Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Google+ Share on Reddit Share on Pinterest Share on Linkedin Share on Tumblr Over the past week I’ve had the privilege to twice speak over Skype with acclaimed writer Arie Kaplan about the large breadth of his work both inside and outside of the comics industry. Our discussions touched on The Simpsons, Saturday Night Night Live, Marvel, Dark Horse, pulp magazines and so much more. Check Out Brian’s Exclusive Brenden Fletcher Interview Here. How are you Mr. Kaplan? First and foremost, we first encountered you at last month’s NYC Special Edition convention. What was your takeaway from that particular convention? Was this your first year attending? Kaplan: This was my second year. The first year I went it was at the Javits Center. It’s an interesting show, and I’ve really had a good time both times. Something really surprising always happens. It’s good for networking, it’s good for finding out what everyone’s up up to, catching up with old friends, just the normal thing you count on a convention for. Last time I was there it was right before I had written a book based on SNL, which is called SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE: SHAPING TV COMEDY AND AMERICAN CULTURE, out now from Lerner Publishing Group, and I actually bumped into Bobby Moynihan (actor from SNL) and gave him a copy of the book, which was just totally random. That was kind of cool. This time I wasn’t really promoting anything specific. I was just kind of walking the floor. I like it. It’s a new show that’s trying to figure out what type of show it is, but I think that’s a good thing. You mentioned your SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE book, so to use that as the jumping off point for my next question; I noticed in looking up your bibliography that you have written in a lot of different genres and subjects. You got comics, you’ve got the SNL book, you’ve got children’s books. Is your creative process the same for each of these, or do you taylor it differently depending on what you’re working on? Kaplan: Good question. It really depends, because I’ve done a couple of these interviews lately where I’ve been asked a lot of questions about process and it’s something I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. For example, some projects require me to get into the heads of characters more than others. For some it’s like a second skin that you can sort of slip into. I’ve been writing some Bart Simpson comic book stories for Bongo recently and I find in that case it’s really easy to get into Bart Simpson’s head. The challenging thing about that is that THE SIMPSONS comics are so good and THE SIMPSONS TV show is so good that you really have to bring your A-Game when writing jokes for those kinds of stories. That’s the biggest challenge there. But in terms of the process for writing a Bart Simpson story the biggest thing about it, to me anyway, is when working on the first draft you do a couple of iterations of the script where you work on a couple of different joke passes in the script and sort of re-writing and honing all the jokes before you even turn it into the editors, because I want to make it as packed with jokes and as tight as I can before the editors actually see it. If you’re talking about say the Sailor Steve Costigan story I did for Dark Horse, it was an interesting case. It was a lot of fun working on that story, but it also sort of case of be careful what you wish for because I sent them this pitch which is about a 1930’s boxer and merchant sailor and now I have to get into the head of a 1930’s boxer and merchant sailor and I’m neither of those things. It’s not like it was a bad thing at all, and I really enjoyed working on the story, but my process there was how do I get into the head of this character. First it required re-reading some of the Sailor Steve stories that Robert E. Howard had written back in the ’30s to get the feel of the character, then just writing a couple of monologues in the voice of the character and just spending a whole night doing that. Once I did that, it started coming together a lot more. None of his word choices are how I would say things at all so it really required figuring out how to write dialogue in that character’s voice and making it seem natural and real. I think I pulled it off. At the end I was really happy, and I found it was really fun writing for that character and now I know how to write for that character if I ever have to again. I also did a lot of research on boxing and how huge it was in the 30’s, when it was second only to baseball in popularity of American sports. Just like boxing terminology so that I would know how to write and choreograph the fight scenes in the script and how to explain them and how the character would think about boxing to. All that went into it, along with doing a lot of historical research, which might sound like a lot for an eight page story, but it was definitely worth it. Springing from there, whether it’s Sailor Steve, or Bart Simpsons, or The Avengers characters, I’m always curious in speaking to writers who work with those