Next-Door Neighbor

The Vestibule
By Tara Seibel

Party: Next-Door Neighbor Wrap; Rushkoff’s Life, Inc. Launch

June 15th, 2009 by Jeff Newelt | 215 Comments

Team-ups are a time-honored tradition in comics. So its apropos that we celebrate the wrap of NEXT-DOOR NEIGHBOR, SMITH’s true-life webcomic anthology edited by Dean Haspiel, with not only a proper party, but a team-up of our own. Media theorist/author/longtime friend, Doug Rushkoff, has just launched his new book, LIFE INC: How the World Became a Corporation and How to Take It Back, and we can’t think of a better project to join forces with. That’s why SMITH, along with WFMU and ARTHUR Magazine, is toasting the wrap of NDN and launch of LIFE INC with a party on Thursday, June 18, at Sutra Lounge in NYC at 9pm. Facebook invite here you come! Read the rest of this entry »

Introducing…Tara Seibel and a New Neighbor Story

May 21st, 2009 by Jeff Newelt | 70 Comments

We’re pleased as a Pekar to present the perfectly imperfect, precisely imprecise, jazzily rendered work of newcomer-to-comics Tara Seibel. Harvey Pekar (of American Splendor fame) recommended Tara, a new frequent collaborator (including on an upcoming SMITH comics project) and fellow a Clevelander. She’s got a decidedly different approach to comics, equal parts designer to draftsman. “She’s doing this without preconceptions of what comics should be and doin’ things with color that I’m really diggin,” says Pekar of his protege. And we flipped too from her pastel yet powerful piece. After 28 installments, we wrap up Next-Door Neighbor with the equivalent of a graphic intermezzo. “Vestibule” is touching, with no horrible landlords, no dickheads, no nasties. Instead what we have is a romance. The magic of meeting someone, the sweet story of her first encounter with Aaron who she, well…here’s a spoiler for ya: its a happy ending; too bad.

Eisner Nomination for Next-Door Neighbor’s “Vs.”

May 11th, 2009 by Jeff Newelt | 64 Comments

SMITH Magazine congratulates Joe Infurnari and Alexis Sottile on their Eisner nomination (think Academy Awards for comics) for Best Digital Comic for “Vs.,” their virtuoso contribution to Next-Door Neighbor, SMITH’s truelife webcomic anthology, edited by Dean Haspiel. “Vs.” is the tale of Joe’s nightmarish neighborly encounters, one after another after another after another. Told as an autobiographical monologue written in verse, juxtaposed with rabid remembrances, dizzyingly visualized like a sickedelic melange of EC horror comics, The Twilight Zone, and Universal’s Monster Movies meets Cronenberg and Lynch, “Vs.” has got to be seen to be believed (and you can believe it, because it all happened). Read the rest of this entry »

My Home Birth: A Graphic Graphic Memoir by Christen Clifford & David Heatley

May 8th, 2009 by Larry Smith | 116 Comments

We’re thrilled to direct Next-Door Neighbor lovers to another SMITH story told in comic form, this one about another near-universal topic: birth. Christen Clifford, whose words have appeared on SMITH before, as well as on stage and in many other publications, met cartoonist David Heatley on the playground, as creative New York parents are wont to do. Now Heatley, author of the graphic novel, My Brain is Hanging Upside Down, brings to vivid life Clifford’s story of her homebirth. SMITH is pleased to present My Home Birth by Christen Clifford & David Heatley.

Introducing: “Night of the Black Chrysanthemum by Michele Carlo & Rick Parker

May 6th, 2009 by Larry Smith | 67 Comments

The 28th installment of Next-Door Neighbor, SMITH Magazine’s true-life webcomic anthology, is a very special one: it’s written by a reader. Brooklyn native Michele Carlo’s story, “Night of the Black Chrysanthemum” was the winner of our “What’s Your Neighbor Story?” contest. Last fall, storytelling legend Harvey Pekar (an NDN contributor himself) chose Carlo’s intense and funny tale of her family’s voodoo feud in the Bronx as the top reader story. “My family had been the first Latin family to move into our apartment building,” Carlo writes. “So when two other Latin families finally moved in on either side of us, we thought we’d have allies. We were wrong.” Paired with veteran artist Rick Parker, Carlo’s story unleashes a raw, delicious energy that could only be set in New York in 1979. For more on the amazing Michele Carlo, a Brooklyn native a storyteller about town, visit her site.

