Movie Mom

Movie Mom


Interview with Arie Kaplan of “Speed Racer: Chronicles of the Racer”

posted by Nell Minow

Arie Kaplan writes the new series of Speed Racer comic books, called “Speed Racer: Chronicles of the Racer.” Separate from the big-budget movie coming out later this year, the comics provide Speed Racer with a wider range of settings and a deeper backstory than he has had before. I talked to Kaplan about Speed Racer and his other projects, including his three-part series for Reform Judaism Magazine about the Jewish origins and themes of comic books and comedy performers. Kaplan also writes for Mad Magazine, speaks often on subjects relating to Judaism and comedy, and has a new book coming out later this year: From Krakow to Krypton: Jews and Comic Books. Speed_Racer-chroniclesRI.jpg

How did you get involved with Speed Racer?

My series for Reform Judaism Magazine about the the influence of Jews on the comic book industry gave me a lot of contacts in the comic book world. I went to Wondercon and talked to IDW about Speed Racer. I had to go back and catch myself up on what was going on in comics. If you haven’t been reading comics for a while and then read the One More Day series, you think, “What the Hell has been going on?” The quality of the writing is getting stronger. It is more like TV shows, but there are things you can only do in comics.

I wrote a horror screenplay a while back. Even though it had a horror element the special effects had to be pretty low key. It couldn’t be like Transformers; it had to be low budget. For this Speed Racer series, each issue if they filmed it would cost like $300 million. In comics, you can do a story where it doesn’t feel self-indulgent but you can have pirate ships, giant transforming robots, not too grandiose or too loaded or over the top, but make it work. It costs the same amount of money to draw people having a conversation as having an action sequence, that’s the difference between comics and movies. Anyone who wants to draw Speed Racer likes to draw action sequences, racing, blowing stuff up, but it won’t take a special secret expensive pen. Your imagination is honestly the only special effect; the budgetary limits are met.

But you don’t want to put too many story twists; you don’t want to pack the story too much. You do burn through story quite a bit because Speed finds out he is the last of a long line of racers. His last name used to not be the family name, but the occupation. There is a chosen one in each generation, the one to outrace the evils of the world. He is a crime-fighter but instead of super powers or a utility belt he has the Mach 5.

How did you come up with your interpretation of Speed Racer?

I wanted to make him more iconic, more comic-booky, more kinds of stories. I wanted him to be more of a teenager, and I wanted to bring in some of the The Hero with a Thousand Faces themes.

The name was one of the inspirations for this series. I wanted some explanations about why the goofy characters would have such on the nose names. I thought about my own name. Arie means lion, Kaplan means religious leader. A lot of names come from occupations – what if Speed’s family was like that?



  • Cindi

    I used to watch the animated “Speed Racer” all of the time! It will be interesting to see the movie. Cindi

Previous Posts

Trailer: Star Wars -- The Force Awakens
This is AWESOME! [iframe width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/OMOVFvcNfvE?rel=0" frameborder="0" ]

posted 11:16:59am Nov. 28, 2014 | read full post »

Two Nights Only in Theaters: 60th Anniversary of "White Christmas"
The 60th anniversary of one of the most beloved movies in history is coming up, and so you will have a chance to see "White Christmas" in theaters for just two nights, December 14-15, 2014. This is you

posted 8:00:13am Nov. 28, 2014 | read full post »

Johnny Cash's Thanksgiving Song
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CuaC6h_4AB8[/youtube]

posted 12:00:11pm Nov. 27, 2014 | read full post »

Happy Thanksgiving 2014!
[youtube]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7NSQLMPUK-8[/youtube] All my best wishes for a wonderful Thanksgiving to all, and please know how thankful I am for the time you spend here.

posted 7:00:00am Nov. 27, 2014 | read full post »

Claire LaZebnik's Thoughts on Thanks
I can't think of a better way to start Thanksgiving weekend than taking a few minutes to read my friend Claire LaZebnik's wise and inspiring essay on gratitude. This most American of holidays is often accompanied by stress -- from hosting and being hosted, from traveling, from family. Claire write

posted 9:39:41am Nov. 26, 2014 | read full post »




Report as Inappropriate

You are reporting this content because it violates the Terms of Service.

All reported content is logged for investigation.