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Chris Yambar – RIP

Pop artist and cartoonist Chris Yambar has passed away.


Rev. Christopher David (Chris) Yambar
July 4, 1961 – March 27, 2021

 

From the obituary:

Chris was called to the ministry at age 19 to work with inner-city youth … he published Manna Underground Press / The Activist, a newspaper specializing in arts, music, and social commentary, from 1982 to 1989. At its last printing, it had readership in 17 countries and had inspired thousands in their Christian walk and in their understanding and appreciation of the arts … Chris spent] spend seven years with the Chaplain Corps in the Youngstown Police Department …

 

Chris got his start contributing comics to the Youngstown State University newspaper in the mid-1980s and going on to small press comix. From there:

In 1994, Chris created the now-iconic beatnik cartoon character, Mr. Beat, a man who loved jazz, coffee, and all things Beat. Chris resumed self-publishing comics as a result of this beloved character’s popularity, he ultimately created many other characters, and collaborated with several individuals and comics producers over a 25-year period. In 2000, Chris was informed that Mr. Beat had caught the eye of Matt Groening … Chris wrote the lead story in the premier edition of Bongo’s Bart Simpson Comics and went on to write for several of their comic book titles over the course of 12 years.

   
Spongebob © Viacom; all other art © Chris Yambar

Chris came to our attention last year when, with Randy Bish, he resurrected The Yellow Kid.


my copy has the cover on the left

In addition to comics Chris had career as a “pop artist.”

His graphics skills honed at MCJVS, he freelanced as a graphic designer upon graduation. Chris began painting in the Neo-Pop Art style in the late 1980s and had his first one-man show at The Butler Institute of American Art in 1989. He was very pleased when it was held over for an additional month due to its popular Batman Retrospective theme. In 30 years, he created over 5,000 paintings and participated in countless shows.

Below, a couple cartoon related paintings.

   
Popeye © KFS, Red Hot Riding Hood © MGM, art © Chris Yambar

For more about Chris see

The Youngstown Business Journal on Chris’s passing

The Grand Comic Database has a partial listing of Chris’s comic books

Comic Art Fans has a dozen or so gag drawings by Chris

And of course the Yambar homesite is all about Chris

 

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