Synopses & Reviews
Adrian Tomines cult comix series Optic Nerve
is finally collected into one sharp-looking volume.
Described as the Raymond Carver of comix, Tomine constructs tales of emotional disconnection with an ear for painfully real dialogue. Combined with his deft black and white depictions of urbane lifestyles, Tomines fans have often accused him of eavesdropping in on their most intimate moments and, with forensic skill, laying their lives bare.
The conflicts between emotional gratification, narcissistic neediness and moral discernment mark the title story in which a socially crippled man nurses an obsessive crush on a young woman. He watches close up, paralyzed by his guilt, as her beauty catches the eye of his neighbor: a hip, selfish young man with a short attention span. One of Optic Nerves most popular stories, "Hawaiian Getaway," features Hilary, telephone service rep who is having the worst week of her life. She lost her job, her apartment, and her grandmother. Close to the edge, she is losing her grip. Reaching out to random strangers on the phone, Hilary is looking for someone to help her. In "Alter Ego" a successful young author has writer`s block. He can't, or won't, decide between another ghostwriting gig and finishing his second "real" novel. He stalls on committing to his novel and his girlfriend when a chance postcard leads him to flirt with fantasies of changing the past. Finally, "Bomb Scare" documents the early unease of his generation by setting this coming-of-age story during the tense months of the Gulf War, the event that ushered in the 1990s.
"Tomine is at the forefront of the younger generation of alternative-comics artists....The narratives pick up at seemingly arbitrary points in the characters' lives and end just as abruptly. They are snapshots of lives just gathering steam." Gordon Flagg, Booklist
"Those in search of the next lone [comics] genius or those looking for a gorgeous collection of literary short stories would...do well to pick up Summer Blonde....Tomine is a master of the arts of both cartooning and fiction, and he uses each to complement the other. His panels are meticulously, nearly obsessively perfect, and his freakishly accurate mastery of human facial expressions means that many times, he is able to forgo lengthy plot explication altogether and say it all with spare dialogue and a glance or gesture. It makes one wish that MFA students intent on writing minimalist fiction would simply get themselves to the drawing board instead." Amy Benfer, Salon.com
"[G]orgeous....Tomine's drawings cap the naturalist style of the stories....He's on to something that other comix artists haven't captured a slacker generation growing older but not wiser." Andrew D. Arnold, Time.comix
"Tomine's artwork is understated, and crisp and precise....While each story is well-observed and carefully paced, it's the final one that hints at what Tomine could do with his next larger work....'Bomb Scare' tracks the strained high-school friendship between a loser and a party girl and ends on a page of such quiet emotional grace it almost warms up everything that's come before." Craig Taylor, The Guardian (U.K.)
"If you have ever wanted to hit the reset button on your life, thought you were too smart to be happy or hated the prettiest girl in the room, read Summer Blonde and let your cheeks flush." Kelly Sue DeConnick, ArtBomb.net
"More a collator than a legitimate storyteller, young Optic Nerve creator Adrian Tomine siphons the visions of his day-to-day life into beautifully illustrated, sequential art that mirrors the beauty of comic great Dan Clowes." Zac Pennington, The Stranger (Seattle, WA)
Adrian Tomine's cult comics series Optic Nerve is finally collected into one sharply-designed hardcover volume. Tomine constructs tales of emotional disconnection with an ear for painfully real dialogue. Combined with his deft black and white depictions of urbane lifestyles, Tomine's fans have often accused him of eavesdropping in on their most intimate moments and, with forensic skill, laying their lives bare. Summer Blonde collects four stories, each exploring conflicts of urban detachment and misguided emotional gratification. This book collects issues 5, 6, 7, and 8 of Optic Nerve.
A collection of four stories, each exploring conflicts of urban detachment and misguided emotional gratification.
About the Author
Paradoxically one of the best established comix artists is still one of the youngest. At only 27 Adrian Tomine has been producing his Optic Nerve series for over ten years. Tomine's first break came at 17 when he was hired to create a comic strip for Tower Records' national magazine PULSE! By 21 he had won the comix industry Harvey Award for Best New Talent. His painfully observant stories of urban detachment and missed emotional connections came to define among alternative comix a Gen-X sensibility and gained national attention for their stylish and literate minimalism. Born in Sacramento, CA, Tomine lives in Berkeley where he writes Optic Nerve and contributes illustrations to The New Yorker and George.