Page 45 Review by Stephen
Idea: pathetic introvert attends high-class party, but instead of enjoying himself, endures a series of awkward encounters while maintaining a neurotic internal monologue.
So writes Tomine, alone in the toilet after three pages of addictively excruciating comics.
During these our successful author and artist reluctantly accepts his invitation to mix with the famed and the famous at a swanky New Yorker do, slinks in, frets, freaks out and fails to mix or even find somewhere to park his coat. My, how I empathised! Not a party person, me.
The internal monologue is hilarious in its own right, Tomine in constant circulation like a lost, anxiety-struck, toothless shark so as not to look lost or anxious or
gummy. On top of the bumbling there are confessional, asterisked annotations acts of self-denigration worth of Chris Ware himself. Brilliant!
From the creator of OPTIC NERVE, some of the finest fiction in comics full of behaviour so acutely well observed, comes this beautiful art book with some pages of comics thrown in, including one about Kindle you cant read on Kindle or at least I bloody well hope not. There our Adrian is besieged by digital fanatics who wont let their love lie, even after he concedes defeat. And then theres his daughter:
I had these visions of taking Nora to book shops when she got older
watching her browse
letting her stumble upon her own discoveries
Well, with this new random feature, its exactly the same thing! You never know what --
Oh, just smack him, Adrian!
Predominantly, however, this is as an art book featuring all the mans illustrations for The New Yorker and more. Most of them are portraits. He likes drawing people: people captured in quiet acts of daily routine like stamping library books out, circling newspaper ads, reading books on the bus or sizing up shoes in a shop. And as accurately as the author in Adrian observes speech patterns and behaviour, hes also adept when it comes to body language. Some the sketches come with notes:
Mother and daughter tourists. Daughter seemed mortified when Mom got out the map.
Sweating profusely. Deep in thought (or maybe just staring at his expensive-looking shoes.