Mark Crilley was raised in Detroit, where he and his brothers bought all their bubble gum at a party store called Chuck's. After graduating from Kalamazoo College in 1988, he traveled to Taiwan and Japan, where he taught English to students of all ages for nearly five years. It was during his stay in Japan in 1992 that he created the story of Akiko and her journey to the planet Smoo. First published as a comic book in 1995, the bimonthly Akiko series has since earned Crilley numerous award nominations, as well as a spot on Entertainment Weekly's "It List" in 1998. Crilley lives with his wife, Miki, and son, Matthew, just a few miles from the streets where he was raised. Visit Mark on the Web at www.markcrilley.com.Crilley, Mark is the author of 'Akiko and the Journey to Toog' with ISBN 9780385730426 and ISBN 038573042X.