C2E2 2023: The Comics Community with Zack Kaplan

Wanna get into comics?

I caught up with comic creator Zack Kaplan (he/him) at C2E2. He has been writing comics for about six years and, in the last year, has had four titles released, including Metal Society (Scout Comics), Forever Forward (Scout Comics), Mindset (Vault Comics), and Breakout (Dark Horse) which comes out in trade paperback April 12th.

Nikki: Tell the world about Breakout! 

Zack: In Breakout, these mysterious cube spaceships appear all around the world. And they’re only abducting young people between the age of 10 and 21. The government and adults say that we just have to live with it. A group of teenagers said we’re not going to do that; we’re going to rescue our loved ones with an Ocean’s 11 style prison break out of a spaceship. It is very much about how older generations pass on problems and world conflicts to younger generations and expect them to handle it and how they do handle it. It is a sci-fi adventure, obviously very timely. If you haven’t read, go check it out.

C2E2 Zack Kaplan Interview

Nikki: Do you have a show that you only watch when traveling? 

Zack: Probably my airplane go-to show when I have time is the office because I need to like veg out and stop thinking. I cannot watch any of the premium content that I want to watch. Like, I want to see Succession, I want to see more of The Last of Us,  but I can’t watch that stuff because I need to wind down and not think. So the office is probably a go-to. That theme song – I just need to hear that. Whatever that’d be, you know, if I just say the Office theme song, you’re now hearing it in your head.

Nikki: Oh, everybody knows that song. 

(Non-transcript Nikki note: Zack did sing a little bit of the Office theme. I hope he lets me interview him again one day after asking him to do that for me. Thank you, Zack.)

Nikki: My first time at a con was last year at C2E2. What advice would you give to first-time con goers?

Zack: Take your time and pace yourself. I mean, there’s a lot to see. That’s the crazy thing about cons. Like, I feel like people come for so many different microcosms; there are people who get lost in gaming or people who get lost in cosplay. And they never see anything else. And that’s fine, too. I feel like if you’re into comics, the artists’ alley has a lot to offer, I think. You can spend a lot of time in artists’ alley. Pace yourself. 

C2E2 Zack Kaplan Interview

Nikki: You’ve had a very busy year. What else can we look forward to from you?

Zack: I have a number of books that I’m currently writing that will all be out in the next 12 to 15 months. But I can’t talk about anything today. So more to come. But nothing to announce yet. 

Nikki: What would you say to someone who’s trying to get into creating comics and into the comics community?

Zack: Two things. One, I would say like, if you want to get into comics and into the comics community, get on social media and start to engage with other creators. Definitely not just the pinnacles of the industry, but everyone who’s up and coming, read their work and comment on their work and be friendly and reach out to people. I feel like it cannot say how important it is to have other peers, artists, writers, and creators who are at the same level or just a little bit a little more experienced than you that are all kind of coming up together. That’s really valuable. 

C2E2 Zack Kaplan Interview

And the other thing I’ll say is, I think a lot of creators make this mistake of thinking that they’re going to break in by developing something, like ”I just need that one thing, that one project, and if I can make it good enough, that will be the project that breaks me in.” And I don’t think that’s true. I think what you have to realize is the project that you’re working on is not the golden egg; you are the golden goose. And you’re going to need a lot of great projects. And so rather than try to put all your eggs in one basket and just put something really big out, keep putting lots of little things out. If you’re an artist put great art out, if you’re a writer put a lot of short comics out, web comics out, you know, just find a way to get your work out as much as possible and think of yourself as the thing that you’re sharing rather than just one comic because there’s always going to need to be one more thing. It’s really more about building a following and a trust among other other readers so that they want to come see what’s next.

Nikki: Thank you so much you’re like spending time with me again!

Zack: Have a wonderful C2E2!

I interviewed Zack Kaplan and the Mindset Co-creator John J. Pearson earlier this year. Make sure you check out Mindset, available as a trade in May, and pick up Breakout in shops today! Find Zack on socials: @zackkaps

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