In the history of comics, few editors have been as influential for as long as Diana Schutz. In terms of long-term, well-known women editors at the top of the industry, Schutz is really only equaled by Vertigo's Karen Berger and Shelly Bond. Today, Schutz announced she is retiring from Dark Horse after 25 years at the publisher, and would be moving towards more academic pursuits. Over the course of her impressive comics career she has worked with many of the best creators in the business, including Neil Gaiman, Frank Miller, Matt Wagner, Stan Sakai, Will Eisner, and Harvey Pekar, and her books have won multiple Eisner and Harvey awards.

Schutz first entered the industry working in comic shops, and jumped into editorial work in the 1980s. In 1990, she took a job at Dark Horse, and over the years held titles including senior editor, editor-in-chief, and executive editor. Schutz is an editor's editor, one who rarely showed interest in writing for herself, and instead focused her career on helping others to make the best comics they could.

 

Diana Schutz by Lena Chandhok, from her Visiting Artist series.

 

Long an advocate for creators' rights, Schutz was a great fit as an editor at Dark Horse particularly in the publisher's early days when there weren't a lot of options for creator-owned work. There's no doubt that her work and high-profile presence opened the door for a lot of the women who followed her into the industry, especially in editorial roles. Schutz knows the work isn't done, telling CBR:

 

If I were to stay at Dark Horse, if I still had the energy to keep fighting the good fight, I'd continue to push for more original graphic novels and more real world–based content. I'd also like to see a lot more diversity on the staff, especially in the editorial department since that's where publishing projects originate. Unless some female assistants get promoted soon, I'm leaving Sierra Hahn to carry the torch as Dark Horse's only distaff editor --- just as I had to do when I first started there twenty-five years ago. I can't speak highly enough of Sierra; she's already inherited my brother-in-law, so you know I have great faith in her editorial skill! That said, there are a number of hard-working editors and assistant editors on the Dark Horse staff --- like my own assistant, Aaron Walker --- whom I really admire. I'd just like to see a few more women in positions of authority generally, to replace the two of us who are retiring this year.

 

As the comics industry continues to become more girl-friendly, I see more and more women now entering the field and one result of women making publishing decisions is that there are more reading choices for women than ever before, which continues to bring more women in, and so the one feeds the other. 

 

We at ComicsAlliance would like to offer our congratulations and best wishes to Schutz, and our gratitude for her extraordinary work!