How did it all begin? He was a card carrying member!
We’re glad you asked! Join us as we retell, rethink and reimagine the story so far and how this all came to be.
Stewart Building. Walking out I hear a voice, “Hey, you work at Dragon Lady.”
But let’s go back a few months. At the comic shop I worked at on Queen street, I met a guy named Joseph Nanni. Later on I saw him again at the Ontario College of Art (OCA) portfolio review session. I think it was fate.
I remember seeing Chetan at the comic shop where he worked. I hadn’t met him at that point. Believe it or not I thought it was cool that he got to work at Dragon Lady. I worked at Bell Canada during those early years of college. But I would have given that up to do what he did. Which seemed to be mostly hanging around, talking about comics and drawing behind the register. Only in Canada, eh?
Joseph and I both had a love for comic books that others at the college did not. We loved all types of them, superheroes and all. We were not the snobbish art students who only liked the work of Chester Brown. I have nothing against Mr. Brown though. I did at one time own a few Yummy Furs.
It was in high school that I discovered comic books and the people who read them are not highly regarded in ‘normal’ society. I never spoke about them in public. So being able to talk and enjoy them with Joseph was great.
We became very good friends. We talked comics, horror movies and anything “geek”. But only around one another and other geeks. I was still afraid of the “comics are not real art” attitude. Yes, even a college like OCA had that thinking.
Along with Joseph, I met the likes of Adam Wajnblum, Jay Stephens, Alan Hunt and others who had the same love for the comic medium.
I have tremendous respect for Jay Stephens. I always felt that he was one of those artists that discovered their voices early and had the talent to do something with it. I didn’t know him well during school but I remember the first time I spoke to him. It was at Dragon Lady. I didn’t know who he was at that moment but he was checking out the new books like I was. I said something lame like, small press book publishers are so self-indulgent. He was of course a small-press publisher himself so my foot was firmly planted in my mouth. He was nice enough to keep talking to me though.
Fast forward to later that year. OCA first-year students had most of their classes at the Stewart Building on College Street. One day as I walking out of the building and I hear someone call out to me.
“Hey, you work at Dragon Lady?”, said Paul Marhue. Paul was outside having a smoke. I do not recall if he had his classic jean jacket on or not. I do not even remember specifically what we talked about. Alternative comics, self-publishing, etc. and other vague topics. He told me about how he and few others students were thinking of putting together a self-published comic book.