The PNP Crew Q&A Series, #6: CHRIS YARBROUGH

The PNP Crew Q&A Series, #6: CHRIS YARBROUGH

CP-RAD-1-1PNP now finds itself lucky enough to get to grips with American creator Chris Yarbrough, co-creator of PNP title Radiation Day, and one of the pin-up artists in the Bullet Gal trade paperback.

[BTW, if you missed #1 with PNP’s Galo Gutierrez you can check that out here, the one with Matt Kyme here, #3 with Graeme Jackson here, Andrez Bergen was #4 here, and Ben Gilboa @ #5.]


Who are you, and what do you do?

My name is Chris Yarbrough, an American illustrator, and figure from various world mythologies. I’m based out of Joplin, Missouri. I am co-creator and artist for the PNP title Radiation Day. I’m also the owner (with my dear wife) of Thought and Memory Studios. I’ve done work for boardgames, YouTube series, and books. I am the creator of the forthcoming KRTSDM. (You’ll have to go to the page to find out what those letters stand for.) Also, Daft Punk did not make a song about my life.

How did you become involved with Project-Nerd Publishing?

Brett Jones (Writer and co-creator of Radiation Day), and I were previously a part of another team that our friend Galo Ramiro Gutierrez belonged to. He turned us on to PNP, and a few digital handshakes and oaths of fealty later, here we are!

Why are indie comics so damned important?

Indie comics are so damned important, because they represent unconquered frontier. Creativity and vision flourish when given room to breathe. This is the environment that the indie scene provides. Like so much bacterial scum on the underside of a rock, our unique perspectives and stories are allowed to flourish in a way they never could in a more mainstream capacity. To the noble comic reader, I think the indie scene offers a flavor they can’t get anywhere else. And, I’m more than happy to be the delicious bay leaf in their comic fan spaghetti.

The HessianWho are your favorite three comic book artists, and why? Which titles of theirs are the best, so far as you’re concerned?

My comic artist pantheon has at its head Cary Nord. At his right hand is Frank Cho, and guarding the underworld is Mike Mignola. Nord’s work on Conan was a revelation to me, and he continues to be an inspiration with almost every picture he posts. I stumbled upon Frank Cho’s work at a formative time, artistically speaking, with his book Women. His command of line, and unique flair for humor in his work, spoke to me personally. Mike Mignola is the master of shadows, but you all knew that. I know this list is meant to only include three artists, but I would be a blasphemer not to include Bill Watterson, as I feel his bones are the pillars that hold up the sky.

Who’s your favorite non-comic book artist, and why?

My favorite non-comic artist is the immortal Keith Parkinson. I would spend hours looking at his work as a child. I once created a “cheat-sheet” of hands based on all the expressive hands in his work. Today, when I paint landscapes, his is the example that I follow. Sadly, Keith passed away the year I graduated high school, so I will never be able to tell him what an impact he had. I can only hope that there is another plain where he can tell me painting tips. Although I won’t be able to hear him, as I can’t speak to ghosts.

DC, Marvel, Image, Dynamite, Dark Horse, all of these — or something else? 

Image, Darkhorse, and Dynamite. These are the companies I think have the most challenges for their readership. These three companies are almost entirely responsible for every comic I’ve ever read (with the exception of all the lovely indies I’ve read). Admittedly, I’ve never gravitated towards “the Big Two”.

What style/genre of comics do you prefer to read?

I pretty much enjoy anything that has a unique perspective when it comes to comics. I really do think it’s a great way to explore ideas in a visual format. Genre is largely unimportant to me, as long as there is something interesting to latch onto. However, I will read almost anything of the low/historical fantasy persuasion.

In terms of your creativity, which styles/genres do you prefer to work with?

I consider myself, first and foremost, a fantasy illustrator. My background is less in comic books and more in the classic illustration world. I would love to do a low/dark fantasy comic, someday. For some reason, creatively, I just gravitate towards muck, metal, monsters, and the occasional warrior princess. I’m a true churl, I suppose!

What is the most innovative, landmark comic book title (or graphic novel) in history?

This is a very cliché viewpoint, but for me Alan Moore’s Watchmen removed my brain, rearranged its various components, placed it back in my head for a second, removed it again, and then threw it against a wall. I really dug it. I would like to add, for anyone reading this, that I am open to having my mind blown, in this manner, by other comics. Suggestions are welcome!

Self-portrait by the artist.

Self-portrait by the artist.

Who is your all-time favorite comic book character? How did he/she/it achieve this status?

Red Sonja is hands down my comic jam. I’ve been a Red Sonja fan for as long as I’ve understood which part of a sword you poke someone with (the pointy end). Sonja, aside from her obvious charms, has always been a very important figure to me. She was tough, motivated, blessed by a goddess, and most importantly, showed me from an early age that women could be in charge of their own fate. In the absolute masterpiece that is the 1985 Red Sonja film (fight me!) her trainer declares her to be “the master of the masters”, and this was not lost on little-me.

What are your creative plans for the future — what can we expect from you?

My creative plans for the future are basically represented by a giant tornado of epic imagery, and tragic heroes. I have at least 10 different books trapped in my head, awaiting the day that I find time to commit them to paper. The closest to completion is my graphic novel KRTSDM — which I’m hoping to finish in the next year. Other than that, I’m playing my cards close to my chest. Not because I’m afraid of idea theft, but because I would rather not disappoint people by hyping up something that potentially could never see the light of day.