Romford man fulfils life-long dream of opening Marvel-lous comic book store in Upminster
PUBLISHED: 07:00 29 August 2018 | UPDATED: 09:26 30 August 2018
In the 1970s, during the early hype of some of the world's best superheroes such as Spiderman, The Hulk and Captain America, a 10-year-old boy confessed to his mum that it was his dream to one day open his very own comic book store.
Fast forward to 2018 and down the alleyway, in Station Road, opposite Upminster station, lies a treasure trove filled with both new and vintage comic books, collectibles, action figures and toys for lifelong fans and children alike to enjoy.
This shop, Comic Book Heroes, belongs to that little boy, now 51, from Romford.
Owner Jason Rutland’s dream materialised just a couple of weeks ago when he first opened the doors to his new store.
“The support I’ve had from my friends and family and from the community so far has been unbelievable”, he said.
“At first, I wasn’t sure if people were going to take to something like this but whenever people come into the shop, they’re so happy that it’s here and look forward to coming back.
“It really is a dream come true, I love coming to work everyday but because it is what I’m passionate about, it doesn’t actually feel like a job!”
From the age of eight, Jason couldn’t stop watching actor Adam West’s version of Batman and when he turned 10, the ever growing obsession with Marvel comics kicked in.
From that moment on, he continued to collect thousands of comics, action figures and other memorabilia which was kept in a storage unit.
But 11 years ago, to both his and his son’s horror, who is now 24, the garage was broken into and all of his precious belongings that he had spent decades collecting, had been stolen.
He said: “I was absolutely devastated, I couldn’t believe what happened.
“I just didn’t want to collect anymore after that.
“I could have started to build up my collection again straight away but each one had a memory with it, so it wasn’t just about the actual comic book or action figure, it was the memories that came with them and they were just taken like that.”
A few years ago though, after joining a Facebook page dedicated to fellow comic book lovers, he decided to once again start his collection.
Throughout this time, Jason, who says his chosen super power would be the ability to fly, worked as a market trader for 15 years selling videos and DVDs before he then went on to become a delivery driver.
An injury to his foot did lead him to leave his position but it also spurred the father-of-two on to start working on setting up the shop.
Now he spends his days helping children pick out what toys they would like and discussing the in’s and out’s of superheroes with other comic book fans.
“I think I’m 90pc Marvel and 10pc DC.
“One of my favourite characters is called Shang-Chi, Bruce Lee was massive during the 70s and I loved kung fu movies and he was basically based on him.
“My absolute favourite though has got to be Spiderman, why wouldn’t you love the one and only friendly neighbourhood spider.”
Jason says this is only the beginning for Comic Book Heroes as he looks forward to growing the business for his customers and making it the best it can be for the future.
He said: “I didn’t want to get to my 70s and regret anything and wish that I did the stuff I dreamt of but never ended up doing.
“You should always at least try - what’s the worst that could happen?
“You will only regret it if you don’t.
“I know I would of if I never opened the shop but I’m really happy that I took the chance.”
For any more information about the store, visit the comicbookheroes.co.uk Facebook page and Instagram.