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Photograph by Julieta Salgado

Gabby Rivera

Distinguished Visiting Writer 2019

About Gabby Rivera

Gabby Rivera is an outgoing, outspoken creator invested in fostering better dialogue, inspiring radical creativity, and improving our most vulnerable communities. The author of Juliet Takes a Breath, she’s also the writer of the new Marvel series America—featuring the first queer, Latinx teen-girl superhero, ever—that’s catching headlines from The New York Times, CNN, Vogue, and beyond. Gabby Rivera is a young, charming speaker dedicated to empowering women and improving our marginalized communities. She’s currently making major waves for her new Marvel series starring America Chavez: a queer, Latinx superhero who’s been written and designed, crucially, by a queer Latinx. And while the series is “definitely going to tackle America’s ancestry and ethnicity,” Rivera tells The Washington Post, it’s also a comic book aimed at wide appeal: committed to snappy one-liners, blowing stuff up, and beating up the bad guys, naturally. Rivera is also the author of Juliet Takes a Breath, a YA novel listed by Mic as one of the 25 essential books to read for women’s history month. It’s a critically acclaimed coming-of-age story starring a queer puertorriqueña who leaves her native Bronx behind to intern, over one transformative summer, with one of her literary heroes: the feminist author Harlow Brisbane. “I strongly encourage you to read Juliet Takes a Breath,” writes Roxane Gay. “It’s quite dazzling, funny as hell, poignant, all the things.” Witty, authentic, and humming with the full complexities of modern life and radical politics, the book was called the “dopest LGBTQA YA book ever” by Latina magazine. As an activist, Rivera also gives back. She’s the Youth Programs Manager at GLSEN (pronounced “glisten”): a leading national education organization focused on ensuring safe and affirming schools for LGBTQ students. That means fewer incidents of bullying and harassment, and more students treated with respect. She’s also worked with for over five years as the QTPOC Speakeasy editor and A-Camp staff. As a film and multi-media teaching artist, she’s worked with social justice organizations like DreamYard Project, Inc. And she’s appeared as a featured panelist and counselor at the annual Autostraddle Queer Women’s Conference, and has presented at the Allied Media and Digital Media and Learning Conferences.

More About Gabby Rivera

Thomas, Allen. "Review: AMERICA #1Comicosity, March 1, 2017.

I feel like I cannot fully tell you all the things that are right about America #1. Kudos to Gabby Rivera because hot damn is this one hell of a story. Let’s begin with the myriad cultural nuances throughout the issue. They bring a completely different side to America beyond convenient Spanish catchphrases. Two, America’s relationship with Lisa is explored with a depth that has been starkly absent in pretty much every other comic featuring our protagonist. Three, the name-dropping is absolute yes. Both Bayard Rustin and Justice Sonia Sotomayor anchor the series to the reality of real queer and people of color who did and do their best to improve this country. Rivera’s handle of the story and these cultural influences shows us a reality often spoken of by marginalized people, yet often ignored: the fact that they are more likely to infuse politics, implicitly or explicitly, without losing sight of a story or its characters.

Holmon, Omar. "We Interview Writer Gabby Rivera and Talk America Chavez, Wrasslin’, and Queer Latinas FlourishingBlack Nerd Problems.

But I wouldn’t trade it for the world, Marvel has helped me grow as an artist and has supported all my wild and fantastical ideas. Like bringing two gorgeous Black and brown spiritual femmes into the galaxy and having them fall in love and create Planeta Fuertona. Like hahahahaha, eat that and savor it. It’s delicious. It feels good just saying all those words in one sentence.


One of the beautiful things about America is that she can punch portals. For a Latina to not have any restrictions on where she can travel is revolutionary. There’s no borders for America Chavez. She can go wherever she wants to go. The fact that Exterminatrix was trying to thwart that really rallied the students, and you also get a little sense of the divide, even with students.

Garzón, Camilo. "Writer Gabby Rivera Is A True SuperheroNPR, June 15, 2017.

When writer Gabby Rivera read an email from Marvel Comics asking her to write for them, she was convinced it was spam at first.

But it turned out to be legit: Marvel wanted Rivera to put words to a new comic series featuring the queer, Latinx superhero America Chavez. The next thing she knew, Rivera was deep in research on superheroes from Marvel's vast archive.

NPR's Camilo Garzón caught up with Rivera at her home in Brooklyn.