types of properties that have been around as far back as 70 years, or have the cultural impact of THE SIMPSONS, do you try and work your own voice into the characters? Kaplan: It’s sort of a tricky balancing act, which is one of the challenges of writing for these pre-established characters, especially ones that have been around so long as you said. Obviously you first look to try and get the voice of the character and figure out what stories haven’t they told with said character. Before I started writing for Bongo, I’d find myself thinking, for example, if I ever write a Bart Simpson story what would it be. What would be the kind of story I always wanted to see told. You have to be true to the characters, you don’t want Bart to do anything that he “wouldn’t” do. I wrote a Superman story once for DC, and you have to have Superman not do anything that isn’t in character for him, and man there’s been 75 years of Superman stories. At the same time though, there are certain types of stories that are very me. Certain kinds of ideas and concepts that I keep coming back to in my stories that sort of work their way in no matter whether I’m dealing with an original character/series/story that I’ve come up with or someone else’s character or a licensed character like Superman, or Speed Racer, or Bart Simpson. Sometimes it’s on purpose, and sometimes it’s not. I’ll stop and think “oh I’m telling that story about story-telling” or how the more things change, the more they stay the same. I think that’s true of a lot of comic book writers, or writers in any medium really. It’s true of Joss Whedon, it’s true of Robert Rodriguez, it’s true of a lot of screen-writers. It’s also true of Brian Michael Bendis, and Alan Moore, and Gail Simone. Gail will tackle a lot of “Gail Simone-type” ideas. I think it’s just something that writers do. Because I’ve written a lot of non-fiction books that are historically themed or based. Like I wrote a book on pirates called SWASHBUCKLING SCOUNDRELS: PIRATES IN FACT AND FICTION and I was lie well I’ve written two or three comic book stories that involve pirates or privateers so I guess that subject matter was one that I like dealing with. There’s a Speed Racer story that I wrote years ago that takes place during the Golden Age of Piracy. I wrote a story for The History Channel and Zenescope three year ago for a graphic anthology called MANKIND: THE STORY OF ALL OF US, which was a companion graphic novel series tying into the TV series of the same name. My story was the story of the ocean, focused on sailors and boat building and how that’s defined society, and a bit of it was about privateer Sir Francis Drake. Check Out The First Part of Brian’s Exclusive Interview With Becky Cloonan and Karl Kerschl Here. Another question in a related vein, I know that you’ve written some Avengers material for Disney’s Children imprint. I was wondering what approach do you take to writing those characters for a younger audience? Kaplan: Obviously the main difference between writing a Tony Stark/Iron Man story adults vs one for kids is that Tony Stark is quite a ladies man in the comic and cinematic Marvel universes and you don’t deal with that in a children’s book story. That’s really the only element of that character that doesn’t apply for obvious reasons. When you’re dealing with Tony Stark as a character, he’s still this very charming, very cocky character. He’s still a brilliant inventor whose fabulously wealthy. All these things about him still apply. It’s weird, because earlier you were talking about process, and I have a really strange way of getting into Iron Man’s head for the the FIVE MINUTE AVENGERS STORIES story I wrote for him. Just to make it clear, I didn’t write all the stories for that collection, I wrote three of them. It comes out from Disney Book Group’s Marvel Press imprint at the end of the year. But anyway, when I was writing the Iron Man story, I thought at first so many Tony Stark stories are about him being creative or being an inventor and the way I got inside his head, and the way to feel like I was Tony Stark was I found a tee shirt that looked like one he’d wear. So after my wife and daughter had gone to bed that night I would sit with the laptop and downloaded a lot of dialogue from the Iron Man movie screenplays and studied them and got in his head and pretended that I was Tony Stark inventing something at the end of the day. I was building something, or coming up with a prototype before I started writing the script. I would really get into the Tony Stark state of mind. I found that I have a lot in common with him. There was a bit of dialogue in, I think, Iron Man 3 where he’s talking to Pepper and he’s saying how he can’t fall asleep and can’t get out of his own head and I realized I could definitely relate to that. He’s sort of this obsessed workaholic who deals with the problems in his life by working and that’s something that I as a writer can identify with, and that became a thing that made him tick for me, even for a children’s book story. That was true for all the different FIVE MINUTE AVENGERS STORIES that I wrote. So besides the