Originally hailing from Timmons, Ontario, Deni Loubert grew up living a nomadic existence with her family, crisscrossing the continent as her Dad followed work from the local McIntyre Mine to the railroads of Arizona and northern California and back to the Great White North in the nickel mines of Sudbury. Because her parents frowned on comics as proper reading material she caught up on fave comic book by reading them in the grocery store. The family settled in the San Francisco Bay area long enough for Deni to attend high school and rediscover comics in the form of Gilbert Shelton’s Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers.
Another family move to Kitchener, Ontario led Loubert to discover science fiction fandom. Inspired by local comic artist and fellow Joe Shuster Hall of Famer Gene Day’s self-published work, she began to self-publish a zine of her own, Cerebus. Loubert met artist and future husband Dave Sim at Harry Kremer’s Now And Then Books, the hub for Kitchener’s local fandom and artistic community. Together, the two budding publishers formed Aardvark-Vanaheim to put out a Cerebus comic book based on their aardvark mascot. Loubert’s reputation as publisher eager to help artists create their best work was born here.
Determined to let Sim create, Loubert took the business reins and learned publishing from the ground up, forging alliances with printers, writing text pages, overseeing the printing and arranging for now legendary Cerebus tours. Eventually, her love of artists and desire to forge her own identity inspired her to expand the Aardvark-Vanaheim line, publishing early work by Image Comic’s Jim Valentino, Arn Saba, Bob Burden and Max Allen Collins. When Loubert and Sim’s marriage ended, the infrastructure she had set up for Aarvark-Vanaheim were the foundation of Sim’s extended run on Cerebus – the longest running independent comic in history.
Already partially responsible for helping a new generation of Canadian artists and publishers to step up to the plate, Loubert moved to Los Angeles to start fresh with her own imprint, Renegade Press. In addition to publishing numerous US artists, Loubert helped shepherd new work by Canadian creators like Dan and David Day (Cases of Sherlock Holmes), fellow Shuster inductee Dave Darrigo and R.G. Taylor (Wordsmith) and Larry Hancock and Michael Cherkas (Silent Invasion). Loubert closed Renegade’s doors in 1989 but it’s a testament of the wide respect and popularity she held within the industry that the founders of Image Comics first approached her to be their publisher when they broke away from Marvel Comics. Loubert also worked for Wendy and Richard Pini as the Managing Editor at WaRP Graphics and was VP of Comic Book Development for Full Moon Entertainment, overseeing works by Marv Wolfman, Harlan Ellison and others.
For several years, Loubert worked as an artist representative in Hollywood and Friends of Lulu pamphlet, “How To Get Girls Into Your Store”, remains a must-read for comic shops wishing to avoid alienating half the world’s population. In 2003, her comic savvy and natural entrepreneurship continued with NovelGrafx Inc., an early developer of concepts and technology for delivery of comic books to cell phones and is currently laying the groundwork for a new, as yet unannounced comic project.
Bio Compiled by Robert Pincombe