As it heads into its second year of operation in Philadelphia, Amalgam Comics and Coffee House is thriving. Following the self-described “whirlwind” of getting the shop up and running in their first year and being on a variant cover of Invincible Iron Man, Amalgam’s owner, Ariell Johnson, is planning out the next year to include more events, like the Galentine’s Day pop-up shop that took place yesterday.
“Well, [the shops] reached out to us, they were looking for a space…and you know its really in line with what we’re all about, supporting women businesses, and just women in general…” Johnson explains. “All of that is just kinda our mission of quality and representation. So it was definitely something that we wanted to do, when we were approached, it was like ‘oh definitely’”
The store that reached out was Radical Hearts Print Lab, which focuses on work related to feminism, intersectional feminism, and social justice. Loretta Gary, the Artist/Graphic Designer behind Radical Hearts, explains, “So when I was looking for a spot to host this Galentine’s Day event, it was a no brainer to come to Amalgam because its such a unique space, physically, and also community wise, it brings people together from all over around comic books but also around coffee, and chilling.”
Galentine’s day is a fake holiday created by Leslie Knope, the main character on the NBC sitcom Parks and Recreation, which is celebrated the day before Valentines Day. As Gary explains, “Galentine’s day is a day to celebrate the women in our lives, to celebrate girlfriends, sisterhood, all the beauty. You know, Valentines Day is that mushy, gross overly commercialized romantic day, but there is so much more to love and supporting each other than what Valentine’s Day represents.”
According to The Beat, in 2014, almost half of comic fans are women, and in this period, where women are justifiably marching, woman could use a day to celebrate each other, and as Gary explains, “I guess my work, I started it almost to years ago now, but it seems more relevant now than ever to build a sense…that we have power individually and we’re also stronger together and that’s what I want my work to communicate to people that enjoy it.”
To check out Amalgam comics and coffee house, go to their Facebook page here.
To check out Radical Hearts Print Lab, go to their instagram page here.