To celebrate Black History Month, Allstate recognized three modern-day superheroes in its second annual “Worth Telling” campaign. One of the individuals being honored this year is Philadelphia business owner Ariell Johnson, for the impact she and her store, Amalgam Comics & Coffeehouse, are making in Philadelphia’s comic book community and beyond.
Johnson opened Amalgam on Frankford Ave. near Kensington to act as an “inclusive geek space” for Philly residents and visitors. Since opening the first-ever black-owned comic bookstore on the east coast, Johnson has been drawn on the cover of MARVEL’s Invincible Iron Man, and she hopes to inspire other comic book creators to give all fans representation by drawing African Americans and women as the heroes and heroines of their stories.
To celebrate Johnson, Allstate will share her story on social media and they hosted a superhero-inspired event at Amalgam Comics, where the public was encouraged to dress up as a superhero and attend a 30-minute panel about the importance of diversity, inclusion and representation in the comic book universe. Panelists included Johnson and other comic book influencers including Maurice Waters (president of BlackSci-Fi.com), Len Webb (Bat Tribble from Black Tribbles Podcast) and Karama Horne (@TheBlerdGurl).