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Dragon's Breath and Other True Stories
by MariNaomi

dragon's breath
ISBN 978-1-941250-01-3 $24.95
Jointly published by 2dcloud and Uncivilized Books, September 2014

Buy it from 2dcloud.

Available in the UK at Gosh! London and Orbital Comics.

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Nominated for a 2015 Eisner Award in the category of "Best Reality-Based work"
See the full list of nominees here.

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About the Book

Dragon's Breath and Other True Stories is a collection of memoir comics, many of
which first appeared on TheRumpus.net as MariNaomi's "Smoke In Your Eyes."
Subject matter includes a charming alcoholic grandfather, running away from
home, complicated exes, suicidal friends, reformed bullies, struggling with
compassion, and partying with Duran Duran.

 

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Named in Best-of-2014 lists by:
Bitch Media (Four Favorite Graphic Novels of 2014)
The Comics Journal (Best of 2014)
Foreword Reviews (Ten Best Indie Comics of 2014)
Largehearted Boy (Six Favorite Comics of 2014)
Mental Floss (Ten Most Interesting Comics at SPX)
Panel Patter (Rob McMonigal's "Favorites of All the Rest from 2014")
Publisher's Weekly Comics World's 2014 Critics Poll (1 vote)
Robert Kirby (Top-Ten Books of 2014
Whit Taylor (20 Favorite Graphic Novels of 2014)

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Animated story and book trailer for Dragon's Breath and Other True Stories
created by MariNaomi
 

Buy it from 2dcloud.

Preview the book on the Study Group website.

Read MariNaomi's Book Notes musical playlist for Dragon's Breath and Other True Stories on
Largehearted Boy.

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Reviews of Dragon's Breath and Other True Stories

"The simplicity of the art only magnifies the universality of the stories... It's no surprise
Dragon's Breath was nominated for a 2015 Eisner." ~ A.V. Club
Read the entire A.V. Club review here.

"Award-winning author MariNaomi (Kiss and Tell) returns with this charming and intimate
collection of vignettes and meatier personal histories. ... The book is utterly absorbing,
funny, intimate, and even philosophical." ~ Publisher's Weekly
Read the entire Publisher's Weekly review here.

"The dark ambiguity surrounding personal relationships becomes a unifying theme through the
sometimes-related episodes collected in Dragon's Breath and Other True Stories. This ambiguity
helps the work rise far above its easy, casual tone. The collected episodes are told with the intimacy
of a passed note. I couldn’t help feel, with each passing episode, as though MariNaomi were
someone I knew. The familiar pointed arrows and funny asides felt like something drawn, lovingly, for
a friend. ... Dragon's Breath is a funny, intimate and sometimes sad ode to multiplicity. Each
episode comes over you like a puff of smoke, and with it comes both a little cough and the rich
scent of fresh tobacco." ~ Graphic Novel Reporter
Read the entire Graphic Novel Reporter review here.

"As a memoirist, MariNaomi has wit, focus, and a sense of when to stop telling a story. The comics
in Dragon’s Breath are both compact and emotionally resonant. “Independence Day 1988”, for
instance, depicts a moment from MariNaomi’s time as a teen runaway: the discovery of
phosphorescent sand during a nighttime visit to the beach. The beach trip is a diversion from her
runaway self’s recent worries—and possibly something transcendent. The three scratchboard pages of
“Independence Day” tease the meaning of the moment, including enough details to charge the
imaginations of readers and no more." ~ Greg Hunter, The Comics Journal
Read the entire Comics Journal review here.

"Different comics in Dragon's Breath will cause different reactions depending on your
experience, but it's bound to touch you somewhere. Maybe it's when a young Mari doesn't
understand why a snake in the house has to be killed, or the moment when she realizes
she doesn't have to obey her parents in everything they wish her to do (a lesson that
would significantly impact on her in her teens), or dealing with the neighbors when a
relationship is doing downhill to the point of shouting. Perhaps all of those will register with
you. It's amazing how many of Mari's stories have echoes I could easily understand, despite
the fact that we led very different life paths.
" ~ Rob McMonigal, Panel Patter
Read the entire Panel Patter review here.


"I finished the last of 384 pages today, captivated throughout just as much by this memoir as I was
by Mari’s previous release, Kiss & Tell. Those stories unfolded with the theme of relationships and
growing up, and while this collection is described as “graphic vignettes” covering “a wide spectrum of
topics,” I found reoccurring motifs here, too. Or maybe it’s just that I repeatedly had lip quivers and
held back sniffles." ~ Brodie Foster Hubbard, Shakeytown Radio
Read the entire Shakeytown Radio review here.

"Mari's comics are a special, one-of-a-kind thing. They live in this mesmerizing area of honesty
and authenticity, which is impressive because of the difficulty required in recalling these stories
and putting them so nakedly into the public sphere, but also because the way in which Mari
tells these stories doesn't particularly flatter her. ... The stories in Dragon's Breath vary in content
but their quality is wildly impressive and present throughout." ~ This is Infamous
Read the entire This is Infamous Review here.

