Mind Meld With A Wave Blue World’s Tyler Chin-Tanner!

Since 2005 Tyler and Wendy Chin-Tanner have been hard at work creating and publishing many a great title under the banner of A Wave Blue World and now, I have the opportunity to speak with Tyler about all things AWBW!

1. Hello there, and welcome to the Mind Meld here at IndieComiX! For those who may not be familiar with what it is you do, could you tell us a bit about yourself?

Its Tyler!

I’m Tyler Chin-Tanner, president and co-publisher at A Wave Blue World. I founded the company with my wife while I was still in art school at The Joe Kubert School for Cartoon & Graphic Arts (now just called The Kubert School). I started off publishing my own creator-owned series, which I wrote and collaborated with artists on. This grew into publishing anthologies, such as Broken Frontier and Dead Beats, as well as picking up a few creator-owned series like Dead Legends and Crash & Troy.

2. You co-founded A Wave Blue World back in 2005 with your wife, Wendy, did the two of you think the company would still be running roughly 2 decades later?

I knew we would still be making comics. I’m in this for life. I didn’t necessarily know what form the company would still be in. This industry changes so rapidly and I wanted to keep the company flexible. We’ve adapted through the digital age and by using crowdfunding, and even grown into the book market. I’m pretty happy with where the company is right now, but there’s always shifts on the horizon.

3. What’s been some of the challenges you and wife have faced and overcome during the years of running AWBW?

How much time do we have? Seriously though, comics are a tough business and the margins are super tight. There are a lot of spinning plates and you end up wearing many different hats during the day. We try to spend much of our day being creators, but also have to manage other people, handle the finances, deal with distribution and shipping. You really have to structure your day to keep from being pulled in too many different directions at once.

4. In addition to publishing duties for AWBW, you’ve also written several titles as well for the company, has there been any difficulties there?

Oh, I think I may have just answered that. But yes, it’s not just the time constraint,. Mentally they’re very different. If I’ve got something on my mind with the publishing end, like an unresolved issue, it’s difficult for me to drop into the creative side and write a story. And when I finally drop into that “flow” state, the last thing I want to do is snap myself out of that to answer emails. So, I structure my day as best I can.

5. In 2 decades of publishing, AWBW has amassed roughly 30 titles in its publishing history, what would you say has helped contribute in the growth of the company’s catalog?

Crowdfunding is a big one. I couldn’t have put so many titles out there without the support of backers willing to take a chance on a project before it’s even completed. I also have to thank all the various creators who’ve trusted us to come on board and contribute to an anthology, or bring their creator-owned project here.

6. Has there been interest in adapting any AWBW titles for the small or big screen?

Sure. That would be fun. It’s not a main objective of ours, but building our audience is. And if more people will be aware of one of our titles because it has a presence in bigger media, than all the better.

7. One of the titles you yourself are at the helm of with Josh Zingerman is called Mezo, a tale inspired by Mesoamerican History and Legends, is now gearing up for its 3rd volume, is this going to be the final arc in the Mezo universe or do you intend for more?

Josh and I initially created Mezo together. He’s a fellow graduate of The Kubert School, and he did some amazing character designs for the series as well as drawing the first two issues. But he had to move on to a job in storyboarding, where he’s been rocking it on animated shows like Archer and Star Wars. But we picked up Val Rodrigues starting with the third issue of the first volume and he’s been with us ever since. We’re completing volume 3 now, which is going to have an absolutely EPIC conclusion. But it won’t be the absolute conclusion to the story. I would love to do another trilogy. And if all goes well, we’ll start that up as soon as we’re done with this one.

8. Speaking of Mezo, for the 3rd volume, you tapped the excellent Jarred Lujan to join you for co-writing duties on the book, what led to this happening?

A number of factors really. I was struggling to find enough time to finish the scripts. My strength in writing is the early process, outlining and plot. I love to develop complex threads that intertwine and all come together at the end. I’m not so good at emotional beats and dialog. But Jarred is killer at both of those. I’ve been a big fan of his work since he first broke in as a Mad Cave Talent Search winner and member of the Milestone Initiative. So, besides picking up his series, Crash & Troy, I knew he was the right guy for Mezo.

9. Speaking of Jarred, his Crash and Troy title has found a home within the halls of AWBW, what led to you bringing the book on board?

Jarred had sent me a pdf of the first issue back when it was originally supposed to come out, and I loved it so much. It was fast-paced, funny, and had a lot of heart. So, when they needed a new home for it, I reached out to and offered to publish it.

10. When it comes to dealing with issues like burn out in not only publishing duties but writing as well, how do you and your wife deal it?

We’re currently looking for advice. I don’t know. We walk that line every day. But we love this stuff. I wake up thinking about it and go to bed with it still on my mind. That’s probably not good, but also, we mix in a lot of things into the day. We have two kids who we would drop anything for. We take walks, force ourselves to take some time off to watch a show here and there. And who knows, maybe we’ll actually take a vacation that doesn’t revolve around a convention or store signing.

11. Aside from Mezo’s third arc, what’s in store next for AWBW?

We’ve got the anthology Becoming Who We Are: Real Stories About Growing Up Trans coming out on May 22. Besides that, we’re going to kickstart our anthology for next year (2025), and I want to keep doing more Mezo as well as at least one more sequel to my Young Adult series The Orphan King.

12. Stance on AI?

No. First off, it’s not intelligence. It takes other people’s work, chews it out and spits it out. I don’t even know why people thing AI art looks good. It’s so lifeless with nothing to say.

13. While browsing the website’s store, I noticed you have bundles for several of your titles like Tower, Mezo, and Dead Legends in addition to the individual trades on their own, what led to that happening?

Just trying to help people save money buying multiple volumes of a book.

14. I’ve also noticed that AWBW only has trades and no single issues available on the shop, is this done intentionally to put out trades only?

Shipping comics isn’t very efficient, especially if you want to make sure it doesn’t get damaged. Also, I don’t tend to keep all of the issues in stock. Some sell out, which they’re meant to do. But that’s the great thing about the trade paperback. That will continually stay in stock.

15. And for my final question, what advice would you give to those looking to get into the industry and as well as looking to start their own publisher?

Patience. Don’t bite off more than you can chew. Don’t over extend yourself. This stuff takes time, energy, and money. More of it than you think. And you will learn so many lessons along the way. That’s a good thing, but give yourself the space to learn them. Also, reach out to other people who’ve done this before. We’re out there. The resources are out there. Go pick up some books, email some other small publishers, and begin your journey.

Editor’s Note: Huge thanks to Tyler for taking part in this interview!

Interview by: Rob Wrecks