America Chavez is ready for her close up. The queer Latina superhero, who made a grand impression in her small debut in Young Avengers, joins a host of female-led titles in the works at Marvel that are set to infuse diverse leading characters into the comic book world.
The series is as much a huge first for Marvel as it is for Gabby Rivera, the Boricua writer tapped to bring America’s story to the forefront. “I work at an LGBTQ non-profit called GLSEN, as a youth programs manager. I got an email from Marvel when I was at work. And I was like, whaaat? What?!“ she told Refinery29.
Best known for her young adult novel Juliet Takes A Breath, the story of a queer puertorriqueña from the Bronx, the novice comic book writer admits the Marvel universe is fairly new to her. “I have to be honest and say, I thought, maybe there wasn’t space for me in comics,” she continued.
Now that she has the opportunity to define a space of her own, Rivera is excited to add dimension to America’s character. “What I noticed when I was reading the Young Avengers was that it felt like America was being pulled in by different characters — [Thor villain] Loki wanted her to do this or that; the fight wasn’t hers. She was treated like a member of the team, but I always wondered what’s in it for her?” she said. “So my thinking for this new book is that she’s finally asking herself that question: What’s in it for me? Why am I fighting with these people? What I want is to go to college and I want to start over, and I want to learn about myself and do this for myself. And so that is the big thing that I was thinking about. What’s more American than trying to go to college and trying to find yourself?”
While America will unquestionably be the center of attention in the upcoming series, Rivera plans to use her platform to represent women of other shapes and sizes as well. “I love women. I love myself. I feel like sometimes I’m not considered a woman,” she expressed. “People assume I’m a masculine kind of person because I wear hats or boots. And to me, womanhood is so flexible and so ever-expanding and how beautiful is it to show all the ways that it manifests? And especially when it comes to Latinas and Black women.”
We’re here for it. Learn more exclusive details about America, here.