Listen to Cape & Cowl Comics & Collectibles owner Jay Aaron Roy talk about his Sackville Drive business and you’ll feel nothing short of inspired.
The former Strange Adventures employee saw an opportunity when his employer had to lay him off due to their recent move—the chance to open his own comic book store. For Roy, it just made sense.
“I had worked at Strange for about five years, and I was part of the geek community as a co-founder of Geeks versus Nerds,” says Roy. “My own passion for promoting literacy and reaching out to youth really contributed to it, too.”
Cape & Cowl opened on Sackville Drive a year ago. The store features standard comic book store fare like comics and graphic novels (obviously), board games and collectibles, plus consignment items like local artwork. But it will also serve as a community hub.
“In the new year I’m going to offer a literacy program,” says Roy. “I think that kids often don’t get the attention they need to really learn some things, especially reading. I think if I can offer a few classes a week, I can really boost literacy in the community.”
Youth outreach is a big part of Cape & Cowl’s mission. A transgender man, Roy was just starting to transition when he was working at Strange Adventures. The unexpected break in employment and the help of a local organization called The Youth Project gave him the space and support he needed to explore gender identity. Now, he hopes to pass on some of that support.
“Some of The Youth Project youth want to volunteer their time at the store, and I’d love to offer that to them,” says Roy. “This is a place where they can get work experience and where they’ll know they’ll be respected, have a safe place to work, and that someone understands their identity.”