So, what’s your story? Selling comics puts him at peace

Ava Rivera

(Photo by Ava Rivera)

By: Ava Rivera, Contributing Writer

 

Joe Peace has been a Conan and early Amazing Spider-Man fan since he was a kid.

Now, Peace puts on a two-day comic convention that invites UNF students to explore more than 140,000 comic books in the Student Union.

Although Peace does not read comics much anymore, he said he started selling comic books in the ‘70s and loves putting collections together.

“I just buy and sell, and I sell real cheap, so everyone can still buy,” he said. “The sets make it unique, you can buy singles or sets. We have over a thousand sets in here.”

Stephan Skora, a UNF jazz studies freshman, visited the convention for the first time at its most recent iteration March 7-8 in Ballroom A of the Student Union. Skora has been a fan of comics for about seven years.

“This is a great set up, and it’s bringing back all the original comics that everyone likes to read,” he said.

The convention has trade paperbacks, hardcovers and comics for 50 cents for those who may not want to spend a lot. Peace offers door prizes and a wheel that anyone can spin to win.

“It’s a way to have fun. You give them something sentimental, and it’s like you give them a million bucks,” Peace said.

He said the whole convention is about giving the customers a fun and positive time. If customers ask for a certain comic book, Peace makes sure to have it the next time he holds a convention.

Peace said about 30 to 40 customers visited after classes March 7. He said his customers even come from off campus to purchase comics from the ‘50s and ‘60s. One customer came from off campus to buy an Amazing Spider-Man box set and didn’t have to break the bank to do it.

“It makes you feel like it’s worthwhile,” Peace said.

In the past, the comic book convention was held in a meeting room of the Student Union, but now that Peace has set up in the ballrooms twice, he has had the best business.

“The last time was the first time I could honestly say I enjoyed the convention,” Peace said.

The downside, he said, is having to carry his products up to the third floor. His convention brings nearly 80 boxes that average 60 pounds apiece.

“When you’re my age, that gets to a lot of weight,” Peace said.

Setup for the comic book convention can take up to three and a half hours, Peace said, but he has his friend Chuck Burgess to help.

“I’ve known him a bunch of years, and this is my third convention,” Burgess said. “I enjoy the people. I grew up on comic books; that’s what got me into reading.”

Peace’s wife has also helped him set up in the past and helps bag the books. Peace said he spent two weeks before the convention preparing and shrink-wrapping books.

“It’s still tiresome, but you gotta have a hobby, and this is my hobby,” Peace said. “It’s not a big deal, but I wouldn’t do it either if the kids didn’t like it.”

Peace will have some time to rest before coming back to UNF for the next convention, which is planned for September.

Email Ava Rivera at [email protected]