BoingBoing describes New York Drawings as a “vibrant… portrait”

Comics Rack: Boing Boing's comic books picks for October

Boing Boing    |    Brian Heater    |    October 1, 2012

There have been all of, what, three issues of Optic Nerve published in the past decade? Adrian Tomine, you’re given those of us in the indie comics trenches some serious abandonment issues here -- those of us who cite the series along with Eightball and Hate and Love & Rockets as the books that helped up our eyes to the potential of this medium in high school and college. Oh, we know why you haven’t been around a lot. We get it it. We live in a world where making a living as a cartoonist is a tricky proposition even for someone whose convention lines wrap around to the other side of the room. And yeah, if we thought for a minute that The New Yorker wanted what we were selling, we’d drop everything in an instant -- and once they did, tales about angsty 20-year-olds might not have the same resonance.

But then you open this collection and realize Tomine is still Tomine. That the sequential floppies have mostly morphed into single-page illustrations (which, wild guess, likely pay orders of magnitude more than full issues ever did), but the cartoonist has used this opportunity to condense short stories into single panel tales. Yeah, some of the content is likely just commissioned supplementals for others’ text stories that do most of the heavy lifting, but divorced of text, Tomine has become a master of conveying real world complexities in the context of a single frame. And as you stare and search, the book store is changed from a stationary object for coffee tables and dusty bookshelves into something more vibrant -- not quite a graphic novel per se, but a portrait, certainly, of the world around him.

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