May 2010

By Zack Smith
Author Glen David Gold is a respected name in literary circles…and a hardcore comic book fan.  His two novels, Carter Beats the Devil and Sunnyside, combine historical figures and settings with fictionalized circumstances that combine emotional moments and characterization with pieces of humor, action and some very obscure pieces of trivia.

Gold is also a big advocate of comics, having written of his love of Jack Kirby and collecting classic comic art, along with doing stories for Michael Chabon’s Escapist and Will Eisner’s The Spirit.  In what became one of the longer-running interviews at Newsarama, we chatted with him when Sunnyside came out in hardcover last year….and over the course of some follow-ups, now have a finished conversation ready just as the book’s been released in paperback.

In the first part of our conversation, Gold discusses the odds of a Carter film, an unusual project he’s currently working on, and the challenges of working in comics.

REad the full interview here!


Stalking the Norris: The Bloody Cinema of ActionFest

Posted by Zack Smith on Mon, May 17, 2010 at 3:37 AM

The bullet-ridden, blood-splattered poster outside Carolina Cinemas Asheville declares ActionFest “the film festival with a body count.” Indeed, over the next few days I’ll see about every possible way for a human being to be shot, impaled, exploded or receive a roundhouse kick to the head on camera. A few efforts might even be Oscar-worthy, head-kicks and all.
Read the full article here!

Arts » Theater

A.D.D. Theater’s Spring Loaded 

by Zack Smith

Spring Loaded

A.D.D. Theater
@ Elizabeth Price Kenan Theatre, UNC Campus
Through May 22

A.D.D. Theater’s Spring Loaded opens and closes with a song parodying the theme to Gilligan’s Island, which gives you an idea of the topicality of this sketch show. Drawing inspiration from some solid sources, including a cover of a Flight of the Conchords number, the sketches in this program have little to connect them beyond recycled jokes about cougars, artificial insemination and arguing over directions in a car.

Read the full interview here!

Raleigh Little Theatre’s Songs for a New World 

by Zack Smith

Songs for a New World

Raleigh Little Theatre
Through May 22

“I’m not trying to philosophize/ I just want to tell a story,” sings one of the characters in Raleigh Little Theatre’s production of Jason Robert Brown’s Songs for a New World. The offbeat collection of songs and characters offers plenty of philosophy in its variety of numbers, though the varied performances don’t always pull off the deeper meanings behind the complex lyrics.

Read the full review here!

Reprinted from the Indpendent Weekly

In my tender elementary school days, I found myself oddly troubled by an episode of Alvin and the Chipmunks. Titled “Every Chipmunk Tells a Story,” it involved Alvin, Simon and Theodore telling a series of conflicting flashbacks about how Dave’s piano came to be destroyed and filled with rice pudding.

What bothered me about it was there was no one flashback explaining what really happened; we were only presented with the various self-serving flashbacks. I was perhaps 7 or 8, and this was my first exposure to the legacy of Akira Kurosawa, specifically his classic tale of conflicting stories, Rashmon, which is unfortunately absent from the series but should be added to your must-watch list at home. (According to the Carolina Theatre, Rashmon wasn’t included in the program only because the film was recently screened elsewhere in this area.)

Its plot has been recycled in various media over the last six decades. Fourteen years after it was first released, it was remade as a 1964 Paul Newman Western, The Outrage, for which Kurosawa was credited in the script. It may rank as one of the few opportunities to see Newman, Edward G. Robinson, Laurence Harvey and William Shatner all in the same place.

There are, of course, dozens upon dozens of other films that have used the Rashomon structure, ranging from war drama (Courage Under Fire), crime (The Usual Suspects), animation (Hoodwinked) and lame comedy (One Night at McCool’s).

And there have been plenty of TV shows that have referenced it, from a Diff’rent Strokes episode called “Rashomon II” to a CSI called “Rashomama.” Even Marge Simpson once reminded Homer that he enjoyed Rashmon, though Homer retorted, “That’s not how I remember it.”

My favorite may be one that doesn’t really exist; a background poster in an Evan Dorkin cartoon for a film called “Rashomonster,” which featured the tagline, “Who really destroyed Tokyo?” Of all Kurosawa’s films, Rashmon may be the most purely influential, simply because its idea that there is no one truth, that everyone’s perception of reality is ultimately self-serving, only becomes more relevant as media and networking become a great part of people’s daily lives. —Zack Smith

Dear Lord, did not update the blog all May.  Let’s rectify this.

Before the Film JONAH HEX Writers Find NO WAY BACK In New HC


By Zack Smith

With the film of DC’s scarred cowboy  Jonah Hex riding into theaters on June 18, it’s only appropriate that the writers of Hex’s monthly series would pull out something special for the occasion. 

And indeed they have, with No Way Back an original graphic novel illustrated by Tony DeZuniga, who co-created Hex back in the 1970s, and has held onto this idea for decades.  It’s a tale that reveals a previously unknown aspect of Hex’s past…his brother. 

Writers Justin Gray and Jimmy Palmiotti stopped by to tell us about Hex’s latest bounty, why they’d like to do more original graphic novels in the series, some of the artists they’d love to work with on the monthly series, and more.

Read the full interview here!