Martin & John 1

January 30, 2009

Of all the Tokyopop titles that got cancelled, it will be Hee Jung Park’s titles that I will miss the most.  I would give all my copies of Sorcerer Hunters and Boys Be for them.  Hotel Africa was truly unique in almost every way, in the story it told and the narrative structure and setting and… well, everything.  I haven’t yet read the second volume because I know I will only want more when I finish it.  Martin and John was the one that sounded the best out of all of them (I didn’t really like the first volume of Fever and I didn’t realize Too Long had come out), but it took me forever to get ahold of it, long after the cancellation notices had come.  And again, I was hesitant to read it because I knew I’d love it and wouldn’t be able to get more.

I was right.  I was absolutely right.  I actually liked this volume more than I did Hotel Africa, though Hotel Africa is still probably the better series.  I like the premise for Martin and John quite a lot.  It sets out to tell the stories of different men named Martin and John and the bonds that they share.  The first story in this volume is one of romantic partners and the troubles they were having together, and the aftermath of an accident.  It was really, really beautiful, and accomplished a lovely story with nothing more than three characters.

The second half of the volume tells the story of a musician named John who winds up with his stepmother’s adopted 4-year-old son after his father and stepmother die.  This would have me cringing in most cases, except the boy keeps doing creepy things and showing signs of abuse.  The plot develops in that direction, with John caring more and more for the boy as he finds out about the kid’s past, and the volume leaves off with the question of his father’s money and the boy’s original mother trying to adopt him back to get the inheritance.  It’s got more elements of humor in it than the first half of the volume, and is quite a nice story by the time it cuts off at the end of the volume.  Once again, I’m really rather upset that I won’t get to see a continuation of this series.

The little boy is named Martin, as is John’s best friend and confidante.  The John in this story is straight, and sleeps with many women.  Elder Martin might not be, but not much comes of that.  I’m not looking for the two to hook up or anything, especially since most of the focus is on the younger Martin.

There’s also a single chapter at the beginning of the book that… I think is unrelated?  I had a hard time getting into the beginning because I thought that the Martin and John featured in the brief first chapter, a weird sci-fi type story with a master/servant relationship, were the same Martin and John in the first half of the volume.  I don’t think they are, but they do all resemble one another.

It would be kind of awesome, actually, if all the stories were connected in some way.  I would love to see a series finale that pulled that off after a few volumes.  This seems to be the best-selling of Hee Jung Park’s Tokyopop titles (at least on Amazon), so I can always hold out hope that at least this one will see a continuation in better times.

4 Responses to “Martin & John 1”

  1. Sarah Says:

    Wait. Hotel Africa and Martin and John are canceled?

    I think my heart just broke. I was really looking forward to more of each series, especially Hotel Africa. This isn’t right. Not at all.

    I hope another publisher or someone continues these series. Do you know why they were cancelled?

  2. Connie Says:

    I think they were among the casualties when Tokyopop trimmed their list last summer. They were cancelled within a few months of starting. It is a real shame. Tokyopop is saying that a lot of the series are just “delayed”, so maybe they’ll start back up again next year or something, when book sales go back up a little bit more.

    I want to be hopeful, especially since Hotel Africa seems to be talked about relatively frequently. At least on the internet, anyway.

  3. jia Says:

    It is heartbreaking that the series got cancelled. Hotel Africa and Martin and John are the best manhwas I have ever read in my life. I have finished the Hotel Africa series (all four of them) and read up to volume seven of Martin and John as I’m capable of reading in Korean as well. It’s a shame that Tokyopop cancelled both of them. I wish I can translate the manhwas so their beautiful stories and artwork can be shared by all.

  4. Connie Says:

    I didn’t realize until recently that Martin and John was still continuing, and that made me want to read it even more since I wondered what the format of the series was like. I’m still disappointed that no signs of either Hotel Africa or Martin and John have shown up on upcoming release lists. Everything about them was gorgeous, and I still hope that they’ll resume or that another company will start releasing them. Unfortunately, there are a lot of Korean series that I like that have been dropped after only a couple volumes, mostly because they are released by smaller companies that wind up closing. It’s really sad that the best series haven’t been more successful in English.

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