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My publisher has agreed to give away my new minicomic with each preorder of Dragon's Breath and Other True Stories!

Note: This mini is not for sale. It is only available with preorders or if you've got a 2D Cloud subscription.
26 May 2014 @ 11:08 am
Hi, it’s Mari. How have you been?

I’ve been good. Busy. My days have been filled working on my next book, doing some side projects to pay the bills, scheduling my next three book tours, plus I’ve been dabbling a bit in animal rescue.

To be specific, I've been trapping/fixing/releasing (and feeding) some cats that were abandoned by their guardians in a house in my neighborhood (nice, huh?). If you know me at all, you know that I love me some animals, so this probably isn’t a surprise. Even so, it’s kind of turned my world upside down.

I intend to write more about this someday, suffice to say that helping others can be pretty overwhelming. And no matter how many you help, there will always be more.

I’ve noticed that some of the other volunteers seem to have contempt for those who don’t want to get involved, but I don't share their views. I can see the appeal of shutting one’s eyes and pretending there’s not a problem, la la la. Once you’ve opened your heart a little bit to those in need, so many more come flooding in. I’ve lost a lot of sleep in these last couple of weeks, but I can’t go back. My heart has been opened, for better or for worse. There’s no stopping it now.

But enough of all that. Let me tell you about some comics.


My publisher is now taking pre-orders for Dragon’s Breath and Other True Stories (coming out this September), and they also have a special bundle that includes a signed/numbered dust jacket/poster (limit: 100), designed by Raighne Hogan, plus my zine Said While Talking. The dust jacket is really lovely, despite the fact that my likeness is plastered all over it. More details here.

Pre-order without the dust jacket/poster and zine here.

They’ve also started releasing my 2015 graphic memoir, Turning Japanese, on the internet!
Part 1
Part 2


In my second attempt at animation, I spent hours and hours and hours and hours (this stuff takes a long time!) putting together a video of my short (true) story, “What’s New, Pussycat?” This video also serves as a book trailer for my upcoming book, Dragon’s Breath and Other True Stories. I worked really hard at it, and I think it looks nice. Please take a look.


Here’s a detail of painting I did, an ode to Seaman, which is a Sega Dreamcast video game I was intimately involved in the making of. This painting (or maybe the ink drawing version of it, I'm not sure yet) will be for sale at Giant Robot in Los Angeles in their Video Game Art Show exhibit.


If you follow me on Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram, or if you “like” my Facebook art page, you might have noticed me live-tweeting (for want of a better word) the creation of my next graphic novel. To see all the posts I’ve made so far, you can search Instagram or Tumblr under the hashtag #LosingtheGirlGN. Or just follow this link.

I’ve also been doing some illustrated reviews for the LA Review of Books.
1) Over Easy by Mimi Pond
2) On Loving Women by Diane Obomsawin


I participated in a blog tour, where I answered a few generic questions. This might be interesting to you if you care at all about artistic process. I enjoyed doing it because it gave me the opportunity to gush about my hero and friend, Rob Kirby. Take a look.


This Friday I’m doing a reading at Quimby’s in Chicago, with Elisha Lim and Mike Dawson.

Over the weekend at CAKE, from 2 to 4 each day, I’ll be signing books at the 2D Cloud table. During my signings, my publisher will be GIVING AWAY readers’ copies of my upcoming book, with the purchase of my zine and a dust jacket. But there are ONLY TEN COPIES, so it’s first come, first serve! You can see the dust jacket/poster here.

Next week, my video game art (see above) will be featured in a show at Giant Robot in Los Angeles.

The week after that, I’ll be on a panel at the Mixed Remix Festival, at the Japanese American Museum in Los Angeles.

This Fall, I will be touring the East Coast, SF Bay Area, and the Pacific Northwest.

All event details can be found on my website.

Thanks so much for reading. Feel free to drop me an email or leave me a comment and let me know how you’re doing. I’d love to hear from you.

