Somehow I managed to miss last week’s biggest news of all: a new collection from Adrian Tomine, coming in October! The ominously titled Killing and Dying which collects the last few issues of Optic Nerve:
“Amber Sweet” shows the disastrous impact of mistaken identity in a hyper-connected world; “A Brief History of the Art Form Known as Hortisculpture” details the invention and destruction of a vital new art form in short comic strips; “Translated, from the Japanese,” is a lush, full-color display of storytelling through still images; the title story, “Killing and Dying”, centers on parenthood, mortality, and stand-up comedy.
According to D&Q’s Chris Oliveros who acquired the book, it might be his favorite of all Tomine’s books. “We’ve come to expect from him an eloquent visual sensibility and insightful, complex storytelling, but there’s something else going on here: these stories are darkly funny, and they’re tinged with a very particular acerbic wit that we haven’t seen all too often before this.”
Considering that Tomine’s previous books include the graphic novel defining books including Shortcomings, and Summer Blonde, that’s high praise, but I’d have to concur that the last few issues of Optic Nerve have shown Tomine at the height of his storytelling powers.
Tomine has a short but revealing interview with The New York where the book was announced:
“Killing and Dying” is the name of one of the stories in the next issue of “Optic Nerve,” about a family—there’s an illness that has to be dealt with, and there’s also a burgeoning interest in standup comedy that has to be dealt with. A lot of the story is about certain questions one faces as a parent: how to handle hardships, and how much to encourage and support the whims of your children. In a way, it was an attempt to confront some of my fears as a husband and as a father.
The book will be published in the UK by United Kingdom to Faber & Faber, in France to Éditions Cornélius, in Germany to Reprodukt, and in Italy to Rizzoli.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.