Ariell Johnson is the only black woman on the East Coast to own a comic book store, and now she’s gracing a variant cover of Invincible Iron Man.
Johnson, who owns Amalgam Comics & Coffeehouse, Inc., in Philadelphia, has been a die-hard comic fan all of her life. With the help of Randy Green, the creator of the cover and her colleague, she’s excited about the cover opportunity.
“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 also spoke about the huge significance of Riri Williams’ character.
“To think I made it a decade-plus and I had never seen a black woman superhero is crazy because little white boys have so many [with whom they identify]: ‘I want to be Iron Man!’ ‘I want to be Batman!’ ‘I want to be Superman.’ ‘I want to be Han Solo!’ When you are a person of color, you’re scraping the bottom of the barrel to find someone you can identify with,” she said. “I always felt like I was watching other people’s adventures. 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].”
The variant cover hits the shelves in November.