Your pal,
Current Location: San Francisco
Current Mood: happyhappy
12 February 2014 @ 02:12 pm
Hello. I have some happy things to share with you today.

1. OMG

In case you didn’t hear me shouting it off the rooftops, I’m thrilled to announce that Minneapolis-based publisher 2D Cloud will be publishing my collection of Rumpus comics and more, in a book titled Dragon’s Breath and Other True Stories (It has its own Facebook page here.). Dragon’s Breath will come out this fall, and then my next graphic memoir, Turning Japanese, will come out in 2015 (also through 2D Cloud), which means: Conventions! Readings! Promotions! Travel! BOOK TOUR! It’s all very exciting. I mean overwhelming. I mean exciting.

Part of me can’t wait to get this thing started. Another part of me wants to hire a body double so that SHE can go put herself out there while I get to curl up with my menagerie and read comics. It’s a lovely thought, but mostly I’m just excited. I mean overwhelmed.

2. Talking about stuff

I got interviewed by Whit Taylor of Panel Patter. We talked about how it feels to be working with a small publisher, the benefits of dropping out of school, and my one stinky armpit. Read it here.

3. Writing my butt off

I’ve been happily struck with the writing bug. I’ve published four new essays since December, in which I’ve tackled some very personal subjects including the time I recently got sexually harassed on a panel (!!), my love-sad relationship with arachnids, why forgiveness isn’t for everybody, and a job interview that involved a tiny red butt plug. This thrilling streak of prose prompted me to create a page on my website just for my writing. If you want to make me very happy, or just kill some time, please read and make comments on my essays. Nice comments, I mean. Or thoughtful ones. Well, you know what I mean. Take a look.

4. Stalking my publisher

Here’s a cute blog post Raighne Hogan (one of my publishers at 2D Cloud) did after our stint at the LA Art Book Fair. I kind of stalked him and his wife Meghan, which you can see by how many photos I show up in.

5. Coming up

I’ve got a ton of readings and appearances coming up, including a Valentine’s Day reading at Giant Robot (this Friday!) and a solo presentation at my neighborhood SoCal library. Plus stuff in San Francisco (City Lights book release party in September!), Long Beach, Chicago, Maryland, and more. I’ll be adding even more to this list as I book stuff, so please keep an eye on my web page for an event near you. And please let me know if you know of a college, bookstore, zine fest, reading series or whatnot you think I’d be a good fit for.

Well, that’s all I’ve got for you today. Thanks for reading!

08 February 2014 @ 11:48 am
TMI alert: I wrote about masturbation and surviving in San Francisco as a barely-employed person. Check it out at the Weeklings.
15 January 2014 @ 01:43 pm
I was interviewed by Whit Taylor of Panel Patter. Check it out to read about the benefits of working with a small publisher, why I quit school, and my one stinky armpit. Also, we reveal the new book cover design for Dragon’s Breath and Other True Stories!
11 December 2013 @ 10:43 am
Dragon's Breath and Other True Stories
I'm so excited to finally announce this! My comics from The Rumpus and beyond will soon be collected in a book! Follow the link to read more about 2D Cloud's 2014 Spring lineup.
Current Mood: Happy
03 December 2013 @ 12:52 pm
Hello there,

It has finally cooled down around here, much to my relief. More tea is being consumed, the kittens (who are really cats now, but they still act, sound and poop like kittens) are super cuddly, and I've finally gotten to try out the fireplace. Ahhhhhh.
I've got a few things to share with you today, and then I'll let you go on your merry way.

* At long last, I've finally finished drawing my next graphic memoir, Turning Japanese! It's a story about how, in my early twenties, I attempted to connect with my Asian-ness by working at Japanese hostess bars in San Jose and Tokyo. Portions of the book will start appearing online in early 2014, and will eventually be printed as a book by 2D Cloud in early 2015. I'll let you know when that happens. :)

* I wrote an essay and it got published on the Weeklings! It's about the time I got featured on a national cable TV show, and hijinks ensued. My first published essay, how exciting!

