A Kid, A Dream, A Comic Book Company

by Abby on September 23, 2013

My 7yo son, Miles, has always liked drawing and art. Over the past year or so, he’s developed an interest in comic books and graphic novels, in particular. He spends hours drawing comics and devouring Pokemon Adventures books, the Bone graphic novel series, and a Japanese series called Yotsuba&!.
boy drawing at his deskAt some point, he and a few of his friends at school decided to start a comic book company. They would draw their own comics and sell them to other kids. They met each day at recess to discuss the business, and there were staff hirings and firings. They came up with a name, a logo, registered a domain name, and even filmed a trailer.

boys at Geppi's Entertainment MuseumOver the summer, I took my boys on a pilgrimage to Geppi’s Entertainment Museum in Baltimore. It’s a cool little enclave of pop culture and comic-book history in the heart of downtown, should you ever find yourself in the area. I worried that a bunch of old comics behind glass might be boring to a 7yo, but he thought it was the coolest thing ever and declared the museum a mandatory field trip for all his comic book company employees. My 4yo, meanwhile, was awed by the life-sized Superman and Batman statues.

But I didn’t realize just how serious Miles was about all this until he and his partners started talking about building a company. And by company, they meant the actual building that would serve as the headquarters and store. Miles became obsessed with finding land and drawing up blueprints. I had to put my foot down when he begged me to take him to Lowe’s one day after school to buy building materials. It’s not that I don’t support his dreams, it’s just that I support him finishing his homework and getting to bed at a decent time more.

His dad and I tried to talk to him about overhead and maybe starting with an online store to keep costs down, but our advice fell on deaf ears. What do we know? Not like we’re seasoned media professionals or anything. (We are!) Miles had his heart set on a brick-and-mortar building. Oh, and by this time his vision had grown: he now wanted to have a restaurant attached the comic book store that only serves buffalo wings, his favorite food. He even sketched some designs himself – “blueprints” in black crayon on blue construction paper.

blueprints for Dragon Comics

As luck would have it, one of our neighbors happens to be an architect. Miles wasted no time hiring him to formally draw up the building plans. He paid in faux gold nuggets he got during a gold-panning expedition over summer vacation, BTW. Which is also how he and his partners retained the services of a copyright lawyer (a classmate’s mom). Talk about advancing confidently in the direction of your dreams!

Well, the architect came through with flying colors. Here are the initial design drawings for Dragon Comics and Dragon Wings:

architecture design drawings for comic book company

When I thought about how this guy took time out of his busy life to do this for a couple of kids, I got a little choked up, I’m not gonna lie. And also how my mom took her grandson to a print shop and a clothing store to buy him not one but 3 dragon T-shirts to publicize his company. And how his other grandmother and aunt sent him books on how to draw and publish your own comics. And when I think about how my son is chasing his dreams so diligently at such a young age, that chokes me up, too.

Because soon enough, the world will come at him to buckle down and get serious and get a “real job,” and before I know it he might be putting on a tie and printing out his resume to take to some soul-sucking job fair in a corporate office park somewhere. But damned if he doesn’t have a dream, a lawyer, business partners, and building plans from a real architect at 7 years old. You go, son! You inspire me.

FACT O’ THE DAY: The owner of Geppi’s Entertainment Museum, Steve Geppi, is also the publisher of Baltimore magazine, for which I wrote for years. I took some pride in pointing out to my kids that my byline is in one of the issues they have displayed at the museum. They were suitably impressed.

boys at Geppi's Entertainment Museum, 2

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{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Angie Mizzell September 23, 2013 at 6:21 am

Maybe when the world comes at him, he’ll be wise enough to say, “I have a real job. I’m the president of Dragon Comics. I started the company when I was 7. Here, would you like a comic book? It’s $20.” (Or whatever comic books cost).

Really, this story is amazing. I’m blown away by the business savvy. I believe some people are born with the entrepreneurial spirit. Riley seems to have two things going for him, a creative idea, and the understanding of how to make it real. Who knows what his future holds? I’m inspired, too. And I’m hungry for a dozen dragon wings (which is also genius, imo.)

This post feels like the blueprint for an essay. I love it.


Abby September 23, 2013 at 10:10 am

You know, he just might. He’s a kid who knows his own mind and seems to have no qualms (yet anyway) about following his heart, regardless of what other people think. BTW, *Miles* is going to be the comic book magnate. Riley is either going to be a rock star or a stand-up comedian. 🙂


Angie Mizzell September 23, 2013 at 12:07 pm

I can’t believe I did that. I know your kids. Sorry. 🙂 And yes, that’s probably true.


Angie Mizzell September 23, 2013 at 12:09 pm

I take that back. I know exactly how I did that. I never call my kids (or my husband) by the correct name anymore.


Abby September 23, 2013 at 1:12 pm

If it make you feel any better, I sometimes call them the wrong names, too. Or a hybrid, like Riles. 🙂

Steph September 23, 2013 at 2:11 pm

Help him fly, Mama! He just might be able to avoid that job fair. 🙂 We’ll come spend $ when the store opens.


Abby September 24, 2013 at 7:50 pm

Thanks, Steph! I will announce the Grand Opening here!


jetts31 September 26, 2013 at 11:09 pm

I had the same dream as a kid but had no forethought in to a store, I knew I just wanted to be writing or drawing (or both) comics. I still have the dream 30+ years later which is why I’m writing a Wonder Woman comic to submit.
Credit to your son for the blueprints too. Heck, I was just happy to have some paper to draw them on.
I think it is totally awesome and please let your son know that when he publishes his first issue, I would love to be able to buy one.

(FYI…every year there is a Baltimore Comic Con. Not really expensive to get in and your son would lose his mind there. Also, some essential reading for him, pick up Marvel Essentials. Black and white reprints of old comics. Good way for him to get introduced to classic artists and writers. My suggestion would be SpiderMan Essentials Vol. 1 and Avengers Essentials Vol. 1. Stan Lee, Steve Ditko, and Jack Kirby. Absolute masters in the genre)


Abby September 29, 2013 at 8:14 pm

I knew you’d have something to say about this post, Jimmy! I think it’s great you’re still drawing. I can attest to the fact that you have real comic talent! I hope Miles continues to enjoy the creative process, not just the dream of big profits. Thanks for the recommendations.

And I have seen the people who attend the Baltimore Comic Con. I’m not sure if I’m ready for that scene yet. 🙂


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