Women in Comics Month: Interview with Renae Geerlings

In honor of Women in Comics Month this March, PREVIEWSworld talks with Darby Pop Managing Editor Renae Geerlings!!

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PREVIEWSworld: Who is your current comics employer?

Renae Geerlings: Darby Pop Publishing.

PREVIEWSworld: What is your primary job title? In a quick phrase or two, could you define your job’s key responsibility?

Renae Geerlings: Managing Editor.  Communication hub, keep the trains running, get the books out the door and into stores. 

PREVIEWSworld: Could you please explain how your work helps make comics a reality? (Connect the dots for us. Where are you in the flow of getting a book into reader hands?)

Renae Geerlings: I’m the project manager, essentially.  From start, sometimes conception, to the minute it gets to Diamond, I’m overseeing the process of solicitation, writing, finding and hiring artists, art production, lettering, post-production, design, printing, shipping.

PREVIEWSworld: What’s the part of your job you enjoy the most?

Renae Geerlings: Hands down, finding new artists, giving them an opportunity and watching their careers take off. I’ve had several come back to me and say thank you in later years and, honestly, I’m just like a proud mother hen.  I get a little weepy, in private.  That is my greatest joy. That and watching these stories take shape. 

PREVIEWSworld: What comic titles have you worked on?

Renae Geerlings: HUNDREDS.  A few… Witchblade, The Darkness, TombRaider, Wanted (all of Top Cow’s/Joe’s Comics books from ‘97-‘06), Hercules, Driver for the Dead (all of Radical Publishing’s Books from – ’09-’12), and Indestructible, and Bruce Lee: The Dragon Rises (all of Darby Publishing’s books from ’14-’18). 

PREVIEWSworld: While there are loads of professionals in the comics industry, there are only so many folks who get to do what you do! How did you get started? How did you learn all the skills you needed for your position?

Renae Geerlings: Right place, right time.  I got a temp job answering phones for Top Cow and had just the right amount and mix of creative and scheduler in my personality and skill set, that I started as an editorial assistant and worked my way up the ladder. 

PREVIEWSworld: Talk to us about the heroic people in your comics life. Who do you admire? Who inspires you? Why?

Renae Geerlings: People like Peter Steigerwald, Steve Blackwell, Robin Spehar (back in the day), Dennis Heisler, Phil Smith, and Troy Peteri.  The designers, production folks, and letterers. The ones who are at the thankless, glamourless, production end of the process when it’s ALWAYS go time, and they work nights, tirelessly, to make up time that has been lost and get these books out to press. They are the unsung heroes of the industry, IMO. 

PREVIEWSworld: Please tell us about the coolest experience you’ve ever had thanks to your job.

Renae Geerlings: Well, I met my husband at a ComiCon, twice, before he asked me out. So…yeah, I’d say meeting Tyler Mane (XMEN, HALLOWEEN) was the coolest thing. But honestly, all of the great people I’ve worked with, Marc Silvestri, Jim Lee, Adam Hughes, Alex Ross, Mark Waid, Paul Dini, J. Michael Straczynski, San Worthington, and the late great Michael Turner.  I’ve met so many celebrities and genius creatives I could go on and on.  It has been a STRING of cool experiences. 

PREVIEWSworld: If you had one comics-related wish—no limits—what would it be?

Renae Geerlings: To work with Michael Turner again. To have that lunch we never ended up having. The years going by haven’t made me feel less sadness or regret about that. 

PREVIEWSworld: Do you have an online presence we can link to and share with our readers?

Renae Geerlings: Instagram.com/renaegeerlingstwitter.com/renae_geerlings, facebook.com/darbypop.

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