* I added some merchandise to my online store, including TWO NEW ZINES (Said While Talking and my Alison Bechdel interview in zine form), some reprints, and a silk-screened FEMINIST TOTE BAG. Take a look, and place your order while supplies last!

* I'll be in some shows in December, including the Eastside Zine Fair, the Giant Robot Post-It show and GR's print show, all in Los Angeles. Email me if you want details.

That's all I've got for you today. I hope you're staying warm and happy, and please feel free to drop me a line and tell me what's what. :)


Current Mood: happyhappy
23 September 2013 @ 06:30 pm
<You can read about my life up here, or scroll down for links to comics, upcoming events, kitten pictures and more.>

I don’t follow a lot of blogs, but I’ve read enough of them to read the words, “Sorry I haven’t updated my blog in a while…” more times than I can count. This has always struck me as silly, as I’m fairly certain that the only person who is aware of the length of time between one blog post and the next is the actual blogger, with the exception of the occasional stalker. So I’m not going to start off this update with that sentiment, despite the fact that I haven’t written for almost three months. No, I’m not sorry.

What I’ve been doing, in a nutshell:

For the entire month of July, I taught an MFA in Comics workshop in San Francisco, at CCA. It was challenging, all that teaching. There were surprises:
~ For one thing, the students didn’t fall in love with the reading material I assigned. Quite the opposite, in a few cases. It really made me think. Those books I assigned, I consider perfection. How could anyone not adore perfection? I suppose it’s true what they say, that you can’t please everybody.
~ I grew attached to every single student in that class, even the ones I think might hate me. I’m a little bit devastated that I don’t get to spend all my time with them anymore, that my exposure to them will be relegated to Facebook, emails, and perhaps (if I’m lucky) the occasional hang-out. Each person was magnificent in their own way, and as a group, they were a force to be reckoned with.
~ Teaching? It was really fucking hard. I got pretty much none of my other work done during that time.
~ Matt Silady, the head of the department, is now one of my favorite people.

All month long, it was great to breathe in the foggy, urine-scented air, as well as see the loved ones I’d left behind in SF, even though I didn’t get nearly enough time with them. Even though I was there a whole month, I ended up with very little spare time. There were people I consider good friends I didn’t even get to see, not even once. A month seems like a lot of time, but it isn’t. Not really.

While I was in San Francisco, an old friend suddenly died, someone I’d drifted away from, but had always intended to reconnect with at some point, when we became less busy. He was a wonderful young man with a bright future, taken way before he should have been. At the end of July, his family and friends threw him a wake. I never know what to do at these things. On one hand, I was surrounded by other friends I’d drifted away from, and part of me wanted to talk to them (I didn’t), hug them (I did), reconnect. On the other hand, ugh. I ended up just sitting there for most of the time, staring at his old leather jacket, his photography. I hadn’t even known he’d gotten so deep into taking pictures. He was good. Really fucking good.

After the wake, I picked up my mother-in-law and drove her to a going-away brunch my sister was throwing me. She told me, there was some bad news. A death in the family, one we had been expecting for a while but even so, for some reason that doesn’t make things any less sad. I’d gotten to know this family member pretty well over emails. His passing was a stab to my heart. And then , I got a phone call from my husband in LA. One of our cats was very sick, all of a sudden.

Our cat Hugo wasn’t old. He was only twelve. He’d been healthy when I left. In fact, I considered taking him with me to San Francisco, I knew I’d miss him so much. I’m glad I didn’t, or I would’ve blamed myself. Hugo died of something liver-related the day after I returned home. I like to think he was holding on, so we could cuddle together one last time.

A couple days later, I turned forty. I always imagined I’d have a big, blow-out celebration for my fortieth birthday, but instead that day was spent mourning and packing.

