9.07.2007

adrian tomine's shortcomings


Here's a book review of Adrian Tomine's latest graphic novel Shortcomings, a full-length work that collects his latest run on Optic Nerve: 'Shortcomings' by Adrian Tomine. It sounds really cool, dealing with some very interesting issues familiar to the Asian American community:
After a career of composing the comics equivalent of short stories, Tomine has produced, in "Shortcomings," his first full-length graphic novel. It was serialized in issues of "Optic Nerve." Ben Tanaka, the novel's 29-year-old Japanese American protagonist, is, like many Tomine characters, cynical and petulant -- a pill. In the opening scene, he grumps his way through an Asian American film festival screening that his girlfriend, Miko, has helped to organize. (Tomine is a gentle but unerring satirist; each chapter opens with the skewering of some fashionable art form, including performance art and the American Apparel chain's advertising photography.) Sometime later, at home in Berkeley, Miko finds DVDs of white "all-girl action" porn in Ben's desk. "It's like you're obsessed with the typical Western media beauty ideal, but you're settling for me," she tells him accusingly. Their relationship frays further when Miko leaves California for a four-month internship in New York and Ben becomes distracted by Autumn, a cute young blond he's hired at the movie theater he manages.
While there he's had Asian American characters before, Shortcomings is actually the first of Adrian Tomine's comics to address race. I often wonder what kind personal issues of his own he's expressing through his comics. Having been a fan of Optic Nerve for quite some time now, and I can't wait to pick this book up. It'll be out on October 2nd from Drawn and Quarterly.