“There are a lot of black girl geeks in the world but we are not at the forefront. This store is also kind of a statement – we’re here, we’ve been here and we’re going to keep being here. I get a lot of little girls saying, ‘This is so cool. You have a great book collection,’ so, it’s exciting to see.”
Meet Ariell Johnson. Since the grand opening of her comic book store, Amalgam Comics and Coffeehouse, in 2015, she is known as the first black woman to own and operate a comic book store. The 33 year old had the idea to own a comic book store back in 2003.
Ariell Johnson has been a fan of “all things geek, supernatural, and superhero” all her life. She found inspiration in the X-Men’s Storm. “The first character that really got me excited about comics was Storm of the X-Men. A lot of that had to do with the fact that she was the first black woman I had ever seen [in comics],” says Johnson.
Amalgam is in Philadelphia and it’s a place where all comic book lovers gather and share their love for these characters. “I want to be very proactive and conscious to make sure we are carrying diverse titles. The smaller stuff, the independent stuff, the more diverse stuff that you really have to look for and I think it’s worth it. Seeing people representative of you can be important in your development and your self esteem,” says Johnson.
So you can find the usual titles of X-Men, Spider-man, Batman and Superman. And at the same time, you’ll find titles from characters you might’ve never heard of.
Check out this video from Next America:
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