A day after that, my husband left the country on a business trip, and the day after that, I left the country myself, to Akumal, Mexico, for a writer’s retreat with Radar Labs (the same folks who jettisoned my book KISS & TELL: A ROMANTIC RESUME with inclusion on the Sister Spit tour).

In Akumal, I was surrounded by some stellar talent: my roommates, writers Elissa Perry and Dia Felix; cartoonist and personal hero, Phoebe Gloeckner; poet Samuel Ace; writers Beth Lisick, Ali Liebegott and Alvin Orloff; and our care-giver, Beth Pickens (who ended up injuring herself right before we got there, suddenly turning her partner Ali into our care-giver). There, in the humid, gorgeous condo-on-the-beach and surrounded by strangers and acquaintances, I stifled a nervous breakdown and existential crisis and got some god-damned work done. It was gorgeous. It was painful. It was like being in a paradise prison. I desperately missed my husband—we hadn’t had time to reconnect, we’d seen so little of each other over the past month, and those few days together, we spent mourning. I hadn’t had time to grieve for Hugo. I missed my dogs so much I ached. One hung-over day, I was feeling particularly vulnerable. On one hand I was kicking ass on my book. On the other, I’d spent a month missing Hugo, and then he died. I worried that if I looked forward to seeing my husband or my animals or even my friends and family, that something bad would happen. Looking forward to something doesn’t ensure that it’s necessarily going to happen, and that froze me. I was afraid to count the days, in case there were no more days. It was an incredibly dark couple weeks, but it was also amazing, epic, actually. (Those last three words are an inside joke for my Akumal roommates, who I doubt will ever read this, but I put it in anyway. Inside jokes are something that happen when you’re confined with people you’re trying to get friendly with for an extended amount of time. It’s weird how that happens.)

But then I went home. I worked on my book some more, a lot. I’m still working on the book. I did a lot of sitting around with my husabnd and the remaining animals, snuggling and drawing. It was wondrous, therapeutic. And then, during my sister’s weekend-long visit to our new home, we fell in love with some kittens, and soon after adopted them.

I can’t tell you how much joy and love these little creatures have brought to us. It’s like being infatuated, my body full of endorphins non-stop, a perma-smile on my face. Me constantly taking pictures (I’ve taken hundreds each day—so happy for digital cameras). And it was really good.

Then suddenly, our remaining older cat got very sick—Hugo’s reluctant companion, Batface. The day we decided it was serious and to take her to the vet was the same day my husband was leaving on a business trip to Europe. That was last week, and holy shit, what a horrible week that was! Nobody could tell us what was wrong with her. Stress? Something more nefarious? On Wednesday I was speeding down unfamiliar Los Angeles roads, sobbing my eyes out, driving her from the vet to an animal hospital to get emergency surgery. You know what sucks in LA? Driving. And crying while doing so.

She didn’t get the surgery. In fact, she has made almost a full recovery (pancreatitis, giardia), which is good. “Good,” of course, is not an adequate word to describe the relief I feel in not having one more loved one to mourn. “There are no words” is a ridiculously trite thing to say, but it’s true. There literally aren’t. I didn’t think she would make it, she was in such bad shape. I didn’t think I would make it. Just remembering five days ago makes me hold my breath and the muscles in my shoulders ache. I can’t take much more loss, but I know that this is just the beginning. Nobody’s going to live forever, and the longer I stick around, the more heartache and loss there will be. I know that this is a best-case scenario, but I’d appreciate if people would stop dying long enough for me to catch my breath.

Okay, thanks. Now here’s the good stuff:

This is the first comic I ever made, about an unrequited crush.
Daniel (1997)

A kind-of-gross comic, about my experience with birth control pills.
The Pill (1998 or so)

Body image and the media (NSFW-ish) (you’ll need a free Tapastic account to read this)
Superbowl Sunday (1998-ish)

This short comic first appeared in an Action Girl Comics Valentine’s Day issue.
Love Is…  (1999)

Comic/poem (read my comment at the bottom for some bizarre trivia)
Little Boy Blue (2002)

Oversleeping yoga

If you’re interested in lots of pictures of kittens and pups, you can follow:
The Menagerie’s Facebook page:
My Instagram account:
My Tumblr account:

Brodie Foster Hubbard interviewed me on his Shakeytown Radio podcast. You can listen to me ramble here:


I’m very excited to have a story in HENRY & GLENN FOREVER & EVER #3, which is essentially a romance comic/fanzine about Henry Rollins and Glenn Danzig.

