I’ve talked about the elderly badger who runs the local repair shop. That man is none other than Jack Jakes. He was first introduced in the fourth episode “Don’t Answer Me” (which should soon be available through Indy Planet). You’ve probably seen my pencil drawings of him in my sample pencils of episode 4. Now how about we meet Mr. Jakes in person?
Jack Jakes has lived all his life in the cozy hamlet of Sunnyville. As far back as many of the town’s parents can remember, he’s been fixing their appliances.
Mr. Jakes was born to a local engineer and his wife. Naturally, it was expected that he was going to follow in his father’s footsteps and become an engineer too. After all, Mr. Jakes was very handy with tools and his father taught him everything he knew about building things. That promptly changed when Mr. Jakes turned 13. A brand new repair shop opened up in town and it was run by an elderly fox freshly arrived from Germany. This fox, Hans, took an instant liking to the young Jack Jakes and saw potential in him. From there on, Mr. Jakes spent many days with Hans, working as an apprentice in his shop and learning everything about repairing appliances.
Some in town however thought of Hans as a weirdo and wouldn’t associate with him. Mr. Jakes’ parents were alarmed as well. Besides disliking Hans, they had wanted to their son to become an engineer. When Mr. Jakes announced that Hans was retiring and would have him as the town’s next repairman, his parents flipped out. Things got worse when Mr. Jakes announced his plans to marry his high school sweetheart, Betty. The Jakes family looked down on Betty because she was of a low social class. This led to his parents disowning Mr. Jakes. They went to their deaths never again speaking to their son.
On his own now, Mr. Jakes decided to start a new life. He married Betty soon after and the two of them moved into the local repair shop. From there on, Mr. Jakes spent many years fixing appliances for the townspeople. He fixed everything from toasters and coffee makers to televisions and radios. Mr. Jakes was quite well respected by the townspeople, not just for his talents, but for his friendliness.
He and Betty deeply loved each other. For reasons not known, they never had any children. But Mr. Jakes’ younger brother did have a single son – Roger Jakes. He frequently visited his uncle’s repair shop and even helped him out when he could. As the years went by, Mr. Jakes grew old but happy. He got along with everyone, he was respected, and he considered having his nephew Roger take over the repair shop.
Alas, life throws us curveballs and Mr. Jakes found his life going downhill. After years of a loving marriage, he became a widower. His Betty died almost instantly of a heart attack. Alone, something changed inside Mr. Jakes. The only family he had now was his nephew, Roger. His own parents were dead, his Betty was gone, and his younger brother (in fact, both of Roger’s parents) died tragically. But things got worse.
Roger Jakes liked newer technology like computers and such. (I plan to discuss this more in the future when Roger gets his own blog post.) Mr. Jakes, on the other hand, liked to do things the old-fashioned way. He was quite comfortable with traditional tools and traditional methods of working. Understandably, he didn’t trust computers and newer electronic devices. This attitude isn’t uncommon; the elderly tend to be quite distrustful of newer technology. (It’s even worse with many of Sunnyville’s mothers; a lot of them are real technophobes…but that’s another story.)
Arguments broke out daily between Mr. Jakes and Roger. Each one insisted that the work should be done their own way. This generational rift made things worse and eventually, the two went their separate ways. Mr. Jakes spends his time alone in his shop, fixing things. By the start of episode 4, things have gotten really bad. To find out what happens though, you’ll have to read the comic.
The primary inspiration for Mr. Jakes was the character of Doc from the 1980s Jim Henson production, Fraggle Rock. Yes, I was one of the kids who was lucky enough to have cable back in the 1980s. Besides having access to Nickelodeon (which aired “Maple Town”, the anime that inspired Sunnyville), I also got HBO and thus Fraggle Rock.
Well, that’s all for this week. Stay tuned for more blog posts soon. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to post them here.