Written by Neil Greenaway
At Phoenix Comic Con 2016 I had the chance to sit down and talk with Adam Yeater of One Last Day Comics about his take on publishing indie comics. This interview originally ran on Bleeding Cool on 6/06/2016, and you can read their version of it here.
Walking past Adam Yeater’s table at a convention can be a unique experience. You won’t see any licensed characters on his prints, no super heroes to be seen. Instead there are images of squids, happy mushrooms, pustule ridden bodies, and lots of bugs. He has dozens of mini-comics (all starring his original character), and original art on a variety of mediums. His distinctive art style stands out starkly against the repetition that can often be found in artists alley – and seeing his paintings at Phoenix Comicon this weekend, I knew we needed to talk.
Neil Greenaway: So, we are standing here at Phoenix Comicon talking with Adam Yeater about his book One Last Day. So could I have you give us a just a short description of what this story’s about?
Adam Yeater: One Last Day is the last day of my main character. He’s just a generic faced character that I kill off on every page in every one shot comic.
NG: About how long have you been doing this?
AY: Off and on. I used to do some stuff in art school, but pretty much for about thirteen or fourteen years.
NG: And how is it released?
AY: I self-publish everything. Sometimes I put stuff on the web but mainly I distribute at comic cons like this and online through Facebook, things like that.
NG: You have a fairly distinctive art style, going on here. What were some of your influences?
AY: I am a huge Hideshi Hino fan, he does Hino Horror, and he’s just one of my gods. I worship that guy. It’s kind of like tales from the crypt Japanese style. Very dark, very gory, but with cartoony characters. So yeah, he’s a huge influence. I like Junji Ito, I was heavily influenced by Extreme Cinema, like the splatter films from Japan. A lot of Japanese influences. South Korean cinema, the Prime Cinema, things like that.
NG: Awesome. You must get varied reactions to the book, from people laughing at it to people thinking it is horrific. What is your interpretation? Comedy? Horror? What do you think this story is?
AY: It’s more like a… I guess it depends on who is looking at it. Sometimes it’s comedic, sometimes it’s really dark. Like I said, I am more into the B horror stuff so I see it as that, like how far can I press it. In the early years I used to do really veiled stuff. Like, you know, the deaths would be in between the margins – off page. Now I do it where it’s just blatant, in your face you can’t get away from the graphic violence. There’s no pornography, but it’s definitely extreme violence. And I think in American culture we are kind of used to that, but you’re kind of put in a category when you start doing pornographic. So I wanted to stick to a wordless comic that anybody in the world can read and that was graphically violent.
NG: Awesome. So since he dies in every book, what is your favorite death you have done?
AY: I guess in general it’s the death of Love. I really like that one. I keep going back to it for some reason. It’s real vague you know, he gets his Dear John letter and is really upset and he doesn’t really die but the love that he had did. That’s one of my favorites. Death through time, where somebody they’re dueling, they’re shooting. So it goes from 1800’s to the old west to gangsters to now, you know, the modern punk gangsters.
NG: I had heard that you have a coloring book coming out, tell me a little bit about the coloring book.
AY: I have a coloring book coming out through TMI International and they’re the largest kids tattoo manufacturer, those little sticky tattoos, and they wanted to break into the adult coloring book market. So we’re all working on getting those, they did some prototypes and we’re working on getting those onto the store shelves nationally. So you’ll be seeing those pretty soon.
NG: Awesome. And I also understand that you just had an omnibus come out; can you tell us a little bit about that?
AY: Yes it’s all my single page strips where he dies on one page. And I used to print them in separate books, but now I’m starting to print them all in one book. It’s just easier for me to keep at shows in front of my table.
NG: And are there any plans for a 2nd omnibus?
AY: Yes there is. I do a lot of one shots where it will be 5 or 6 pages that don’t fit into the single page book and I’m going to do those into one book coming up actually this year.
NG: We had talked just briefly on piracy yesterday. Have you ever had an image?
AY: Other than like the random… I’ll see somebody’s Facebook image, it will be like my guy or something. But no I have pretty much avoided most of that my whole career. I think it’s because some of the stuff I do is really odd, I think people are afraid to steal it and it’s really specific. So, like, if you use what I did it would be obvious and I think people would tell me hey there’s t-shirts going around with your art on it. So I think it would be so easy to notice that I don’t think it’s going to happen but if it does let me know.
NG: When you see your art in black and white it can seem horrific or almost macabre, but then when you see the colors you use they are always bright and vibrant, brilliant colors and it creates a really stark contrast. Is that on purpose?
AY: Sort of yeah, I guess it would be. I try to keep the bright colors towards the cartoon, but I like adding them to the grotesque. So I kind of keep it… I think it’s also what they make it like. A lot of the colors these days aren’t muted. Unless you’re using oil paints and using a lot of gray tones and stuff it’s vibrant shit. The paints I buy are all pastel so I have just tried to integrate that into my work with markers and things like that, that bright palette is pretty much the norm of the day. And I just use the paints that I find randomly so I think it just ends up aesthetically looking pretty bright, but I still have that dark look so I like the integration of something kind of cute and something kind of twisted.
NG: it’s a very striking, very cool look. Your work is also really, quite incredibly detailed, how much time do you put into your average print?
AY: Probably maybe 3 to 4 hours. An 11” by 17” takes me about 4 hours. Mainly I do a real tight pencil sketch so I do less during inking, less changing during inking. And I use Crow Pro pens, the old fashioned dip pens and I’m just really fast with them. So about 2 or 3 hours sometimes on a more open one and I use a lot of black so all my fill ins go quick. Comic pages are quicker than prints because the prints are more detailed. But yeah pretty much a 4 hour job on one print.
NG: What is coming next for you?
AY: Next I’m working on some new prints for the Tucson Comic Con and I’ve got a little toy fair local in Tucson coming up and the new book that I mentioned and I’m working on just a random art book, sketches and things like that.
NG: All right, well just one last question. If people wanted to see more of you online, where would they go?
AY: You can go to Facebook under One Last Day or Adam Yeater, and Instagram and I’m on Store Envy. I’m out on the web, just Google me, Adam Yeater and you can PM me and I’ll do some commissions and stuff like that and just check my website and you can buy everything there.