I’ve also got a couple pieces in Northwest Press’s new anthology about bisexuality, ANYTHING THAT LOVES, including a water-colored story about the first time I was attracted to a woman, and the silly way I dealt with that.

I also have a one-page contribution in THE BIG FEMINIST BUT, a feminist comics anthology that I believe even a misogynist could appreciate.

I have a few events coming up! If you’re interested in getting more information about any of them, please email me at [marinaomi at pobox dot com]


September 26, 2013, 7 pm to 9 pm
L.A. Zine Fest presents: Zinextraveganza! A night of bad-ass poetry, comics and zinesters
Readings by MariNaomi, Zoe Ruiz, Dylan A. Doren, Tomas Moniz Jaylee Alde, Brodie Foster Hubbard, Jessica Garrison and Bianca Barragan at The Last Bookstore, 453 S. Spring Street (main entrance is around the corner on 5th), Los Angeles
NOTE: I wrote an essay just for this reading, and I’m very nervous-xcited to share it with real-live people! If you can make it out to this event, I will love you forever. Or, you know. I’ll be happy that you’re there.

September 29, 2013, sometime in the A.M.
West Hollywood Book Fair panel/book signing for Anything That Loves

Details TBA

November 2013
Cartoonists panel for Anything that Loves, Comikaze Expo
Details TBA

November 2013
Queer Art Show, Bent Con
Details TBA


October 13, 2013
Queer Cartoonists panel at the Alternative Press Expo
Concourse Exhibition Center, San Francisco, CA
Details TBA

October 13, 2013, 7 pm
The Big Feminist BUT comics reading, with Joan Reilly and others!
Mission Comics and Art, 3520 20th St., San Francisco, CA

Okay, I suppose this is why I should send monthly updates, as I have so freaking much to share. For that, I’m sorry for not updating since June. I really am.

Until October. Or maybe January…

30 June 2013 @ 03:45 pm
Hello, friend!

Oh wow, has it really been over two months since my last “monthly” newsletter? I’ve had a busy time, particularly with a giant move. Since then, I’ve been settling in, making new friends, reconnecting with old ones, checking out the art scene, etc. But mostly I’ve been working on my next book and preparing for the comics course I’ll be teaching soon. Oh man, I’ve been busting my ass getting all these lectures and assignments ready, including doing mini interviews with some cartoonists I’ll be lecturing about, heroes of mine I’ve had the fortune of meeting in person here and there. That’s one great thing about the comics community: It’s small, and you’re likely to run into your heroes at some point, if you stick with it long enough. And some of them are really really nice.

During these past couple of hectic months, I’ve still managed to post some stuff to the internet every so often.


In Case of Emergency
I created this comic for John Isaacson’s transportation anthology in 2008. (Warning: The subject matter is a bit disturbing.)

The Proposal
This is a comic I made about proposing to my husband. I created it about a year ago for 2D Cloud’s Little Heart anthology (for marriage equality). This comic is how I “met” 2D Cloud, who will be serializing and publishing my next graphic memoir, Turning Japanese.

The Rebound
I made this comic in 2007 for Paper Rocket Press’s This Isn’t Working: Comics About Ex-Boyfriends in 2011. It’s about probably my worst boyfriend ever.

This silly one-panel comic of mine got picked up by the popular online magazine, Jezebel. What a fun day that was! Especially reading all the comments on their site.

Said While Talking: Little Napoleon
Gary and I get cute.

Said While Talking: Recycled Fashion
More cuteness with me and Gary.

