The Comic Book Store Championing Diversity

The Comic Book Store Championing Diversity

(upbeat music) – Everybody knows Spider-Man,
everybody knows Superman, everybody doesn’t know
Harriet Tubman Demon Slayer. I wanted our focus to be diverse titles. We are actively working
to make sure we have books that you just may not see in other shops. (ding) (lively piano music) My name is Ariell Johnson, and
I am the owner and operator, aka Head Nerd in Charge, of
Amalgam Comics and Coffeehouse- a comic book store devoted to diversity. When I was about 11 or so, I
was introduced to the X Men. I really connected with Storm
because she looked like me, white hair and white eyes aside. It was out of my love of her character that I got into comic books. Once I graduated I did
struggle with finding my place in the world. I wasn’t quite happy in my
career and after a conversation between my sister and my brother-in-law, they gave me that extra push that I needed to do the thing that I get excited about. Fast forward and we’re here and
we’ve been here three years. (whimsical music) In building Amalgam, I
wanted my comic book store to focus on diversity
because I know what it’s like to not be represented. We also take steps to
make sure people know that they’re welcome here, from the books that we
stock on the shelves, from the people that I have working here; everything about the space is diverse. I know creators have had
stories about dealing with stores and publishers,
getting their work published or in a store, and sometimes it is just very much like “Well, this is too different
from what we normally sell “so we don’t wanna take a chance on it.” But Amalgam will. (cheerful music) Shawn Alleyne is an indie creator who has been a long time
supporter of Amalgam. We have carried his books in the past and currently we’re carrying
his line of tee shirts. – Well, the name of my comic book is The Almighty Street Team. It’s a collaborative urban superhero martial arts comic book. Usually, the comic books
that I create stay close to the stuff I grew up loving, which was like the
urban street characters. I did have some trouble
placing the book in stores, but we found a home in Amalgam. Right away she got the
idea; she got the vision, and she connected with the book. When I see the support to
the indie comic book creators it makes me feel like, “Hey, yeah, I can continue
to make a living doing this.” – When I opened the shop,
so many people said, “This is what we’ve always needed, “I’ve always wanted a place like this.” We have had an overwhelmingly
positive response from our local community,
the geek community beyond, the blind community, queer geek community; people are excited that this space exists, and if you have something that you wanna see in your community, my challenge would be to do the work to see if it’s something that you can do. I don’t think that people
should keep waiting to be saved by someone else. You can be your own superhero.

David Anderson

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99 thoughts on “The Comic Book Store Championing Diversity

  1. Red Truth says:

    Harriet Tubman demon slayer????? IM IN

  2. Tanner Headley says:

    “I connected with storm because, she looked like me, white eyes and hair aside.” Sooo you mean the only thing that made her look like you was your skin color? Really riveting similarities 😂☠️

  3. Sebastian Brzeczeszczykiewicz says:

    People read that shit

  4. El Dictator says:

    Diversity: mostly black African Americans, not very diverse is it

  5. Ramón González says:

    Keep boxing yourselves. Smort.

  6. Candy Jam says:

    Harriet Tubman Demon Slayer sounds so breathtaking! I can’t believe I haven’t heard about it sooner.

  7. Brian Williams says:

    if you choose people to star in your channel just because of the color of their skin, regardless of reason, that's racist. Stop being racist.

  8. Santiago Romero says:

    One of the reasons we enjoy art is that we crave novelty: we want to be surprised and meet new people to expand our horizons. Reading works by diverse authors isn't just a meaningless change in the character's skintone, but a unique opportunity to have a fun time in places you know little of and meet people with a surprisingly different view of the world. Diversity has value in itself.

    If you know nothing about China, watching a sloppy romantic TV-movie made in Hong Kong may be more enjoyable than watching an Oscar-winner film. The adventure into the unknown and the unexpected can sometimes be more important to the espectator than the "objective" value of a work. The quality of a work only becomes important when you are familiar with the subjects of the work. Because when the subjects are shockingly new to you, you become so fascinated by the surprises that you just don't care about comparing it to other works.

