Writer and performance artist Mariko Tamaki is one of the breakout talents of her generation. She recently published the YA novel Saving Montgomery Sole through Roaring Brook Press, and her 2014 original graphic novel This One Summer, co-authored by her cousin Jillian Tamaki, made history last year as the first comics work to win both the prestigious Caldecott Honor for exceptional picture art and the Printz Honor for best Young Adult literature. The book also won an Eisner and an Ignatz!
In recognition of her tremendous success, ComicsAlliance talked with Tamaki for a career-spanning interview about Saving Montgomery Sole, This One Summer, her performance art, and the importance of queer characters and stories in her work --- starting with a look back at Skim, the Tamakis' groundbreaking story of a Japanese-Canadian outsider at a Catholic girls' school.
Once again, adults are panicking at the very idea that kids might be allowed to read a comic book that accurately portrays the lives of other kids their age. In this case it's happening in Seminole County, Florida, where schools and local media have discovered that Jillian and Mariko Tamaki's award-winning This One Summer might not be appropriate for Third Graders, and are using that to justify keeping it out of the hands of the high schoolers at whom it's primarily aimed, and for whom it's entirely appropriate.
The 27th Annual Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards took place at the Indigo Ballroom at the Hilton Bayfront San Diego on Friday night, and it was a great night for diversity, for women in comics, for comics aimed at a younger audience, and for the future of the industry.
Publishers Weekly released findings from their comics retailer survey last week, and once more all signs point to growth, particularly in regards to female readers. This is great news not just for people who care about representation in comics, but for people who care about the health of the comics industry. An influx of younger readers of any gender is what the comics industry needs so that publishers can engage them and keep them reading for years to come. It seems like a wide variety of publishers are getting this job done.
The American Library Association (ALA) announced their yearly awards today in conjunction with the ALA Midwinter Conference in Chicago. In a groundbreaking move, a Newbery Honor has been awarded to cartoonist Cece Bell for her graphic novel El Deafo. This is the first time a Newbery Honor has ever been awarded to a comic. At the same awards, Jillian and Mariko Tamaki won a Caldecott Honor and a Printz Honor for their graphic novel This One Summer.
Jillian Tamaki’s work is a triumph of contradiction. It is lush, yet spare. Emotional, yet understated. Detailed, yet intriguingly simple. It is, at all times, astonishingly good. While reading This One Summer, which she created with her cousin, writer Mariko Tamaki, I found myself regularly putting the book down to better absorb the power of her pen. “Look at this!” I said, thrusting the book at nearby friends. “Look at that ocean! Look at those hands! Look at this part, where she does that flowy thing with the hair!” And my friends would look, and nod, and ask where I’d bought my copy so they could get one too.
As I strolled the aisles of the 2014 Small Press Expo, talk of Tamaki’s work was everywhere. Other creators I interviewed name-dropped This One Summer. Fans referenced Super Mutant Magic Academy, her soon-to-be-print-published webcomic, as a favorite. Aspiring artists called her an inspiration. She became, over the course of the weekend, an Ignatz Award winner. In the midst of this well-earned celebration, ComicsAlliance sat down with her to talk success, adolescence, and what’s coming next.
We may still be in the thick of spring, but First Secondis getting ready for the May 6 release of This One Summer by writer Mariko Tamakiand artist Jillian Tamaki, prolific Canadian cousins known for a variety of solo works on top of their 2008 collaboration, the graphic novel Skim.
Set in a quiet beach town, This One Summer shows readers the culmination of preteen Rose's vacation, which deviates from its annual fun-in-the-sun standard and comes peppered with new parental problems, local teen drama and horror movie-watching. You can get some insight into how the Tamakis' worked together to craft a coming-of-age story for 2014 in our full interview after the jump.
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