I read Adrian Tomine’s Shortcomings a few years ago and really enjoyed it, so when I saw Summer Blonde on the shelf at the local bookstore I couldn’t resist picking it up. This graphic narrative is actually a collection of four short stories (in comic form, of course) and it’s one of those collections that really gets/leaves you thinking. Tomine’s protagonists are lovable misfits who, at the most basic level, are struggling with their own loneliness. Whether they’re in a dysfunctional relationship or just very, very alone, these characters are relatable in their solitude.
Just as they were in Shortcomings, Tomine’s stories are populated with people whose tactics are often questionable, whose problems are the stuff reality is made of, and whose friends and family overlook. They’re not quite invisible, but they’re close…and they’re plagued by the way others overlook them.
I don’t know what else to say about Tomine, mostly because there’s so much going on in these four short stories that I don’t know where to start. That, and I’m still digesting the issues these stories address — Tomine’s comics are nothing if not complex. And beautiful.
If you’ve never read his work, this is a great one to start with. Pick it up sometime. Sometime soon.