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32 Stories: The Complete Optic Nerve…

32 Stories: The Complete Optic Nerve Mini-Comics (1995)

by Adrian Tomine

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463834,890 (3.67)3
The comics that first launched Tomine into his luminary career, in a special-edition box set Redesigned to coincide with the release ofShortcomings in paperback is a brand-new edition of Adrian Tomine's first book,32 Stories, that collects his inaugural mini-comics in a special edition. This onetime printing includes facsimile reprints of the seven mini-comics packaged in a slipcase, as well as an additional pamphlet containing a new introduction and notes by Tomine.… (more)
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This book brings together the comic strips from Adrian Tomine's self-produced magazine, Optic Nerve, before he was picked up by a publisher. A lot of the strips are very short - one or two pages - and there is quite a range of styles as Tomine experiments with what suits him. Many of them are episodes rather than stories - a dream Tomine had or a conversation he overheard. The fictional ones tend to be about solitary people, unhappy relationships, or strange out-of-character moments. I enjoyed them all, and will look for more of his work. ( )
  wandering_star | Dec 19, 2009 |
It's interesting to watch as Tomine's ability to both write and draw a story improves, and impressive in many regards for the young age at which he produced them. That aside, the majority of the stories contained within are ultimately slight and show the clear signs of the aforementioned young age of their artist at the time.

An interesting historical document, and there are some real gems present, but it's really solely for those who are already fans.

(The recent re-issue gets an extra plug for reprinting the comics in the exact format they originally appeared in, ads and all, making it even more of an interesting historical document.) ( )
  g026r | Jul 10, 2009 |
Watching the evolution of Optic Nerve in this slim volume is well-worth the price of admission. With 32 Stories, one can add Tomine to the ever-growing list of the slice-of-life graphic artists able to successfully capture the everyday on paper. The skill for these artists in this is knowing which portions of the mundane are worth capturing, which things are worth confessing and which dreams are worth documenting.

Not all of the 32 stories are instant classics, but there are far more hits than misses. Tomine is at his strongest when drawing either himself or Amy, but has surprising shows with Happy Anniversary, and in the final story, Grind, where a girl tries to find someone that will accept her nighttime-teeth grinding habit. Watching his stories mature through the issues is a treat. ( )
  stephmo | Feb 7, 2009 |

Alas, although the subtitle is "The Complete Optic Nerve Mini-Comics", this is "complete" as in "complete from #1 to #7", so my curiosity about #8 remains unabated. Once I'd got over my disappointment, however, I did enjoy these 32 short vignettes of life, mainly in San Francisco, mainly with first-person narrative from Tomine himself or Amy, his fictional proxy character, published before he made his breakthrough commercially with #8.

In his introduction, Tomine admits disarmingly that he had originally planned to weed out the pieces which he is now embarrassed about, but that would have left very little, so instead he has aimed for completeness. He was right: they are none of them actually bad, and they point to someone who is capable of better. I'll look out for more of Tomine's work. ( )
  nwhyte | Jan 18, 2009 |
It was nice seeing how the creator of SUMMER BLONDE developed his talent. ( )
  donp | Nov 17, 2008 |
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The book you hold in your hands would not exist had high school been a pleasant experience for me. (Introduction)
She kept on bitching: "Come on Harry - Let's get a dog."
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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