“There are only a couple of comics publishers in North America That matter and Chris is one of them.” Art Spiegelman
Chris Oliveros, a former bicycle courier, is the founder of the comic book and graphic novel publisher Drawn and Quarterly of Montreal. Circulation for his publications ranges from 5,000 to 15,000 copies per title sold in the U.S.A. and Europe as well as in Canada. The titles are published in English and translation.
His introduction to publishing came in the summer of 1988 when he hooked up with a group of Quebec artists who had received a provincial grant to publish a cartoon anthology. He showed up in his off hours from his courier work over the course of three months and learned every aspect of comic book preparation and production. “By the end I said, ‘Maybe this isn’t that mysterious.”
In 1990 he decided to start publishing himself. He advertised in the Village Voice and Mother Jones magazine for artists. He approached his circle of contacts. He borrowed money from his father and published the initial Drawn and Quarterly Anthology. It lost money as did the next anthology.
Oliveros worked on developing a roster of high quality cartoonists. Seth (Gregory Gallant) had an idea for a comic he named Palookaville. Oliveros decided to publish it. When Chester Brown’s contract with Vortex Comics expired he made a contract with him. He also signed on Julie Doucette’s Dirty Plotte and Joe Matt’s Peepshow. These four artists became his core.
When the comics market collapsed in the late nineties, Drawn and Quarterly was little affected because of the older audience for its publications. The publications sell slowly but steadily.
In 1996 Oliveros and the Drawn and Quarterly artists were featured guests at the Haarlem Comics Festival in the Netherlands in Europe.
Oliveros has released his own comic The Envelope Manufacturer.
Cover book front & Content story:
The Envelope Manufacturer, pt. 1. 3416071 Canada Inc., July 1998.
Drawn and Quarterly: Twenty-Five Years …. Drawn & Quarterly, May 2015: “The Comic-Book Manufacturer. Chris Oliveros interviewed by Sean Rogers”: 60-73.
Globe and Mail, 9 Oct.1999: “Comic actor.” Writ., Cathal Kelly: C20.
Globe and Mail, 9 May 2015: “Picture This.” Writ., Mark Medley: B1, B12-B13.