Gabby Rivera On Expected Reactions To "Marvel's Queen Latina Superhero" Ms America Chavez – As She Used To Be An Online Troll

image-1Refinery29, the fashion, neauty and health website was the chosen venue for Marvel PR to announce details on the new America comic book series you would first have read about on Bleeding Cool.

The book, starring Ms Amaerica Chavez, is to be written by novelist Gabby Rivera and artist Joe Quinones. It's pointed that Rivera "first garnered fame as the author of Juliet Takes a Breath, a YA novel about a Puerto Rican lesbian."

Created in 2011 by Joe Casey and Nick Dragotta in Vengeance #1, the character gained new prominence when reinvented by Kieron Gillen and Jamie McKelvie on Young Avengers, and recently was a member of A-Force and Ultimates.

Gabby talked about the moment editor Will Moses contacted her about working for Marvel, saying

"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?! And the office is all quiet, everyone's just like click-clacking away and I just left and I called my mom and I was like "Mom!! I got an an email from Marvel!" My voice went up 48 octaves. I was super-excited. Getting that email from Will was the first time a man had ever written to me about my book — let alone a white guy…. It's kind of new for me. I have read graphic novels, and my family loves superhero comic books, so I grew up between their sci-fi world and their Star Trek world and their comic book world. But I have to be honest and say, I thought, maybe there wasn't space for me in comics."

americachavez2And there's the name of the comic, America, in a post-Trump election world.

"I am still learning how to navigate this world, but to not include elements and emotions of what is going on would be a huge missed opportunity on my part — on our part. But it's also a balance between connecting with people and alienating people. 'Cause Latinos voted for Trump too. My family voted for Trump."

And expected online reaction,

"It's a little bit terrifying and intimidating to be a queer woman entering the Marvel universe. Internally I've been like, man are people gonna read this and tear me apart because of my identities? Because I'm a woman? You read online that folks aren't too kind. And there's harassment. Or just the: 'You don't belong here because you don't know the history of like every single thing.'"

But she has been on the other side of that,

"And hey, honestly, I was an internet troll when I was 15 and I was scared of coming out. I behaved badly online when I was a teenager for like six months because of the pain of being closeted…. I was so scared of who I was that I would go into lesbian AOL chat rooms and be like, 'The lord hates you.' And then this one Lesbian from a chat room wrote me back and was like, 'Let's talk; are you okay? What do you need? I want to understand you.' And that was the first person that made that connection with me. And it changed my whole life. And it put me on the path to find out who I am and why I was channeling my frustrations that way."

America #1 is out in March from Marvel Comics.

Thanks to Joe for the typo check.



About Rich Johnston

Head writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world. Living in London, father of two. Political cartoonist.

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