Archive for the ‘Penguin Random House’ Category

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.

 

Geek Girl Authority interview and John Wilkes Booth humor piece

2/16/22

Here are some things you might not know about me:

  • When I was a very young child, I thought The Count (from Sesame Street) was Jewish because he talked like my maternal grandmother.
  • When my daughter Aviya was a baby, I used to hold her horizontally and pretend she was a tommy gun and that I was using her to obliterate mobsters in the 1920s. See, her legs were the butt of the gun, and her arms were the trigger, and um…Please don’t call Child Protective Services.
  • One time, I formed a boy band with some of my fellow MAD Magazine writers. (Well, more of a “man band,” because we were all adults…technically.) We assigned roles to everyone, because the people in boy bands always have roles, e.g. the leader, the romantic one, the cute one, etc. My role? The sexy weirdo.
  • According to my wife Nadine, the other day I talked in my sleep. I got up (still asleep), stood by the foot of the bed, and yelled, “There should be more comedy concerts!” And I’d just like to say: Sorry, sleepwalking-and-sleeptalking Arie, there’s still a pandemic going on. So there are limits on live indoor entertainment for now!
  • Speaking of the pandemic, one of the things I’ve missed about the pandemic is attending comic book conventions in person. One thing I don’t miss? Being asked by random strangers whether I was cosplaying as Rick Moranis in Ghostbusters, which honestly has happened too many times for me to count. For the record: No, not cosplaying as anyone. This is just what I look like.

Now, I didn’t talk about any of those things when Rebecca Kaplan (no relation) interviewed me for Geek Girl Authority. But here are some of the things I DID talk about in that interview:

Yup, I discuss all four of those writing projects in that interview, which you can read HERE.

Also, just in time for Presidents’ Day, I wrote a humor piece called “Other Catchphrases John Wilkes Booth Considered Before ‘Sic Semper Tyrannis!’” It was published on Weekly Humorist. Check it out!

 

 

 

 

 

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!

 

 

 

 

 

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