First Black Female Comic Book Store Owner Lands Marvel Cover

As an African American woman, I can say 2016 has been our year and we’ve owned it. The first black woman to own an East coast comic store is now on the new cover of Marvel. After realizing her two passions (reading comic books and drinking coffee), Ariell Johnson joined them into one business: Amalgam Comics & Coffeshop, Inc. 33-year-old Johnson opened the doors to the Philadelphia inhabitants in December 2015, and now for the first time, Johnson is to be featured on the cover of Marvel. It was only a matter of time before Johnson was recognized for providing a safe place for comic geeks of color and women. According to Tha Celebritea, Johnson’s buzz reached colleague Randy Green who selected her to appear alongside Marvel superhero RiRi Williams on a variant cover of “Invincible Iron Man #1!”

“When the email went out about potential variants for stores, he was really excited and took it upon himself to work out the [details]. It was really his hard work,” Johnson told ABC News. “I knew what it was supposed to look like, but having the actual art in front of you is so much different. It’s really exciting.”

Johnson’s store promotes diversity and inclusion in geek culture. Not only does Johnson share a cover with black female superhero, she also assists as a real-life superhero for young people of color interested in comics, gaming, and all things geek culture.

The variant cover will go on sale in November, sold exclusively at Amalgam Comics & Coffeehouse.