    I'm not saying all comics by, say, black artists, portray a really unique experience; I bet most of them would probably fit your expectations of what a black story is. But I think every reader should be aware of what is unfamiliar and alien to him, so he can then find books about it that offer him that novel cultural experience, just to feel the thrill of discovering and learning.

  9. Fritzi Lang says:

    This is awesome, I'd like to visit her shop but I'm not in Philadelphia 😢

  10. KingSmithie says:

    As long as it brings a positivity effect within the community and acceptance of every race as a whole

  11. Det Young says:

    Oh look another fuck getting money for doing nothing your not make changes in the world unless you can monetize it

  12. ShizukaRose says:

    Why the downvotes?

  13. Dopo Plays says:

    This an surprisingly good video in this new series

  14. OMMBoy says:

    But when I create a comic book store with mostly Caucasian comics I get called a white supremacist smh

  15. Probably Not Dad says:

    Wonder how diverse those profit margins are.

  16. Pavle Mackic says:

    Good for her 🙂

  17. Sabah says:

    I would love to visit 😍

  18. Big Gus says:

    More diversity garbage. I’m tired of all this identity politics. Who cares about your race and skin color?!?! I’m tired of being called a Latino or a brown person. Why can’t I just be a man or better yet, simply an American. Enough with the skin color and race stuff!

  19. Dead King says:

    Abraham Lincoln vampire Hunter movie Harriet Tubman is seen slaying vampires alongside Lincolns military. So yeah it's about time the comic book was released

  20. kalillita dub says:

    This is so fucking cool, I would love to draw like that but I really sucks LOL, great business btw

  21. arcanask says:

    Buy more back issues. Seriously. That's what's going to keep you afloat in the coming years.

  22. Chodda says:

    TYPICAL BLACK NGGR REVERSE RACISM BULLSHIT. it's all black comic books lmaooooo what about all the other 'cultures' ?

  23. Gabriel Williams says:

    WHOAH !this is super cool , I listen to her all the time on the Black Tribbles Podcast….. Ariell's garden is dope.

  24. Tom Wilson says:


  25. stanleyiii says:

    Companies during pride month be like

  26. Miguel Avila says:

    Yasss girl. You’re a beauty in and out.

  27. Christopher .Fischetti says:

    Harriet Tubman looking like she's about to Join the Malcolm X-Force.

  28. Edgar Granados says:

    See this is what they should do instead of just trying to change well known comic book characters. New superheroes with original origins.

  29. rush1er says:

    Harriet Tubman: Demon Slayer??? Well, any concept can work if the writers are good. The Almighty Street Team looks pretty bad ass… the comic book store owner, SHE looks bad-ass! I could see her playing TankGirl

  30. Wilkes Bewth says:

    Representation does not matter – I'm Kenyan and while it's cool that Storm is part Kenyan it never made me like X-Men more or make me believe I could be better or anything. This is just entertainment. Actually never looked at race till people started talking diversity. Heroes can inspire you no matter the race – Superman, Black Panther, Shang Chi it doesn't matter. Watched Bruce Lee movies as a kid and wanted to be like him – didn't matter what he was. This is a cool initiative though – no shade.

  31. Mel V says:

    If all the comics are focussed on black people, all the staff is black and the shop is black-owned; it is not diverse at all! Is monocultural, at its best and racist, at its worst. Where are the comics about white people, middle Eastern people, Asians, Pacific Islanders, Latino's? Don't just call something diverse because it's not white; call something diverse because it celebrates the world's diversity, not just black people!

  32. Christine Clarke says:

    "You can be your own super hero" 🙅🏾‍♀️🙅🏾‍♀️🙅🏾‍♀️

  33. TEMBRADAS says:

    No entiendo porque usáis la palabra "diversidad" en el título, cuando lo que ha hecho la dueña de la tienda es darle salida a comics MINORITARIOS O RECHAZADOS por editoriales. No entiendo lo de la "diversidad", porque Marvel ya se encarga de ello… En cuanto a que los comics de Marvel que salen de los esterotipos de toda la vida se vendan, es otra historia.

