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Thursday, February 23, 2012

Ashley Hay: Mera!

Since it is Mera Month, we thought it was the perfect time to talk to one of the real-life Meras seen walking the floor at comic-cons! So today we're chatting with F.O.A.M. member and Mera fan Ashley Hay, who makes for one stunning Queen of the Seven Seas:

The Aquaman Shrine: So why do you like Mera so much over, say, other superheroines like Wonder Woman, Supergirl, etc.?

Ashley Hay: I enjoy most female comic characters but there was something about Mera that caught my attention right away. I enjoyed that she was brought into the comic because of Aquaman needed a queen but they made her just as powerful as her male counterpart. She doesn't necessarily follow the mold of many comic characters who go through crazy hard times and it makes them what they are and into a hero. She goes though hard times too but she has these powers from her native planet and comes to earth and decides to help her King keep order in the sea and around the world. She doesn't sit back and let her guy do everything. She is not the lead in the comic but she is just as important. I like that dynamic.

AMS: When did you first discover the character?

AH: When I started dating my now fiance. He had a bunch of Aquaman comics and I started reading them. I loved her right away and my affection for her and Aquaman only grew as I read on.

AMS: Mera is pretty unique among superheroines in that she's a superhero, a queen, a wife, and a mother--the latter trait being extremely rare in comics. Did any of these facets hold special resonance with you?

AH: I think it resonances for me because women wear so many hats these day and she has so many roles. I am not a mother, but I hope to be someday. I would like to be a working mother and I know how much work that will and can be. A relationship is also something you need to work at and she does all these thing and helps run a Kingdom. It is no small feet. Not to downplay Aquaman of course but most of the mother's I know work pretty dang hard and are superheroes in their own right.

AMS: When and how did you first decide to try your hand at Mera cosplay?
AH: I made the Aquaman costume for my fiance, Cole and then knew I wanted to do a Mera costume. I didn't know which of her costumes to do until I saw the Ame-Comi figure of her. I knew I wanted to do that version (slightly altered) but I would need some help. I got that help from awesome cosplayer BelleChere and I give her full credit for that costume. :) She is a seamstress wizard!

AMS: What kind of reaction do you get at cons when you're there as Mera?
AH: I think she will get more notice this coming year at SDCC because the New 52 were not out yet so she was a character not lots of people knew, plus I picked a costume based off a figure. Whether people knew the character or not they still really liked it. People that knew who I was were super impressed and so nice. I was lucky enough to met Jim Fletcher at the DC booth who designed the figure. We took pictures together and the sculptor came over and we all took even more photos. They were so cool!

AMS: Just how uncomfortable is that costume?!?

AH: It isn't that bad really but after a while the corset gets a little hard to keep wearing. You don't get a lot of breathing room so after seven hours I am ready to get out of it.

AMS: Do you collect any Mera merchandise? There's not a lot, but just a few years ago there was *nothing.*
AH: I have some stuff but most of it is custom stuff from Etsy like earrings. I would love a Mera shirt. All I have are Aquaman ones. I also have the Mera bust figurine and DC was awesome enough to send me the Ame-Comi figure I based my costume off of.

AMS: Do you have any thoughts/opinions on the Meras from other mediums? The cartoon versions, the one on Smallville?

AH: I like her in the cartoon but I have never seen Smallville so I am not sure. I think she gets portrayed appropriately in most mediums though.

AMS: Little kids don't necessarily know that they aren't seeing the "real" superheroes in front of them at cons or wherever. Did you get a lot of response from kids to your costume, or was it mostly adults who took notice?
AH: I get kids who think I am a mermaid and a few who know who I am. When Cole dresses up as Aquaman a lot more kids pay attention to him. I can't wait to get into our costumes together and go to our local con. Kids mostly love anyone in a costume it seems. :)

AMS: What do you think of Mera's increased presence in the DCU, post-Blackest Night?

AH: I love it! I am so happy she is getting more love and people are really starting to enjoy Aquaman and Mera again. She is a more serious character but she looks good and has her husband's back.

AMS: Anything you'd like to see done with the character in the future?

AH: More costumes!!! I know each character has their specific outfit but I would like to see her in some fun outfits, maybe even a dress or armor.



Wings1295 said...

Awesome interview! She seems like a cool lady and her costumes rock!

Earth 2 Chris said...

I have great admiration for these folks who take cosplay seriously. Most seem to really treasure the characters. The fact that most are good to kids makes me feel good as a dad too.


Russell said...

Does this Cole guy have ANY idea how lucky he is to meet this woman!?! Never let her go, man!!! ;-)

Alys said...

Ashley, Your costume is wonderful. The Ame-Comi versions are so difficult to translate to real life, you and BelleChere did an excellent job.

Ashley said...

Thank you everyone for the kind words. I am honored to be featured on this site! <3