This Week in WWAC History: Summer Fun

stock: Calling All Kids 018, digital comics museum, Quality Comics, 1948

Summer officially began this past Monday in the U.S., and I’m happy it’s here because we have a great selection of articles with a summer theme. Whether it’s essays on the comic This One Summer, or our summer cosplay series, I think you’ll find something to read while you enjoy a lazy summer day with your favorite cold drink in hand.

This One Mother: Musings on Motherhood in Jillian and Mariko Tamaki’s This One Summer, May 10, 2015,

Released late last May, Jillian and Mariko Tamaki’s This One Summer has since been garnering a ton of critical acclaim, mainly due to its brilliant depiction of female adolescence. Though a lot of the discussion surrounding this book has centered on its two eagle-eyed pre-teen heroines Rose and Windy, the Tamakis’ languid summer narrative also presents us with (as other members of the WWAC community have noted) another equally intriguing character, Rose’s mother Alice. It made me really happy that a book that does such a wonderful job of exploring girlhood also offers such a compassionate study in motherhood. The Tamakis’ portrayal of Alice, in particular, really invites us to consider many of the complicated societal expectations placed on mothers, often at the expense of their selfhood. So, in celebration of Mother’s day, I thought I’d give Alice and the other mothers in this story their due.

That Alice is framed through her daughter’s eyes is one of the first things that struck me while I was reading this book.

This One Summer

Such a framing (and this particular ‘eye-opening’ memory of Rose’s) evokes the exact type of feelings that arise when a girl realizes that her mother, often the first superheroine that she will encounter in life, is actually fallible. This specific memory occurs in the midst of the book’s present-day story, which revolves around Rose’s now strained relationship with her mother. The water/womb imagery is also pretty clear here, and carries throughout the narrative, as Alice now refuses to go near the water due to a traumatic incident that is deeply tied to her identity as a mother. Throughout the story, Alice is still trying to cope with the lingering effects of this mysterious event, which, according to Rose, has something to do with infertility. Rose is convinced that her parents are still trying to have a second child, and has internalized this to mean that she is not a good enough daughter (especially after Windy’s comments that her own mother wanted only her because she is perfect.)  The resulting mother-daughter tension between Alice and Rose is beautifully rendered, the story’s atmosphere tinged with both Rose’s resentment and Alice’s obvious sadness. READ MORE

#WWACComicClub Recap: This One Summer, July 15, 2014,

On the first Monday of every month we meet up on Twitter for the #WWACComicClub. Last week we discussed This One Summer by Mariko and Jillian Tamaki.

this one summer

The response to this comic was unanimous. Everyone loved this simple yet heartfelt coming-of-age story and agreed that Jillian Tamaki’s art was the perfect companion to Mariko Tamaki’s writing.

As we got further into the chat we spoke at length about Rose’s mother – one of the more enigmatic of the characters. It was clear from the very beginning that she was going to provoke an emotional response, even if the reader is unsure why when they start reading.

One of the standout moments of the comic was what Mariko Tamaki has dubbed “the feminist showdown”: When Windy calls out Rose’s slut-shaming. One reader was a little disappointed when it wasn’t explored further but was nevertheess happy it was there.

WWACs Summer Cosplay Series (Recap of all articles), August 2, 2015,

For the month of July, the lifestyle section ran a series on cosplay in its many manifestations. As a diverse geek girl community who promotes intersectional feminism, we provided personal experiences and interviews in order to share a variety of experiences and thoughts on cosplay.

Although a lot of us cosplay here at WWAC, admittedly, many of us have never tried. Lindsey launched the series with her Fail Better about being a cosplay virgin and walked us through her own anxiety with trying cosplay. She perfectly captures all those multiple voices, such as worry-self, ruminator-self, and rational-self, that we have competing in our heads when we want to try something new and risky.

KM followed up with a WWAC Guide for New Cosplayers, which provided some empowering tips for battling those cosplay newbie anxieties:

“There are no authenticity police judging you on how closely your costume resembles the original character, so spice it up! Princess Thor? Zombie Ripley? Steampunk Commander Shepard? Pinup Snow White? Bring it on.”

Unfortunately, these “authenticity police” are often too real in cosplay. In some cases, cosplay is not even considered a legit geek activity at all, but the cosplayers we tracked down offered empowering messages on the importance of cosplaying for your own personal pleasure and for larger issues of diversity and representation in cosplay and the geek community at large.

Carly interviewed Celsius and Reina Valentine, who shared their experience as black cosplayers and how backhanded compliments like “good for a black [insert white character of choice]” is not a compliment, but is racist microagression at its worst.

This isn’t the first time we have talked race and cosplay though. A year and a half ago, Jamie explored the limited characters available for POC cosplayers who may want to represent a character of their own ethnic identity:

“But say it loud: I’m black and I’m proud! I should be able to represent one of my people in costume to thank creators for giving me representation and to show that like the Whos in Horton’s Whoville, we are here! For years, I’ve been hearing the repeated and disturbing idea that ‘black people don’t like comics and sci-fi anyway,’ and that makes it more important than ever to cosplay as somebody with brown skin.”

Briana Lawrence, Wonder Woman cosplay, photographed by Ilessthan3photography

Briana in her Wonder Woman cosplay, photographed by Wonder Woman Ilessthan3photography.

Emily interviewed the amazing Briana Lawrence who does stunning and fun twists on cosplay (see her Wonder Woman cosplay to the right), but also has dealt with slack from prejudiced folk. Briana’s advice:

“Just go out there and do it … I know some people worry about what others will think of their cosplay, and I understand that feeling, especially after getting my share of negative comments. Don’t let those comments get you down. I know it’s hard, because it’s really easy to focus on the negative, on the ‘what if someone makes fun of me.’ And, honestly, I do it too. I have that doubtful voice in my head. But then I remember all the fun I have and how amazing I feel when I’m walking around as these characters. That’s what you should focus on, and that’s what you should think about.” READ MORE


Melinda Pierce

Melinda Pierce

Contributor for WWAC, mother of 2 mini-geeks, writer, and girl geek. Dreams of having enough time to write Veronica Mars fanfiction. @melindabpierce