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June 19, 2007
Adrian Tomine hits a national nerve

tomine_newyorker.jpgIn case you've missed seeing the June 11 & 18 New Yorker (its summer fiction double issue) on newsstands, Sacramento expat Adrian Tomine did its charming, slightly melancholy cover (at right).

Tomine, a Rio Americano High School graduate, now lives in Berkeley and has made quite the name for himself via his "Optic Nerve" graphic novel series. This is the 32-year-old's third New Yorker cover.

True confession: When I was in my early 20s, I stumbled across an issue of "Optic Nerve" (I didn't even know Tomine was a Sacramento native at the time) and was so struck by just how darn cute the girl in the cover illustration was - thrift-store dress, cardigan, Mary Janes - that she immediately became something of a style icon for me.

Yes, I took my style cues from a comic book girl - what of it?

Anyway, I had the chance to interview Tomine a few years back for The Bee and found him to be quiet and shy but nonetheless friendly, funny and sweet. Just as I imagined the man behind such drawings would be.

I still love Tomine's work - both the illustrations and the stories. If you haven't read the poignant "Summer Blonde" (Drawn & Quarterly, $16.95, 132 pages), this collection of stories originally published as "Optic Nerve" issues 5-8 is a lovely peek into Tomine's Raymond Chandler-esque literary style.

A new book, "Shortcomings," is due this fall.

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