Two Cochrane brothers are striving to turn their lifelong love of comic books into a full time career by raising funds to open the community’s first storefront comic shop.
Twenty-six-year-old Tyler and 28-year-old Devin Petitclerc struggled each week as kids to catch a ride into Calgary to buy the latest issue of their favourites, petitioning cousins to buy extra copies on the weeks they couldn’t make it in.
Writing and illustrating their own amateur comics for the past 10 years, the brothers finally realized they wanted to create a space in Cochrane to open the medium up to the community’s youth in a way they never had.
“There’s not enough talent bringing new ideas to the table when it comes to comics,” Tyler said. “I’d very much love if I got kids into that and made them appreciate comics as an artistic form.”
Growing up in Cochrane, Devin said a lot of the other kids their age didn’t immerse themselves in comic book culture like they did.
When they spent time with their cousins in Calgary, he said they would talk comic books all day.
Coming back to Cochrane, however, the two would get weird looks from the other kids who had no clue what they were talking about when discussing the latest story arc of a particular comic.
“Me and my brother were the only ones into that here,” Devin said. “It was kind of frustrating, but it made us a little unique in our own way.”
With comics achieving mainstream popularity through massive box office hits from Marvel and high-rated television series such as The Walking Dead, Petitclerc said people in Cochrane deserve a place of their own to embrace and grow that culture locally.
The dream is also larger than a storefront, he said, with the hopes of offering an arcade, hobby shop, cards and a place for gaming.
“The kids in this town don’t have a lot of anything to do anywhere,” he said. “I want to offer a place where kids can come to just hang out and get away from bad influences.”
Tyler said there is also a hope to build a studio where he and his brother can continue to create their own comic books.
Currently, he said he dedicates about four to eight hours a day into developing, writing and drawing comics under his publishing name, Rebel Comics.
“It’s like a job for me,” Petitclerc said. “Making nothing off it right now, but it will be worth it for sure.”
Though they know their dream is still a few years off as they learn more about the business side of owning a comic shop and raising funds, Devin said he believes the pair are determined enough to see the project to fruition.
“It just feels like the right thing for us to do,” he said. “It’s something we’ve meant to do our entire lives and it’s kind of sad we’ve waited so long to get it started, but I think we’re going to get there no matter what.”
Young families who will grow with the community are becoming more prominent in Cochrane, Devin said.
Comics, he said, are growing in a similar way as the popularity explodes among adolescents.
“I think it will be a huge success,” he said. “We’re really looking forward to seeing where it goes because comic books are just becoming more and more popular everyday.”
To sample some of Petitclerc’s work as a comic book creator, visit rebelcomics.ca. To donate to their efforts of bringing a comic book shop to Cochrane, visit gofundme.com/Comicsincochrane