LA Weekly | LA Weekly | November 4, 2005
LA WEEKLY picks SETH & ADRIAN TOMINE as this week’s BOOK EVENT!
What illustrators Adrian Tomine and Seth (a.k.a. Gregory Gallant) have in common is, like their art, both obvious and subtle. Both were part of the early 1990s underground movement that kicked the traditional comic-book form in the pants, pushing it beyond talking mice and guys in tights into a realm of sophisticated human interaction previously reserved for the short story or novel. (Seth, as it happens, grew up in the same small Ontario town as did the master of narrative nuance, writer Alice Munro.) Both tackled semi-autobiographical themes: Optic Nerve tracked Tomine's 20-something angst - about desperate crushes, existential ennui, loneliness, falling in love with a cute insomniac girl in a coffee shop at 2 a.m. - while early issues of Seth's Palooka-ville chronicled, in quasi-fictionalized form, the daily struggles of a working artist. Aesthetically, both are throwbacks to earlier times. Seth's style, in particular, calls to mind the wry, urbane wit of mid-century New Yorker cartoons at the height of the so-called Golden Age of comics. This weekend, Drawn and Quarterly, the comic publisher, brings the two illustrators together for a slide show and conversation about art, life and how they got here. Tomine will present Optic Nerve 10, as well as a book he designed and edited, The Push Man and Other Stories by Yoshihiro Tatsumi, the grandfather of alternative manga. Seth will discuss his new graphic novel, Wimbledon Green, and his design of the best-selling series The Complete Peanuts. It is a rare treat to witness these two together, both modern classics in the making. They capture in words and scribbled pictures the way we really live. Adrian Tomine and Seth, Sat., Nov. 5, 7:30 p.m., Skylight Books, 1818 N. Vermont Ave., (323) 660-1175.