The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Cartoonist

The Loneliness of the Long-Distance CartoonistThe Loneliness of the Long-Distance Cartoonist by Adrian Tomine
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

My favourite of the things I've read by Tomine, although I also have two young daughters so that may say more about me than about the work. Much of this volume is taken up with short sketches of the various (sometimes imagined) humiliations Tomine has gone through as a comics obsessive and increasingly successful cartoonist – which are wry and funny and easily digestible. The final section is a bit longer, and documents a typically ridiculous brush with death that nevertheless leads Tomine to write a very moving letter to his children, as well as reflect on the ways his workaholism takes him away from his family and the things that really make him happy. Other readers may find that a trite and obvious endpoint, although as someone very much in the trenches of fatherhood with Tomine it struck particularly true. The final irony of the piece is that the cartooning urge cannot be suppressed – Tomine channels his insight about the importance of a life outside work into yet more work. Perhaps the format of the book – a square-ruled notebook rather than a typical trade paperback – suggests an artist more at ease with his craft, jotting things down as they come rather than locking himself away from the wife and kids to slave over another critically-acclaimed tome. I hope so, for his sake and mine.

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