Archive for the ‘Cartoons’ Category

Swamped by Croc!

1/23/22

Happy New Year! Hope you’re having a fantastic 2022 so far!

A few new developments I wanted to share:

Recently, I wrote a Batman children’s book called Swamped by Croc, which is out now! The book was illustrated by Francesco Legramandi and Gabriella Matta, and it was published by Penguin Random House!

Here’s the official publisher description for Swamped by Croc:

“Batman follows the criminal Croc into the dark waters of the Gotham City swamp-but will the swamp’s quicksand prove to be as deadly as his foe? Young Batman and DC Super Hero fans will love the action as their favorite super hero battles the monstrous villain in this full-color storybook that features more than 30 stickers!”

Speaking of Batman: Back in 2019, I wrote a MAD Magazine story called “What If Batman Were Actually 80 Years Old.” It was illustrated by Pete Woods. More recently, “What If Batman…” was reprinted in MAD Magazine #23 (the Batman-themed issue), which is out NOW, and which is cover-dated February 2022! Pete and I both put tons of Easter Eggs into this story. Robert Pattinson even puts in an appearance! (Seriously!) You can see Tom Richmond’s cover art for the issue HERE.

What else? Oh, here’s something: Last year, I wrote a humor piece for Weekly Humorist, called “Thanks To The Pandemic, Nobody Cares That I’m A Centaur.” Earlier this month, it was selected as part of Weekly Humorist’s Best of 2021 List.

And last but definitely not least: I made a video about the history of Jews in animation for the Union for Reform Judaism’s “RJ On the Go” platform. The video is called “Drawing the Line,” and it’s viewable until January 31st. Check it out!

 

 

 

 

 

Charlie’s Colorforms City – “Charlie and Little Bo Peep”

11/30/21

Last year, I wrote an episode of the Netflix animated preschool series Charlie’s Colorforms City called “Charlie and Little Bo Peep.” The episode is one of the “Classic Tales with a Twist” eps, which launched TODAY!

Here’s the official synopsis of “Charlie and Little Bo Peep”:

“Animal detective Charlie is on the case! He disguises himself and goes undercover to help Little Bo Peep solve the mystery of her missing sheep.”

As you may be able to tell from that logline, this episode combines two of my writerly obsessions, fairy tales and detective stories. I had a great time penning the script for this episode, and I think the finished product looks spectacular. (But then again, I’m a bit biased.)

 

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.

The Entire Eastern Seaboard!

7/7/20

Many many many (many) years ago, I was a writer for the late, lamented television series Codename: Kids Next Door, which was on Cartoon Network. The show’s head writer was Mo Willems. (Yes, the children’s book author. Back then, he was doing quite a bit of work in television, mostly as a writer or head writer for various animated series.)

One day, I was in a story conference with Mo, and we were going over a premise I had pitched him. For the most part, Mo liked the plot that I’d concocted…until he got to the end of the first act. He turned to me and said, “Wait a minute…the bad guy wants to destroy the entire town? THE ENTIRE TOWN? What does THAT mean?” I wasn’t sure what he meant, so he elaborated: “It’s too vague, too big, too general. If someone’s trying to destroy the entire town or blow up the entire world, there’s nothing specific about it.” Mo’s point was that you can’t have a supervillain character with a generic goal.

Mo always wanted a villain’s goal to be specific and personal. In other words, the villain shouldn’t want to brainwash everyone in the entire town. She should want to brainwash the person who used to be her best friend, so that they’ll be BFFs again. See? Specific. Personal. The supervillain’s goal is tied to that villain’s personal relationships.

And this is something I’ve really taken to heart as a writer ever since. To this day, I can’t stand it when I’m watching a trailer for an action movie and there’s a scene with the U.S. military reacting to the villain’s big plot and a general says, “My god! He’s going to wipe out the entire eastern seaboard!” Really? He is? WHO CARES! That’s too big, broad, and vague. I can’t respond to it on an emotional level. I honestly get angry whenever I hear the phrase “eastern seaboard” in an action movie. It’s usually a signifier that the movie suffers from lazy writing. Or maybe it’s just a movie where the villain ORIGINALLY had a unique, interesting goal…in an early draft of the script. But somewhere along the line the screenwriters got a note from the studio that said, “You know what? The villain needs a BIG goal. How about he wants to detonate some nukes and wipe out – I don’t know – the entire eastern seaboard? It really raises the stakes, right?” I mean, sure. It DOES raise the stakes. But it’s also TOO big. I can’t engage with it. I can’t care about this supervillain character if his/her/their goal is so big and impersonal.

That’s certainly something I was thinking about last year when I wrote a Batman children’s book called Harley at Bat, which was published by Penguin Random House. In fact, the book came out today, Tuesday July 7th, 2020. Harley at Bat is an early reader, and it’s illustrated by Marco Lesko, Fabio Laguna, & Beverly Johnson. Harley Quinn is the supervillain in that story, and she doesn’t just have a vague goal like “Destroy all of Gotham City.” No, she has a very specific goal. She wants to…

Oh, but that would be telling. Guess you’ll just have to buy Harley at Bat in order to find out what Harley’s big supervillain scheme is. But trust me: she doesn’t want to wipe out the Eastern seaboard! In fact, I can honestly tell you that the words “Eastern seaboard” never appear once in Harley at Bat. That’s a promise! 

And while we’re on the subject of Batman: you should be like Batman and social distance. I mean, Batman socially distances because he has trouble forming personal relationships, which is in turn because his parents were murdered, he was heavily traumatized by that horrible experience, and he doesn’t even trust most of his fellow superheroes. Meanwhile, you and I social distance because it’s how we stay safe and healthy. Know what else Batman does? He wears a mask when he goes outside. Be like Batman. Wear a mask. Please.

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