Monday, June 12, 2017

North America's 1st Indigenous Comic Shop Opens In NM

Native Realities, the Albuquerque-based company behind the nation’s only Indigenous Comic Con, is  also opening a storefront in downtown Albuquerque, New Mexico later this week. It's called Red Planet Books & Comics and it will be the first indigenous focused and owned comic shop in North America. The store will feature comics, toys, games, children’s books and pop art from Native and indigenous artists, as well as new and used books by indigenous writers from around the world. 
While Red Planet Books & Comics isn't the only store in North America to focus on carrying Indigenous works in a book store (there's Birchbark Books in Minneapolis, Resistencia Books in Austin, Texas and Strong Nations in Nanaimo, Canada)  Red Planet is the only comic shop and will focus on not just books but Indigenous works from all of pop culture.
Here's what a recent profile on Francis and the plans for Red Planet has to say:
“What we're trying to create is a community-based space,” Francis explained, after pointing out that Native Realities requires a physical office location, so why not make that space all the more inclusive by inviting in the community that the small press serves? “It's not just the selling of objects, it's [the invitation] to come on down and play games all afternoon. To just come and nerd out, for Native folks to know there's a place like that. I say Native folks—and that is our focus—but really, anybody.” In a world where you can access literally any title you've been wanting to pick up online, it is essential that bookstores facilitate those kinds of connections—to be a rallying point for people who have a strong cross section of interests that pull them there. Red Planet will pull in people with many identities—comic nerds to Magic the Gathering nerds to bookworms and “Indiginerds” of all stripes, as Francis endearingly refers to himself and others.
“Albuquerque has one of the largest populations of Native folks, and having a specialized storefront adds to the cultural value this population brings to the city,” Lee Francis, owner and CEO of Native Realities, said in a news release. “We want to highlight the amazing work that Native and indigenous folks are doing in and around pop culture.” Lee Francis is from Laguna Pueblo and grew up in New Mexico, is the editor in chief of the Moccasin Telegraph

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