Mark Crilley was born in Hartford City, Indiana and grew up in Detroit, Michigan. He studied at Kalamazoo College, where he graduated in 1988. He then became an English teacher, holding jobs in Taiwan and Japan. During his stay in the Far East he created the character Akiko, and in 1995, the first comic book, 'Akiko on the Planet Smoo' was published. It became an immediate success and received many awards and nominations. More than 40 issues have been published, as well as the collection 'Akiko: Flights of Fancy' and a comic book containing non-Akiko-related material, '32 pages'.