Featured Writer: Zack Kaplan

Hall of Heroes banner - Jacksonville Florida 2016

HALL OF HEROES is a new comic convention for Jacksonville. This partnership between publisher, promoter and COLLECTIVE CON co-founder Max Michaels and SUPERHERO HIVE & SUPERHERO BEACH comic shops brings together a show celebrating the art and creators of comics. This one day con is scheduled for Saturday November 12th, 2016 (Veteran’s Day Weekend) at the Snyder Armory on Normandy Boulevard. More information at HallofHeroesJax.com

ECLIPSE

 

Imagine if sunlight burned you alive. In the near future, a mysterious solar event has transformed the sun’s light into deadly immolating rays. The world’s few survivors now live in nocturnal cities. But a killer emerges who uses sunlight to burn his victims, and when he targets the daughter of a solar power mogul, it falls to a disillusioned solar engineer to protect her.

Zack KaplanZack Kaplan is a comic book writer excited to debut his first book, Top Cow’s new series, ECLIPSE. He taught screenwriting at the International Academy of Film and TV, located in the Philippines. He is a member of the WGA and also writes film and television. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife and daughter.

First of all, congrats on your debut comic!

Thank you! It’s been super exciting to have it received so well.

How did you manage to get your foot in the door with Top Cow?

After pitching many ideas over many years, I submitted ECLIPSE to Top Cow, and Matt Hawkins, the Top Cow President, is also an amazing sci-fi writer, and so he connected with the idea of a sci-fi world where the sunlight burns people alive. I had been writing for years, but comic book writing was a new medium to me. Growing up reading comics for decades helps, but so does having an awesome team of editors and artists to work with.

What inspired “Eclipse”?

Years ago, I worked a late night shift as a poker dealer. When I would drive home, it was sunrise. And some of the streets would be empty. And I found that visual of sunshine filled streets void of people provocative. Where was everyone? Would there be a circumstance or world in which people hid from the sun out of fear.

There was something horrific about fearing the sun. The sun is a life giving force, and the concept that it would turn on us and become a danger to humanity, well, it’s a really scary possibility. It raises all sorts of questions about how we value our environment.

Do you have any other exciting projects in the works?

I do, but it’s all far too secret at this point to discuss. Sorry!

How does writing for the page and writing for the screen differ?

I love this question, because as a new comic book writer, I felt the difference. When you write for the screen, albeit the big screen, the TV screen or now the mobile small screen, you are writing in time. Beginning screenwriters learn a page roughly equals a minute, but on a deeper level, we are learning that the medium will move not at the viewer’s speed, but at the show’s speed.

Eclipse Issue 2Comics is a medium of space. How many pages? How many panels? How much action in a panel? Because comics move at the reader’s pace. The reader creates how fast or slow the story goes. Or do they? Does a comic book writer slow the pace with the number of panels or the number of words? The differences lie in space and time and how we absorb stories. Very cool stuff!

If given the chance, do you have any franchises you would love to have an opportunity to work on?

Man, I just wrote my first comic book, and you’re already trying to get me on some Marvel/DC franchise? I wouldn’t rule it out one day, but I like world building and Creator-owned titles. I’m must more interested in some of my own stories.

Who influences you the most?

In terms of other comic book writers, I would say Warren Ellis for his risk-taking, Rick Remender for his style, Greg Rucka for his suspense. But I’m influenced by Spielberg for his 80’s idealism and Fincher for his 90’s/Present cynicism. I’m influenced by Vince Gilligan (Breaking Bad) for his character evolution and George R. R. Martin (Game of Thrones) for his world building.

I have friends in the Film/TV business who are great writers, whom influence me. I’m influenced by Neil DeGrasse Tyson and Michio Kaku. I’m influenced by my daughter and how she sees the world for the first time. Influences can come from anywhere.

What’s one piece of advice you would give to any aspiring writers out there?

The only way to have a career as a writer, to be paid as a writer, to be a good writer, is to write. And the only thing standing in the way of writing is you. So my advice is simple: WRITE. Write, write and write some more.

But writing is not coming up with ideas. Writing is not brainstorming. Writing is painstaking hard work, day-in day-out putting characters and scenes down on paper, then rewriting them to make them better, over and over and over again. And if you do that work, and you love it (and trust me, you have to love the hard work, not just the idea brainstorming), then keep doing it. Because you will get better and you will get noticed.

“ECLIPSE” #1 debuts September 7th! Zack Kaplan will be at Hall of Heroes on November 12th only in Jacksonville, Florida!

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