Avengers stories, what else do you have coming out this year? Kaplan: SWASHBUCKLING SCOUNDRELS comes out from Lerner’s 21st Century Books Imprint comes out in October, not too long after Talk Like A Pirate Day. I don’t think that was planned by the Lerner publicity people.That’s a book that’s technically for pre-teens, but I thin both younger kids and adults could get something out of it. I did a lot of research about pirates in pop culture that I think hasn’t been written about too much. The FIVE MINUTE AVENGERS STORIES collection will be out in around November or December. One of the stories focusing on Captain America and Falcon, one focuses on Iron Man, and the third on Iron Man and Hawkeye. There are a couple of other things I’m working in that I can’t talk about yet. I’m working on the script for an unannounced video game from Legacy Games that I can’t reveal yet. Hopefully I’ll be able to reveal a few of the other comic book projects soon. The Sailor Steve story is out in issue 9 of ROBERT E. HOWARD’S SAVAGE SWORD, and the story in BART SIMPSON #94 is out already as well. I’ve also been doing some work as a teacher at the School of Visual Arts as a teacher. I’ll be teaching a course in the Fall called “From Star Wars to Shrek: The Art of Writing Comics Based on Licensed Properties from Other Media.” There really is an art to it. I’ve also written a lot of video games from other media as well. I wrote the House M.D. video game based on the TV show. I had a lot of story conferences with the show’s producers and the game designers about how the TV version of the character Gregory House is different from the game version. How does the fact that you’re reading a comic book or playing a game as opposed to watching an actor affect the story. It’s a really relevant thing to talk about right now, as there’s so many big licensed property comics right now. Whether it’s Marvel Star Wars comics or the Dark Horse Buffy comics. IDW does TMNT comics set in the comic continuity and other’s set in the animated continuity of the Nickelodeon series. Before this interview went to press, Mr. Kaplan contacted me that he wanted to add more to the interview discussing a couple of projects he was just now allowed to talk about publicly, and was doing so exclusively for Comicsverse. So I understand that you can announce now a brand new TREEHOUSE OF HORROR story that you’ve got coming out for Bongo in the fall, so why don’t you tell our readers a bit about that? Kaplan: Yeah. I wrote a story for TREEHOUSE OF HORROR #21 from Bongo, not the TV show obviously. The Treehouse of Horror episodes and comics always feature really fun horror/comedy stories every year. I always look forward to both each year, and it was such a thrill to be asked to write a story for it this year. I sent in a bunch a pitches with various Simpsons characters, and the one that they bought was called “Graveyard Shift” and it involves Apu whose working the late shift at the Kwik-E Mart receiving a shipment of adorable gremlins that’s meant for the sorcerer’s shop three doors down the block. Unfortunately, he doesn’t read the instructions that tell him not to feed the gremlins Squishees after midnight. I had a lot of fun writing it, and it’s a horror comedy as you’d expect from TREEHOUSE OF HORROR. It’s a parody of the 1984 movie GREMLINS, but it’s not like a beat for beat parody. I stayed very true to the character of Apu and the other Simpsons characters. While it certainly has elements of GREMLINS, such as the rules surrounding feeding them, I did pull from a lot of other sources for inspiration. Comics, and even pulp magazines. When I first started writing it, I became really addicted to this 60’s TV show called THRILLER. It’s a horror anthology, kind of like THE TWILIGHT ZONE that ran from 1960-1962. They’re similar, but where TWILIGHT ZONE did stories that were horror or sci-fi, THRILLER tended to be horror or crime. Sometimes they’d have crime stories that were very similar to things you’d see on ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS, but the horror stories were often adaptions from the so-called shudder-pulps from the 30’s and 40’s. They were horror stories written by people like Robert E. Howard, Henry Kuttner. I first discovered them when I was working on the Sailor Steve story for Dark Horse. I read a lot of his boxing stories and a lot of is Conan, but I don’t believe I had read a lot of his horror stories prior to working on the Sail or Steve story. That really opened up a lot of this other stuff for me, so when I started writing the “Graveyard Shift” story for TREEHOUSE OF HORROR I wanted it to have this creepy mood to it. Obviously it’s horror comedy, so you have to balance out the creepy, gory elements of the story with the comedy. It’s a genre fusion mashup, not unlike SHAUN OF THE DEAD or Zombieland or Bride of Chucky, or even Gremlins. I had a ritual when I was writing “Graveyard Shift” where after putting my daughter to bed at night I would sometimes sit down with a cup of coffee and watch an episode of THRILLER before starting work. Occasionally THRILLER would even do a horror-comedy, such as