May 2008

21 MAY 2008

Mike Farrell
Quail Ridge Books and Music—As wisecracking-but-loyal Dr. B.J. Hunnicutt on the long-running series M*A*S*H, Mike Farrell became a television icon. Though he’s worked regularly as an actor and producer since then, most of Farrell’s work has been behind the camera as a human rights advocate, involved in everything from antiwar and anti-death penalty activism to refugee aid. He visits Quail Ridge Books tonight as part of a month-long, 8,000-mile tour to promote the paperback edition of his autobiography, Just Call Me Mike: A Journey to Actor and Activist.

Just Call Me Mike is one of the rare books that seem to have gained the endorsement of liberals and conservatives alike (both George McGovern and Bill O’Reilly contribute glowing blurbs to the back cover). When we spoke with Farrell on the road, he’d just had dinner the night before with former CIA agent Valerie Plame and her husband, Joe Wilson.

M*A*S*H was the ultimate fluke—a hugely successful series with explicit antiwar elements aired while the Vietnam War was going on. Farrell, who’s seen many of the current, commercially unsuccessful Iraq films and feels that “the quality is quite extraordinarily high,” believes the intense coverage of the war in the electronic media has helped keep audiences away. “I’m still very saddened that these wonderful efforts to tell stories about this awful war aren’t receiving the attention I think they deserve,” says Farrell, who adds that he liked In the Valley of Elah and Rendition, but did “not care much” for Lions for Lambs.

What would it take for a socially relevant fictional work to connect with today’s audience? “It would take some careful packaging, staying away from an overt message, making the message more subtle,” Farrell says. “I think people are overwhelmed [by war coverage], generally. They want to be entertained, taken away from the reality of the day. So to do it in a way that would be successful, I think you’d have to find a way to do it that was allegorical, rather than overt.” He maintains that despite its continuing popularity, M*A*S*H could not be done today. “If you came with an idea like that, [networks] would run from it.” —Zack Smith

Visit for more info.  Reprinted from the Independent Weekly


by Zack Smith

“Your lives are over. What you do with your new lives is up to me!”

Gantz. For years, this has been the manga series that American fans have longed to see reprinted in the U.S. This darkly satirical, action-packed story of recently-deceased souls resurrected by a mysterious force to kill for it is one of the most popular weekly series over in Japan. Demand for it in the U.S. has reached a fever pitch – and last summer, Dark Horse Comics announced that it had finally gotten the license to reprint it in the States.

With the first volume set to drop in June, we talked with Michael Gombos, Dark Horse’s Director of Asian Licensing, about what it took to bring Gantz to the fans – and what they can expect when it arrives.

Read the full interview here!


by Zack Smith

Larry Doyle has a resume that any comedy writer would envy. He’s been regularly published in such well-known periodicals as Esquire, The New Yorker, New York and Spy, and has also worked on classic animated shows such as Beavis and Butt-Head and The Simpsons, where he won two Emmys as part of the writing staff. Now, his first novel, I Love You, Beth Cooper, is being made into a feature film by veteran director Chris Columbus, starring Hayden Panettiere from Heroes as the titular character.

Read the full interview here!

 MAY 2008

Tony Horwitz
Quail Ridge Books and Music—Question for nonhistorian readers: How much do you really know about the history of North Carolina? Don’t feel bad if your answer’s “Not much.” Four years ago, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Tony Horwitz found himself in a similar position. His solution? He wrote a book.

A Voyage Long and Strange: Rediscovering the New World tells of Horwitz’s travels across America to discover its history prior to Plymouth Rock. Speaking by telephone last week, Horwitz says, “We consider ourselves a young country, the New World, but it goes back much further than that—the native history goes back thousands of years,” says Horwitz, whose other works include the bestselling Confederates in the Attic.

Horwitz, who’s married to fellow Pulitzer winner Geraldine Brooks (“She’s my first and last editor, and I do the same for her”), says he was unaware of the South’s rich connections to early explorers. “People are so fixated on the Civil War—and I’m one of those people, or used to be—that they miss out on centuries of earlier history,” Horwitz says.

Raleigh residents may know that the city’s namesake, Sir Walter Raleigh, helped popularize tobacco smoking, but not that his widow kept his embalmed head in a velvet bag after his execution. “When you get into the details of the story, it’s fantastic,” Horwitz says of Raleigh. “He’s this sort of cavalier and poet and tobacco smoker, and ultimately he’s accused of treason and loses his head.”

Horwitz says he hopes to “educate a bit, but also entertain” with his book. “One of the reasons I think many Americans are turned off by history is because we tend to treat it so piously, with so little humor,” Horwitz says. “I’m really trying to draw the reader in and make them as excited by this history as I am. The full story is much more interesting than the sort of canned version we get in our grade school textbooks.” —Zack Smith

Tony Horwitz appears at Quail Ridge on May 12 at 7 p.m. and 7 p.m. Tuesday, May 13, at Regulator Bookshop.

Reprinted from the Independent Weekly


by Zack Smith

The line between books and graphic novels has grown narrower in the last few years. Novelists have started scripting comics, comic writers have started doing prose novels, novels have been adapted into comics, and comics have been adapted into novels.

But one medium that’s emerging is a combination of the two – the prose novel with sequential comic sections, such as J. M. Dematteis and Mike Ploog’s Abadazad. One that’s received a great deal of critical acclaim is Simon and Schuster’s The Fog Mound by the husband-and-wife team of Susan Schade and Jon Buller. Alternating prose chapters with comics-format chapters, its format helps bring to life a colorful yet atmospheric world of talking animals.

Full Interview here!

by Zack Smith

This June, get ready to meet Vix! This superpowered teen with a twist makes her debut from Image Comics, courtesy of creators Rantz Hoseley and Matthew Humphries. The Vix! team got together with us to explain what Vix! is all about.

Full Interview Here!