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