First Comics News: As part of our Mid-Ohio-Con coverage this week, we’ve been talking to other pros in the comics field who will be attending the Mid-Ohio-Con, and we wanted to talk to you, about this convention
Chris Yambar: Hi Phil, nice to meetcha. To start, I’ve been a comics fan for as long as I can remember. I’ve been involved with making and publishing comics off and on since the mid-1980’s, but I have been full-time in the industry since 1997. I enjoy working in all aspects of the field and I have a real love for independent, underground, all-ages, and hero adventure comics when they are done right. For more on my background and professional contributions, please visit Yambar.com . There, you will find out more than you ever need to know about my work as an independent publisher Mr. Beat, Suicide Blonde, Spells, El Mucho Grande. Additionally, I am a pro comics writer of Bart Simpson Comics, I Dream of Jeannie, and Mister Magoo. I am also a pop art painter, and I’m skilled at new property releases and development, on such titles as The Twerp, Suckulina-Vampire Temp, and Faith: Warrior Princess.
1st: Wow, that’s quite a list of accomplishments! Chris, what’s it like being a pro and sitting behind the table as total strangers come by and talk to you?
Chris: I enjoy fan feedback and this is a great way to get it face to face. I’m a people person by nature, and I am a student of the human condition. How else do you think I come up with the twisted humor comics that I do? Ha!
1st: I’ve oft-times been accused of having a twisted sense of humor myself, Chris. Which, by the way, I always insist on taking as a compliment! So, therefore, I suspect we’re going to get along just fine! I’d like to ask you, what do you do when the fan talking to you has terrible hygiene, or—equally as bad, terrible breath?
Chris: If there is a chance for a sale, I grin and bear it. I try to be nice because some folks just don’t have the breeding down right. Sometimes I simply excuse myself and go to the restroom. Actually, during longer shows, it’s the dealers and their elves that tend to be the ripest of the bunch. Once I thought I was at an ASS-FEST.
1st: That’s hilarious. ‘Dealers and their elves.’ As in trolls. You know, I don’t own a motor vehicle. And yet, nonetheless, I refuse to take commuter buses anywhere. I’d rather walk or bicycle anywhere I need to go. And the reason is, buses should all have a sign painted on the side of them, which says ‘Those with terrible hygiene/-body odor ride….free-!’ My next question is when you attend conventions, how do you make up the lost time from your work schedule?
Chris: It’s all work time for me, conventions included.
1st: Do these appearances increase sales on your titles And, can you name some of the titles you have done work on, published as yet or not as yet published? What comics companies are you working for right now, and what are the titles? We’d be very interested in lots of details.
Chris: I have found that a lot of my independent fan base comes to comic book conventions in order to buy what their dealers don’t regularly stock in their shops. On a book like Mr. Beat, for example, I’ll do print runs of 2000 – 3000 out of my own pocket and sell out in a years time. The stats show that I outsell Diamond’s orders 4-5 to 1 on a regular basis. This would mean death to a lot of self-publishers but it means a bigger profit for me. Instead of making 40% from the direct market, which underwrites all if not most of my printing costs, I make 100% of the cover price which pays for all of my con expenses and gives me some good green to take home to the wife. Even though I write for mainline comic companies, I still do a lot of self-publishing. I like the freedom and power it allows me to have as a creator. I can take risks without the worry of editorial interference. Self-publishing is something I never plan to give up doing. It’s way too profitable, also to find out all of the comics that I’m currently working on visit my ‘comics’ and ‘news’ sections at Yambar.com
1st: Do you get a chance to meet with other creators and plan new series at the cons? And, are you a comics reader and collector, and what titles do you collect, if any? Do you seek out titles for your reading,-enjoying and collecting? And if so, what do you seek to purchase yourself for your own collection?
Chris: Meeting other creators is fun for me. There’s always talk of hooking up to jam or co-create something new. A lot of good things happen when the mentally ill bump heads, y’know. I’m always eager to pick up stuff from and encourage the independent creator. They are the future wild cards of this industry and never get the respect that they deserve.
1st: What types of experiences have you had, in general, at the Mid-Ohio-Con? What were some highlights, and perhaps, some of the odder moments?
Chris: The people are always excited to shop and they buy quite a bit for the holidays. The Mid-Ohio-Con is the best show to end the year on. It’s friendly and relaxed. One time, a babe gave me a drawing of Mr. Beat in a bathtub with a naked woman and asked me to think about it. There was a room number on the tub. I didn’t know if I should be flattered or if she was telling me that I stunk.
1st: I’d suspect that you should have been flattered. Hence, the room number she’d written on the tub illustration. Chris, what is the best experience you have ever had at a convention? And why? Or, did you just sort-of answer that question, above?
Chris: Having satisfied fans return year after year is an honor that speaks for itself.
1st: What’s the worst thing that has ever happened to you at a convention?
Chris: Refer to the ASS-FEST statement. It was so bad I could point and yell outside dishes ordered the night before.
1st: Hmm. ‘Anchovies, hummus, garlic break, etcetera’… Do you have anything new our readers should be looking out for soon?
Chris: Always! That’s the name of the game, isn’t it? It’s all on Yambar.com
1st: Why do you attend the Mid-Ohio Con? And, any advice that you have for a first-time convention exhibitor?
Chris: Bring lots of change and always be friendly. Being pushy or arrogant only costs you relationships and sales. Use Altoids and bring some hand sanitizer, just in case.
1st: Well, Chris, it’s been a very great pleasure speaking to you, today. Thanks so much for your kindness in talking to me!