Coming November 2022 from Amble Press
I Thought You Loved Me is a Gen X memoir told in prose, collage, and sequential art centered around an intense friendship between Mari and Jodie that begins in the 80s when they’re in high school and that Jodie ends abruptly fourteen years later. But it is also a story of time and memory and revelation.
Jodie was Mari’s best friend through their teens and twenties. As young Mari began to explore her identity as a bisexual, biracial outsider in a rich, white town, Jodie was her constant confidant, even kissing Mari out of the closet. The two were inseparable as they sought to gain a foothold in life and love as young feminists, Jodie an entrepreneurial sex worker, and Mari working in the boys’ club of video game development in the late ‘90s. Then, suddenly and mysteriously, Jodie ends their friendship. Years later, Mari is stunned when she discovers why.
Now much older, Mari is ready to forgive, but her memories of Jodie seem to have vanished. Through journal excerpts, letters, conversations with friends, and cross-country travel, she pieces together lost memories from a lost friendship, in an attempt at catharsis. The reader follows in real-time as the author unravels her own mystery, examining the expectations of friendship, the unreliability of memory, and the struggle to let go.
MARINAOMI (she/they) is the queer mixed-race Japanese-American community organizer and award-winning author and illustrator of Kiss & Tell: A Romantic Resume, Ages 0 to 22, Dragon’s Breath and Other True Stories, Turning Japanese, I Thought YOU Hated ME, the Life on Earth trilogy, and Dirty Produce. Their work has been featured in over eighty print publications including The New Yorker’s Daily Shouts and the LA Review of Books.
MariNaomi’s comics and paintings have been featured in the Smithsonian, the de Young Museum, the Cartoon Art Museum, the Asian Art Museum, and the Japanese American Museum.
In addition, they are the founder and administrator of the Cartoonists of Color Database, the Queer Cartoonists Database, and the Disabled Cartoonists Database. They have taught classes for the California College of the Arts Comics MFA program and served as a guest editor for PEN Illustrated.