‘Hawkeye’ Kate Bishop drops by for a two-part escapade!

In our humble opinion, America Chavez and Kate Bishop have one of the best friendships in the Marvel Universe. They always seem to really enjoy each other’s company, and they show up for one another when things get rough. In the upcoming AMERICA issues #5 and #6, we’ll see the two buddies teaming up, and facing down some challenges from America’s past.

We spoke to editor Wil Moss and associate editor Sarah Brunstad about all the Amerikate goodness we can look forward to in this two-part story.

Marvel.com: Why do you think everyone loves America and Kate’s friendship so much?

Wil Moss: I think it in part has to do with the fact that they’re very open with each other. They like each other a lot, and that comes through in their exchanges. I think it makes their friendship feel real.

Sarah Brunstad: And they’re really honest with each other, which is the best kind of girl friendship.

Wil Moss: And they each need someone like that in their lives. America almost checks Kate sometimes a little bit, and with America, Kate kind of brings her down, grounds her a little bit.

Sarah Brunstad: That really is a big part of this two-part story: getting America to open up about all of the things that have been happening to her, about being the leader of the Ultimates and the kind of pressure that’s on her. And she opens up with Kate in a way that she doesn’t with practically anyone else.

Wil Moss: The story opens up with her going to Kate’s to unwind. She goes to Kate’s because she needs to download; she needs to not be “America Chavez” for a couple minutes.

Marvel.com: We’ve seen both America and Kate going through a lot of changes lately, entering new chapters, and striking out on their own. Do you think they can support each other through all that turbulence? Does teaming up feel a little like coming home for them?

Wil Moss: Yeah, probably so. America has started this journey of self-discovery, both at Sotomayor University and also with the new aspects of her powers that she’s learning about in the AMERICA series. And Kate with her private eye practice. They’re both going on these new paths. It’s like when you go home and see your high school friends for the first time during your freshman year in college; it’s important to have that person in your life who can be the same when you’re going through a lot of changes.

Sarah Brunstad: Yeah, there’s no gap there.

Marvel.com: I think the fact that America and Kate really seem to get each other really contributes to the strength of their friendship. They both care deeply about others and they have big hearts, but they also both love snarkiness and kicking butt.

Sarah Brunstad: Absolutely. This whole story is really kind of a buddy story in that way. We wanted to embrace that. And the first arc of America’s new series is really action packed, there’s a lot that happens, she discovers a lot about her life. And in this arc—there’s still a lot going on, there’s a lot of action and she needs to deal with this crush that she’s got—but we really enjoyed being able to let her breathe and let them enjoy each other’s company for a little bit.

Wil Moss: Yeah, there are some big problems in this story, for sure! They don’t just sit around and talk! Things go south real quick, and it’s a lot of fun for both characters.

America #5 cover by Jen Bartel

Marvel.com: Without giving too much away, Kate and America are will face a new threat in AMERICA #5. What challenges can we expect to see them going up against?

Wil Moss: As Sarah mentioned, we meet somebody from America’s past. We don’t know much about America’s past. We basically know about her origin, that she left the Utopian Parallel and then, and then the in-between years, we don’t know as much about. So we meet someone from America’s past who’s a crush, a prior relationship—this girl whom America reconnects with while she’s on this trip to go see Kate. And that old flame brings nothing but trouble. That’s what really gets the story going. There are boxing matches with super villains; there’s a lot packed into this two-part story.

And I’d also like to talk about the art. Joe Quinones is the main artist on the series. We’ve got this two-parter where Ramon Villalobos our guest artist, and our guest colorist is Tamara Bonvillain. Ramon is amazing. He loves America the character and it comes through in his art, which has hyper detailed visuals and great layouts. He just gets America’s character and you can tell right away. He did a nice variant for AMERICA #3. He’s killing it on these two issues.

Marvel.com: And America has such a great sense of style. She seems like a fun character to work on from a visual perspective.

Sarah Brunstad: Yeah, I know Joe has a lot of fun with the fashion in every issue. He always brings that to the supplementary characters, also. He has really fun designs. The Betas, the sorority sisters America interacts with, are all kind of playing off of the same elements. There’s a lot of pop culture going on between writer Gabby Rivera and Joe. The whole thing is just really visually exciting.

Marvel.com: What did you enjoy most about working on this story arc?

