The Comic Shop that Helped Inspire a Book Store

Posted by December 17, 2017 Comment

The Temple News, the weekly newspaper of the Temple University community in Delaware Valley, Philadelphia, has run a feature on a new bookstore opening in Germantown. And, in part, it found inspiration in its fruition from the success and prominence of Amalgam Comics and Coffeehouse.

Uncle Bobbie’s Coffee and Books, owned and run by author, activist, and CNN commentator Marc Lamont Hill, was a dream of his when a location opened up near where he lived. And it was named after his veteran uncle Bobbie Lee Hill, whom he credits with exposing him to black literature and critical thinking. Hill is the first Steve Charles Chair in Media, Cities and Solutions in the Klein College of Media and Communication.

And when planning the operation, he visited Ariell Johnson, owner and operator of Amalgam Comics, notably the first black female comic book store owner on the East Coast. Johnson had spoken with other comic stores before opening her store two years ago and was happy to pass insight and knowledge on. Hill describes her as “a genius and visionary,” and said that she gave him great advice on how to navigate the process, as well as emphasising the importance of black business ownership.

As one of the few black-owned bookstores in Pennsylvania, he stocks common genres such as Humor, Personal Growth and Young Adult Fiction, but also Repression/Resistance, African-centered, and Queer Studies, less prominent in his more mainstream rivals.

But it’s a heady example of how comic books and the power of brick-and-mortar comic book stores can affect people in ways that far outstrip the medium itself.

Bleeding Cool is happy to celebrate new comic stores opening, as well as marking when comic stores close. Do let us know when there are new comic book stores opening in your community — email richjohnston@gmail.com.

(Last Updated December 17, 2017 3:45 pm )