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.
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!
I know, I know, you want me to tell you an anecdote from my writing career, like I did last time. And I shall! But first, here are some announcements:
I wrote a Tales from Wild Space backup story that appears in Star Wars Adventures #23, which is out now from IDW Publishing. The story, titled “Majordomo, Major Problems,” is about Jabba the Hutt’s majordomo, butler, and consigliere Bib Fortuna. Specifically, it’s about how overworked and overwhelmed Bib starts to feel after tending to Jabba’s every whim on a daily basis. I should also mention that “Majordomo” is illustrated by Drew Moss, who is a phenomenal artist.
But don’t take my word for it; just check out this variant cover by Drew Moss, depicting a scene from the story.
Here’s a glowing review from the Jedi News site. The reviewer observed that there were parallels between Bib taking care of Jabba and a parent taking care of a child. Was “Majordomo” – at least partially – inspired by my life as a parent? What do you think? (Yes. Yes it was.)
And if you’ll be at San Diego Comic Con next week, you should know that I’ll be signing copies of Star Wars Adventures #23 at at SDCC from 2-3pm on Fri July 19th, at the IDW booth #2729. You can see the full schedule of IDW’s signings here.
Elsewhere at San Diego Comic Con, I’ll be appearing on a panel discussion celebrating E.C. Comics’s 75th anniversary. The panel will be happening at 6:30pm on Friday July 19th. The other panelists will be Grant Geissman (The Wonderful, Horrible EC Comics Book) and Dr.Travis Langley (The Joker Psychology: Evil Clowns and the Women Who Love Them), and the moderator will be Danny Fingeroth (A Marvelous Life: The Amazing Story of Stan Lee). Danny is the Walter White to my Jesse Pinkman, the Galactus to my Silver Surfer, the Eddie Murphy to my Arsenio Hall. Together, we’ll look back on the lasting impact E.C. has had on comics and on popular culture in general.
This panel should be quite a bit of fun. E.C. holds a very special place in my heart, especially since I’ve served as a writer for two E.C. titles, MAD Magazine and Tales from the Crypt.
In non-San Diego Comic Con-related news, I recently wrote the children’s book Hungry Shark: The Official Shark-Tastic Guide. It’s a guide to all of the wild and wacky sharks in the Hungry Shark video game franchise. Here’s an interview for the website SciFi Pulse about both the Hungry Shark book and my Star Wars Adventures story.
And now for the moment you’ve quite possibly been waiting for: a story from my writing career:
In the year 2011, I was a guest speaker at the Jewish Culture Festival in Krakow, Poland. It was my second year in a row appearing at the festival, and I gave a series of talks on comic book history, animation history, and various other topics. A camera crew from the festival followed me around a little bit, asking me questions and using the resulting footage to help promote the festival.
At one point, a little old man saw me being interviewed by the camera crew and tapped me on the shoulder. It turned out he was a tourist from England, visiting the festival. “Excuse me,” he began, “Are you Arie Kaplan, the comic book writer?” “That’s right,” I nodded. “Well,” he sniffed imperiously, “Some of us speak proper English.” Then he just turned away like it was nothing, and began talking to the camera crew.
I was really annoyed by his sense of entitlement and tried tapping HIM on the shoulder. “Excuse me, did you really just say that to me?” I asked him a little too loudly. But he ignored me and just kept yammering on about – oh I don’t know, I’m gonna say “the metric system” – and I gave up and went on my way. I guess in the end, he really showed me, the guy who was born in the wrong country, the guy what can’t tawk right. Who the hell do I think I am, anyway, speaking English without a British accent?