Ever since he was a kid Jeff LaJaunie has loved comics, disappearing into the tales of G.I. Joe or the adventures from the Star Wars galaxy. In the 90s though this casual enjoyment would turn into something bigger, and Jeff would discover a whole world of noir, superheroes, space fighters, crime fighter, or anything else you could imagine from inside the pages of comic books.
It was never supposed to be something more than just a hobby, a way to escape the everyday trials of life. Teaming up with an up and coming comic company, however, Jeff would enter the world of comic production.
“There’s an inside joke that an inker is nothing more than a tracer… and it’s kind of true,” he said recalling some of the work he’d done on published books. As an inker Jeff would receive the images from the artists, which would have been done in pencil. It was his job to go over the pencil with ink, and fill in the gaps that needed to be shaded before sending them off to the next stage of development.
It was part time work, but it offered him a chance to attend the many comic conventions as a creator and gave him a resume in the industry. While it may seem unlikely that a part time inker could build himself to a regular among some of comics writers and artists, Jeff did just that befriending a variety of names in the industry.
The inking has been left behind, “it’s just too time consuming and I have a family now,” said Jeff. Instead he runs one of Lafayette’s comic shops, affectionately called Uncle Jeff by many of the shops regulars.
“This is a safe place for kids, a place where none of them will get judged.”
Along with the kids at the store Jeff has his own two sons, he’s only managed to pass on his love of comics to his youngest. Talking to him though you can’t help but get caught up in his affection for the medium. He’ll rattle off writers, artists, storylines and characters at a dizzying rate, leaving you ready to dig around and pick up the next issue