For (Season 1 | Episode 5) of The Tedi31 Podcast with Dr. Tedi Villasor, I spent some time with Top Cow/Image and Aftershock Comics writer —Zack Kaplan—during Day 2 of the New York Comic Con 2018 in the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center.
Since February 2017, Zack has crunched out one hot book after another with Eclipse, Port of Earth, and The Lost City Explorers. All three properties have since been optioned for television–every writer’s dream.
In the pod, I asked Zack about his writing process, how he gets his stories down to the industry standard 20-page limit, and much more.
As a way to join in on the collective efforts of the comic book community, I have donated this original inked Superior page (Issue #4 | Page #15) and left it with the kind people of Druid’s Keep/DK Collectibles, Inc. over at their Fort branch.
Art by Leinil Francis Yu and inked by Gerry Alanguilan, Superior (2010) holds the Guinness Book of World Records for being the fastest comic ever produced as well as having the most number of creators working on a single comic.
Sir Gerry signed the piece at the Komikero Komiks Museum in San Pablo City on August 13, 2016, while Leinil added his signature during Free Comic Book Day 2017 at Filbar’s Megamall.
For many, Free Comic Book Day (FCBD) serves as an annual opportunity to get new readers (as well as old ones) into the hobby by offering a wide selection of books that they would not normally pick up. But in recent years, the status quo of FCBD in the Philippines has evolved beyond its original purpose and into an event wherein the local comic distributors and artists give back to comic book community.
For me, the highlight of FCBD 2017 was being able to attend Leinil Yu’s signing over at Filbar’s Megamall.[i] Without going into great detail, Leinil was very gracious and accommodating. Thank you again Leinil!
As part of my education as an aspiring comic book writer, I have made it a point to find time to listen to the creative process of other writers. It is a mandate has also made me more open to the idea of reading books that fall outside the Marvel and DC Comics spectrum.[i] This will be the first of many posts where I’ll try to pass on what I’ve learned about the creative writing process or maybe something about comics in general.
The difference between single issues and trade paperbacks
In one particular interview featuring writer Ed Brubaker (Captain America, Kill or Be Killed), someone asked if the essays located in the backspace[ii] of several issues of Fatale[iii] would ever be compiled into a trade paperback or featured as additional material in future editions of Fatale.
Brubaker’s response was simple: No.
He reasoned that it was a complicated process as there were many authors who had contributed essays throughout Fatale’s 24-issue run. These were published as one-offs–meaning that any subsequent publishing would require consent from the aforementioned authors.
Therefore, the essay material would then remain exclusively in the single issues and serve–at least in my mind–as an added incentive to get them.[iv]
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (The non-spoiler edition)
Was with the Fam yesterday and we were able to catch the 9:00 pm advance showing of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.
First-time comic book writer Zack Kaplan had been making comic book pitches for a number of years before Top Cow Productions’ President and Chief Operating Officer Matt Hawkins gave him his big break. The pitch–and I am paraphrasing here–probably went something like this.
Eclipse is a science fiction, murder mystery set 10 years from now where the world as we know it has changed. Sunspots have made the rays of the sun lethal to organic life[i] and civilization is now forced to live underground. Several murders have also been discovered with the main suspect (a vigilante?) somehow unaffected by the killer sun.
Hope I did that some justice.
Now Zack was tasked to find an artist for the then projected 4-part mini series. He looked through several portfolios and decided on Italian artist Giovanni P. Timpano who had done work with a number of franchise properties such as G.I. Joe: Infestation, The Shadow, and The Lone Ranger/Green Hornet. However, there was a catch–Giovanni was committed to another project for the next five months. Top Cow informed Zack that he would either have to wait for Giovanni or go with another artist. But in his mind, Zack felt that waiting another five months for Giovanni was the right thing to do for the book.
It was; the Eclipse creative team was formed and they haven’t looked back since.
What I like most about this book is the world building as well as the transparency of the creative process detailed at the end of each issue. In the first arc[ii], the writer (Kaplan), artist (Timpano), colorist (Chris Northrop), and letterer (Troy Peteri) all take turns in sharing their experiences in putting Eclipse together.
[i] But according to Zack, the scorching heat has not affected water.
[ii] If you guys haven’t had a chance to read Eclipse, Image Comics released the the trade paperback last February and Issue #6 is scheduled to be released on May 20, 2017.
While on an out-of-town trip with some friends, we decided to stop by SM City San Pablo for lunch. It was our first time there and SM sure made the most of their lot. They had their staple department store and grocery sections but only an exiguous number of restaurants.
The good thing though is that SM City San Pablo did manage to squeeze in a small branch of Booksale among their many lessees. Highest marks SM! Anyway, I found a copy of PowersVolume 4: Supergroup and Volume 5: Anarchy[i] and decided to pick them up largely because of the Powers double-splash page homage that writer Joshua Williamson and artist Mike Henderson put into Nailbiter #7[ii].
What then is Powers? To be honest, I didn’t know much past it being a Brian Michael Bendis book. It turns out that Bendis and Powers artist Michael Avon Oeming use a very generous–and I do mean generous–amount of panels to convey a scene.
I think by the time I am done reading these Powers books, I’d have my own Powers homage layout in mind for a future issue of ObIsessions.
[i] The following day, I found and purchased Powers Volume 2: Role-play in Booksale’s V-Mall branch. Anyone know where I can get my hands on Volume 1: Who Killed Retro Girl and Volume 3: Little Deaths? This is a nice little quest since I don’t usually buy physical TPB’s anymore. You know, lack of space and all.
[ii] If you haven’t read that issue yet, put down what your doing right now and read Nailbiter. Their 30-issue run ended last March 2017.