Archive for the ‘Licensed Character Books’ Category

My Favorite Kind of Vampires

10/31/22

Happy Halloween, everyone! As I mentioned in a previous blog post, I used to draw one-panel gag cartoons. Like, professionally. Only for a handful of magazines, and really just at the beginning of my writing career. These days I mostly work as a writer, and I don’t draw that much, unless you count the rough thumbnail sketches I draw for nearly every project I work on. Which definitely counts as drawing. But I don’t often show those sketches to the people I’m working with (although sometimes, I do).

Anyway, since it’s Halloween, I thought I’d post one of the gag cartoons I drew back in the day. It’s called “Vampire Nerds,” and it was originally published in the October 2006 issue of Nickelodeon Magazine. (That was the Halloween issue, as if you couldn’t tell by the cover date.) Check it out:

Obviously, vampire nerds are my favorite kind of bloodsuckers, because I myself am a massive geek. (Which you could probably tell by the fact that I write graphic novels about mythical creatures, children’s book adaptations of famous sci-fi movies, TV scripts about fairy tale characters, and scripts for uber-nerdy video games. But I digress…)

I may begin drawing cartoons again (like, professionally), because I really miss it. If that does indeed happen, I’ll definitely mention it on this blog. So keep checking this space!

 

Sequential Crush Podcast Interview!

10/18/22

Recently, I was a guest on the Sequential Crush podcast, hosted by author and comics historian Jacque Nodell. We talked about my writing career, my creative influences, and more. I had a fantastic time talking to Jacque, and I hope you enjoy listening to the episode! 

Here’s Jacque’s description of the episode, from the Sequential Crush site:

“Join me for the first Sequential Crush podcast interview with writer Arie Kaplan. Arie has written for it all — TV, comics, magazines, and books, and he doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. Arie shares how he broke into pop culture writing, how he made a move from intern to professional, and he divulges his inspirations, faves, and dream projects.”

You can check out the interview HERE.

 

Whose Yacht Is This Anyway?

9/17/22

It’s Batman Day! So I’m going to share a Batman story. Or more accurately, a story ABOUT a Batman story. See, I wrote a Batman children’s book called Swamped by Croc, which was published by Penguin Random House in January of this year. In Swamped by Croc,* Killer Croc robs a bank and escapes into the sewers. Batman chases him, and this leads to an epic showdown in the swamp, right in front of Killer Croc’s ramshackle house. But if you look at the last two pages of the story, you’ll see a yacht floating in the bog not far from Croc’s abode. Why is that boat there? Who does it belong to?

Well, in early drafts of the manuscript, the following words were written on the hull of the yacht: “Property of Bruce Wayne.” ** Yup, this was originally going to be Bruce Wayne’s yacht! The idea was going to be that Croc had stolen it at some point in the past, and as Batman apprehends Croc and tries to retrieve the money from the bank heist, he would acknowledge that his reptilian foe has his missing boat. This was going to be the final page of text:

“You’re going to Arkham, and this money’s going back to the bank,” the Caped Crusader said. Then he chuckled and added, “And this boat’s going back to its rightful owner.”

Anyway, that was supposed to add a nice little wrinkle at the end of the story; not only does Batman defeat Croc and intercept the money the venomous villain has stolen from the bank, the Dark Knight accidentally stumbles upon something Croc stole from him personally.

But in the final version of the book, there are no words written on the hull of the yacht. Why not? Well, there was just no room for verbiage or signage anywhere on that boat. Nothing that the reader would be able to see or make out with any clarity, anyway. The yacht was too far in the background for that. So the idea that the boat belonged to Bruce Wayne had to be dropped. And I changed the text on the final page of the book. Now, this is what it said on that page:

“The money’s going back to the bank,” said the Caped Crusader. “And the Gotham City Swamp is going to be a much safer place while you’re in jail.”

And please don’t misunderstand. I’m not complaining that the final page had to be changed. I think it was necessary in this case. I’m really happy with the final version of the book, even though the yacht is relegated to just a random piece of scenery in the background. Sometimes, that happens when you’re telling a story. You don’t always have the room for every little plot twist or ironic touch you originally wanted to include. And that’s okay, as long as the really important story beats and character moments make it into the narrative. In the end, the yacht belonging to Bruce Wayne is not that important to the telling of this tale. It’s a relatively minor detail, so it’s something I could live without.

Besides, Bruce Wayne’s so rich, if one of his yachts went missing, I don’t even know if he’d notice!

 

 

* I should mention that Swamped by Croc is not the first Batman children’s book I wrote. That would be Harley at Bat, which was also published by Penguin Random House. 

** The idea that the hull of the yacht is emblazoned with the words “Property of Bruce Wayne” is not something that ever appeared in the text for this book. Instead, it appeared in the manuscript’s art notes, which are the notes I always include alongside the text as instructions for what the illustrators should draw on each page of the story. The art notes for a book are like the stage directions or scene descriptions in a stage play or screenplay. They’re also like the art notes that appear in every panel of a comic book script. 

 

 

 

 

The E.T. Little Golden Book is out NOW!

9/6/22

Hey, everyone! The E.T. Little Golden Book, written by yours truly, came out today from Penguin Random House. It’s an adaptation of the iconic 1982 film E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, written as a Little Golden Book for very young readers. The book was published to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the movie. I think the book really turned out well and I’m very proud of it.

The E.T. Little Golden Book was illustrated by Chris Fennell, who did a fantastic job.

Oh, and did I mention that it’s not just a Little Golden Book, but a Funko Pop Little Golden Book? That means that everyone in the book is drawn Funko Pop-style. So it’s super-adorable.

Check out the book’s page on the Penguin Random House site. 

Check out the Amazon page for the book.

Find out more about some of the other books I’ve written for Penguin Random House.

 

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