2012 Year in Review

Pictured: The key to happiness (apparently).

At the end of July 2011, I started teaching English in Japan for the second time. The first time was from 2003 to 2006; this experience that served as a basis for my ongoing graphic novel Tonoharu. I enjoy teaching (for the most part), but that’s not why I returned to it

As documented on this blog, I spent a couple years drawing comics full time. This endeavor was fairly successful when looked at through a certain lens. It spawned two sold out printings, a decent amount of media coverage, and French and Spanish language editions of my work.

But unfortunately, it wasn’t as successful in financial terms. I managed to make *some* money off my work, but never the opulent heights of a sustainable living wage. As such, my savings slowly but surely dwindled as the months went by. Eventually they reached an uncomfortable low. I needed to regroup, refill the coffers a bit, and decide where I wanted to go from there. It was time to bite the bullet and get a day job again. Teaching wasn’t my calling or anything, but it’s a decent way to earn a living. So back to it I went.

The teaching program I’m in has yearly contracts that are renewable annually for up to five years. From the get-go, I figured I’d do at least two years; I didn’t see the point in uprooting my whole life and moving to the other side of the world for just twelve months. Beyond that, I wasn’t sure what I’d do. I figured I’d see how the job treated me and decide based on that.

Flash forward to August 2012. I had just gotten back from a vacation in the US, and was starting my second year as a teacher.

At that point, I was feeling pretty lukewarm about my whole situation. I felt like I was just spinning my wheels, opting for a vague sense of security at the expense of what I really cared about. I had only just started my second year, and was already fantasizing about an escape plan once my contract was up.

But then in the weeks that followed, something changed. This change wasn’t earth-shattering, but it was profound enough to inspire me to not only to sign up for a third year, but to put me in a frame of mind that I’m seriously considering doing four or five. Continue reading

“Tonoharu: Part Three” Winter 2012 Progress Report

Above: Progress, one baby step at a time.

With 62 out of 124 pages completed, Tonoharu: Part Three is finally HALFWAY DONE! Yay!

So I figured it was high time to write an update entry to give you a sense of where I’m at in terms finishing the last half of the Tonoharu story. And we’ll throw in projected release date, as is tradition. Unfortunately, this time around, that projection is particularly distant.

Why, you ask? To answer that question I need to give you a little background info: Continue reading

Tonoharu/Kameoka Diaries November 2012 Update

Man, I haven’t written a new blog entry in forever. Here’s a little update about what’s been going on in the six weeks since my last update.

Tonoharu Update
For anyone keeping track: there are now less than 80 new copies of Tonoharu: Part One left in the world (to the best of my knowledge). On Halloween I shipped 69 copies to the distributor. That leaves me personally with FIVE signed copies left. Once those are gone, that’s it; no more copies left.

I plan to reprint, but I haven’t really even started the ball rolling on that, and probably won’t get around to it for a while yet. The new printing probably won’t come out the second half of 2013 or so. So I’ll just say it one more time: if you want a copy of Tonoharu: Part One (especially a signed copy) get it now!

Buy a signed copy of Tonoharu: Part One–only 5 left!
Buy Tonoharu: Part One from Amazon.com via 3rd party seller 

Kameoka Diaries Update
Here’s a bit of cool news I’ve been meaning to announce: the iBooks version of all my digital comics (Kameoka Diaries 1 & 2, and Young Men of a Certain Mind) are now available for sale for around $1 in 18 new countries:

New Zealand, Argentina, Dominican Republic, Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua, Brazil, El Salvador, Panama, Chile, Guatemala, Paraguay, Colombia, Honduras, Peru, Costa Rica, Mexico and Venezuela.

It’d take me waaay too long to make direct links for all those different iBookstores, but if you search for “Lars Martinson” that should lead you to them, I would think.

Or if you’re from a country where the iBook version isn’t available (or you don’t have an iOS device), both volumes of the Kameoka Diaries digital comics are available as DRM-free PDFs anywhere worldwide for as little as $1 each:
Kameoka Diaries DRM-free PDFs

Speaking of the Kameoka Diaries, I’ve been meaning to upload another installment to the internet; hopefully I’ll be able to get to that within a couple weeks or so, cough…

“Tonoharu: Part One”—SOLD OUT! (Almost–see details below)

Just got some cool news from my distributor: they’ve ran out of the second printing of Tonoharu: Part One!

I intend to reprint, but I’ll have to do a lot of prep work for it, so it’ll be months before a new printing comes out. I don’t expect to have it out until sometime in 2013…

So if you want Tonoharu: Part One for the upcoming holiday season, get it now while you still can!


Direct From Me:
My distributor is out of copies, but I personally still have a couple dozen pristine copies left & available for sale. Not only that, but they’re from the first printing! AND a limited number of them (about 10) are signed! (I’ll update this entry if the signed copies run out.) I’m in Japan so I can’t sign more until I visit home next summer, so if you want a signed copy (or a copy at all, for that matter) order now!
Link to My Store>>>

From Amazon.com
As I write this blog entry, Amazon says they still have 2 copies. I don’t know if those are the very last two, or if they’ll be getting one last shipment or what, but either way, they’re scrapping the bottom of the barrel. There’s also some really, really cheap new/used copies being sold through third party sellers on Amazon. I imagine they’ll go up in price once the book is listed as out-of-print, so get ‘em now while they’re cheap!
Link to Tonoharu: Part One on Amazon.com>>>

From your favorite local bookseller
If they have a copy, grab it, because it’ll be a while before they get any more!


That’s it for now! My sincere thanks to everyone who supported me and picked up the book, making two sold-out printings possible! Here’s hoping printing #3 does okay too!

Oh, and there’s still a TON of copies of Tonoharu: Part Two left, so… pick that up too, won’t you? Ha ha…

Tonoharu en Espanol–Now on Sale!

Cover of Spanish edition of Tonoharu

This month the Spanish version of Tonoharu made its debut. It should be available right now in Spain’s finer comic book stores.

The book collects Tonoharu: Part One and Two into a single volume, much like the French version that came out last year. It’s the perfect gift for the Spanish-speaking, Japan-loving comics fan in your life. More details (in Spanish, of course) can be found at the publisher’s website:

Fellow cartoonist Abby Denson was kind enough to snap a picture of the book out in the wild (look in the upper left-hand corner) when she was in Spain promoting her own book:

An editor at Sins Entido recently told me they’ll be sending me my copies of it, so I’ll let you know once I’ve had a chance to look at the real thing! Also, I’m not sure if/when it’ll make it to other Spanish-speaking countries outside of Spain; if I hear anything I’ll let you know!

“Tonoharu” dans un Livre Français de l’Architecture

The publisher of the French edition of Tonoharu, Le Lezard Noir, has put out a book entitled Mangapolis about the way Japanese architecture is portrayed in manga.

The book has a section about how non-Japanese comics portray Japan, and Tonoharu is among them, getting a two page spread. I also wrote a couple of paragraphs about Japanese architecture. Hopefully my uninformed opinions sound better translated into French than they do in the original English!

Sorry for the crappy photo…

Elsewhere in the book is a never-before published panel from Tonoharu: Part Three! O.M.G., right guys?!?!?!

So if you can read French and are interested in Japanese comics/architecture (and really, who doesn’t fit those two criteria) then check it out!

There’s also a gallery show coinciding with the launch of the book, running through June 16th 2012 at Maison de l’Architecture de Poitou-Charentes (thank god for cut and paste) in Poitiers, France. That includes some enlarged Tonoharu artwork:

So if you live in a Poiters area, do check it out. Details here.