(from 'I Have To Live With This Guy' by Blake Bell, Twomorrows 2002)
...[Renegade Press] never really recovered from Glenwood going out of business. Glenwood was the regional distributor and owed me a lot of money. I owed my printers a lot of money and I brought them a lot of business. At one point pretty much every black-and-white book was coming out of Preney Print all through my recommendation.
They met with me about eight months to a year before we closed and said, "You've got a huge debt we don't think you'll ever be able to pay. We're going to forgive you the entire debt and write it off the books. We're going to say you brought us all this business, count that as payback and put you on pay in advance." I felt that was fair. If they hadn't done it, I would have been out of business then.
We took another look at the budget. I started charging more for PR and tried a lot of different things to figure out what the market wanted. We had core books like Ms. Tree, Neil The Horse and Flaming Carrot that sold well. We had books that were almost vanity press. They would sell two or three thousand, like Maxwell Mouse, that I thought should have succeeded. I wanted to do books for girls, but when I did them, they didn't sell.
You are looking around and who's succeeding are the people doing platinum covers, doing marketing techniques. We can do that, but that's not what I got into this for. This was before Image Comics, too. I felt like there was no place left for the small independent publisher who just wanted to do good stories.
In terms of how you market books, I was probably ahead of the curve. I had an instinct for it, but I just didn't have a lot of practical knowledge. Face it, I was a girl working in a factory that started putting out her husband's book.
I've learned a lot about running a business since I closed Renegade. I would have cut it back to the books that actually sold. I would have done more licensing. That really was the way to keep us afloat and I didn't recognise it at the time... I was too much of an idealist...
...Jim Valentino came to me and said, "I'm talking to Rob Liefeld and these guys to do basically what you did with Renegade. We want to form a consortium," which was what Renegade was. It was a co-op. He said, "These guys sell big numbers. You want to come run it?"
I went, "I don't want to run another comic book company for as long as I live!"
It was the wrong answer. I turned down running Image Comics because I had just closed Renegade and emotionally was not in a place to do it.
Deni Loubert was Aardvark-Vanaheim's publisher for the first 70 issues of Cerebus. Deni and Dave Sim were married between 1978 and 1983. After their divorce, Deni moved to Los Angeles to start her own comics publishing company, Renegade Press, which closed its doors in 1989. She was inducted into the Joe Shuster Hall of Fame in 2010.