ADRIAN TOMINE in the SF Chronicle

SF Chronicle    |    Michael Berry    |    July 12, 2009

In the right hands, comics are an excellent medium for revealing character with a few concise words and lines. Former Berkeley resident Adrian Tomine made a name for himself with his self-published "Optic Nerve" mini comic, now reprinted and collected as a boxed set, 32 Stories (Drawn & Quarterly; 104 pages; $19.95). His black-and-white graphic novel, "Shortcomings" (Drawn & Quarterly; 112 pages; $14.95; trade), dissects the dissolution of a modern-day romance. Young slacker Ben Tanaka resents his girlfriend for heading off to New York for a film internship, but he doesn't mind being left to his own devices on the West Coast to date a bisexual blonde. With a clear eye, a steady hand and a mordant wit, Tomine spins a low-key story energized by astute observations about race and gender.

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