Run­ning a comic book store a great ca­per

DAILY GRIND Read­ing comics all day might not sound like a proper job to some people, but Jeremy Bishop tells re­porter Danielle Street why it’s the per­fect ca­reer for him.

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS -

Jeremy Bishop’s story be­gins much like any other.

He was a nor­mal kid grow­ing up in New Zealand in the 1970s, but he ex­pe­ri­enced life in far­away lands through the pages of comic books like As­terix and The Ad­ven­tures of Tintin.

‘‘The first one that re­ally ever got me into col­lect­ing was X-Fac­tor 35,’’ he re­calls.

‘‘It was in a big pile of comics my mum had got me when I was sick. I just started read­ing them and that one just made me go, ‘I have to know what hap­pens next’.’’ And so a comic col­lec­tor was born. For years, Mr Bishop was sur­rounded by books; he worked in pub­lic li­braries for many years and kept col­lect­ing as a hobby.

It was a sim­ple event 14 years ago that made him cross the line to be­come a full­time comic store guy.

‘‘I was the cus­tomer who hung out too much in the store and just got asked to look af­ter it one day,’’ he laughs. Since that fateful day, he has opened his own store, a mad­house called Arkham City Comics in Royal Oak Mall.

‘‘Over­all it’s fun. Be­ing my own boss is good in that I can do what­ever I want, when­ever I want. Ex­cept when I have to pay the taxes,’’ he says. ‘‘And I can le­git­i­mately say read­ing comics is my work. I’ll sit here all day and read comics.’’

Along with his part­ner in crime, artist Michel Mulipola, Mr Bishop has cre­ated a kind of vil­lage green for the comic book com­mu­nity.

‘‘We’ve got death metal drum­mers as cus­tomers, we’ve got lawyers and doc­tors. We’ve got A-lis­ter New Zealand celebri­ties and sports stars. Then we’ve got the stu­dents and the stay-at-home par­ents and con­struc­tion work­ers. Pretty much all the hu­mans who like comic books.’’

It’s a point of pride for Mr Bishop that cus­tomers from all walks of life feel wel­come to come in to the shop and dis­cover their own favourite flavour from the di­verse range of comics avail­able these days.

And he is al­ways more than happy to talk shop.

‘‘Within these four walls, if you are a mi­nor fan you are wel­come to be as nerdy or geeky as you want. And if you are a ma­jor fan, we’ll only tell you to shut up when we need to leave,’’ he says.

He ad­mits there are some down­sides to run­ning a store based on your favourite past-time.

‘‘There is too much stuff, I can’t read and col­lect it all,’’ he says.

Photo: DANIELLE STREET

Smash hit: Jeremy Bishop opened Arkham City Comics last April and it al­ready has a cast of ded­i­cated cus­tomers.

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