GORDON; ROSEMARY’S BABY; DRAGONSLAYER; a half-dozen Miyazaki films; I’m sure there were others.

I had several very good articles in July, including this look back at Spider-Man’s many strange media adaptations

And a talk with the creators of the Batman villain Bane just in time for his appearance in THE DARK KNIGHT RISES.

I don’t recall much going on in August, though I did get to interview ADVENTURE TIME writer/artist Tom Herpich and Tom Siddell of GUNERKRIGG COURT.

September was quite busy; I went to the Small Press Expo (SPX) in Bethesda, Maryland, where I met a bunch of artists and got a bunch of drawings.  I got some wonderful pieces at a charity auction, including some Larry Marder BEANWORLD art and this “Space Kid” piece by Farel Dalyrmple.

Space Kid by Farel Dalrymple Comic Art

I also did a fun little retrospective of the Chris Elliott series GET A LIFE.

October was pretty much the busiest month of my professional life!  I did a week of guest-posts for USA TODAY’s Pop Candy blog, and a number of big interviews.

I talked with Chris Ware on his acclaimed new collection BUILDING STORIES…

with ERAGON author Christopher Paolini about life after his blockbuster series…

with guys like Scott Snyder, Joe Hill and Paul Pope about comic books that scared them

…and I had way too much fun with this piece about comic book gimmick covers.

In addition, my first comic was published and got lots of good reviews you can read here.

I did a whole bunch of 1980s toy-themed posts after this, and talked to the guy who wrote BLACKHAWK DOWN about his new Osama Bin Laden book.

In November, I did still more Pop Candy posts, and “endorsed” a classic comic book character for president with quotes from Neil Gaiman and Ed Brubaker.

I also co-hosted three panels at the NC Comicon, including a one-on-one session with HELLBOY artist Duncan Fegredo about his life and career.  He did this nice piece of the Lich from ADVENTURE TIME for my sketchbook.

The Lich King (Adventure Time) by Duncan Fegredo Comic Art

This also led to a strange adventure where I helped reunite Mark Waid with the first-ever drawing of a character he co-created, Impulse.

Anyway, December is still going on and I think I have a few good pieces left in me before the year’s out.  But that certainly was a lot of stuff, wasn’t it?

On to 2013!  I’ll try to have fewer slack months next year.

I wanted to do a few original posts about children’s books I liked.

This one is about a great author and illustrator whose work I discovered just a few years ago, Jan Pienkowski.

I found out about Pienkowski’s stuff when I picked up a copy of his pop-up book ROBOT at a used bookstore a few years ago.

Even my adult friends quickly proclaimed this “the best thing ever.”

What I loved about the book was not just the vivid, surreal, cartoony quality of the pop-up images, but how fully-realized the simple story (a robot writes a letter home to his family, and we see their domestic life) was.

Most pop-up books just have a few images extend off the page a little.  ROBOT went further — images were double-sided, so if you look behind the copy of the letter the mom-robot is holding on the first page, the entire text of the story is written on it!  There are tons and tons of gags hidden in the pages, and that is the kind of thing I love.

Obviously, it’s hard to show a pop-up book on the Internet, but I did find this YouTube video of ROBOT:

And here’s a few spreads from the book:

The book is sadly out of print, but some Amazon sellers have a newer printing available pretty cheap.

I found out that Pienkowski was even better-known for HAUNTED HOUSE, another pop-up book.  This one still shows up in most bookstores, and is great fun to leave lying around at a Halloween party.  People smile and gasp at the clever pop-ups, which have humorously grotesque monsters leaping out at you!

Here’s some images from inside the book, via Pienkowski’s website:

I love the spaghetti monster in the corner.

HAUNTED HOUSE was back in print as of 2005, but seems to be out again — though copies are still on Amazon sellers’ stores.

It also inspired a CD-ROM game years ago!

It’s not as fun as the pop-up book, but I do like seeing his creations come to “life.”

Pienkowski’s also well-known for his uniquely-illustrated fairy tales.

His style combines employs silhouettes for human characters, while putting them against lush, colorful backgrounds.  Some of these have been classic tales he’s adapted himself, while others are done in collaboration with the great children’s author Joan Aiken (THE WOLVES OF  WILLOUGHBY CHASE).

There’s a number of different editions of Pienkowski’s work out, but I recommend really shopping carefully — some of the printings of the Aiken books use a different illustrator, or have black-and-white illustrations only.

I like the B&W and color ones — it creates a certain anonymous effect for the children in the stories, as though this could be happening to anyone, even you.

Also, I love the candy-colored palate from these earlier collections.  It gives the tales a dreamlike quality, vivid and fade all at once.

There is a look back at Pienkowski’s illustrations in this Guardian piece from 2008.

Check his work out — as I said earlier, for kids AND adults, it’s pretty much the best thing ever!

Let me know if you liked this and would like to see more posts in this vein.  I have some other illustrators I want to highlight, along with some oddball books I fondly remember.

Hey guys — just had a great week subbing again for Whitney Matheson at Pop Candy!  Here’s all the posts I did in once easy-to-find place, day by day!

Monday:

zack smith drive

Early Buzz!

Alison Bechdel

Special Guest Essay by the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund’s Charles Brownstein!

kirk hammett metallica

Gift Suggestions from Mondo’s Justin Ishmael, The Four Horsemen, and Mark Rein of Epic Games (GEARS OF WAR!)

Tuesday:

Boy Meets World

Early Buzz!

