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Groundbreaking Female Comic Book Store Owner Now Appears on a Marvel Cover

Ariell Johnson has been collecting comic books for more than a decade, but she’ll soon add a very personal one to her collection.

The 33-year-old founder and president of Amalgam Comics & Coffeehouse, Inc. in Philadelphia will appear on a variant cover of “Invincible Iron Man #1.”

The first image of the book, which goes on sale next month and features Johnson having a meal with new Marvel superhero RiRi Williams, is below.

Johnson said she owes the collaboration to her colleague Randy Green, whom she said spearheaded the project and conceptualized the cover.

“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,” she 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.”

Not that she hasn’t earned it. Johnson opened Amalgym last December, becoming the first black, female comic book store owner on the East Coast. However, her obsession of all things geek really began around age 10 or 11, when she discovered “X-Men” character Storm. Johnson credits the character, one of the first black, female superheroes, with being “the bridge that got me into this world.”

“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. I always felt like I was watching other people’s adventures,” she explained. “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].”

After graduating from cartoons to comics in high school, Johnson began buying her own books in college. Her Friday routine was comforting: She’d go to the comic book store to get her weekly stash, and then take the books across the street to her favorite coffee shop, where she’d read them over a hot chocolate and piece of cake. When the coffee shop was forced to close some 10 years ago, Johnson decided it was up to her to create a space that gave her the same feeling of warmth.

“The goal is to be an inclusive geek space,” she said. “So it’s not just comics; it’s gaming, it’s sci-fi, it’s horror, whatever you geek about, we want to make room for you!”

She’s also proven to be a role model for girls and women. Johnson, who points to Marvel’s diverse cast of characters and story lines as proof that the industry is evolving in a positive way, said that she’s worked hard to make sure that everybody feels welcome at Amalgam.

“I had a girl tell me I had an excellent book selection and she was 7 or 8. I don’t know how welcome she might feel in some other spaces,” she said. “Women exist in this space! We’ve always been reading comic books, we just may not have been as open about it. I definitely get very positive feedback from not just little girls, but grown women too.”

President Trump has recently instated an immigration ban on these countries in the picture above. In an interview with ABC News Trump claims he did this to put a stop to terrorism, and then cited the San Bernardino shootings and 9/11 as examples for decision to ban these countries. 

Here’s the big problem with that. 

One of the attackers in the San Bernardino shootings was a U.S. born citizen and the other came from Pakistan, a country not on the list. Furthermore, using his example of 9/11, all the hijackers came from Lebanon, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Uae; none of these countries are on the list. 

I’m not a fan of stupidity, and this has to be one of the dumbest attempts to justify such bans (which I’m not entirely against provided they made sense).

abcnews.go.com
Maksim Chmerkovskiy reveals he had to take newborn son to emergency room

“Dancing With the Stars” professional dancer Maksim Chmerkovskiy is opening up about a health scare he had with his son, Shai, following his birth two months ago.

“He was a couple weeks old and … we enjoyed that whole week. It was amazing, and then he got a fever and we had to go … to the emergency room,” the father told ABC News of his son with fellow dancer, Peta Murgatroyd.

“We were so like not prepared for the protocol [and] procedure that happened at the emergency rooms with infants that small,” Chmerkovskiy, 37, continued. “Nobody really ever told us anything about that. It was a big shock to the mind and to the heart.”

“You start to see a little IV on a little baby and you’re like, ‘Oh my God, this is crazy,’” he said. “And then we had to travel and fly back to LA after this just happened. It was a lot for us.”

Chmerkovskiy and Murgatroyd, who announced their engagement in December 2015, welcomed baby Shai on Jan. 4. The two announced the news of his birth on Twitter.

A week after Shai was born, Chmerkovskiy took to Instagram to reflect how fatherhood had changed him.

“It’s been one week plus one day of my fatherhood and I’m the happiest person that’s ever lived,” he wrote in January. “I’m also feeling very protective and now understand what every parent in history have been going through for as long as humans have been giving birth.”

The dancer, who has partnered with “Glee” star Heather Morris on this season of “Dancing With the Stars,” which returns Monday, said the ordeal ended well but nevertheless changed him and Murgatroyd.

“It made us be that more diligent,” Chmerkovskiy said. “I’m such an overprotective, over-thinking, over-planning type of person. [But] you can’t foresee some things; you can try your best.”

It may even keep baby Shai at home instead of backstage at the ABC dancing competition.

“We’ve gone through a lot of stuff with him already – some drama and traumatic experiences. That’s why I’m kind of like, 'Let’s not take him on set.’”

Chmerkovskiy recently partnered with Swiffer as the cleaning company celebrates its 18th birthday with a new campaign centered on adulting called, “If You’ve Got A Life, You Gotta Swiffer!”

The dancer can relate to finally becoming an adult. It’s why he took his time stepping into fatherhood.

“I wanted to have tangible things to give him. I’m not talking money. I’m talking abilities,” Chmerkovskiy said. “[I wanted him] maybe not be raised in a one bedroom apartment like [my brother] Val and I were raised in. There’s nothing wrong with that, but that’s not what I wanted for my child.”

“I had a very clear vision of how I want to become a father and that’s exactly what I’m living now,” he continued. “Peta and I were talking about this before – like we dreamt this and now this is happening.”

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Thoughts? Don’t know how I feel about it. I do like how they focused on the child rearing but other than that idk. What are your thoughts?