Wil Moss: It’s its own, stand-alone thing, so anyone who hasn’t read the book so far can dive in pretty easily. But at the same time, it advances the larger story that Gabby’s telling, the mystery of who has been behind a lot of the trouble that America has run into in the opening four issues. And that’s part of why she goes to see Kate, because she wants to use her detective skills to help her figure some stuff out. And also, the second part, issue #6, ends with a pretty big revelation for America that upends a lot of stuff she things she knows. So the story is going to leave a mark.

Sarah Brunstad: It has also been really fun getting Gabby and Kelly Thompson, the writer of HAWKEYE, to work together. It’s a great collaboration. Kelly knows Kate’s voice instantly, and has been able to have a lot of fun with Gabby in putting this together.

Wil Moss: We’re calling Kelly our archery consultant. If Gabby’s at the stick driving the car—it’s a bad metaphor—but we’ve been talking with Kelly a lot about getting Kate’s voice, and it has been great.

Marvel.com: Would you like to tease or mention anything else?

Sarah Brunstad: Issue #7 is going to be really exciting, just to plug that for a second! We’re going to go back and tell America’s origin which, as Wil said, has never really been told before. We know what happened with the Utopian Parallel, but we don’t really know anything else about her young life. That issue is going to have a cast of several different guest artists.

Wil Moss: Some cool guest artists for sure! We’ve got Annie Wu, Jen Bartel, Joe Quinones, Chris Visions, and a couple other people. And Joe Quinones is returning in number full to the book with issue #8, to pick up the next big arc. We do want to highlight that Joe Quinones is coming back, he’s not gone.

It all gets started in AMERICA #5 by Gabby Rivera and Ramon Villalobos, available July 19!

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Miss America Chavez takes control in her own ongoing series from Gabby Rivera and Joe Quinones!

Many of us consider America Chavez one of our favorite characters. She has an independent streak and a strong sense of self that resonate with a lot of readers.

And now, she has her own series!

We caught up with writer Gabby Rivera and artist Joe Quinones on what it has been like to work on this fan favorite and what to expect when AMERICA launches in March of 2017.

Marvel.com: America has a very loyal fan base, and many readers have been hoping to see her in her own book for some time. What do you think makes her so popular?

Gabby Rivera: From talking to some of my friends who love America, I think people find her identity and her attitude appealing. They like that she’s Latina, and that’s she’s queer. And not only that, I see her as kind of a tough girl, and I think people like that. It reminds me of that old Michelle Rodriguez movie, “Girlfight,” where she plays a boxer. Many of the experiences coming up in this country now have relevance to America’s story. And the folks we’re trying to uplift, support, and watch shine can relate to her.

Joe Quinones: I’m one of those readers! I fell in love with the character while reading Jamie McKelvie and Kieron Gillen’s amazing run on YOUNG AVENGERS and have since both wanted to draw her and see her carry her own book. I think her popularity stems from three things: her uncompromising tough girl demeanor, her sense of fashion, and the representation she imparts to LGBTQ, Latina, and female communities. Yet these aspects of her character don’t completely define her. Instead, behind her tough exterior, we find a person who cares for her fellow man and friends and will fight for and protect them fiercely.

Marvel.com: A lot of fans really love America’s friendship with Kate Bishop, who also has an upcoming book of her own. Do you envision any crossovers?

Gabby Rivera: I’ll say to readers that they should look out for a little Kate Bishop in this book. Anything is possible!

Joe Quinones: I consider Kate my other favorite character from YOUNG AVENGERS. Given their past, we can expect at least some appearances from Kate here. No plans as yet for a crossover, but I had such fun doing the Howard the Duck/Squirrel Girl crossover with Chip Zdarsky, Ryan North, and Erica Henderson. I’d certainly enjoy doing one again with two of my favorite characters. And I so look forward to Kelly Thompson and Leonardo Romero’s HAWKEYE series, so color me interested.

Marvel.com:  Now that we’ll get to see America’s character explored a little more deeply, what can we expect to see that maybe we couldn’t have seen before she had her own book?

Gabby Rivera: I’m finding in my research that readers want to know everyday things about her. What kind of music does she listen to? What books does she read? What goofy character traits or nuances haven’t been fleshed out before? I’ve had fun writing that part of her, because I can do anything. She could listen to Oasis, she could like knitting—not that I’ve put those things in the book. But I’ve enjoyed the endless potential.

