Marvel writer Gabby Rivera is transforming how we see the Latinx American experience


"People are pissed," says author Gabby Rivera. "People want the stories that reflect them. People are tired of false narratives and liars." And Rivera wants us to rage against the machine with as much joy as possible.

After the Bronx native's 2016 coming of age novel "Juliet Takes a Breath" became a surprise publishing hit, she was tapped to write the solo series for America Chavez, Marvel's first queer Latina superhero. And now "Juliet" is returning with a new release from Penguin Young Readers in September 2019. Her heroines, while different, share a common bond of playful resilience, strong family ties and deep curiosity about their own history.

"I am putting my real life heroes into the work I'm doing," Rivera told Mary Elizabeth Williams on "Salon Talks." "A lot of times I do not see my heroes reflected around me. I tend to see people who were violent to us made into heroes. We're in New York City, where 59th Street is Christopher Columbus Circle." So, she says, "I put my monuments in my work."

And Rivera's monuments are purposefully hopeful. "I never say, 'Put your pain away,'" she added. "In that pain and in that community, when we are together, we are joy. We build it. My definition of joy has tragedy. It has pain; it has suffering. But it is beauty when we come together. If there's any responsibility I feel, it is to move with love and with joy and to hold space, because there is so much pain. It's not joy as a blank concept. It is joy in revolution."

Watch the full episode above to hear more about Rivera's role as the first Latina woman to write for Marvel, and how she is paying homage to Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, one her superheroes, in her literary work.


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