“I’ve taken this, personally, as far as I can take it. Drawn and Quarterly as a company has much further to go, but for me, what I set out to accomplish 25 years ago … all those goals have been achieved. That’s a remarkable thing. So it just felt like now is the time. The proximity to the anniversary is just a nice coincidence.
“A lot of the people who have come in to work for us have had an interest in design, or production, or editorial. I didn’t come from any of those backgrounds. My goal was to publish the comics that I love. So everything I did in the beginning, all the tasks — packing boxes, writing invoices, doing design and production — was always a means to that end. I wouldn’t necessarily love any of those things on their own, but it was a case of, ‘If this is what it takes, that’s what I’ll do.’ But as the company has grown, and we have brought in specific people with specific talents, I’ve realized that a lot of what I do in a given day are things a lot of people can do. So you start to think, ‘Well, maybe I don’t have to be here. Maybe I can do this other thing that I like doing, which is drawing comics.’”
For Oliveros, 48, the first fruit of that ‘other thing’ will be the 100-page graphic novel The Envelope Manufacturer. Long in the works, the book will be self-published next January, with D&Q’s role limited to distribution. Meanwhile, he’s been finding a definite satisfaction in leaving on his own terms, with the company in good shape and in good hands.
“The model traditionally has been that if you’re the founder, you stay on until you die. You hang on and hang on, and a proper succession is not really planned for. This, what we’re doing now, is the responsible way to do it.”
What about the practical and emotional aspects of letting go? Will it be hard?
“Obviously I love the company a lot, and am very fond of the staff and the authors. I don’t really know what my (new) schedule is going to be, but I won’t be one of those semi-retired guys you see still hanging around the office all the time. But by the same token, it’s not like I’m moving to the Yukon.”