Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles (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.