Haspiel’s “Bzzt” and Buzz from Publishers Weekly

April 23rd, 2009 by Larry Smith | 43 Comments

We’re proud to present the 27th installment of Next-Door Neighbor, SMITH’s all-true tale of the people next door, created by some of our favorite writers and artists. “Bzzt” comes from NDN’s very own editor, Dean Haspiel. Haspiel takes us back to his days living in Alphabet City, right by a Con-Ed plant, and next to a neighbor who he was convinced was a “robot sent from the future with a secret mission to insulate the walls of Lower East Side tenements with human guts and brain.” Commenting on the comic, a reader named Jen Ferguson writes, “Each page has a nice off-balance feel and angled views that make it seem a post-earthquake dystopia at twilight.” We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.

For 26 more stories, including George O’Connor’s, “Don’t Call Me Ishmael,” a tale of O’Connor’s obsessive hunt for an elusive mouse, check out the NDN archives. Publishers Weekly offered high praise of “Don’t Call Me Ishmael,” calling it “reminiscent of Moby Dick….as the title implies” (scroll to the bottom of the above link for the item). And check out the doc shop RADAR’s mini-documentary on the making of Next-Door Neighbor. It’s just three minutes and pure genius.

Debut: The Making of “Next-Door Neighbor,” a Mini-Doc

March 28th, 2009 by Larry Smith | 30 Comments

“It was a channeling of all the rage to a constructive, productive way,” explains Joe Infurnari, co-author of the NDN story, “Vs.”, in the just-released online mini-doc about SMITH Mag’s Next-Door Neighbor webcomic series. The NDN doc is part of a show called RADAR (produced by WPB Labs), found on Babelgum, an Internet and Mobile TV platform. WPB Labs has created a short, sharp look behind the scenes at how Next-Door Neighbor editor and comics guru Dean Haspiel put this big project together.

Join Dean, SMITH comics editor Jeff Newelt, myself, and many of the NDN contributors this Thursday, April 2, at a party in NYC to celebrate the offline premier of the mini-doc, as well as the 25th installment of Next-Door Neighbor. Details and RSVP on Facebook.

“Indoorsy,” a new Next-Door Neighbor story by Shawn Kittelsen & Kat Roberts

March 24th, 2009 by Larry Smith | 46 Comments

Our newest Next-Door Neighbor story isn’t about an axe murderer or the pervert next door, but rather a quieter tale of a small childhood trauma many of us can surely relate to. “Indoorsy,” by Shawn Kittelsen and Kat Roberts, recalls Kittelsen’s introverted young nature and his struggles to fit in. “I was an indoorsy eight-year-old,” he explains as the story begins. “I wasn’t shy, I just didn’t understand the appeal of tag and wiffleball when I could stay inside reading comics or dancing along to my tape of the “Thriller” video.” Find out about the horror that awaits young Shawn when Mom makes him….go out and play.

Want more about the neighbors? Jonathan Ames, Nick Bertozzi, Harvey Pekar, and many other writers and artists tell 20+ true stories about the freaks, geeks, and weirdos from the block in the NDN archives.

Next NDN: “Return to Sender” by Jim Dougan & Molly Lawless

March 3rd, 2009 by Larry Smith | 46 Comments

Everyone loves to beat up on a landlord, but the latest Next-Door Neighbor story, “Return to Sender”, looks at apartment living through an owner’s lens with empathy. Writer Jim Dougan and artist Molly Lawless thoughtfully offer the story of John Lincoln, the troubled man who once rented an apartment from Dougan in DC. It’s a truly moving portrait of a man, one that gave me pause: we all know a John Lincoln, whether he’s our neighbor or someone else’s, that person who by bad luck or bad choices, is the person we don’t want to be—and wonder how thin the line between our door and his really is. Check out the comments, where NDN contributor and graphic novel star Nick Bertozzi notes, “I need fifty more pages of John Lincoln.”

Catch up on more than 20 other true stories from the best minds of our comic generation in the NDN archives.

Lappé & Goldman Next-Door Neighbor Stories

February 17th, 2009 by Larry Smith | 39 Comments

Click on the Next-Door Neighbor area of the expandable box on the front page of SMITH and maybe you’ll realize what I just did: the most recent two NDN stories are authored by Anthony Lappé, who’s written Dorm Stalker (with artist Tom Forget, seen below) and Dan Goldman, who writes and astoundingly illustrates Red Plastic (above). Seeing the names Lappé and Goldman on the front page of SMITH bring me back: these two sent their first shock to the comic world on these very pages with Shooting War, serialized on SMITH from May-October, 2006. The comic was later turned into a full-length graphic novel, and is now in development in the UK as a miniseries. It’s a blast to have them back and a part of NDN—you early fans can say you knew these two back in the day, and check out their latest on SMITH.

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