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SERIES – PART 1 OF 3: Intersectionality in Comics: America Chavez Punching Through Reality, One Multiverse at a Time

https://www.flickr.com/photos/bagogames/37730959384

With great power comes great responsibility. At least, that’s what Peter Parker’s Uncle Ben would say to a distressed Peter.

Comic books allow readers to explore fantastical worlds and unleash the power hidden within. With the increase of the number of caped-heroes appearing on the silver screen in the coming years, this three part series will spotlight three superheroes and their artists, focusing on the aspects of living a multiracial, cross cultural and culturally mobile life that impacts these crime fighters.

Comic book geeks likely know a thing or two about America Chavez, otherwise known as Miss America.

Variant cover of America #1 (May 2017). Art by Jamie McKelvie.
(Photo cover artist: Jamie McKelvie via Wikipedia)

Born and raised by her mothers in a reality separate from our own, known as the Utopian Parallel, America Chavez is an independent woman who takes no answers from anyone. Yearning to leave behind her responsibilities and prove herself as a hero, this portal-punching vigilante runs away from her home to seek more for her life.

Photo of America Chavez's mothers, holding each other lovingly as Chavez appears frustrated with her parents.
(Screenshot was taken at :15s from a featured video on Marvel.com)

Traveling across different realities, she eventually adopts the moniker of Miss America, and thus begins her tale into superhero stardom.

America Chavez is Marvel’s first Latin-American lesbian leading lady to star in her own ongoing series, America. This solo series focuses on America navigating life through college, where she learns more about herself and her powers while managing the stresses of higher education.

She makes her way through superhero teams until joining the Young Avengers, with Marvel Boy, Hulkling, Wiccan and Kid Loki. With her ability to punch holes into the fabric of reality, America Chavez is an essential asset to her various teammates.

But America Chavez would not be here to tell her story without strong writing.

Gabby Rivera (she/her) is a queer, Puerto Rican author of America.

Photo taken of writer Gabby Rivera. She is smiling with a glasses and a black cap.
(Photo credit: Juliette Salgado / Subject: Writer Gabby Rivera)

Notable for her young adult novel Juliet Takes a Breath, Rivera is an advocate for LGBTQ youth and storytelling, centering her narratives around issues of identity and representation for Queer and Trans People of Color.

But writing is not enough. Rivera breaks barriers by adding more nuance into America Chavez’s character.

It’s important to talk about the intersecting identities and her being queer and Latina … but so much of content around people of color is centered in oppression or political conversations.

Gabby Rivera, for Hispanic Network.

This politically progressive Latinx author hopes her writing reaches young brown girls so they feel less alone in a world where white skin and hetero-centrism is the status quo for acceptance and beauty.

Both America Chavez and Gabby Rivera break the mold. With Chavez’s superhuman strength, agility and flight, and Rivera’s bold strides to pen non-traditional stories within American popular culture.

Gabby Rivera is a winner of the Independent Publisher Book Award for Gay/Lesbian/Bi/Trans Fiction. She was nominated by GLAAD Media for Outstanding Comic Book.

America Chavez was originally created by Joe Casey and Nick Dragotta, who made her debut in 2011’s Vengeance series at Marvel.

(Video credit: Marvel Entertainment)

This is part one of three in a series about multiculturalism in comic books. Stay tuned for more!

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