Studio 9 Bandes Dessinées Closes Up Shop

by BK Munn

Apparently Not Pandemic-Related

Montreal institution Studio 9 Bandes Dessinées is closing. The store, located in Rosemont at 5835 St Hubert St, has been in business since 2004. I spoke to owner Marc Jetté by phone today, and he confirmed that his landlord is not renewing his lease and rather than look for a new location, he is taking early retirement (Jetté is 60) and moving to Trois-Rivières after 16 years serving the local comics community.

Jetté has a long history as a comics creator and scholar, starting with his stint as a letterer for Archie and Marvel translator Les Éditions Héritage, on through his days as a zine publisher, comics writer, and critic in the 1970s and 80s. His book Censure et bande dessinée américaine was published in 1997, and he has curated several travelling gallery shows about Quebec and European French-language comics. After working for many years at the Millenium book shop, Jetté opened Studio 9 in 2004 and it soon became a showcase for local and independent comics and zines, and something of a comics community hub, with booklaunches, art shows, and other events. Jetté has been an important critical voice and a mentor to younger cartoonists. His store was nominated for a Shuster Award in 2012 for Best Comic Shop.

Jetté says he has always kept a “low profile”, with zero web-presence and no social media, but the store has nevertheless collected a loyal clientele and many local artists have sung its praises. Although the final date has not been officially announced, the store’s closing will leave a hole in the scene.

Writing on Facebook, cartoonist Howard Chackowicz said, “Marc Jetté (proprietor) is a great artist, a real gentleman and an important part of the comics community. I loved Studio 9, it is/was a top-shelf comics store in every way; the finest of everything/all genres, for all tastes. A small gem of a shop. 
And it was always a treat to chat with Marc, always so kind and so supportive of local comic artists. Thanks Marc and Studio 9, you will be very missed.”

Marc Tessier wrote, “Marc has been an amazing supporter of the local scene for more than 20 years! He was the first to have a local artist section. He also wrote about comics too (he’s in the BDQ collection by Conundrum). Marc Jetté gave me and Alexandre Lafleur our first thoughful review. People like Marc are hard to replace. I wish him all the best.”