In 1998, the public’s idea of comic book movies were the horrid Batman films by Joel Schumacher, their idea of superhero TV shows was Saturday morning cartoons, and the comic book industry itself nearly went bust after a sales bubble in the early 90s. (Think the Dot-com crash or the 2008 subprime mortgage implosion, but with comics.) It was in that year, a classics graduate from the University of Guelph decided to go into business selling comics, and despite the odds, Jennifer Haines turned her shop into a made-in-Guelph success story.
On the occasion of the big screen release of the comic book-based Captain America: Civil War, and the annual Free Comic Book Day giveaway, the Guelph Politicast this week ventured down to the Dragon in the Old Quebec Street Mall to talk to Jennifer about nearly two decades being the Mother of the Dragon. (Yes, that’s a Game of Thrones reference.) If you don’t think Free Comic Book Day isn’t huge think again, last year the line at the Dragon started at 7:30 am. And you thought the only thing to line-up in Guelph that early on a Saturday for was Hillside passes.
But like the books it sells, the Dragon also has a great story with 18 years of proving itself a unique and engaging destination for all those interested in comics, gaming, toys, and nerd culture. The secret to the Dragon’s success, as you’ll hear, is to take everything you think you know about a comic book store and turning it on its head by making it bright, and open, and inviting to the world’s biggest nerds, the novice nerds, and all people in between. In our conversation, Jennifer talks about how she learned to become a business whiz on the job, why digital won’t kill the printed the comic book, and why female nerds, like her, still have to fight to get respect from male colleagues.
Whether your standing in line of Captain America, or standing in line for Free Comic Book Day, this Guelph Politicast is dedicated to the nerds! Check out this week’s episode below.
To learn more about Free Comic Book Day you can click here, you can visit The Dragon itself online by clicking here, and as mentioned, comic book legend Denny O’Neal will be at the Dragon on May 21. You can find the Facebok event here.
The theme music for Guelph Politicast is provided by Crazy Pills and their song “Break It Down” courtesy of Free Music Archive.
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