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32 Stories: The Complete Optic Nerve Mini-Comics

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In 1991, Adrian Tomine self-published the first issue of Optic Nerve. Consisting of three xeroxed sheets of paper, and with a print run of twenty-five, it was a less-than-auspicious, largely unnoticed debut. In the following three years, though, Optic Nerve developed at a startlingly rapid pace: the artwork and writing evolved with each story, production quality improved, In 1991, Adrian Tomine self-published the first issue of Optic Nerve. Consisting of three xeroxed sheets of paper, and with a print run of twenty-five, it was a less-than-auspicious, largely unnoticed


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In 1991, Adrian Tomine self-published the first issue of Optic Nerve. Consisting of three xeroxed sheets of paper, and with a print run of twenty-five, it was a less-than-auspicious, largely unnoticed debut. In the following three years, though, Optic Nerve developed at a startlingly rapid pace: the artwork and writing evolved with each story, production quality improved, In 1991, Adrian Tomine self-published the first issue of Optic Nerve. Consisting of three xeroxed sheets of paper, and with a print run of twenty-five, it was a less-than-auspicious, largely unnoticed debut. In the following three years, though, Optic Nerve developed at a startlingly rapid pace: the artwork and writing evolved with each story, production quality improved, page counts increased, and by issue seven, sales had reached 6,000. In 1994, Drawn & Quarterly took over the publishing duties of Optic Nerve, and the original seven issues sold out and were left out of print. 32 stories presents these rare, early editions, collected for the first time in a single volume.

17 review for 32 Stories: The Complete Optic Nerve Mini-Comics

  1. 4 out of 5

    Paul Secor

    Early works. Interesting, but he got better as time went on. Which is the way things are supposed to work.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Ill D

    https://i.pinimg.com/736x/ba/b2/73/ba...Did you know that Andy Warhol used to draw weird shit like Del Monte peach cans? Of course not! Because no body gives a shit about Del Monte peach cans. Nor did they give a shit about a ton of other of earlier shit he did.They care about Monroe! They care about Elvis! They care about Pop Art!This same collection akin to an "early years," album is the style du jour of Adrian Tomine's: Optic Nerve. Sometimes it fun to see an artist grow and change. And somet https://i.pinimg.com/736x/ba/b2/73/ba...Did you know that Andy Warhol used to draw weird shit like Del Monte peach cans? Of course not! Because no body gives a shit about Del Monte peach cans. Nor did they give a shit about a ton of other of earlier shit he did.They care about Monroe! They care about Elvis! They care about Pop Art!This same collection akin to an "early years," album is the style du jour of Adrian Tomine's: Optic Nerve. Sometimes it fun to see an artist grow and change. And sometimes it's not. This paper thin compendium has more in common with the latter; far more miss than hit.Except for whatever reason, people not only like(d) it but, evidently, they paid money for it.Go figure.And just for the record, I'm generally loathe to criticize art work. I'm quite lacking in the fine motor skill department so I feel it a little disingenuous to criticize others for what I myself cannot do. However, the art here ranges from lack-luster, to mediocrity, and then back to lackluster again. With a few 3rd tier gems here and there, it all seems quite garish in retrospect. Yeah, yeah. "He was a high school student," you'll say. But irregardless, some of the visuals are just gross to look at. Not vile - just gross.Ew!Sure, no one is perfect. But, the stories are even more 3rd rate than the nasty-ass illustrations within. Blech!Never exceeding more than fix-six pages in length, the stories feel more like skits than anything. And as anyone who listened to more than a few Hip-Hop LP's, more often than not they do amount to filler. Except what would otherwise be filler here, is actually the main course. And to be charitable, sure there are a couple moments of charm but, they are unsurprisingly few and far between. After giving this a thorough once-over, I feel like Adrian Tomine's optic nerves were shot when he made this.Two Thumbs Down!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Austin

    I picked this book up at Hungry Head Books in Eugene. (Is that place even still around?) As a kid raised on superheroes, indie-comics were completely unknown to me, and I had never read anything weirder that DC's Vertigo books. But there was something about what I saw that appealed to me, and I took it home anyway and read it through. I was instantly hooked. I started getting the Optic Nerve book that was coming out, and used to talk up Adrian Tomine whenever people asked what I was reading. I u I picked this book up at Hungry Head Books in Eugene. (Is that place even still around?) As a kid raised on superheroes, indie-comics were completely unknown to me, and I had never read anything weirder that DC's Vertigo books. But there was something about what I saw that appealed to me, and I took it home anyway and read it through. I was instantly hooked. I started getting the Optic Nerve book that was coming out, and used to talk up Adrian Tomine whenever people asked what I was reading. I used to think that he was sharp, funny, and had a sense of timing that was impeccable, and I would re-read these 32 Stories, wringing out of them the emotion that seemed to be seeping out of every panel he drew. Time passed in it's singular motion, and I took another look at Tomine to check in with him and see if my friend-in-comics was still up to his old tricks. I was shocked to find that I didn't like it. I went back and re-read everything I owned, and found myself sort of grimacing and wondering why it was so depressing. It's not that his work is bad; far from it. He is a skilled cartoonist who can write and draw quite impressively, and more than once I've been impressed with little tricks and nuances that appear in his work. But it seems to me that the consistently dour tone of his stories, and the fact that they always focus on the worst moments of hipster relationships, is sort of like hitting the same note endlessly. I like a good drone as much as the next guy, but as I get older I don't want to wallow in this kind of storytelling, even if it's beautifully executed.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Eissenn Downey jr.

