This spring, young adult novelist Gabby Rivera (Juliet Takes a Breath) and artist Joe Quinones (Howard the Duck) continue the high-octane adventures of America Chavez. Marvel’s lesbian Latina powerhouse, Chavez punches her way through dimensions and faces off against an oncoming alien horde all while managing her social life and trying to attend various classes on alternate Earths. Since her introduction in 2012, Chavez has stood side by side with Marvel’s most powerful heroes, and this year she’s ready to take the world by storm in her new series, America. We asked Rivera about her new series.
How much does America’s sexual identity play in the series (i.e. will she be dating)?
America’s a vibrant young, fierce, and gorgeous superhero babe. You can bet your Yeezys that she’s going to be dating. But it’s not going to be some heavy meditation on the stresses, inequities, and violence faced by LGBTQ people. We get enough of that in the news and in personal essays. That work is vital and important. But America’s series is meant to be a space of joy and fantasy. I also want it to be a healing piece of media/art so that folks who are being beaten down by the system and life in general can laugh and cheer and get a moment to breathe easy in this chaotic world. We get to watch America, an unapologetically queer Latina, deal with everyday love stuff. I’m so ready for that, aren’t you?
Comic creators, Marvel in particular, have amped up the representation game in comics. How do you respond to critics who say it’s too PC?
I urge folks who are raging out about a lil’ baby lesbian Latina having her own comic series to reflect on their feelings. Like, why are you so mad? If it means that much to you to be a bully and revel in antagonizing and being violent towards people who are different from you, then that’s something you got to figure out within yourself. People like me — brown, queer, chunky, other — get called “special snowflakes” when all many of us are trying to do is make room for everyone. That means you have to share space, time, resources, attention ... and like, are you really someone that just won’t share? Yikes. Aren’t we supposed to love our neighbors or something
There’s been a lot of suggestion that she is connected to a very big Marvel character. Is this going to remain a mystery?
Totally. Mysteries make the Marvel Universe go round.