Tab Kimpton writes Khaos Komix, a series of comic stories about queer kids. When I found Tab’s comics, I read the entire archive in two days. Tab was kind enough to answer my questions (I’m Dan Copulsky) in November 2010.
Where are you in school or work? Does making Khaos support you at all now? Is making comics potentially a career?
I work full time as a costume maker: you can see my work over at KhaosKostumes.com. I attend anime/sci-fi events in the UK and sell a lot of steampunk items as well as promoting my costumes. As Khaos Komix has recently been published I’m now selling that at events along with T-shirts and badges. I’m self-employed, so I pretty much do anything that will earn me money, so my stall is a mishmash of things.
Khaos Komix has earned me a fair amount of money, but I know I’ll never earn back the amount of hours I have put into it. I’m really just doing it because I need to tell these characters’ stories, I never even expected to get published. Also I’m far better at making costumes than I am at drawing, so comic writing was never really a career goal for me.
Since Khaos is so heavily about sexual orientation, gender identity, and relationships, is it appropriate to ask your orientation, identity, and relationship status, and how this has affected the work?
I personally identify as queer, but that’s because saying I’m a poly, pan, trans man with a male and female partner tends to be a bit of a mouthful.
My personal story has affected the work because in ways I’ve been each character. I’ve tried out most orientations in that quest to find myself, so I have a lot more understanding for each character’s viewpoint than the average person. It’s made the work better, and to be honest, if I wasn’t the way I am then I probably would have never written Khaos in the first place.
Each of your stories starts years back in the character’s childhood. Were childhood experience particularly important to your identity? Is there something else about childhood that makes it compelling to include in the stories?
For me much of the important stuff only hit in early teens, so no, I wouldn’t consider childhood to be that important. However Khaos is about everyone’s personal story, and I know if I were writing a biography I would start at the beginning.
How often do you work on Khaos? Do you try to keep any regular update schedule?
I try to update at least once a week, but with commission work this gets pretty hard. Writers block can also hit pretty hard sometimes, but I’m lucky as I have to write out pretty much all of the script in advance to avoid plot holes, so it isn’t as bad as it could be.
After Charlie and Jamie’s stories are finished, is that the end of Khaos Komix? What other comic projects are you working on or planning?
Yes, that’s the end. When writing Khaos I decided I wanted a solid ending instead of a pandering out that many webcomics do. I’d tried that format before in earlier versions of Khaos and it just led to plot holes and horrible retcon.
I have a comic sort of planned for after Khaos, but it would be slightly more mature so I’m worried I’d loose teen readers. Not that you can’t stop teens from reading porn on the internet, but that I’d feel bad for letting them read it.
What comics do you read?
I read a lot of webcomics, specifically queer ones if I can. Unfortunately there’s a bit of a lack of them, especially other trans comics. When it comes to print comics my favorite author is actually Jhonen Vasquez.