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:
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?”
Hope you’re having a wonderful holiday season! If you’re not, maybe it’s because you don’t have these amazing books that I wrote! Which books am I talking about?
I’m so glad you hypothetically asked…
If you’re familiar with the Ryan’s World YouTube channel (starring Ryan Kaji and his parents), you may know that the folks behind that channel also produce animated shorts featuring Ryan Kaji’s superhero alter ego, Red Titan. I’ve written three official Red Titan graphic novels, all of which are set in the Ryan’s World universe. The first two are out now from Simon and Schuster’s Simon Spotlight imprint.
Both books are part of Simon Spotlight’s Ready-to-Read Graphics line.
Here’s the official publisher description of Red Titan and the Runaway Robot:
“Red Titan is enjoying a day in the park with his parents when his friend Peck calls for help. There’s a gigantic dancing robot on the loose, and it’s about to destroy the city! Can Red Titan and his friends try to stop the robot in time?”
In other words, it’s just like Terminator 2: Judgment Day, only it’s totally G-rated and there’s no violence or disturbing imagery and also it’s nothing like Terminator 2: Judgment Day!
And here’s the official publisher description of Red Titan and the Never-Ending Maze:
“Red Titan and his friends are on their way home when a giant box fort maze springs up in front of them, blocking their path! Will they be able to work together and use their powers to find a way out before dinnertime?”
True story: I actually did a ton of research on box fort mazes while I was writing the script for this graphic novel. Some of them are really intricate. I would go out and build one right now, but I have these silly things called “responsibilities”! Isn’t real life inconvenient? I think I’m having an existential crisis!
Moving on (perfect segue, you’re doing great, Arie), I see that the movie SING 2 is in theaters now. I had nothing to do with that movie. But I did have something to do with the SING Little Golden Book, which is out now from Penguin Random House. In fact, I wrote the manuscript for that book. And it was illustrated by Elsa Chang.
The SING LGB is a retelling of the plot of the first SING movie from 2016.