    Funny and sometimes haunting. This is Raymond Carver in comics form.

  5. 5 out of 5

    pierce geary

    It is perfectly natural and understandable for an artist to be self conscious about their earliest work, and from the introduction to this edition you can tell that Adrian Tomine is among the most nervously trepid, but there is so much innate skill and mature vision in these comics that they hardly seem like the doodles of a distracted high schooler. He should be entirely proud of these. They're not perfect but they are precisely what they ought to be and most comics done by novices are a far It is perfectly natural and understandable for an artist to be self conscious about their earliest work, and from the introduction to this edition you can tell that Adrian Tomine is among the most nervously trepid, but there is so much innate skill and mature vision in these comics that they hardly seem like the doodles of a distracted high schooler. He should be entirely proud of these. They're not perfect but they are precisely what they ought to be and most comics done by novices are a far cry from even that. I love how you can see the precociousness of the artist and his learning trajectory through these seven little pamphlets. Each one is so brief but the incredible leaps in ability and precision with each progressive issue belie the relatively small output making me want to see all those sketches and comics Adrian must have kept all to himself as he honed his incredible talent. I mean look at his stuff now. He's a master.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Kristoffer

    I've read this book so many times I've lost count, but what I noticed this time around is that Adrian Tomine has had multiple writing and drawing styles, and it was interesting to watch how he progressed from a self-published sixteen-year old comic artist and writer to a nineteen-year old one who received a contract from Drawn & Quarterly by the end of the Optic Nerve Mini-Comics series.Though I appreciated watching his growth as a writer, I found myself wishing that he retained some of his mult I've read this book so many times I've lost count, but what I noticed this time around is that Adrian Tomine has had multiple writing and drawing styles, and it was interesting to watch how he progressed from a self-published sixteen-year old comic artist and writer to a nineteen-year old one who received a contract from Drawn & Quarterly by the end of the Optic Nerve Mini-Comics series.Though I appreciated watching his growth as a writer, I found myself wishing that he retained some of his multiple drawing styles and employing them accordingly to this day, rather than remaining loyal to his current style, which is delinated in the stories "Happy Anniversary" and "Grind.""Two in the Morning" remains my favorite comic in the entire Tomine catalogue; I could read it several times in one sitting and still find so much satisfaction in it.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Adan

    There are some hits and misses in this collection of Tomine's earliest work, but what fascinated me the most was watching Tomine's progression as an artist and storyteller. He starts out quite raw and scratchy, but only seven issues later he proves how amazing he really is. My favorites are easily "Smoke" and "Happy Anniversary", both about relationships that should have ended long ago but don't because of inertia, complacency, and low self-esteem. There are some hits and misses in this collection of Tomine's earliest work, but what fascinated me the most was watching Tomine's progression as an artist and storyteller. He starts out quite raw and scratchy, but only seven issues later he proves how amazing he really is. My favorites are easily "Smoke" and "Happy Anniversary", both about relationships that should have ended long ago but don't because of inertia, complacency, and low self-esteem.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Emi Bevacqua

    I like watching Adrian Tomine's style evolve over the course of these 32 stories, spanning 5 years of experimentation with his subjects, their genders and backgrounds. I found some of this stuff too cringe-y to enjoy though, it's so raw and he's so vulnerable. I like watching Adrian Tomine's style evolve over the course of these 32 stories, spanning 5 years of experimentation with his subjects, their genders and backgrounds. I found some of this stuff too cringe-y to enjoy though, it's so raw and he's so vulnerable.

  9. 4 out of 5

    val

    "What is the point?" I asked myself as I read the first two issues. But then, maybe this is me being used to conventional media where you can expect there to be some neat pay-off to a carefully crafted story. The comics were made in the 90s by a then-high-school student, before the age of information, before anyone could easily learn that a story is composed of exposition followed by the rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution (unless they paid attention in class). And, these were "What is the point?" I asked myself as I read the first two issues. But then, maybe this is me being used to conventional media where you can expect there to be some neat pay-off to a carefully crafted story. The comics were made in the 90s by a then-high-school student, before the age of information, before anyone could easily learn that a story is composed of exposition followed by the rising action, climax, falling action, and resolution (unless they paid attention in class). And, these were strips originally meant for Tomine's eyes.The third issue starts showing a resemblance to conventional story structure, being most evident in "Adrian Quits His Job," where I also started to appreciate Tomine's skills at drawing intense expressions and movement. My favorite story in this issue though had to be "Rodney" for its slice-of-life element and life goes on mentality.The fourth issue shows dramatic improvement with even more polished storytelling, and the content improves from there. I feel like "Haircut" is the best in the whole collection, since it comes entirely from a dream that goes from mundane to possibly despairing.I enjoyed the collection, although I'm not sure I would read it again except for a select few strips.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jake Nap

