Based on the astounding social media attention to my last post about Ariell R. Johnson and her Amalgam Comics & Coffeehouse in Philadelphia, it seems you want more Ariell. So I am very happy to oblige with the above video of Johnson talking at the Ignite Philly event last fall. Johnson talks about her own life as a nerd, who was the black Thundercat and her discovery of Storm, the first black superheroine she encountered: “When I found out about Storm I gripped on tight to her and never let her go.”
This is really an amazing little talk, so eloquent and to the point about why we need characters who look like the WHOLE world in its sprawling, various beauty. “When when we start recognizing the humanity of those around us we start to actually learn about people. When we allow ourselves to relate to them, we all benefit.”
Is it too early to say Ariell R. Johnson is the face of comics 2016? Amalgam Comics and Coffeehouse seems to sum up something so aspirational about where the medium is going. It’s a feelgood story for all of us.
Now please, locals, go to her store and buy comics and buy some coffee! Small businesses don’t run on aspirations alone!
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.