Ariell Johnson: First Black Woman To Own Comic Book Store

Ariell Johnson

In January, Ariell Johnson made history by becoming the first black woman owner of a comic book store. Well, she’s making moves again.

The 33-year old from Philadelphia owns and operates Amalgam Comics & Coffeehouse. She currently appears on a variant cover for the latest issue of Marvel’s “Invincible Iron Man #1.”

Johnson’s store promotes diversity and inclusion in geek culture, shares the cover with RiRi Williams, the teenage black girl genius who also just happens to be the new Iron Man.

Ariell JohnsonJohnson says, “When you are a person of color, you’re scraping the bottom of the barrel to find someone you can identify with.”

She also says, “I always felt like I was watching other people’s adventures.”

Her idea for the store came 12 years ago, while attending Temple University.  She loved the vibe of being in a coffee shop, along with being able to indulge her comic-book obsession in a comfortable environment that wasn’t her house.

Her goal is to provide a welcoming, comfortable space for fans and readers to enjoy their favorite comics.  Although Philadelphia has a strong tradition of quality comic book stores, Amalgam Comics & Coffeehouse is the first black woman-owned comic book store to open on the East Coast.

She’s a real-life superhero for young people of color having interest in comics, gaming, and all geek culture.  As the comic/nerd culture increases in popularity, black comic book writers and artists are increasing in numbers and making their own room.

Ariell Johnson stocks titles that showcase people of color and the LGBTQ community, right along with Superman, Batman, Thor and Captain America.

She wants to help make people aware of what’s out there and hopefully get people to expand their horizons. In addition, love comic books!

The variant cover is on sale now, sold exclusively at Amalgam Comics & Coffeehouse.

RELATED: Roxane Gay: First Black Woman To Write For Marvel


Archuleta Chisolm

Senior Writer

Archuleta is a brave soul without wings. She is a self-published author of three books, poet, freelancer, speaker, pen junkie, and U.S. Army veteran. She has a passion for encouraging women to be the best version of themselves. Made in Kansas City, Living in Houston.