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Super #blackgirlgeekmagic: First black woman comic book owner graces cover of Marvel comic book

#RoyalWomenInspire Ariell Johnson has a love for all things Marvel and it’s a passion that has made her a successful Royal Woman.

The 33-year-old is the president and founder of Amalgam Comics & Coffeehouse, Inc. in Philadelphia, which makes her the first black female owner of a comic store on the East Coast. She opened the store last year. But if that isn’t a big enough accomplishment, Marvel is honoring Johnson by putting her on the cover of the upcoming comic book, “Invincible Iron Man #1.”  The move is all thanks to her colleague, Randy Green.


The Philly native will share the cover with the new Iron Woman, Riri Williams,  who is an intelligent, black, 15-year-old MIT teenager.

Johnson tells ABC News her love for comic books started around the age of 10 or 11, when she discovered the “X-Men” character, Storm, who is arguably the first, black female superhero. Storm gave Johnson a sense of pride and self-identity.

Being introduced to Storm was a pivotal moment for me,’ she tells ABC News, “because had I not come across her, I might have grown out of my love for comics.”

Johnson has been the proud owner of Amalgam Comics & Coffeehouse, Inc. for the past year. She joins the legacy of #BlackGirlGeeks and inspires Royal Girls and Royal Women alike to embrace the geek. We all love what we love, whether it’s a bunch of comic books, science-fiction, all things “Harry Potter” or a 24-hour-marathon of “Game of Thrones”. Johnson encourages us to embrace the geek in us that we may have and most of all, she makes it cool. When a customer walks into her store, Johnson makes sure each person is made to feel welcomed.

“Being introduced to Storm was a pivotal moment for me because had I not come across her, I might have grown out of my love for comics.”

“I had a girl tell me I had an excellent book selection and she was 7 or 8. I don’t know how welcome she might feel in some other spaces,” she tells ABC News. “Women exist in this space! We’ve always been reading comic books; we just may not have been as open about it. I definitely get very positive feedback from not just little girls, but grown women too.”

The “Invincible Iron Man #1” goes on sale next month. Let’s hope we can see her and other Royal Women on more comic covers in the future!