T: How did you get into the comic book business?
J: I started off as what is commonly referred to as a trade slave. I basically helped out around the store counting and sorting the weekly books and filling the bins in exchange for comics.
So, you've worked in the business from an early age?
Sort of. I took over the store I used to work in so it was the same store that just changed ownership. Same store and a lot of the same clientele that I grew up with.
And you just run the place yourself?
I have someone who helps me on Wednesdays and another guy for holidays, but mostly it's just me.
Is there anything you specialize in here at Comic Factory?
Mostly just new comics, tradebacks, back issues... some toys, some statues and busts, but I'm mainly just a comic book store that has toys as opposed to a toy store that has comics.
Have comics been a passion of yours since you were a kid?
Yeah, I've been reading comics since I can remember, starting off with Richie Rich and Hot Stuff and Archie and whatever was in stacks at my grandparents house, and whatever I could find, whether it was Heavy Metal magazine or old Westerns or Katy Keene or, uh... the Sunday funnies.
Do you have a favourite comic or hero?
My favourite comic is probably The Invaders, the WWII team, although the comic itself came out mostly in the 70s...
That's, like, Captain America...
Yeah, Captain America, the Human Torch -- the android one, not the Fantastic Four one -- Toro, his sidekick, Bucky, Namor, the Submariner...that was the main group, then they added, like, Union Jack and Whizzer and Miss America...
And why is that your favourite?
Honestly, I have no idea, because I don't have an affinity toward WWII movies or anything, but it's something I remember reading in the stacks that I had and it was the first comic I tried to collect and fill the holes in and it's still one of my favourites.
What is your most prized possession here?
Um, well, most of my clientele have more of a "fill the hole" need as opposed to the more expensive, high-end stuff. [*looks around*] Oh, I actually don't have it anymore... I used to have an old copy of Uncle Scrooge that was worth maybe 150 bucks. Mostly it's just kind of lower-grade stuff for the people who want to read it as opposed to collect it.
What about, like, sentimental value?
I have a pretty beat up copy of The Avengers #4, which is the return of Captain America... while it's only maybe 50 bucks in the shape that it's in, for what it is and the fact that I have it, it's something that I really like.
After the interview, Jarett gave me his blessing to put up a little promotional material on the wall near the door:
And I will leave the last word with my friend Eamon, who frequents Comic Factory IV:
"There are many different comic/collectable stores in winnipeg. Each of them have their goods and bads. That being said, Comic Factory is where I choose to go and give my business to. The great deals, pleasent environment, central location and above all, the staff's willingness to help you find whatever it is your looking for to the best of their ability. I'd highly recommend to anyone whose just getting into comics or been a longtime fan."
Oh, Eamon... He talks like he's in a commercial all the time!