Sopranos

TV Critic Alan Sepinwall talks his new book THE REVOLUTION WAS TELEVISED, which talks with the stars and creators of THE SOPRANOS, LOST and more!

Hulk Beats the Devil

CARTER BEATS THE DEVIL and SUNNYSIDE author Glen David Gold discusses the thrills and perils of collecting original comic book art!

Wednesday:

Special Super-Sized Early Buzz (Nearly 50 Items!) with a special guest-logo by teen cartoonist Emma Capps!

hornet

“How to Write a Comic Book” — I team up with Chris Roberson (Monkeybrain Comics, MASKS, MEMORIAL) to show would-be writers the resources that can help them!

Lev Grossman


“Two Grown Men and a Seven-Year-Old Discuss ADVENTURE TIME:” THE MAGICIANS author and TIME magazine writer Lev Grossman (and his daughter Lily) chat with me about our obsession with Cartoon Network’s hit show!

Thursday:

KFC

Early Buzz with EXCLUSIVE News about some bizarre-sounding KFC cookies!

scrooge

Turner Classic Movies’ Robert Osborne chats with me about his favorite holiday films!

northend

My friend Chris Shy chats about his new graphic novel THE NORTH END OF THE WORLD, about the famed photographer of Native Americans, Edward Curtis — and his own journey to tribal lands to research the book!

Friday:

Early Buzz: A 'Regular Show' Exclusive

Last Early Buzz — with an exclusive preview clip of Cartoon Network’s REGULAR SHOW and a special award for SHERLOCK’s Benedict Cumberbatch!

Dean Haspiel

Emmy-Winning Cartoonist Dean Haspiel talks his Trip City comics salon and his efforts at Hurricane Sandy relief!

Alamo Draft House: Summer of 1982

And finally — I talk with people from the Alamo Drafthouse and the Carolina Theatre of Durham about our favorite years in film!

Good news!  I’ve been asked back to guest at Pop Candy again for the week of Nov.26!  For convenience’s (and self-promotion’s) sake, here’s a post grouping all my posts for last week into one big turbo-post.

Monday

None

Guest-blogging introduction!

Early Buzz!

jeffbrown

Jeffrey Brown Guest Logo!

First-Person Videos of Discontinued Amuesment Park Rides from Disney World, Cedar Point and More!

Interview with the Actors of the Audiobook of Gillian Flynn’s GONE GIRL!

Tuesday

Early Buzz!

pc guest logo

Guest Logo by Lucy Knisley!

cosmic-boy


John Hodgman Talks His Love of Comics’  Legion of Super-Heroes!

small in the saddle

Jeffrey Brown Talks About His Favorite Weird Children’s Book, SMALL IN THE SADDLE!

Wednesday

Krang-O-Lantern

Halloween Early Buzz!

guestlogo

Guest Logo by SAGA’s Fiona Staples!

charliebrown


Crazy Halloween Specials You Can View Online!

regularshow

JG Quintel of Cartoon Network’s REGULAR SHOW names his favorite 1980s pop culture!

supernatural


SUPERNATURAL’s Writers Reveal What Scares Them!

Thursday

buffy the vampire slayer

Post-Halloween Early Buzz!

runtonlogo

OWLY Guest Logo by Andy Runton!

looney

UNBORED and SIGNIFICANT OBJECTS Author Joshua Glenn Talks About MATTHEW LOONEY and Gahan Wilson!

Help Out Indy Bookstore Books of Wonder!

Interview with the Head of The Movie Spoiler and Moviepooper!

grayskullman

Interview with He-Man Contest Winner Daniel Benedict on Castle Grayskullman!

ward

ADVENTURE TIME Creator Pendleton Ward Talks the 1980s!

Friday

Last Early Buzz!

Pop Candy by Bone's Jeff Smith

Last Guest Logo: ALL-NEW Bone Illustration by Jeff Smith!

adslicks

The Carolina Theatre’s Jim Carl Shares His Amazing Movie Ad Collection!

Shout! Factory presents 'All in the Family'

Shout! Factory’s Brian Blum Talks Making DVD Sets!

'Get A Life' Complete Series

SIMPSONS Writer David Mirkin Talks About Making GET A LIFE with Chris Elliott!

Patton Oswalt, Halloween Ready

Patton Oswalt, Brad Meltzer, Jodi Picoult and More Recommend Children’s Books to New Mother Whitney Matheson!

'The Stars Below' by Zack Smith

My Goodbye Post, with More Links!

Ladies Love James

My last Early Buzz, super-sized as I go out in a BLAZE OF GLORY!

Pop Candy by Bone's Jeff Smith

Jeff Smith of BONE fame does a special Pop Candy guest logo!

adslicks

I talk to Jim Carl of the Carolina Theatre of Durham about his amazing collection of classic movie ads!

Shout! Factory presents 'All in the Family'

Shout! Factory DVD Producer Brian Blum talks how they put their DVD sets together and make special features!

'Get A Life' Complete Series

Simpsons Writer David Mirkin talks Co-Creating GET A LIFE with Chris Elliott and More!

Patton Oswalt, Halloween Ready

Super-Sized Post with Patton Oswalt, Jodi Picoult, Brad Meltzer, Kate DiCamillo and more recommending children’s books for new mother Whitney Matheson!

'The Stars Below' by Zack Smith

And finally, my goodbye with more shilling for my comic THE STARS BELOW!

Next Page »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 13,111 other followers