Optic Nerve #12

Floppy is as floppy does

Mmmmm ... production values ...
Mmmmm ... production values ...

Who needs it hard all the time?

*cough*

Just because this new volume of short stories by Adrian Tomine
(AKA the comix world’s second coming of Raymond Carver)
isn’t a perfectbound bastion of bookcase-puffing proportions,
that doesn’t mean that its contents aren’t as deep and deft
as that of what some people are calling graphic novels
these days.

In fact, since it’s published by Drawn & Quarterly,
that doesn’t even mean that, despite the book’s being
saddle-stitched and relatively thin, it’s other than perfectly printed
on fine thick paper befitting the creator’s superlative design.

Your sweetheart's skin should have such lovely texture.
But, okay, never mind that –

Look: Tomine, whose style may be recognizable to you
from numerous New Yorker cover and interior illustrations
if not from his previous, longer works (Summer Blonde
and Shortcomings, say), offers two main stories in this issue.

“A Brief History of the Art Form Known as ‘Hortisculpture’”
is a look at a would-be artist trying to get some recognition & respect
for the creations he’s become obsessed with bringing into the world;
it’s lighter and funnier than the typical Tomine-eye-view of angst-ridden youth
(and, whoa, there are no angst-ridden youth in this story) and rendered in a style
that nods to the drawings and panels of newspaper funnies
by way of telegraphing its relative levity.

Relative levity,” we say, although it’s often fucking hilarious.

Kind of like, we’re thinking, the Best Episode Ever of some modern, arts-oriented version of
"The Life of Riley” starring William Bendix as Riley, from radio’s Golden Age.

No, really.

And the other story – “Amber Sweet” – is more along the lines
of what we’ve come to expect, atmospherically and stylistically,
from this precise teller of tales: A young woman dealing with
being a dead ringer for a well-known porn star.

Oy, girl, what a world.

The rest of Optic Nerve #12 is taken up with a letters column,
wherein the author’s fans write in to congratulate or castigate him,
and an autobiographical comic about the various consequences
of releasing this sweet collection as a floppy.

“This sweet collection,” we say, because it’s highly recommended.

And because, if more “floppies” were this gorgeously produced, we’d be less likely
to wait around for any eventual hardcover compilations that might see the light of day.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More by Wayne Alan Brenner
The Austin School of Fiber Arts Wants You
The Austin School of Fiber Arts Wants You
Because Lynne Brotman just can’t, ah, weave well enough alone?

April 8, 2021

What Is the Livestreamed, Interactive, Cross-Country, Music-Fueled, Comedy of Natatorium?
What Is the Livestreamed, Interactive, Cross-Country, Music-Fueled, Comedy of Natatorium?
American Berserk Theatre + Density512 really pools the talent

April 7, 2021

KEYWORDS FOR THIS POST

Adrian Tomine, Optic Nerve #12, Amber Sweet, Drawn & Quarterly, Hortisculpture

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

New recipes and food news delivered Mondays

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle