Adrian Tomine, Scenes from an Impending Marriage: A pre-nuptial memoir (Drawn and Quartered 2011)
I heard Adrian Tomine’s most recent book reviewed on the radio, and ever keen to expand my knowledge of fine comics I went off to Kinokuniya in search of the thing itself. But contrary to the rumours a lot of people listen to the ABC, and the last copy of Killing and Dying had sold that morning. The helpful young man in the comics section produces this as the only Adrian Tomine on the shelves. I was reluctant to leave empty handed, so he made a sale. (It being late December and me having gifts to buy, I also bought one or two other things, but perhaps more about them later.)
It’s an intimate book, consisting of a series of vignettes from the life of Tomine and his fiancée in the year leading up to their marriage: deciding on the guest list, the invitations, the venue, the entertainment, contemplating elopement etc. It’s witty, convincingly real, and benign, with absolutely no killing or dying of any sort, drawn and framed in a style that’s much closer to Peanuts than to, oh, Sin City. I don’t think it’s giving too much away to say that in the final section, the bride-to-be proposes that each wedding guest be given a little book about the lead-up to the marriage, made by Tomine. This book would have filled that bill superlatively.
It’s odd to be introduced to a comic maker’s art through such an obviously tangential work. But I’m looking forward to seeing more of Tomine’s clean lines and quiet social observation.