the episode “Masquerades.” It’s got Tom Poston and Elizabeth Montgomery, and it’s based on a short vampire story by CL Moore and Henry Kuttner. It really influenced the tone I was going for. I also read a bunch of previously published TREEHOUSE OF HORROR stories while working on it, which was a lot of fun. Also, I wanted to invoke the mood and tone of a lot of great horror comics from the past, like the EC TALES FROM THE CRYPT, and the old CREEPY magazine. I actually wrote for Papercutz TALES FROM THE CRYPT series a few years ago. I wrote a story called “Jumping The Shark” which was a parody of reality TV shows. Which is kind of ironic, since I’ve written for a few reality TV shows since I wrote it. I know that world pretty well. But the point is I have experience as a horror writer, and it was really fun to combine those worlds of horror and comedy. It’s really easy to do horror-comedies where you don’t know how to mesh the two up really well and I think TREEHOUSE OF HORROR is a standard of horror comedy as far as the TV show. Check Out Part Two Of Brian’s Cloonan and Kirschl Interview Here. Every year when Bongo puts out the TREEHOUSE OF HORROR anthology it’s excellent. They’ve done stories before that are homages to the Shudder-pulps. Len Wein did an H.P. Lovecraft parody a couple of years ago that is great. It was really fun getting to do one, and doing a parody of GREMLINS. Getting to do those really creepy beats where Apu is alone in the Kwik-E Mart and you see the Gremlins in the shadows. Scripting that stuff out was really fun. One part of my process has always been throwing up thumbnail sketches just for my own reference, and for this I really had to choreograph out this battle sequence between Apu and the gremlins while honing the script. Another thing I did was speak out all the dialogue into a recorder while writing it. It helped make sure all the jokes were on-point and all the dialogue was in character for Apu, or Chief Wiggum, or Homer for example. Often times when I’m writing a script I’ll speak out the dialogue into the digital recorder while I’m writing it, which gives an excuse to occasionally improv or rewrite stuff on the fly while talking it out. It really helps make it as tight as possible. You can give it the litmus test of seeing if it sounds right when spoken aloud. Would it feel weird if an actor was saying these lines? And I feel like that’s the ultimate test for comic book dialogue. Comic book writing, TV writing, screenwriting, all have a lot of similarities. There’s certain differences as well. But when you’re writing a comic book script your words are going to be interpreted by the penciller, and the inker, and colorist, and the letterer same way when you’re writing a screenplay and it’s going to be interpreted by a director, and actors, and production designers, and special effects teams and so forth. Those are all steps that I need to take to write a story like this. Get in the right headspace to write it. The THRILLER episodes helped. Seeing how these TV directors used light and shadow gave me certain idea. Such as when Apu is setting up this window display and doesn’t see the gremlins but we can, and making it creepy but funny at the same time. Which as you said is pretty much the hallmark of TREEHOUSE OF HORROR. Kaplan: Yeah. When you read a lot of those classic TALES FROM THE CRYPT STORIES to, it shows you how Al Feldstein, and Bill Gaines, and Wally Wood and all those folks accomplished so much in just a few pages. They were able to creep out the audience. They would also go for a horror-comedy vibe to where there would be strong elements of social satire in the stories, and sometimes it would be played straight out for laughs, while others they’d be really trying to frighten the audience. They were having a lot of fun with those stories, and really producing some of the best comics of the 1950’s I think I can safely say. TALES FROM THE CRYPT, VAULT OF HORROR, and etc. I really wanted to infuse my TREEHOUSE OF HORROR story with that kind of vibe and really have it be something that if Joe Dante saw this he’d think it was a really clever parody of his movie GREMLINS. I’m a big fan of Joe Dante and all of his films, and I really wanted to take what I love about the GREMLINS movies. And by the way, RIP Christopher Lee who was in GREMLINS 2, played Dr. Catheter I believe. That is correct. Kaplan: GREMLINS 2 is really kind of a parody of GREMLINS and really amps up the comedy and social satire aspect. Which is funny, as the movie came out in 1989/1990, and Daniel Clamp the character played by the brilliant actor John Glover who played Lex Luthor’s father on Smallville, does such an amazing job as a Donald Trump parody character and it’s 2015 and we’re still talking about this bozo Donald Trump. This idiot whose somehow put himself in the running for president, or so he thinks. Well thankfully he’s the only one who actually believes that. Kaplan: Yeah. But I just think it’s funny that doing a Donald Trump parody is still relevant after 25/26 years. Makes the movie seem kind a little prescient. That ironically is the same time THE SIMPSONS came