A big chunk of the book will show her going to college and searching for connections to her family. At her age, the transition from childhood to adulthood, you want to figure out not only, “what do I find interesting, what do I want to study?” but also, “where do I come from?” and, “what didn’t I learn in school that I want to study in university?” In this book, we’ll get to see how these things she learns and the classes she takes impact the way she approaches learning about herself, where her ancestors come from, and what she can really do with her powers.

Joe Quinones: I think we can expect to further peer behind her hard exterior and get a sense of what drives her. We find her looking outside of the world she has known and hoping to grow.

Marvel.com: What do you think this boost in visibility for America says about the direction of representation in comics?

Gabby Rivera: I just recently visited the Marvel headquarters for the first time, and it’s as dope as you’d imagine! Sana Amanat, the Director of Content and Character Development, is a badass woman of color! Walking into that space and talking to everyone there, I could tell that Marvel wants authentic voices and real people who feel invested in this type of work and this type of writing. They’ve brought on Roxanne Gay and Ta-Nehisi Coates, oh my god! I feel beyond humbled and honored to be a part of this world, where they create books dedicated not only to the craft of comics, but also to uplifting voices, and breaking down racism, sexism, and homophobia. It feels big. And I feel excited that readers will get to see this story at this time in our country.

Joe Quinones: We still have a long way to go, but I see a heartening trend toward better representation in the industry. You can’t underestimate the impact of seeing yourself reflected back in the culture. It says you have importance. It says you matter. You too can achieve great things. The doors are not closed to you. The ceiling is not too high.

Marvel.com: The events of Civil War II hit America pretty hard. Will that affect her story in the new book?

Gabby Rivera: We’ll see her doing a lot of reflection, but through a fun story that’s unique to America. We’ll get to know more about her and how some of her past experiences shape her decisions to go to college, and to try to kind of break away from the super hero scene for a while.

Joe Quinones: Certainly. Given the way Civil War II played out, America has found herself a bit disillusioned and looking outside of the super hero community.

Marvel.com: Can you tell us a little about your experience collaborating together?

Gabby Rivera: We’re still in the early stages, and it feels kind of like your first week of school, when there’s a lot excitement about finding yourself in this new space. Joe creates stunning work—wait until you see it! I really enjoy working with someone of his skill level and artistry. And I love the way that he draws America. Her body is powerful and her clothing is fresh and sexy, but not sexualized.

And as someone working on my first comic, I love seeing the art turn from pencil sketches to fully inked, vibrant work. I’m enjoying learning the ins and outs of this process. I’ve felt really supported [through] all of it.

Joe Quinones: While Gabby continues fine-tuning her script, I’ve been working on designs for the book. I feel very excited by what I’ve seen so far. She clearly has got a feel for America’s voice. I so look forward to working with her further.

Marvel.com: What have you found unique or interesting about working on AMERICA?

Gabby Rivera: Personally, I’ve found it a wonderful challenge. Marvel didn’t tap me for this because I write comics; I don’t write comics, I write quirky, coming of age novels. I’ve really enjoyed taking that style and aesthetic—my kind of goofy, weird stuff—and using that to explore a character who has super powers. Also, working with America, I’ve had so much free space in terms of figuring out what exactly she can do with her powers, and how she does it. And I’ve loved having the chance to write a book that’s pro-women and pro-people of color. I can say, “I want to make this professor of America’s Afro-Latina and I want her to do x, y, and z,” and the people at Marvel tell me, “Yeah, do it! Run with it!”

Joe Quinones: I’ve never spent so much time looking up crop jackets in my life. America has such a unique and definitive style, so I’ve been researching and designing outfits for her that are new but still line up with her uncommonly patriotic fashion sense. I’ve had fun with it.

Marvel.com: Would you like to tease anything else about the book?

Gabby Rivera: Readers should get ready for a cameo from Storm!

Joe Quinones: HOWARD THE DUCK saw the introduction of my cat Biggs into the 616. I hope to introduce at least one other favorite pet of mine into the Marvel Universe. Time will tell…

Join Gabby Rivera and Joe Quinones in casting your vote for AMERICA beginning in March 2017!

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