Last year, Christine Mari Inzer ran a Kickstarter for the release of Kokoro, a book filled with her viral Instagram comics as well as new unreleased ones. It did all right, raising $65,000 and successfully delivered to backers around 6 months ago. Now Andrea Colvin at Little, Brown has acquired Kokoro, as a YA graphic memoir of Christine Mari growing up and negotiating her place in two worlds—America and Japan—while navigating the mental and emotional legacy of being a "hafu"—half Japanese, half American.
Two years ago, I created my Instagram account, christinemaricomics, where I chronicle my experiences living in Tokyo, Japan in a series of simple hand-drawn comics. Every comic tells a different story, tackling a wide range of subjects from reconciling with my mixed 'Hafu' (in Japanese Hafu means 'half-Japanese') identity to my everyday struggles with anxiety and depression, all in ten panels or less. When I first started drawing these comics, I drew them for myself. I was alone and far away from home. My art was a personal form of therapy, a way to self-reflect and process my experiences. I shared it on Instagram on a whim and I was amazed to see people from different countries and backgrounds come together over my stories, sharing their own experiences and making me realize I was not so alone after all. Today, I have over 110,000 followers on Instagram. I am completely blown away by the support, encouragement, and love I have received from total strangers since I first shared my work on my Instagram. Thanks to them, I was inspired to take the next step and print my comics. In Japanese, the word 'Kokoro' means 'heart, mind, and soul.' I couldn't think of a better word to describe my comics. Comics are the closest thing I have to expressing the depths of my heart and soul, and it is a privilege to be able to share a piece of my heart with the world. This art book is a collection of my Instagram comics in a beautiful 6 x 9 inch softcover book with premium-grade paper. It will include many comics which are no longer available on Instagram (many I felt too personal for the Internet) and some new comics as well. It will be over 250 pages in length. While my comics are online and completely free to read, I have always believed in the magic of holding a book in your hands that Instagram or any other form of social media can never replace. I want people to be able to feel even more connected to my stories. Plus, as I mentioned, there will be many comics that are not on my Instagram, and even some brand-new comics drawn just for the book!
Publication of the new book is scheduled for autumn of 2024. Samantha Haywood and Devon Halliday at Transatlantic Agency negotiated the deal for world rights.