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:
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.”
Hey, you know how they say that good things come in threes? Sounds like an arbitrary number. But there are some good things that DO come in threes: three-ring circuses, three wishes granted by genies in fairy tales, three Back to the Future movies, three Marx Brothers who were actually funny (sorry, Zeppo, you contributed nothing to the act). That sort of thing.
Here’s another good thing associated with the number three: I’ve written three Red Titan graphic novels. Well, so far, anyway. The first two Red Titan GNs came out last year. (I wrote about that in a previous blog post.) And I’m writing THIS post to tell you that the third one, Red Titan and the Floor of Lava, is out now. It was illustrated by Patrick Spaziante.
Red Titan is the superhero alter ego of YouTuber Ryan Kaji (who can be seen on the Ryan’s World YouTube channel).
And while the Ryan’s World videos are shot in live-action, the Red Titan shorts are animated. The Red Titan graphic novels are illustrated in a colorful, lighthearted style similar to that of the animated shorts.
All three of the Red Titan graphic novels are set in the Ryan’s World universe. They were all published by Simon and Schuster’s Simon Spotlight imprint, and they’re part of the Ready-to-Read Graphics line.
I had a ton of fun writing these books. I tried to give them a sort of “classic kids comics” vibe, similar to those Little Dot stories Harvey Comics used to publish. Or Sheldon Mayer’s Sugar and Spike comics (published by DC back in the day). That’s what I was going for, anyway.
Here’s the official publisher description of Red Titan and the Floor of Lava:
“Red Titan and his friends want to have a picnic, but…the floor is lava! Will Red Titan be able to use his super strength and his scientific observational skills to save the day?”