Horrifically-Relevant Things I’ve Written (And In One Case, Illustrated)

10/31/18

In honor of Halloween (and totally NOT in honor of me being a shameless self-promoter), here are five of the horror-themed projects I’ve worked on over the years, all of which (except the last one) are on sale now:

1) PARANORMAL STATE: POISON SPRING: As I’ve mentioned on this site’s “Game Writing” page, I wrote the screenplay for the Paranormal State: Poison Spring video game, which was produced by Legacy Games in 2013. You can watch a trailer for the game here

2) THE DOCTOR STRANGE LITTLE GOLDEN BOOK: I’ve written a few Little Golden Books over the past couple of years. The Doctor Strange Little Golden Book was the first one. It was published by Penguin Random House in 2017, and it was illustrated by Michael Atiyeh and Michael Borkowski. 

3) SIMPSONS TREEHOUSE OF HORROR: GRAVEYARD SHIFT: From 2008-2018, I wrote various stories for (the recently-shuttered) comic book publisher Bongo Comics. This was one of them. It was a story published in 2015’s Simpsons Treehouse of Horror #21, and it was called “Graveyard Shift.” “Graveyard Shift” was the cover story in that issue, meaning that the cover depicts a scene from that story. As you might be able to tell, it’s a parody of the 1984 film Gremlins

4) TALES FROM THE CRYPT: JUMPING THE SHARK: As I mentioned on this site’s “Comic Book Writing” page, I wrote the story “Jumping the Shark” for issue #6 of the late 2000s relaunch of Tales from the Crypt, published by Papercutz. You can read the story now in the trade paperback Tales from the Crypt #4: Crypt-Keeping It Real

5) MONSTERFONT: A DECORATIVE TYPEFACE: Okay, this is just something I drew for my own amusement, and it hasn’t been published anywhere. Over the years, I’ve drawn one-panel gag cartoons for various publications (e.g. Nickelodeon Magazine). I haven’t posted any of those cartoons on this site, but I will soon. UNTIL THEN, please enjoy “Monsterfont, A Decorative Typeface.”


“IncrediBuilds: The Flash” Comes Out On October 15th!

10/13/18

Recently, I wrote an IncrediBuilds book about the CW television series The Flash. The book comes with a balsa wood (Jay Garrick) Flash helmet, which you can build and paint. IncrediBuilds: The Flash will be available on Monday October 15, 2018 from Insight Editions. Here are some images of the book’s front and back cover art, as well as the case the book comes in.


The LEGO DC Super Heroes Visual Dictionary Comes Out TOMORROW!

9/3/18

Recently, I co-wrote a book called The LEGO DC Super Heroes Visual Dictionary, which will be published by DK tomorrow, Tuesday September 4th, 2018. (My co-author on that project was Elizabeth Dowsett.) In April, I talked about what it was like working on the book when I was interviewed by the geek culture blog Comics Beat. As of this writing, The LEGO DC Super Heroes Visual Dictionary is the #1 New Release in Children’s Dictionaries on Amazon. And here’s some info on the book from the Penguin Random House site: 

“Celebrate the entire world of LEGO DC Super Heroes with this comprehensive visual guide to all the minifigures, vehicles and sets, including the LEGO Batman Movie sets. Explore every detail of LEGO Batman’s Batcave, look around Wonder Woman’s Invisible Jet, examine Lex Luthor’s awesome mech and find out about all the LEGO DC Super Heroes minifigures’ weapons and gadgets. Find out how the awesome sets and amazing video games are created in the Beyond the Brick chapter, which features concept art and an interview with a LEGO designer. LEGO DC Super Heroes: The Visual Dictionary will tell you everything there is to know about LEGO DC Super Heroes.” 


Thanos Demands Your Silence (Because He Needs A Nap)

7/17/18

Last year, I wrote an Avengers Little Golden Book, titled The Threat of Thanos, which is out now. The Threat of Thanos was illustrated by the incredible Shane Clester, and it was published by Penguin Random House.

The Threat of Thanos features Thor, Black Panther, Iron Man, and The Wasp. Oddly enough, those are the main characters in the last four MCU movies (Thor: Ragnarok, Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War, and Ant-Man and the Wasp). But seriously, that’s just a coincidence.

I should mention that The Threat of Thanos has a totally original plot, and it’s not an adaptation of the Infinity War movie. This was a fun book to write, and I’m really proud of it. If you look at the book’s cover art, you’ll see that Thanos has the Infinity Gauntlet and all of the Infinity Stones. The biggest challenge in writing the book was figuring out how to explain what each of the Infinity Stones does on a level that a 2-5 year old kid could understand. For example, how do you explain the Mind Stone (or the Reality Stone, for that matter) on a kindergarten level? But I think I pulled it off.

Whenever I write a Little Golden Book, I have to write the art notes as well as the text. (Art notes are notes to the artist, telling them what to draw on every page.) So as I’m writing the text, I’m usually drawing up really rough thumbnail sketches to try and figure out what the art might consist of. Then in the art notes, I describe what I’ve drawn. I usually don’t show the thumbnail sketches to anyone, even my editor. They’re just for my own reference. But they really help in terms of figuring out which specific images will help to tell the story, which images will complement the text, and how many of those images can comfortably fit inside a book with a very specific page count.

I don’t know if other authors draw thumbnail sketches while they’re typing up the art notes, but for me, it’s a vital part of my process. So is listening to the right music. While writing the Threat of Thanos, I listened to Alan Silvestri’s score from the first Avengers movie.

Oh! And as of this writing, The Threat of Thanos is the #1 New Release in Children’s Superhero Comics on Amazon

PS – Back in April, I was interviewed by AJ Frost, Staff Writer for the “geek culture” site The Beat. During the interview, I talked about The Threat of Thanos, as well as some of my other recent children’s book projects. You can check out the interview here.


Please contact me if you want to use this for any reason. arie@ariekaplan.com