out, bringing this whole conversation full circle. Kaplan: Oh yeah, for sure. THE SIMPSONS is still very relevant, still very topical. The country, really the world still needs THE SIMPSONS, and that brand of humor and satire. The GREMLINS movies are also still very satirically sharp, and funny, scary, and relevant. I have a followup question on the TREEHOUSE OF HORROR stuff. Obviously as we earlier discussed, writing for licensed properties. How much, if any contact, do you end up having with the production offices of THE SIMPSONS, or is that all through Bongo? Kaplan: I guess it goes through Bongo. I had no contact with the production offices of THE SIMPSONS. I’m basically in contact with Nathan Kane whose the editor and creative director, and before Nathan it was Bill Morrison, but these days it’s Nathan Kane. All the people there are wonderful to work with, and they’re the ones who are in contact with the TV folks. But the TV folks are doing a wonderful job on the TV show. I’m constantly bowled over by their work. And they, THE SIMPSONS TV writers seem to be big comic book fans. They’ve had Dan Clowes, Art Spiegelman. Alan Moore, Michael Chabon. Kaplan: Yeah. Neil Gaiman, who had a huge guest-starring roll. That’s one of my favorite episodes of the past five years. Kaplan: Me to. And when I was a staff writer on Tru TV PRESENTS WORLD’S DUMBEST, Billy Kimball was on THE SIMPSONS while he was a talking head/cast member on our show. He was a really sweet person and fun to work with. I wrote for WORLD’S DUMBEST as a staff writer, and he was one of the folks that I worked with. I actually wrote a couple of Superman parody sketches, though I think only one made it to air, with Kevin McCaffrey playing Superman. For whatever reason, he made a great Superman. There were several people who worked on the show that were very big comics fans and very comics literate. Gilbert Gottfried is a big comics fan, and in fact wrote an issue of the SUPERBOY comic in the early 90’s. The comic was based on the syndicated late 80’s/early 90’s TV show where Gilbert played a villain. He also went on to voice Mister Mxyzptlk on SUPERMAN THE ANIMATED SERIES in the 90’s. But anyway, it was a fun show to write for. I got to explore my geeky obsessions, like writing a LORD OF THE RINGS sketch with Gollum as a character. I really think that as a writer you have to embrace your obsessions and not hide from them or think you’re too cool for them. It’s worked for Quentin Tarantino, it’s worked for Robert Rordriguez, it’s worked for Joss Whedon,it’s worked for Kevin Smith, it’s worked for a lot of people. When they embraced their geekiness that’s when their best stuff comes out. I agree wholeheartedly. Kaplan: And I think we’re living in a really fascinating time when there’s an audience for that kind of stuff. You can make reference to geek-culture touchstones of the past, like GREMLINS which has a cult following and people will get the reference. I understand that you’re going to be on a panel at San Diego Comic Con next week. Would you like to talk a bit about that? Kaplan: Sure. The panel is in memory of Irwin Hasen, who was a brilliant cartoonist in the Golden Age of comics. He co-created the DC character Wildcat, and he did a lot of work on Green Lantern and Wonder Woman comics at the time, amongst other stuff for DC during that time. He went on to co-create and illustrate the DONDI newspaper strip and taught at the Joe Kubert School. He passed away this past March at the age of 96. I knew him a bit and had met him on occasion thanks to my friend Danny Fingeroth whose going to be the moderator of the panel. The panel has a really cool lineup. It’s myself, Michael Uslan (Batman film producer), Jim Salicrup (Legendary Marvel Editor, current Papercutz publisher), Chelle Mayer (Granddaughter of Sheldon Mayer), and David Armstrong (of the American Association of Comic Book Collectors). There’s gonna be clips from a documentary about Irwin Hasen. It’s going to be a lot of fun. It’s Saturday July 11, from 12:00-1:00 in room nine. I’m really happy to be a part of it. I’ve always been fascinated and inspired by the careers of Hasen and his colleagues. I’ve gotten to know some of them in one form or another, like Jerry Robinson or Stan Lee, Will Eisner, Joe Kubert. I’m really privileged to have known them and they really influenced my work. As people creating comic books today, we’re indebted to them. I was one of those geeky kids in high school who’d see Irwin Hasen’t name in a DC reprint volume and would go seek out other work he’d done. That’s how I got into a lot of my favorite comic writers. That’s why I think reprints and collections are so important. Obviously this is more Silver Age, but I’m a huge Roy Thomas fan. I got into him through a reprint of an INFINITY INC. story in a DC collection, and it drew me into all of his great Marvel and DC World War 2 stuff from the 70’s and 80’s. Kaplan: Yeah. And it’s funny you mention INFINITY INC. because it was either INFINITY INC. or ALL STAR SQUADRON, I want to say ALL STAR SQUADRON that got me into the pulps when I was in high school. There was one story where