    Adrian Tomine is in the running for my favorite comics creator of all time. At this point, I’ve nearly read everything he’s done and I’ve more or less loved all of it. This is no exception. This collection produces all of his Optic Nerve stories prior to getting picked up by Drawn and Quarterly which is where the stories in “Sleepwalk” and “Summer Blonde” come from. These chart books chart Tomine’s progression as a cartoonist and serve as a really great collection for people familiar with Tomine Adrian Tomine is in the running for my favorite comics creator of all time. At this point, I’ve nearly read everything he’s done and I’ve more or less loved all of it. This is no exception. This collection produces all of his Optic Nerve stories prior to getting picked up by Drawn and Quarterly which is where the stories in “Sleepwalk” and “Summer Blonde” come from. These chart books chart Tomine’s progression as a cartoonist and serve as a really great collection for people familiar with Tomine’s work. Yes, the early stories are pretty amateurish, they still have this hunger and need for validation that makes them interesting enough to wade through to get to the real gems in this collection. There’s a lot of them by the way. 8/10

  11. 5 out of 5

    Jason Bootle

    Let's face it, the author is annoying and I remember I had read one of his more recent novels and I just couldn't like anything about his main character. Way too self obsessed. Having said that, what I did like was the format, a republishing of his original self published zines in a box. Nice. Some of the strips were good – the ones which didn't feature him! – and it was nice to see the development of an artist – the guy can certainly draw and perhaps mimics Clowes a bit much but nonetheless nic Let's face it, the author is annoying and I remember I had read one of his more recent novels and I just couldn't like anything about his main character. Way too self obsessed. Having said that, what I did like was the format, a republishing of his original self published zines in a box. Nice. Some of the strips were good – the ones which didn't feature him! – and it was nice to see the development of an artist – the guy can certainly draw and perhaps mimics Clowes a bit much but nonetheless nice to see that development. 2 stars for content, 1 for packaging and presentation.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Hans

    It's amazing to see how Adrian Tomine's work evolved (through a lot of hard work and experimentation), especially over the course of his first seven issues of Optic Nerve. One quick note of appreciation for the subtle passage of time in the final story "Grind." The character's story is told in ten panels, though the passage of time is told with changes of the character's hairstyle and hair length, pushing the narrative forward with a silent visual transition. It's amazing to see how Adrian Tomine's work evolved (through a lot of hard work and experimentation), especially over the course of his first seven issues of Optic Nerve. One quick note of appreciation for the subtle passage of time in the final story "Grind." The character's story is told in ten panels, though the passage of time is told with changes of the character's hairstyle and hair length, pushing the narrative forward with a silent visual transition.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Lucile Barker

    81. 32 Stories: The complete Optic Nerve Mini Comics by Adrian TomineI found these to be a great little stories but the art was a little primitive. The emotions were as raw as the drawings. Men jealous off anything their women like, nightmares, insomnia. Many of the vignettes were inspired by dreams. While I could relate to all of them, I hope Tomine either improves his art, or tries fiction.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Megan Kirby

    I read the boxed set of these and really loved seeing Tomine's early style. It's great to see how artists figured things out in their early days! I wish he wasn't so hard on himself and his art in the preface. It makes me sad that Tomine views these really excellent early comics as anything but exciting, charming, formative, etc. I read the boxed set of these and really loved seeing Tomine's early style. It's great to see how artists figured things out in their early days! I wish he wasn't so hard on himself and his art in the preface. It makes me sad that Tomine views these really excellent early comics as anything but exciting, charming, formative, etc.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Alan

    Book 4.5Format 5Really enjoyed this. Love how it was reproduced in the original intended zine format, even down to the smallest detail.Great seeing how Tomine's writing and art progressed over the few years these comics were produced. Nice little autobiographical stories and snippets of real life. Not sure I would have enjoyed it as much if not in this format. Book 4.5Format 5Really enjoyed this. Love how it was reproduced in the original intended zine format, even down to the smallest detail.Great seeing how Tomine's writing and art progressed over the few years these comics were produced. Nice little autobiographical stories and snippets of real life. Not sure I would have enjoyed it as much if not in this format.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Mike

    "Solitary Enjoyment" is the most insightful look into the human condition I've seen a 17-year-old produce. The rest of this collection is just as wonderful and kind of makes me nostalgic for a time when DIY creative culture wasn't as hegemonized by the mainstream as much as it is now. "Solitary Enjoyment" is the most insightful look into the human condition I've seen a 17-year-old produce. The rest of this collection is just as wonderful and kind of makes me nostalgic for a time when DIY creative culture wasn't as hegemonized by the mainstream as much as it is now.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Bhavya Pochiraju

    I finished this book really quickly! I constantly wanted to know what happened next, the writing was great, and the plot moved along well. I will be checking out this author’s works for sure.Check out my Art Page [ARTONORIUM] I finished this book really quickly! I constantly wanted to know what happened next, the writing was great, and the plot moved along well. I will be checking out this author’s works for sure.Check out my Art Page [ARTONORIUM]

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