Tim Yates does it all. His new comic book series, Anne Bonnie, is a visual epic that blends historical references with his own storyline. The artwork is stunning and his comic is making waves in the industry while making him a name to be reckoned with in the comics world. Tim has worked as a colorist on many projects, including Spike’s 1000 Ways to Die, Zenescope’s Grimm Fairy Tales, Jabal Entertainment’s Jinnrise, and now Blue Juice Comic’s The Accelerators. But his real talent is as a creator, writer and artist of books like Anne Bonnie and Failhunter. He has been busy promoting his work but the New Jersey native and Kubert School of Cartooning graduate took time to talk to the GRIND about his fascinating Anne Bonnie series.
Where did you get the idea to do a comic on Anne Bonnie?
Pirates of the Caribbean was a big inspiration to me, the world of pirates was very intriguing. And I knew I wanted to have a female protagonist, so when I started researching famous pirates in history, the story of Anne Bonney stood out to me, and the rest fell into place from there.
In your book do any of the other historical pirate characters come into play?
I have a lot of other characters that surrounded Anne Bonney in history make appearances, such as Calico Jack and Mary Reed and so on.
Describe your storyline for the Anne Bonnie character?
Anne Bonnie in my story was the pirate queen, and ruled the sea with an iron fist. But she’s not the main character of the story. The protagonist is a girl named Ariana who grew up hearing the legends of Anne Bonnie and dreams of being a pirate herself. The comic takes place a number of years after the pirate queen’s mysterious disappearance, and as Ariana tries to find her place as a pirate in the world, the story of Anne Bonnie is told.
How much to real history do you stick? Or is time period and character al you draw from reality?
Anne Bonnie takes place in a fantasy world with magic and magical creatures, so the story as such evolved from a historical fiction into more of a what-if these characters had lived in a fantasy world. I draw as much as I can of the characters from history and have it in their back-story, but at it’s core, the story is fictional.
You draw and write this comic, is that how you envisoned it?
I originally envisioned teaming up with a writer on the story, and worked with my good friend Lelan Estes co-writing on the first issue of the comic, and my friend Tony Vassallo helping me lay the pages out. But I’ve always been an aspiring creator in all aspects, and decided if I was ever going to get better at writing, I couldn’t rely on someone else to produce the script for the comic for me. I’ve still got a lot to learn of the craft, but it’s been an exciting journey so far!
Did you start as a writer or artist and how did the other talent evlove?
I started as a dreamer, creating stories and characters in my head during idle moments. When I decided to turn my passion for creating into a reality, I knew the only way I could do it is if I could produce them myself without relying on pitching them as scripts or hiring an artist to draw them, and the Kubert School was the best place I could find for learning how to do that. So the first talent I focused on refining was art, and the writing side of it was more self-taught as I went.
When is the graphic novel coming out?
The first trade paperback collecting issues 1-6 of Anne Bonnie is scheduled to come out at New York Comic Con in October, and it will be available in stores later in the year.
How many issues do you have planned for Anne Bonnie?
I haven’t decided on how long the comic will run for. If it’s successful, I have enough story planned for a decade of Anne Bonnie comics, but it all depends on sales and how fast I can make the books. If I have my way, Anne Bonnie will have a long and healthy run, and the pirate queen will never die!
How is the comic doing sales and promotion wise?
The comic is doing better than I ever would have dreamed my first try at a comic book could do. The response from fans has been incredible, and the sales have been very good for a new creator like myself. I feel the demand for a fun, all-ages comics that parents can buy for their kids is very high in the industry right now, and that’s partially to credit for the book’s success. But I’ve gotten responses from people of all ages and genders that enjoy the book, and that makes me a very happy creator.
What have you been doing to generate sales and publicity and promoting the book?
We’ve taken out ads, promoted on social media, and I’ve been on several podcasts with wonderful people who let me talk about my book to their listeners. And the book has spread little by little from word of mouth, people telling their friends about the series for themselves or their kids, and I’m grateful for everyone who has shared my comic in this way.
You can check out Tim Yates on social media on twitter and instagram as @yatescomics, and at his personal website yatescomics.com. The website for his publisher is Bluejuicecomics.com, and you can buy all his books there. Also check out-