a character had a robot butler named Gernsback, who was named after Hugo Gernsback who the Hugo awards are named after. Me being the geeky kid I was, I did the research and found out who he was which then got me into the pulp magazines he edited, which then led me into Asimov and Bradbury. The from there I got into reading THE SHADOW and DOC SAVAGE and pulp novels in high school, which then began this tradition I had where whenever I had a long plan ride, or train ride, I would bring a pulp novel reprint. Occasionally when I’m at a convention I’ll pick them up and read them and they’re so much fun. The really inspired me to get into the work of these pulp writers. When I was working on the Sailor Steve story for Dark Horse, it reignited my passion for those kinds of stories and got me back into rereading this stuff. Then writing “Graveyard Shift” for Bongo got me back into reading the horror pulps. It just reestablished this interest in pulps, which then seeped into my other projects. I don’t know if anyone knows this, but I wrote the story and dialogue for a video game called PARANORMAL STATE: POISON SPRING. It came out about two years ago. I was working on it at night while I was doing WORLD’S DUMBEST during the day. It was a video gamed based on the TV show PARANORMAL STATE, where folks go and visit the site of all these hauntings. In the video game, the player as a member of the team, goes to this park which is a real park and is built on the site of a Civil War burial ground that a lot of people claim is haunted. In the video game it really is haunted, because you can do stuff like that in a video game. One of the characters is this archeologist named Dr. Gibson Walters, named after Walter B. Gibson, creator of The Shadow. I think I even included in the game script some links to images of Walter B. Gibson so that they would know to make the character look like him. Incidentally, Walter B. Gibson wrote some Batman comics in the 40’s and 50’s. I’d heard that, in a documentary about Batman discussing how influential The Shadow was on Batman. Kaplan: Oh a huge influence. And it’s weird, because a lot of these pulp writers would put a lot of their personal obsessions into their work just like the filmmakers I was talking about a few minutes ago. Whether it’s Reginald Hudlin, or Spike Lee, or Robert Altman. Orson Welles did it a lot. Orson Welles, who played The Shadow on radio and who would have turned one hundred this year, and was later parodied in Will Eisner’s The Spirit as Awesome Belles, so there’s a big comic book connection with Welles. Welles was a big fan of magic as was Walter B. Gibson. In fact Gibson was a ghost writer for Harry Houdini. There were all these books on magic supposedly by Houdini that he ghost wrote. Jim Steranko and certain other comic book writers and artists, including myself, were also interested in magic and sleight of hand. For me at least that started with my child interest in Jim Henson and puppetry. Walter B. Gibson worked magic references into a lot of The Shadow stories, so you can kind of tell which ones he wrote. Another example of people working their personal obsessions into their work. I was also a big fan of the TV show Gilmore Girls. Amy Sherman Palladino, the creator, would work her passions into the show. Her production company is called Dorothy Parker Drank Here, so it’s safe to assume she’s a fan of Dorothy Parker. I don’t know her personally, so maybe that’s a stretch, but I think it’s quite likely. Any last things before we wrap up? Kaplan: Well, the reason I put so much effort into these stories, and not to get too emotional or maudlin, but there’s a reason I put so much effort in. Whether it’s Sailor Steve or “Graveyard Shift” which are two of my favorite stories I’ve worked on recently, I’m incredibly grateful to editors like Nathan Kane, Terry Delegeane, and Bill Morrison at Bongo, or Patrick Thorpe and Everett Patterson at Dark Horse for giving me a shot. For hiring me to write these stories and for saying “Go ahead, you have the green light to write this story.” I’m really grateful to them and I love comics and I find it impossible not to give 110% when writing this stuff. The inspire the writers they work with, and I’m filled with gratitude. You know I wrote a juvenile non-fiction book about gratitude a couple of years ago and I think it’s always important to mention the people you’re grateful for. Comics is a really unique industry, in that there’s a real sense of family and community. I had a great time working with Bongo, and Archie, and DC, and IDW, and all the comics I’ve had the pleasure to work for. It’s been a wonderful experience. That’s great to hear honestly. Kaplan: And also working on these FIVE MINUTE AVENGERS STORIES stories with Tomas Palacios, whose a wonderful editor, is great to work with a really inspires you. Even though those are prose fiction stories, they feature these classic comic book characters and it’s just so inspiring to sit and write about them. It’s fun, and I’m having a great time. That’s all that really matters. Thank you so much for all your time. Check Out More From Brian Here.