2021 Interviews With Yours Truly!

10/19/21

Last month, I was interviewed by Rebecca Kaplan (no relation) for the geek culture site Comics Bookcase. During the interview, I talked about my career as a comic book writer and children’s author.

Around that same time, I was a guest on Jeramy Moore’s Storymakers podcast. This was a wide-ranging interview about my writing career.

And, just in case you missed them, here are some other press interviews with yours truly from earlier this year:

For Jurassic June (which happened in – wait for it – June), I was interviewed by Thomas Fishenden for the Jurassic Park Podcast. In this interview, I talked about the Jurassic Park and Jurassic World children’s books I’ve written. That interview was broken up into two parts. Part one is here, and part two is here.

In March, as part of WonderCon 2021, I was on a virtual panel that attempted to answer the question: “Who’s the most neurotic superhero?” The other panelists were Travis Langley, Leandra Parris, J.J. Sedelmeier, and R. Sikoryak. The panel was moderated by Danny Fingeroth. 

Also in March, David P. Levin hosted a panel discussion on his Pop Goes the Culture show to discuss the Disney Plus series WandaVision. I was one of the panelists. The other panelists were Danny Fingeroth, Ray Alma, Steve Van Patten, Adam Freeman, and special guest Fred Melamed, who played Vision’s boss in WandaVision.

And last but definitely not least, in February, I was a guest on the MulDiversity podcast, where I was interviewed by Jonita Davis, Mike Majett, Quamani Greer, Avia Knighten, Aaron M. Johnson, and Keisha Malone. During the interview, we discussed my career in comics, my work as a television comedy writer, and more.


Time-traveling Socks and Neurotic Centaurs

9/22/21

Recently, I wrote a short story called “Previously On ‘Time Sock: The Sock That Travels Through Time.’” It was published in the August 2021 issue of Defenestration, a literary magazine dedicated to humor. “Previously On ‘Time Sock’…” is a story that parodies some of the more ridiculous, convoluted science fiction-themed TV shows from the 1970s and 1980s, especially shows that were produced by Glen Larson (e.g. Battlestar Galactica, Buck Rogers, Knight Rider). But “Previously On ‘Time Sock’…” isn’t a parody of a specific show; just the type of science fiction TV show that used to be quite common on television, 40 or 50 years ago. 

Here are some other short stories and humor pieces I’ve written during the last few months:

I wrote a story for The Daily Drunk called “If You Act Now…”

And I wrote a list for Points in Case. It’s called “Other Things That Were Considered Evidence of Witchcraft in 17th Century Salem.”

Last but definitely not least, I wrote a piece for Weekly Humorist called “Thanks To The Pandemic, Nobody Cares That I’m A Centaur.”

 

 


5 Things You May Not Know About The Loki Little Golden Book

4/16/21

The Loki Little Golden Book is my most recent children’s book project. It was published by Penguin Random House on January 5th, 2021, and it was illustrated by Hollie Mengert. This book was great fun to write. But every book tells two stories: the story of what the book is about (in other words, the plot), and the behind-the-scenes story of how the book was written. Here are a few things you might not know about The Loki Little Golden Book:

1) In the book’s opening scene, Loki is in Asgard, fooling a palace guard by conjuring a hologram-like image of Thor. Meanwhile, the REAL Thor looks on, annoyed, in the background. The original version of this scene was quite different: the guard is eating a sandwich, and Loki fools the guard by making it appear that his sandwich has COME TO LIFE. The sandwich had a face and everything! (At least, that’s the way I described it in the manuscript’s art notes, aka stage directions.) But I think that version of the scene was deemed too surreal, so I changed it to the one you see in the book. And that’s fine. But still, part of me longs to visit the alternate universe where Loki’s “sandwich-with-a-face” prank made it into the book.

2) This is a book for very young children, and so the idea that Thor and his family are basically deities is one that I can’t explore in a book for this age group. How do you describe what a god is without getting into thorny concepts like “worship” and “religion”? That presented me with a challenge: how would I describe Asgard, commonly known as the realm of the gods? I brainstormed a few different ways of describing it before I came up with one I was happy with: “Asgard, a mythical city of heroes.” Which is appropriate for the target demo of this book, and also accurate!

3) I wanted the dragon in this story to resemble dragons from Norse mythology. So while writing this book, I found several images of dragons from ancient Norse sculptures and paintings, and I included links to those images at the end of the manuscript, for Hollie’s reference.

4) There’s a double-page spread in the book that shows Loki skulking in the shadows as Thor hangs out with the Avengers. The narration in that spread talks about how Thor “sometimes sneaked to Earth to play pranks on Thor.” Originally the art notes for that spread showed Thor hanging out with the Avengers (on the left page) and Loki using his powers to make himself look like Captain America (on the right page). That was, of course, a reference to the scene in Thor: The Dark World where Loki does the very same thing. However, I figured that the “Loki impersonating Cap” image might be too confusing to small children who most likely hadn’t seen Thor: the Dark World.

5) Most Little Golden Books are either “meet the characters” books or “plot-driven” books. In “meet the characters” books, you meet the main character of a well-known IP and his/her/their supporting cast. The first Little Golden Book I ever wrote was The Doctor Strange LGB, which was a “meet the characters” book. It’s an introduction to the world of Doctor Strange, where you meet Stephen Strange, Baron Mordo, the Ancient One, Clea, Wong, Dormammu, Nightmare, etc. I also wrote an Avengers LGB called The Threat of Thanos, which was a “plot-driven” book: it was a simple plot with a beginning, middle, and an end. Thanos comes to Earth to find one of the Infinity Stones, the Avengers try to stop him, he defeats them using the Infinity Stones he’s already collected, and then when all seems lost, Thor outwits Thanos. It didn’t introduce the Avengers to the reader. Rather, the reader is seeing one of their adventures play out. BUT The Loki LGB is that rarity: a mash-up of both types of LGB. The first half is a “meet the characters” narrative, and the second half (with Loki bringing the dragon statue to life) is a “plot-driven” narrative.


Welcome to the Lodestars!

3/24/21

I’m currently writing the scripts for a mobile game called eQuoo: The Next Generation: Lodestar. The game is a complete, top-to-bottom relaunch of a game called eQuoo, which came out a few years ago. PsycApps, the company behind both versions of eQuoo, uses gamification and psychology to help people maintain their mental health.

In early 2020, Silja Litvin, the founder and CEO of PsycApps, brought me on board to write this “Next Gen” version of the game.

You enter the game as a newly-minted member of a secret order of “time-jumpers” called Lodestars. As a Lodestar, you use a portable time machine called the Dial, which whisks you from one historical era to another. In each era, you have adventures and learn psychological skills that will help you build your emotional resilience, boost your relationship skills, and lower your anxiety.

Each era is also its own separate story. For example, Story 1, which is called “The House of Krondolar,” is a parody of fantasy epics like Game of Thrones and Lord of the Rings. You can see all of the “House of Krondolar” characters in this poster for the game, which was illustrated by eQuoo’s multi-talented lead artist Celia Rodriguez.

eQuoo: The Next Generation is currently available on Google Play and the iOs App Store.

Here’s a YouTube trailer for the game, where you can see what the Lodestars and the Dial look like. The trailer also explains a little bit of the lore behind the game.

And check out this interview with Silja Litvin from the MiTale blog. Silja said some very nice things about me!

 


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