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Making stuff 

The latest in cool comics

"Drawing Pete takes a lot of time, but really clears my mind," says Carrboro's Adam Hall, artist/writer/creator of the local zine The Incredible Pete.

Issue No. 2 is just out. "It's kind of meditative in that way. And telling the story is sort of my method of expulsion."

Looking up, he continues, "You know, I'd wager that a lot of people who choose to tell stories in some kind of printed medium are not those who easily express themselves in person-to-person interactions. It's easier to say it while hiding under metaphor."

We're lucky Hall isn't hiding his talent. He admits upfront that publishing his comics is not a money-making scheme. His has five volumes of collected cartoons from his years as editorial cartoonist for the Daily Tar Heel, three issues of a detective series and a dozen issues of his teenage superhero/government force genre years ("There's not a huge amount of substance here, but they were a lot of fun to do," he says).

The simple, clean, cool covers of his zines grab the curious reader, as the art proclaims "Pete is insecure, Pete is naïve." Answering the obvious question, Hall says, "I think you have to put a lot of yourself into a character to make him or her believable. So, to that extent, Pete is me. But, so is every other character in the book."

Find out about Pete and the lab, Pete and physics, Pete and Sarah, and Pete and Kayla. You can reach the creator at

Durham's Everett Rand continues to shake his head in wonder at the full mailbox he greets every day. He's become the de facto "trusted-guy publisher" of most of the superstar underground comic artists of the '60s. The latest issue of his zine Mineshaft ( sold out a few days after it came off the presses. Featuring R. Crumb, Charles Bukowski, Simon and Kim Deitch and Robert Armstrong, demand for the issue was never in doubt. And he has Zippy's Bill Griffith on deck for the next issue. The man who created the Pinhead for President campaign just sent Rand and co-publisher/editor Gioia Palmieri 28 pages of unpublished work and an 18-page article titled "Advice to Young Artists."

Rand cautions the reader: "Some people aren't going to like the Frank Stack sketches." Why not? "Well, the strip is called 'Jesus Gets Fed Up.'" You decide... .

Raleigh's Eric Amling has been a little busy lately making stuff. He just helped produce a "night of sound/noise/performance" at Lump Gallery's Lost Weekend 2005. He's just published a pair of poetry chapbooks. And he's trying to raise money and seek submissions for issue two of his zine, The Optical Oak . He writes: "Be it Male/Female/Transient Animal, please send submissions, offerings, ads, coupons." You can reach Eric at

Nationally, one magazine alone is sucking up all the hip/techno media buzz. Remember how excited everyone (well, the West Coast virtual-worlders and the East Coast venture capitalists) was when Wired was launched? Now, the spin's about Make: technology on your time . It's "The first magazine devoted to digital projects, hardware hacks, and DIY inspiration" and it's "ReadyMade for technology geeks." How now is it? has 13 pages of podcast downloads! Make is for extreme gamers, bot builders and retro Atari fans. This is a dense, heavy, glossy, schematic-laden celebration of garage technology. It's endless summer with circuit boards instead of surfboards.

They lead off with a well-chosen William Gibson line: "The future is here. It's just not distributed yet."

Contributing writer John Valentine can be reached at

More by John Valentine


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