Tomine & Beaton & Drawn & Quarterly: Yes, This
These two collections will rock your heart, brain, and funny bone
By Wayne Alan Brenner,
1:40PM, Sat. Sep. 19, 2015
When Adrian Tomine's new collection – Killing and Dying – arrived in the mail from Drawn & Quarterly a while ago, I was knocked out by the beauty of the object itself.
This is not an infrequent occurrence, this (admittedly metaphorical) knocking-out, because D&Q is almost as known for their elegant & polished packaging of great works as they are for the superlative material itself – sequential-art narratives from people who are among the world's best comics creators.
I'd read most of the (insightful, funny, harrowing) Killing and Dying stories already, in the most recent numbers of Tomine's Optic Nerve "floppy" comics, and I was thrilled to have them in one well-designed, hardcover volume. Thrilled, such that I immediately texted my wife. "Oh! D&Q just sent the new Adrian Tomine collection! Huzzah!"
After a while my wife texted back: "Excellent – I know you really like his stuff."
My wife isn't ignorant of the qualities of the man's work, of the way Tomine's meticulous realism and the subtle hues of humanity he describes with word and image are kind of an answer to the question someone, somewhere, must have asked at least once: What if Raymond Carver, at his best, had worked in comics?
But that's what my better half – they call her Katherine, that do speak of her – texted in response, because she was glad for me: "I know you really like his stuff."
But, last week?
Last week, Kate Beaton's newest collection – also from D&Q – arrived. Beaton's Step Aside, Pops, her follow-up to the bestselling Hark, A Vagrant! collection of cartoons that also pay homage to, that poke fun at, that so acerbically and yet cutely skewer a vast array of historical and literary figures and pop cultural tropes. That book arrived, and I was totally stoked. Stoked, such that I immediately texted my wife. ""Oh! D&Q just sent the new Kate Beaton collection! Huzzah!"
My wife immediately texted back: "And you'll be bringing that home, right?"
And, before I had a chance to reply, to assure her that I would, she texted me again: "TONIGHT, right?"
There's brilliance, and there's brilliance. And some types of brilliance appeal more intensely to some people than other types of brilliance will appeal to other people.
And it would seem that, with Tomine's Killing and Dying and Beaton's Step Aside, Pops now available, Drawn & Quarterly is presenting at least two types of brilliance, almost simultaneously, for anyone with the ability to appreciate such things.Anyone with a brain, a heart, and (especially where Beaton is concerned – although include Tomine's "Hortisculpture" story here, too) a funny bone.
Anyone, like, say, yourself, dear reader.