"What is so appealing is how MariNaomi shares a life, one that is distinct in its details, yet
connected. Here is another woman searching for love, risk, and connection amid the hubbub of
the contemporary -- boyfriends, best friends, bedbugs, exes, rock music and rentals." ~ Bookslut
Read the entire Bookslut review here.

"MariNaomi cuts to the quick with her emotionally resonant comics collection that offers variety
and a comforting voice. ... Her art is simple and straightforward, but she varies fonts and the
ratio of text to illustrations from one story to the next, keeping everything fresh and leaving the
reader to wonder what might be coming next. More importantly, this dazzling display of
various techniques is effective, as well as affecting--hers is a voice comfortable enough to
be honest about the faults of others, and herself. Tales of childhood and adolescence,
failed and successful romances, interactions with bedbugs and strange people, all combine
to make Dragon's Breath and Other True Stories an enjoyable and introspective read."
" ~ Fore
word Reviews
Read the entire Foreword Reviews review here.

"The art sparkles, combining bold, clean lines with wonderfully expressive faces. Add in a
great ear for dialog, and the result is a winning collection that brings the reader genuine
laughs and a powerful emotional punch. MariNaomi is definitely a name to watch in the
years to come." ~ Library Journal
Read the entire Library Journal review here.

"[MariNaomi] reminds us about those special fleeting moments of beauty and those dark places
in our psyches that we bury." ~ The Great Comic Book Heroes
Read the entire The Great Comic Book Heroes review here.

"MariNaomi knows how to weave in a sense of the comic, so that moments of deep despair are
always balanced with some levity and even mirth. [Her] memoir includes very minimalist full-page
panels that are qute refreshing and provide a nice abstracted space from which to imagine full
episodes, our minds doing the work of filling out what the rest of the page whites out. A highly
recommended read from a new and exciting independent publisher." ~ Asian American Liturature Fans
Read the entire Asian American Literature Fans review here.

"MariNaomi is responsible for my favorite book of 2014. She is also responsible for what will likely
be my favorite book of 2015." ~ Nerdophiles (5-star review)
Read the entire Nerdophiles review here.

"What's so distinctive about Dragon's Breath amongst its many peers is the way in which so many
of the stories herein beg you after reading them to just put the book down for a few minutes
and reflect on the emotional core. ... These are comics that embrace the uncomfortable realities
of the human experience; work that is unafraid to ask awkward questions but also brave
enough to leave them hanging there unanswered.
... The potential of lost moments, temporal
echoes reverberating into our present lives, the influence of seemingly smaller moments as
they combine to shape us into the people we become... this is the stuff of Dragon's Breath.
MariNaomi brings us so firmly into her world that for those few transitory pages of each
strip we feel like an intrinsic part of it. If you read just one autobiographical comics collection
this year then you should probably make sure it's this one." ~ Broken Frontier
Read the entire Broken Frontier review here.

"In between all of these stories are countless moments of keen observation, humor,
and sorrow, too many to catalogue.
" ~ Full Stop
Read the entire Full Stop review here.

"Dragon's Breath and Other True Stories is a complex and touching work."~ Warscapes
Read the entire Warscapes review here.

"Much like her artwork, MariNaomi's prose is often minimal, but all the more poignant
for it. She doesn't waste a single word, a single sound effect; everything serves a
purpose, drawing you deeper into her memory. Dragon's Breath is a novel that you will
find yourself unable to put down."
~ Pank Magazine
Read the entire Pank Magazine review here.

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Interviews involving Dragon's Breath and Other True Stories

WarscapesJanuary 2015 interview with Grace Jung

The Blood-Jet RadioDecember 2014 interview by Rachelle Cruz (audio 40 min.)

Comic Book Resources—October 2014 interview by Alex Dueben

Ottawa Writes Podcast—October 2014 interview by Kevin Johns
(audio 47 min.)

Brevity Magazine—September 2014 interview by
Sarah Einstein

Books and Authors Podcast—September 2014 interview by Cary Barbor Zahaby (audio 17 min.)

BookTrib Magazine—September 2014 interview by Tahneer Oksman

The Nerds of Color Hard N.O.C. Life—September 2014 video interview by Keith Chow (video 40 min.)

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Dragon's Breath and Other True Stories Goodreads page

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Buy it from 2dcloud.

Deluxe order from 2dcloud with Said While Talking minicomic and signed/numbered dust-jacket/poster (limited edition of 100)

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Read about Kiss & Tell: A Romantic Resume, Ages 0 to 22.

Read about Turning Japanese.

Read about I Thought YOU Hated ME.

Read reviews of Mari's earlier work.

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© 2017 MariNaomi

comics and essays | videos
about | events | newsletter | merch

cartoonists of color database | queer cartoonists database

Please support me on Patreon!

ello | facebook | flickr | goodreads | google+
google group (newsletter) | instagram | tumblr | twitter | wordpress