Trust Adrian Tomine to tell a story, emotionally rich, razor sharp in its observation of flawed relationships and brutally honest in its depiction of far-from-perfect social misfits and their messed-up lives. His drawings are simple in structure and style, but I felt it was really effective in conveying the depth of the story. Reading his graphic novels feels like watching an art film or something to that effect.
Shortcomings follows a Japanese American couple as they navigate their relationship, and come to terms with their general dissatisfied existence. At its heart, its a reflection of the experiences & emotions that fall short, and an intimate portrayal of unfulfilled desires told from the perspective of an offensive, prejudiced & racist anti-hero.
Overall Rating: 3.5/5
Summer Blonde is a collection of 4 short stories told in a graphic novel format. The stories in this collection are bleak, depressing and is a raw portrayal of urban/suburban loneliness. His characters are very unlikeable, outcasts, grappling at the edges of society. Tomine drops you into the mundane lives of his characters and as abruptly pulls you out, so there isn’t a sense of an ending. While, a lot of people might not like that, I actually really liked the fact that you live the lives of these characters so different from you for a brief amount of time and then you are shut away, and their lives continue. My favourite from this collection was Hawaiian Getaway.
Overall Rating: 4/5
Tomine’s work isn’t for everyone, in fact I feel most people are likely to dislike it. However, I really liked the authenticity, uniqueness and brutal honesty with which he crafts such unlikeable characters and manages to tell a story that’s emotional, intimate and yet detached in its own way.
Would I recommend his work to you? I really don’t know. But if you’re intrigued by my review, you probably should give it a shot. 🤔