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:
Dominic Hatch was a man with a dream. But what was that dream? And who on Earth was Dominic Hatch?
In order to answer those questions, you have to play a video game called Dame Time: Ogden.
I wrote the story bible, plot outline, and character dialogue for Dame Time: Ogden. And Dominic Hatch figures quite prominently in the story bible, as he plays a huge role in the backstory and lore of the game.
Once you begin playing the game, you’ll see that many of the people you meet have a very strong opinion about Dominic. They’ll explain who he was, why he was so important, what his legacy is, and how he shaped the world of Dame Time: Ogden.
When you explore a certain area in the game, you’ll see a framed portrait of Dominic Hatch. I can’t say where you’ll find it; that would be telling. Besides, I think it’s more fun if you look for it as you play the game, and find it on your own. But it looks like this:
And that portrait is (loosely) based on a rough sketch I drew which looks like this:
Now, I wasn’t part of the art team for Dame Time: Ogden. My responsibilities were strictly limited to the game’s narrative, lore, worldbuilding materials, dialogue, plot, and other story-driven components.
However, in the early days of my writing career, I supplemented my income by drawing one-panel gag cartoons for magazines (e.g. Nickelodeon Magazine, Fortean Times, etc). And I do have formal training as an artist. So occasionally, when I’m working on a project and I’m trying to describe a character I’ve created to the rest of the team I’m working with, it’s just easiest to hand them a drawing and say, “And the character looks like this.” Then they look at the drawing and say, “Ohhhh, okay. Now I get it.” Because sometimes a simple pencil sketch can communicate more about someone than a thousand eloquently written words. (And yes, I realize I’ve basically just said “A picture’s worth a thousand words.” Which is a very clichéd expression. But sometimes, clichés are true.)
Anyway, that’s the rough sketch I gave to the art team, who then used it as the basis for the framed portrait of Dominic which they created. A portrait that you’ll find…somewhere in the game. Think you can find it?
Dame Time: Ogden was developed by MetaVenture Studios, the gaming division of Grow Your Base. The game launched last month, as part of The Sandbox Alpha Season 3! And you can play Dame Time: Ogden by clicking HERE.
You can also visit the official Dame Time: Ogden website by clicking HERE.
Oh! And you can find out about the other video game projects I’ve worked on by clicking HERE.
Speaking of “Masters of TCBUR!” thanks to everyone who attended the launch party on August 28th at the Museum of Comic & Cartoon Art (MoCCA). Thanks also to Jerry Robinson, Danny Fingeroth, R. Sikoryak, Eddy Friedfeld, Matt Murray, Ken Wong, Kyle Baker, and Liz Glass for their help in making the evening such a success! And for those who didn’t get a chance to attend, here’s an article about the event from the Aug 31 New York Sun: http://www.nysun.com/article/38915
“Masters of TCBUR!” interviewee Kyle Baker was nice enough to plug my book on his blog. His wife Liz Glass wrote some really nice things about “Masters…” on the blog and even included an excerpt from the book! Here’s the link: http://www.thebakersanimationcartoons.blogspot.com/
It can be found under the following date and title: “Saturday,October 21, 2006 Kyle Baker featured in Arie Kaplan’s MASTERS OF THE COMIC BOOK UNIVERSE REVEALED!”
And I’ll be doing a series of lectures/book signings from November4-8 as part of the exhibit “ZAP! POW! BAM! The Superhero: 1938-1950- The Golden Age of Comic Books” at the Janice Charach Epstein Gallery at the Jewish Community Center in West Bloomfield, Michigan.
I’ll also be lecturing as part of the center’s 55th Annual Jewish Book Fair. To promote the event, there’s an interview with me in last Wednesday’s Detroit Jewish News, where I talk about MAD, my new book, and an unrealized dream project called “LepreCOPS”.
Aside from my book, you can find my name elsewhere at bookstores and on newsstands right now:
In the October 2006 issue of NICKELODEON Magazine, my “Vampire Nerds” gag cartoon (which I both wrote AND drew) is on page 32. Some of you may notice that Kyle Baker wrote and illustrated “The X’s” comic strip on pages30-31. And my colleague Karen Sneider wrote and drew the “It’s Laundry Day” gag to the left of mine on page 32.
And one of the first pieces I ever wrote for MAD, “New ‘Rock & Rap Inspired’ Ben & Jerry’s Flavors” has just been reprinted on page 96 of MAD Classics #10, on newsstands now! That piece can also be seen on https://www.ariekaplan.com/mad.htm
In addition, my X-Men spoof “Are You Just Growing Up…Or Are You A Mutant?” is in MAD Kids #4, on page 10 in the Brain Drool section.
Last but not least, the latest installment of “Dave Danger, Action Kid,” the episode titled “How to Stop A Golem!”is in the Fall 2006 issue of REFORM JUDAISM Magazine, on pages 8-9.
It’s illustrated (as always) by the amazing Leela Corman!
I was also recently interviewed about my book by the comics-themed Internet radio show Indie Spinner Rack (www.indiespinnerrack.com), and the interview should air some time in mid-November. I’ll keep you all posted as to the exact air date!
Meanwhile, check out the constantly evolving www.ariekaplan.com for news, updates, cartoons, info on new projects, and more!!