WNnG – Musings from the desk of chaz.

In Local News!
September 3, 2008, 2:10 pm
Filed under: Durham

A couple things.

1) Shuffle Magazine.
Pick one up. Right now. It’s an amazing glossy local zine with standout writing. How much is it?? Absolutely FREE. Honestly, it’s everything that I had hoped Performer would be when I had first heard of it. I guess it’s not really fair to compare the two though as Performer is more Georgia based and Shuffle is kicked out right in our own backyard. I believe it’s based out of Charlotte, but covers the Triangle, the Triad and Charlotte as well as a bit more in between. Perfect. All the local stuff that’s close enough to be truly called local and not “regional.” All the stuff to be proud of.

Bryan Reed who used to write for Diversions over at UNC is the main brain behind this venture. Apparently they’re already on the 3rd issue or so!! I totally missed the first couple! The writing is exactly what you’re looking for – they’re writing in the manner that you’d talk up an album to a friend. Straight to the point and without frills or lofty metaphors. There’s no hyping a band either, it’s just take-it-or-leave-it brand of music reporting. The manner that they work the ads into the zine is amazing as well and definitely worth taking notice of. They blend so well into the glossy pages that they’re not eye sores and are more a piece of the magazine as a whole. Check it out! It’s the first time I’ve actually been excited to look at the ads and how they’re displayed. Strange. Advertisers take note, I actually flipped through looking for ads just to see how they got worked into the full picture.

I’ve got a handful at the shop. Grab ’em while they’re around and brace yourself for the next issue!

2) Ultimate Comics on 9th Street!!
Still need more reasons to move to Durham? Everyday that passes, 9th St. becomes more and more exciting and more independent focused. It’s amazing. A couple weeks ago a new comic book shop opened up right between Dain’s Place and Charlie’s on the Markham end of 9th St. Technically, I guess it’s not entirely new, this is the 4th installment of the local chain and I couldn’t be happier with the new location. Just in time to renew my subscription to geeking out over comics! Haven’t done that since I was a kid and my brother would go with me to our local shop in Richmond. With this just up the street now and my known habit for getting addicted to all things collectible, I fear for the couple bucks I squirrel away into my wallet.

I suppose I can easily trade a few beers a week for some comics! I swung in this morning on my way to work after the bus dropped me off (right next to the shop actually) about 20 minutes before worktime. I tried the door and it was locked, I was a little too eager to get in despite it obviously being closed. The lights were out. I lingered looking in through the windows until someone nonchalantly unlocked the door. Guess that was my cue! I am as out of touch with comics as someone would be with music if they had not turned on a single radio or TV nor picked up a magazine in ten years. I was embarrassed and awkward in asking the owner of the shop “what’s new and good?” I was annoyed at myself for having to ask the question, but his mind started spinning as soon as I asked. It was great. Another step in conquering the big question in my own head!

I walked out with the Watchmen graphic novel and a trade copy of Kick-Ass…which was awesome. It’s actually a reprinted “Director’s Cut” copy of the first issue, but I’ll definitely be swinging back in for the issues that are already out and then I’ll be on track for the Wednesday releases for the rest of the series. I was looking for a series to get hooked on and I think I found it.

If I’m right in my analogy, I think the Watchmen graphic novel would translate to the Arcade Fire in music terms. On the front cover, it boasts “One of Time Magazine’s 100 Best Novels.” It’s definitely hit the pop mainstream with big numbers, but respectfully retains its indie aspect and is well regarded it seems. It’s dark and artsy too, deepening the connection. Am I right in this? I have no idea, you tell me, I’m new at it.


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The Watchmen series came out when I was at ASU, and one of my roommates collected it. It’s a great read.

I was further intrigued when someone explained to me that Alan Moore’s original intent was to use the old Charlton Comics characters. He couldn’t get the rights to them, apparently, so he based new characters on them. Therefore, Rorshach=the Question, Night Owl=Blue Beetle, Mister Manhattan=Captain Atom, etc. Very cool.

Comment by Jamie

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