Euphemisms = Love
Can you stand even more Gary/Mari cuteness? This one is circa 2009, but still rings true.


2D Cloud recently published this small anthology of comics about gender and body, to which I donated a one-pager. It’s only $10.
Look for more of my comics soon in Anything that Loves (Northwest Press, Summer 2013), Rob Kirby’s QU33R (Northwest Press, Fall 2013), and Henry & Glenn Forever (Microcosm Publishing, Fall 2013). You can also see my artwork on the cover of Anne Elizabeth Moore’s new book, New Girl Law (out now, Microcosm Publishing)—here’s a preview.


I did an interview for this month’s Hyphen Magazine (Issue 27: The Sex Issue). Here’s a short preview, but if you can, check out the full article. The website provides a list of where you can get your hands on it.

Also, my floating cartoon head was included in a collage in SF Bay Guardian’s HOT PINK LIST 2013: Comics Geeks. What an honor!


Some art I made for Truthout’s Ladydrawers is currently up at Chicago’s Averill and Bernard Leviton A+D Gallery, in a show titled “SEX.MONEY.RACE.GENDER.” Here is a PDF of the catalogue, including comics!

My next reading is scheduled for September in Los Angeles (for the LA Zine Fest), but I’ll let you know about that closer to the date.

Up next:

JULY 2013
I’ll be teaching that MFA in Comics course at CCA. I’m so excited about this class, and I’m so thrilled I’ll be back in my beloved San Francisco!

I’m turning forty!

AUGUST  2013
I’m going away to Akumal, Mexico, for an artist retreat with Radar Labs! I’ll be accompanied by some amazing talent, including Beth Lisick, Ali Liebegott and Phoebe Gloeckner. (!!!!)  Hopefully I’ll manage to get work done and won’t be completely blinded by their brilliance.

Wish me luck, and I’ll talk to ya soon!

20 April 2013 @ 02:09 pm

I have some exciting news. My next book, “Turning Japanese,” is going to be published by the awesome Minneapolis-based 2D Cloud.

Here’s the press release.

To celebrate this, I’m giving away a custom-made avatar to a lucky raffle winner. You should enter. It’s free.

New publisher, new home, new dog. It’s been an exhilarating and chaotic month. But what’s more important:


Smoke In Your Eyes – Coalinga (sad)
This will be the last in my Rumpus series, at least until after my book comes out (I’ll let you know when we figure out a date for that).

Smoke In Your Eyes – remastered (sad)
I’ve improved the quality (dpi) of some of my favorite SIYE’s and put them on Tapastic. Please give them another read. I’m putting them up weekly.

Frisco al Fresco – The Write Stuff
This is a short comic I made for the Women’s Review of Books a couple of years back. Re-configured and re-“printed” on the internet.

Frisco al Fresco – Safari West (review)
I visited this wild Santa Rosa animal sanctuary on a rainy day, and this is how it went.

Said While Talking – Omnivore (humor)
A post-mortem of my breakup from the hippie.

Said While Talking – Raindrops Keep Fallin’ on My Head (humor)
Little dogs and why they’re scared of the rain.

Said While Talking – The True Meaning of Rap Lyrics (humor)
A little something about sexism in the music industry.

Said While Talking – Incontinence and Romance (humor)
This is what romance looks like in my household.

Said While Talking – Happily Ever After (humor)
The origin story of me and my husband!

Said While Talking – Baby Talk (humor)
Here’s where I embarrass myself in front of strangers. As per usual.


Los Angeles:

I’ll be doing a reading in Los Angeles on May 9, 2013. Email me if you want details. (I don’t have details yet.)

San Francisco:

On May 17, 2013, Radar Productions will be throwing a fundraising party to benefit the Radar Lab (writer’s retreat), which I’ll be attending in August. I am going to try to attend this San Francisco event, and I hope to see you there. Here’s the Facebook link.

Thanks for reading, and I hope you’re having a lovely day!



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