KITCHENER – A man from Kitchener turned his passion for comics and inspiring young children into a new venture.

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

While in college, Chouinard’s love for comics shifted from a hobby to a side activity, after taking a job with Big B Comics in Hamilton.

It was there that he came up with the idea of ​​using comics and graphic novels as an educational tool.

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

This is 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 with the larger comic book community, but also inspire young children to read.

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

Social media has helped bring more attention to the vast and diverse world of comics.

“There is this whole subculture for manga and comics that is now animating these young people who are on TikTok. [They] want to read these stories and be a part of them.

Chouinard says his store caters to longtime comic book enthusiasts as well.

“During the pandemic, I think a lot of people realized that their childhood nostalgia had hit them hard. The collectibles market has exploded.

Chouinard says he will be attending Free Comic Book Day at the Kitchener Farmers’ Market on August 14.