Friday, November 28, 2014

Saturday, July 19, 2014

USA-NKF National Karate Championships

The last leg of the Sonny Leads volume 1 US book tour was the USA-NKF National Karate Championships & US Team Trials held in Reno, Nevada. We received an amazingly warm welcome to our promotion tour and the number of athletes, coaches, officials and spectators who became new readers and embraced the book was fantastic!

At the Peppermill Casino.
Getting support from US Team Coach, Tokey Hill.

The competition was really well organised.

Warming up one athlete from American Sports Karate.
Lots of new readers! Don't worry, volume 2 is in the works!

The Karate Kid movie 30 year anniversary!

While traveling through Encino, LA California a few weeks back on the way to the USA-NKF National Karate Championships in Reno, we stopped at a huge mural for the Karate Kid movie. The timing was perfect not just because of our book publication, but also it is the 30th anniversary of the movie's release.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Book tour arrives at LA's Anime Expo!

We had a great time promoting the book as the tour caught up with our publisher, Glenn Kardy of Manga University, at the massive Anime Expo in LA from July 4-6.

What I realised most in terms of how people react positively to the comic book is that this story is really about the human interactions Sonny has with those people directly involved in his life, from his coach and friends to in Japan dealing with the different sensei, his home stay family, his co-workers and his new friends. The vehicle of the story may be about fascinating karate, but the human element of how both in funny and serious ways Sonny deals with one life moment to the next is the most touch element of the book.

So at Anime Expo, when describing the book the potential readers, the karate angle may have caught their eye at first, the story of Sonny's journey through real Japan most intrigued them.

100,000 of cos-players at this event! Wow.

While not a karate sporting event, the reaction from the anime/manga fans to the comic book was actually really great though.

Lots of people had actually done martial arts and many are interested in going to Japan one day.

And it was lots of fun speaking to people passionate about good artwork.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

AAU Nat'ls: old friends meet!

Great to see long-time friend John Fonseca at the AAU Nat'ls today! John has medaled at many national and world championships & we go way back to the late '90's when I was working on a karate documentary about John at the Pan-Am Games.

Thanks for the support helping to promote the comic!

Officials & coaches at a kata clinic.

Very nice AAU T-shirt.

AAU Karate Nationals!

Today and tomorrow I'm at the AAU Karate Nationals promoting the comic book, meeting old friends and hoping to making new friends too.

If you see me walking in the hallway & you are wondering if I have a few copies of the book left in my bag (as the kids are asking me now) the answer is yes, so just come and say hi and I will sign a copy for you.

Thanks to everyone for the great support and good luck to all the athletes, officials & volunteers, I hope you all have a memorable event!


to reach me, my email is richard at )

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Naples, Florida: The comic book tour has started!

The first stop of my book tour in Naples, Florida has gone really well! Everyone seems to really like the comic book, both the beautiful cover, the perfect size, the directory on Japan and of course the story!

Initial comments about the book have been very positive! People really like its beautiful cover, its perfect size and its directory on today's Japanese karate, plus the best part is that both kids and adults have been enjoying the story.

When I ran out of books at a few events some people were so disappointed they found me the next day at the next event to the point I was selling them like hotcakes from the back of the car!

Big thanks goes out to Eric Masino at American Sports Karate for hosting me and helping to get the word out about the book now being for sale!

Another big thanks to George Kotaka, WKF World Champion, visiting from Hawaii to give a seminar at Kurokawa Martial Arts in Fort Myers. I also appreciate everyone there who have offered to help promote the book.

In Naples they asked me to teach classes in their 2 (!) dojo, but also on the beach under the hot, perfect Florida sun.

Here's Eric Sensei (grey shirt) and I putting the students through their paces.

The students were focused, but still fun in the classes! Thanks again everyone! I look forward to being back soon!

The next stages of the comic book tour are:

AAU Karate Championships, Fort Lauderdale, FL, July 2-3

Anime Expo, LA, July 4-6

LA July 7-9 NKF

Nationals, Reno, NV, July 9-13


Thursday, June 26, 2014

'Sonny Leads' the manga karate book is now for sale!

Thanks to Eric at American Sports Karate for sending a pic of the cover!

My book 'Sonny Leads' is for sale now!!! Yeah! 

自分のマンガ「Sonny Leads」がそろそろ発売されます‼︎ 興味のある方下記のリンクをご覧ください! 

 Worldwide available at the Manga University website.


US Amazon

Canada Amazon 

I'm actually in transit on the beginning of the 3-week tour starting in Naples, Florida, eventually reaching California and Nevada. At the end of today's 24hrs of travel, there are a box of books in Florida already sent there by the printer waiting for me to see & hold for the first time!

Thanks to everyone who have already sent me messages that they have ordered their copies of the book, thanks so much!


Wednesday, June 11, 2014

15 days left!!!

Only 15 days left until the book is finished being printed!

As soon as the order information is ready, I'll post it here.


Friday, May 30, 2014

Author's manga portrait!

The one and only Johnny Tesoro illustrated this awesome chibi manga portrait of little ole me for the back book cover!

For sure he captures my desire to make sure we always approach karate as 'serious fun'.

Thanks so much Johnny, like always, your decades of support continues to truly help me carry on with this karate adventure!


Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Cover art update!

The cover art has been updated and the title font looks amazing! It's only a month now until the book goes on sale, so hopefully I will be able to post some sample pages soon. The book's Twitter page is also active daily, so have a look! @sonnyleadsmanga

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Cover art has arrived!!!

The cover art has arrived! Kamobayashi Sensei has really done an amazing job!

I really love the retro feel of the piece, while also reflecting the modern kumite equipment used in competition.

The building in the background is the Nippon Budokan, and it says Budokan in kanji on the red banner, as that is what the actual entrance looks like.

The kanji on Sonny's uniform says Ogami Dojo, which of course a Japanese reader would understand so I just wanted to share that fact for non-Japanese readers.

Why Ogami dojo? Ah, that comes later.

Is Sonny leaping into the kick, falling from the kick, off balance in the kick, or at the moment to extend further with the kick, it all depends on the viewer.

And um, no, Sonny is not supposed to look like me. For sure similar, but he is a fictional character having some traits of some famous karate athletes.

Again, I love cover, I love how the color really comes off the page, and I can't wait to see how the publisher incorporates this artwork into the actual front cover of the book itself.

Next stage in production is the first few pages of the first chapter...

Thursday, February 20, 2014

A little longer...

First, thanks to all those people sending me messages of support!

Just like you, I can't wait to hold the book in my hands too.

For now, it seems this manga project is so big, Kamobayashi Sensei would like longer to work on it, therefore we're looking at having the book come out in June of this year.

Just a few more months to wait for even a better final product is fine with me.

On the book tour side of things, some of the tour dates are about to be confirmed in June & July.




then back to Japan... to Okinawa!

Once the associated events for each location are booked, I'll be able to announce exactly what's happening.

If anyone has any questions, feel free to email me.


Sunday, February 9, 2014

Reviewing cover art...

It's now February and 2 samples of the cover art have arrived for review!

The final cover art should hopefully be ready to be announced within a week or two.

Thanks to everyone for the messages of interest in the book! As soon as the cover art is ready, we can begin to get samples of the first chapter too, which I'll put up here on the website.

I'll also keep posting updates on our Twitter feed.