Kamilah Mirza / The Mainstream
Brett White owns the local Heroes Haven, a store he started at 15 years old.

Heroes Haven: How a love for comics became a tool for higher education

In a time before Facebook, cellphones and even graphic novels, there were comic books. The pages of superheroes versus villains captivated the hearts of young people, filling many boxes beneath beds and hitting the wallets of many groaning parents.

That comic book craze had become more than a hobby for Roseburg business owner Brett White. As much as he loved his comics about universal monster films, G.I. Joe and Weird War Tales featuring the Nazi killing creature commandos, White knew he needed a way to pay for college. On May 1, 1987, 15- year- old White and his parents joined forces and opened the local comic book shop, “Heroes Haven.”

Family Run Business

“Everything we have in my family has been done through team effort,” White says. His parents met at Oregon State University and moved to Roseburg because of a job offer at a local mill. When the White children started to grow older, there needed to be a source to pay for higher education.

White brought the idea to his parents, and they were supportive. “We traveled around, talking to all the different shops in the state. My dad compared all the costs, and he even came up with the name for Heroes Haven,” WHite says. It wasn’t always an easy path for the family.  “We were wrong on some things, but we’ve made more wise decisions than mistakes, that’s why I’m still here.”

Kamilah Mirza / The Mainstream
Wall of comic books at Heroes Haven.

“My biggest secret weapon is my mom. Twenty years ago there was internet chatter about comic books being unfriendly to women.My store has never been unfriendly towards women, and that’s because of her presence,” White says. “Our Christmas displays look like Macy’s sometimes because my mom has that sense of class. She really does good.” 

White also attended OSU he was coming down on the weekends and holidays to run the shop. White completed his schooling and has been running Hero’s Haven full time since.

A Progressive Business

White has no plans for retirement soon, and the shop is still running strong after 32 years.  As the years progressed, the shop has moved from four different locations. The items at the shop have also expanded.

Shopeers can find anything from Harley Quinn t-shirts, rare comics such as the $516 issue of Jughead, the card game Magic The Gathering, the figurine character building game Warhammer, to board games such as Settlers of Catan and Ticket To Ride.

Local Comic Book Shop Day

Heroes Haven will be participating in a ComicsPro sponsored event, “Local Comic Shop Day,” on November 23. The event will be at the shop, featuring specialty items such as Invader Zim, The Walking Dead, a holiday special edition of Dr. Who and much more.

Heroes Haven can be located at 635 SE Jackson St., Roseburg, OR. Call (541) 673-5004 and you can also find Heroes Haven on Facebook for shop updates and events.

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