[Photo via Comicvine]
After 25 years working on some of the most seminal comics of the era with many of the greatest creators, Diana Schutz is retiring on Friday, as announced in a talk with CBR’s Josie Campbell. Schutz is truly one of the legends of the business, a consummate professional, a visionary editor, and, on a personal note, my friend and mentor in countless situations—but that deserves a post of its own at some point. After starting her career working in comics shops, editing the fanzine The Telegraph Wire, and editing most of the top books at Comico, Schutz moved to Dark Horse, along with her then husband Bob Schreck in 1990 where she edited books from 300 to Usagi Yojimbo.
Schutz has no personal writing projects in the works, but hopes to pursue more academic pursuits. Given the proliferation of these in Portland alone, it seems to be a great place for her to make another mark. While the entire interview is a pocket history of the “indie comics of the 80s and 90”, here’s my good old days call-out:
And I feel badly for younger editors who will never know the joys of working with original artwork now that comics publishing is moving into almost exclusively digital environments. Frank Miller and Lynn Varley’s “300” was another high point of my editorial career, in part because nothing could ever match those days when either Frank or Lynn would ship an issue of “300” art to me. Frank drew every one of his black-and-white pages as double-page spreads and at twice-up (meaning twice the size of reproduction), so these gigantic inked pages would come in to the office in gigantic Fed Ex packages — and those boards were spectacularly stark and beautiful. We then reproduced Frank’s black-and-white artwork at actual publication size on watercolor paper, printing five to ten copies of each spread for Lynn to hand-paint until she was happy with one of them. Every publisher was moving to digital color by then, yet here was Lynn using traditional watercolor painting for, appropriately, a historical piece, while the rest of the industry was off chasing the future.
I’ll never forget receiving that first issue of Lynn’s painted colors on “300.” I wept like a baby. I’m not kidding. I brought that magnificent art into Mike’s office and wept! It was so overwhelming that I was literally brought to tears by its beauty. No digital file will do that.
While there is no replacing Diana at Dark Horse, I hope this move leaves here much deserved time to pursue projects that
take advantage of her wealth of knowledge oh, screws that. I hope Diana just gets to do fun things she enjoys, because she’s earned it.