Kitchener man has big plans to inspire future comic book collectors

A Kitchener man has turned his passion for comics, and inspiring young children, into a new business.

“I fell in love with comics when I was a kid,” says Max Chouinard. “I grew up watching Batman: The Animated Series and Spider-Man: The Animated Series.”

While in university, Chouinard’s love for comics turned from a hobby into a side hustle, after he took a job at Big B Comics in Hamilton.

That’s where he was introduced to the idea of using comic books and graphic novels as a teaching tool.

“It’s called ‘Comics for Grads’,” says Dylan Routledge, the manager of Big B Comics. “The way it works is kids bring their report cards to our store… and we give them free comics.”

That was one of the things that inspired Chouinard to open his own online store called Shoebox Comics in June.

Not only could he use it to connect to the wider comic book community, but also inspire young kids to read.

“It’s something that I really want to help contribute, and take part in, in the Kitchener area,” says Chouinard. “I’m online only now, but I’ll find a way to give comics to kids for good grades.”

Social media has helped bring more attention to the vast and varied comic book world.

“There’s this whole subculture for manga and comics that is now driving these younger people who are on TikTok. [They] want to read these stories and be part of this.”

Chouinard says his store also caters tor lifelong comic book enthusiasts.

“During the pandemic I think a lot of people have realized that their childhood nostalgia has hit them pretty hard. The collectible market has exploded.”

Chouinard says he’ll be a part of Free Comic Book Day at the Kitchener Farmers’ Market on August 14.