Cape & Cowl Comics & Collectibles is a Canadian comic book shop based in Sackville, Nova Scotia. Owned by proprietor Jay Aaron Roy, the shop serves a twofold purpose of both selling items and providing a safe community space for at-risk, LGBTQ+ and disabled youth.[1] While the shop sells a wide variety of independently produced items by local artists and authors, most of its revenue comes from the selling of mass-produced commercial items, such as Funko Pop vinyl figurines, comic books, video game cartridges and Disney Infinity toys. The business was started in 2014.[2]

Cape & Cowl Comics & Collectibles
Typecomic book shop
Founded2014; 9 years ago (2014)
Key people
Jay Aaron Roy (proprietor)
Websitecapeandcowlcomics.ca

HistoryEdit

Cape & Cowl was started in 2014 by proprietor Jay Aaron Roy, a Dalhousie University alumni with a degree as a playwright and stage-directing graduate.[3] Roy, who is openly transgender, framed the shop around a foundation of being a queer-owned space in Sackville.[4][5] Sackville, a small suburban arm of the Halifax Regional Municipality and widely considered to be a small town, had very few bookstores and no comic book shops prior to the opening of Cape & Cowl, although the city of Halifax had several comic book shops, including chain competitor Strange Adventures Comics. Cape & Cowl originally opened in a corner of a strip mall on Sackville Drive, and was since moved and situated in the Sackville Commercial Centre in 2019, having since become the main anchor business in this plaza since the closure of Ripster's (a year-round Halloween store business that sold mostly commercial party items).[6]

Structure and inventoryEdit

Cape & Cowl is a physical business, situated within a large L-shaped plaza in the centre of Sackville, while retaining an online website with a limited list of its available stock, as well.[7] The physical location is known for its youth safe space located in the public storefront, which features sofas, a television set, video games, books, and resources for youth and community members seeking help and support.

The shop's inventory consists largely of commercial mass-produced products, although it also sells self-published and vanity press books, independent zines, independent art, locally-made toys, jewellery, pinback buttons, patriotic flags, hair accessories and other locally produced things. Cape & Cowl also specializes in pride-based content, including pinback buttons, flags, queer and gay literature, asexuality awareness material, trans awareness material, education pamphlets and pride parade t-shirts. The shop also has a large amount of items categorized as "vintage", mainly VHS tapes, fantasy genre fiction and Beanie Babies.

Cultural impactEdit

Cape & Cowl had initially been regarded as an independent comic book shop business with little community or public notability. Since its original opening, the shop has become regarded as a community support space in Sackville, well-known for its various projects and undertakings. Jay Aaron Roy works with Autism Nova Scotia to keep his shop sensory friendly and provide resources for autistic patrons, having focused on more independent autism resources rather than resources from international autism research organizations like Autism Speaks. This includes hosted events such as storytelling sessions and Dungeons & Dragons clubs.[8][9] The shop's LGBTQ+ drop-in centre and safe space is known in the community for its interventions and resources, and was inspired, according to Roy in a CTV News interview, by the realization that his childhood upbringing included bullying from peers with his own mother's small business serving as a safe place for him. Additionally, Roy's decision to sell self-published books has allowed a number of authors to be discovered, most notably in the case of Chelee Cromwell's Newbia book series.[10] Cape & Cowl has been endorsed by a number of notable public figures, including Elliot Page, who had come out as transgender in 2020 and was in turn invited to visit the comic book shop.[11] Other local public figures who have endorsed and publicly supported Cape & Cowl include DisabilityX organizer Paul Vienneau, author and critic Rebecca Maye Holiday, and comic book artist Darwyn Cooke.[12]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Moore, Nick (27 November 2019). "'We're just people too': N.S. comic book shop offers safe space for customers in need". atlantic.ctvnews.ca. CTV News. Retrieved 3 May 2022.
  2. ^ "About". capeandcowlcomics.ca. Cape & Cowl Comics & Collectibles.
  3. ^ "About". capeandcowlcomics.ca. Cape & Cowl Comics & Collectibles.
  4. ^ Smith, Emma. "Sign celebrates 'trans-owned business' in Lower Sackville". www.cbc.ca. CBC News. Retrieved 3 May 2022.
  5. ^ Dyson, Janet. "A safe space for heroes of all stripes "Backstage" at Cape & Cowl Comics with alum Jay Aaron Roy". www.dal.ca. Dalhousie University. Retrieved 3 May 2022.
  6. ^ Walton, Victoria. "Cape and Cowl creates a space for queer, nerdy youth to flourish". www.thecoast.ca. The Coast. Retrieved 3 May 2022.
  7. ^ "Online Shop". capeandcowlcomics.ca. Cape & Cowl Comics & Collectibles. Retrieved 3 May 2022.
  8. ^ Burke, David. "How slaying dragons and rolling dice can help people with autism". www.cbc.ca. CBC News. Retrieved 3 May 2022.
  9. ^ Grant, Taryn (20 January 2019). "How a Halifax storytelling event will put deaf and disabled people at centre stage". www.thestar.com. Toronto Star. Retrieved 3 May 2022.
  10. ^ Moore, Nick (27 November 2019). "'We're just people too': N.S. comic book shop offers safe space for customers in need". atlantic.ctvnews.ca. CTV News. Retrieved 3 May 2022.
  11. ^ Petracek, Heidi; Jerret, Andrea (3 December 2020). "'I was so proud': Maritime trans community shows support for Elliot Page". atlantic.ctvnews.ca. CTV News. Retrieved 3 May 2022.
  12. ^ Blackburn, Lisa. "Comic book artist Darwyn Cooke enters palliative care". www.cbc.ca. CBC News. Retrieved 3 May 2022.