Genevieve Trainor: A Passion for Comics

A detail from the story “Roommates” in Caged in Flesh (© 2018 Red Stylo Media, Matt McGrath, and Shen Travis)

I have worked with a lot of editors over the course of my freelance career, and Genevieve Trainor, arts editor for Little Village, ranks high among them. She is sharp-eyed, committed to enhancing (rather than merely changing) prose, sensitive to a writer’s personal style and preferences, and eager to collaborate rather than to dictate.

So when I learned she was one of the editors for a new comics anthology inspired by Robert Louis Stevenson, I kicked into the Kickstarter campaign at a level that would ensure I received a copy of the book. The double-sided collection bears two titles: A Soul Divided for the tales inspired by Dr. Jekyll and Caged In Flesh for stories sparked by Mr. Hyde.

In this e-interview, Trainor explains what a comics editor does, talks about her own passion for comics, and delves into her connection to Red Stylo Media, publishers of ASD/CIF.

Rob Cline: Let’s start with what an editor does on a comics project.

Genevieve Trainor (photo by Jami Milne)

Genevieve Trainor: It may vary from publisher to publisher, but in this case, the other editors and I were involved from the beginning with story selection, pitch development, and matching art with text. Enrica Jang and I split up the stories and worked closely with both the writers and the artists on each, doing the standard editorial work (offering guidance on scope and direction, close edits on the text, catching errors, ensuring that the artists’ interpretation of the text was in line with ours, corraling and cracking the whip on deadlines). Mark Mullaney consulted on art questions and kept an eye on the visuals generally. Then we all worked on putting the final product together, determining story order, etc.

The double-sided collection inspired by Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde has two titles: A Soul Divided and Caged In Flesh (Red Stylo Media)

It’s really very similar to any other editing project, except the added role of serving as something of a liaison between two different storytellers, making sure their visions align with each other, and also align with the overarching vision of the book as a whole.

I know comics are a passion of yours. When did you start reading and what was your entry point? What are some of your favorites—both that you’ve read in the past and that you are keeping up with currently?

I’d guess that I started reading comics around middle school. Wolverine was a major entry point for me (my obsession with the character extends to never having seen any of the standalone Wolverine films, because I’m personally offended that Hugh Jackman is six foot, two inches). I spent years, into my early 20s, before the ease of online buying, scouring back issues in every comic shop I happened across, completing the “Gehenna Stone Affair” arc.

Another huge one for me as a teen was Evan Dorkin’s Milk & Cheese. Overall favorites, without getting too exhaustive, include Moore & Campbell’s limited From Hell, Ellis & Duffield’s Freak-Angels, Daredevil: Yellow (Loeb/Sale), the “Midsummer Night’s Dream” issue of Sandman (Gaiman/Vess), Severed (Snyder/Tuft/Futaki), Locke & Key (Hill/ Rodriguez), and anything at all Mike Mignola even accidentally breathes on (but especially his B.P.R.D. stuff). Oh! And I have a very special place in my heart for GloomCookie (Valentino/ Naifeh).

­Honestly, though, there’s not much I keep up with currently. I got to a point when I was unemployed a few years ago and my hold box started overflowing and I was straight-up embarrassed. Once I finally found work and picked up everything, I closed out my list and haven’t started one up again since. I should probably enter the 21st century and resign myself to reading digitally, but I’m old and staid and obstinate.

How did you get connected with Red Stylo Media (RSM)? Was ASD/CIF your first project with them? Are you signed on to work on the new Dante-inspired collection? What appeals to you about Red Stylo’s approach to creating comics?

A page from “Roommates” in Caged in Flesh (© 2018 Red Stylo Media, Matt McGrath, and Shen Travis)

I connected with Red Stylo through Ryan Morrow, who runs One Squared Studios. I was editing a couple of titles for him and he introduced me to RSM publisher Enrica Jang. Yes, ASD/CIF was my first RSM project, and YES! I’m working on What Fresh Hell Is This?, an anthology of stories inspired by Dante’s Inferno.

I really appreciate Enrica’s (and Red Stylo’s) values and taste. I love the weight placed on collaboration and dedication. The team really values the contributors, and you can tell it’s appreciated, because so many of the same artists and writers keep coming back year after year wanting to work on RSM projects.

Any particular favorites among the pieces you worked on in the ASD/CIF anthology (I know that’s a dicey question!)?

It’s probably gauche to pick favorites, but I really loved the pieces that pushed the genre boundaries for me. I adore horror comics, and I love that the book was focused on horror literature—but “Roommates” [a refreshingly humorous entry written by Matt McGrath, with art by Shen Travis] and “Fantastic Weapon” [a story with a well-executed twist written by Dan Ball, with art by Jessica Trevino] both really surprised me, in very good ways.

Do you have plans or aspirations to expand your work in comics? If so, in what direction?

I love editing, and I would never want to expand to the extent that it let that fall by the wayside. That said, I do have a story in an upcoming anthology from the 48 Hour Comic Project, Tales of the Rockabilly Rambler. I’d never written a comic script before, but hell, I’ll try anything once.