America variant cover by Marguerite Sauvage.

Over the years, Marvel has had its up and downs with making their comics more diverse and friendly to female, LGBT, and PoC communities. For every step forward (including a trans character in Angela: Asgard’s Assassin), there’s a step backward (Editor-In-Chief Axel Alonso saying that Hercules was definitely not bisexual, no matter what happened before).

America sketch by Joe Quinones.

So when a new series starring America Chavez, a lesbian Latina superwoman, was announced back in October, it was met with excitement, but also trepidation. There was no creative team announced — so who would they choose?

Fascinatingly, Marvel announced today via Refinery29 that the book would be written by Gabby Rivera, a YA author who wrote Juliet Takes a Breath about a Puerto Rican lesbian, and illustrated by Joe Quinones, an artist recently off the fantastic Howard the Duck book.

The interview with Rivera and Marvel editor Will Moss sheds a lot of light on the fact that Marvel deliberately reached out to her:

“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.”

Rivera also revealed that although she read graphic novels, she hadn’t heard of America Chavez before, but she had friends who did:

“Will and Charles [Beacham, assistant editor on America] sent me all the Young Avengers to read and catch up on, and to get a sense of what has been written about America. What I also found really helpful was that there’s a huge queer women and trans women comic book online community. And one of my friends is Mey Rude — she’s a queer trans Latina, and she writes about comics for Autostraddle. And so before anything was signed, I was like, ‘Hey, have you heard about this America Chavez character?’ And Mey was like, ‘Oh my God yes.’ And so through her I was able to get an idea of what fans of America would want, her stellar moments and where there was excitement around her character. And I was able to pull those thoughts into a first outline.”

The entire interview is fascinating and includes story points for the book, which is coming out in March 2017.