  34. 子烈 says:

    INSTANT FAN!!! I wish I could visit! We have a shop similar to that here in MS called Offbeat! Diverse comics and performances! I truly love how she and our local shop wants all sorts of nerds and geeks to be represented! 💖💖💖💖💖

  35. koko q says:

    i wanna read harriet tubman demon slayer now

  36. Gaming Comics says:

    I keep finding this place when I search "amalgam comics" (the Marvel/D.C. Crossover )

  37. Gaurav Vikalp says:

    Why does comic industry hate videos when there are women talking about inclusion? Funny how lop sided the support in comic industry is. Y'all need to grow the fuck up!

  38. no one says:

    Yeah, because these kinds of stores have always been a huge success. 😂

  39. Sean says:

    I think shes a big nerd for comics we all are i love different comics its a big change dc and marvep

  40. Sean says:

    I think this fan comics are really really good where is this place greatbig history i would love to visit amalgam comic store

  41. Kristin St. John says:

    Great shop — I live in DC, but since I learned about it, I've hit Almagam any time I'm in Philadelphia

  42. Chris C says:

    I've been here! Nice atmosphere!

  43. Astoldbyzee says:

    This is why people hate comic book geeks. So pretentious and never satisfied. If you dont like how shes doing it, DO IT YOURSELF

  44. fedora Friend says:

    Why does this only have 13000 views

    Edit: I hit post too fast

  45. IM BATMAN says:

    Why great big story all videos are good

  46. Akmal Danial says:

    Why did the logo change from red to purple?

  47. Not Real says:


  48. Vincent says:

    I love this. This kind of reminds me of Cape and Cowl in Oakland.

  49. My2CommonSense says:

    BS story, I owned multiple comic stores for years and for the most part sold everything that came out. You make your money from major publishers, at the time, Marvel dc dark horse valiant image and back issues. You don’t make a living selling 1,2, 3 of an issue. Can you say virtue signaling?

  50. Samuel Stapelman says:

    Why’d the channel switch to purple?

  51. Beni Layne says:

    This is a diversity story I can actually get behind. Props to you, lady.

  52. Milhouse says:

    Diversity is never bad. 👍

  53. I think I Got This! says:

    Amen!!! Yes, my sista! I love it represent US Black Nerds!!!! We are out here and we love comics/anime!!! 🥰🥰🙌🏽🙏🏾

  54. jvandalist says:

    This is so dope!

  55. NakeyMolera.t . says:

    A great place to study and when done,read a comic and drink some coffe 😀

  56. CEO of Racism says:

    Any hentai manga?

  57. BORZORG BUBBA says:

    Good on her !

  58. keegan tavormina says:

    I swear, I thought her pink hair was a brain.

  59. Alex Jones says:


  60. Dre12008 says:

    Why doesn’t Wisconsin get any of the comic stores….?

  61. snooterbones says:

    Bruh where's the hentai?

  62. Erin Vonlicktenstein says:

    Most comic books take place in America where African Americans make up only 14% of the population, so I don’t think it’s “not diverse enough” when there’s only one black character for ever 8 white characters. Also Its technically not really diverse when they make all of the comics book characters the same race…even if that race is black.

  63. Charles Mattson says:

    Anything other than diversity of thought, is disingenuous.

  64. Kaylin M says:

    I love this video! I don’t live close to Philadelphia but when I go there I’ll most definitely be going to her shop!🙂😋

  65. Dodoka PRJCTS. says:

    How it suppose to be diverse, when actually it's creating mre black and dark skinned characters. It's more of a holding the grudges to past, i mean slavery. But in the most unconventional way. You are separating, not mixing.

  66. Kiara Holmes says:

    shoutout to all the people saying we don't need non white main characters as long as the book is good .as if a book can't be good with anyone not white….the goal isn't replacement, it's equal footing, equal exposure, equal sales. Books with non white mains still sell only half as well. Not because they aren't good (though, as with everything, there are also lame ones) but because those characters historically haven't been given the room to build pedigrees. They get bought up and cancelled (like Static Shock), ignored for promotions only to be forgotten (like Icon and Captain Marvel–the original captain, not Carol Danvers), and are generally only appreciated by the demographic represented in them–who, by the way, only found those characters bc they dug d e e p. People act as if there isn't enough room on the shelf for everyone. As if one shop in philly actively promoting books with characters outside the Batman-Superman-Spider-man norm will somehow flip that same, 80-year old self-sustaining paradigm. Even though browner shelves would definitely be more reflective of the world as it is and not really hurt anyone by being so.

