By Sara Karlovitch
It’s not a bird.
It’s not a plane.
It’s definitely not a straight white guy.
Up until now, America Chavez took a backseat in the stories of other heroes. She never had her own series that chronicled her own adventures. That all changed March 1 when America #1 hit comic book store shelves and into the waiting and eager arms of the nerdy masses (this nerd included).
America Chavez was raised by two moms in the all-women “Utopian Parallel,” which is an alternative dimension within the Marvel Multiverse. When she was little, both of her moms died defending the Utopian Parallel, which was destroyed. America has the ability of flight, superhuman strength and the ability to punch walls into different dimensions, allowing her to travel between them.
How the Marvel Multiverse works is that there are a variety of different Earths with different versions of events all existing at once. The main one consistent across most Marvel Comics is Earth-616, and the Earth that houses the Marvel Cinematic Universe is Earth-199,999. America has the ability to punch through to these different versions of Earth.
In her comic debut, America is your typical college student attending the fictitious Sotomayor University, which educates mainly youths with super powers. She just broke up with her girlfriend and is trying to find her place and purpose in the world.
America Chavez is Marvel’s latest edition in their effort at diversifying their comics. She comes right behind the likes of Kamala Khan, a.k.a. Ms. Marvel, who is the company’s first Muslim superhero. Marvel has been trying really hard to include comic book’s growing demographics. In recent years, comic books have become more popular with women, the LGBTQA+ community and readers of color.
What makes America Chavez so important is that it’s not just the superhero that Marvel is attempting to make more inclusive, it’s the writing staff, as well. Who better to write a “queer, foxy, badass, hard femme Latina” than a real life “queer, foxy, badass, hard femme Latina”? Aware of this, Marvel hired Gabby Rivera, author of Juliet Takes a Breath to give America Chavez life.
Rivera, is Marvel’s first LGBTQA+ and Latina writer to be working for the comic book giant. She told the Washington Post the experience has been “dope as hell.”
Everyone deserves to see themselves represented fairly in the entertainment they love. Whether it be books, movies, games or comic books, you should be able to find someone to relate to who has been through similar things as you. They should be written by people who have lived and understand those experiences.
Out of all comic book readers, 43 percent are women. They consistently make up at least 40 percent of Marvel’s movie audience and 49 percent of fans attending Comic Con and other conventions. Comic books draw readers from all backgrounds and experiences, so they should look like the people who put all the time and effort into their consumption.
America Chavez will hopefully be the first in a long line of new superheroes, superheroes who reflect the audience who loves them written by people who understand them.
We still have a long way to go before reaching true diversity in any aspect of our mainstream pop culture landscape, but America Chavez is helping to close those gaps a little. She may not be for everyone, but she’s for someone who needs her.
As America would say, “Fear not mi gente, America’s got you!”
Featured Photo Credit: Feature photo courtesy of Marvel on Facebook.
Sara Karlovitch is a freshman journalism and government and politics major and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.