  67. Tvpig says:

    Stan Lee should be proud

  68. ultraman360noscope yeet says:

    The best way to bring diversity is to not force it

  69. Morge Zorge says:

    So she connected to Storm because she looked like her? What a shallow person. No wonder these "diverse" comics are so shit, it's all about surface level traits, not real stories that connect us to our humanity, no matter the skin color.

  70. I WANT MY SLAW!! says:

    Don't read the comments. Just enjoy the wonderful video.

  71. terra riley says:

    Well now I have a reason to go to Philadelphia

  72. Kraven Spider says:

    I’m sorry…”Harriet Tubman: Demon Slayer?” Where can I get this?

  73. Xenømorph Enthusiastø says:

    Harriet tubman demon slayer sounds fking awesome.

  74. The Bagging and Boarding Bad Boy says:

    Nice looking lcs!

  75. amurderofcrowz says:

    is that black Wonder Woman a real comic or just fanart cuz she looked awesome!

  76. country side says:

    you know black ppl cant read or dont read books

  77. Jubel says:

    I'm black and I don't like that every comicbook cover in her store got a black guy on it

  78. Turquoise Greene says:

    Disney could really find their next big franchise in this store but they're to busy remaking the thing for the 3rd time.

  79. Jordan TRusso says:

    I’ll never understand why people can’t read comics because they don’t feel like they personally are being “represented” in it.
    That’s just suuuuch a dumb thing to say, and this chick just can’t read books that don’t pander or have any black characters?

    So ridiculous

  80. Ethic Ethnic says:

    I love that they are supporting OG Black comic book characters & supporting NEW creators as well! White characters are fine (duh), but when that's the majority of what you see that can send a negative message. White isn't the human default & Whites aren't the only people that should/can have a ton of representation. Representation of Americans is not a zero-sum game. Ex: even if the character just happens to be Black, but no African culture/ Black experience is apart of their narrative that is fine. Both types of stories can exist. Anyways, as a African American I would just draw my own characters because I wasn't seeing enough of them.

  81. Overwhelming Euphoria says:

    It's hilarious how many people got triggered by this, it's just a lady supporting local artists no one's forcing you to buy this stuff lmao

  82. Gracefool says:

    me knowing how petty shitty racists will be: smashes like button before i even watch the vid

  83. skinflutey says:

    1:30 out of all the comics you could have shown why would you pick one of the worst comics out there.

  84. sonoki82 says:

    Every single person in that store is one race and one color. So where is the diversity?

  85. Native-Kitty says:

    What a great story! I heard about how good the “Harriet Tubman Demon Slayer” comic is. We definitely need this type of comic book store in NYC!!!

  86. Dominant Persona says:

    Diverse for the sake of being diverse

  87. DaMidnitezorro says:

    Good job girl

  88. Lucarations says:

    Omg they have manga… ALREADY THE BEST STORE

  89. Henry Bemis says:

    Yeah, champion every type of diversity but diversity of thought or opinion…

  90. Shawn Shaw says:

    You took my History and and made a fuckin' comic book about it? What's wrong with you Niggas?

  91. Tony Toni says:

    Looks like a great store. Have to visit there sometime

  92. Vernon Ford says:

    I like the point she was trying to make .true

  93. Pinky Mixology says:

    "first black woman to own a comic book shop on the East Coast" ? …not unless she owned one in 1987 in Brooklyn called K-16. I used to go there a lot.

  94. Alfonso Lopez says:



  95. FJ García says:


  96. Antoinette Miles says:

    Yay Ariell! Amalgam is my spot and Ariell puts on great events. ❤️❤️

  97. Julio L says:

    get woke, go broke

  98. Blacklist Universe says:

    I'm Mike S. Miller, artist for DC's Injustice: Gods Among Us, and cover artist for Game of Thrones. I have two channels, this one, 'Blacklist Universe', and an all-art channel, 'Mike Draws Comics'. Please check them out!

  99. Danielle Marie says:

    This is such an amazing concept! Great things for the Philly community and nerd culture wooo!

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