I’m back from the comic shop this week and I got 3 new comics plus a hard cover collection:

  • Ex Machina 32
  • Walking Dead 44
  • Grendel Behold The Devil 1 (of 8)
  • The Goon Chinatown and the Mystery of Mr. Wicker (The Goon is a favorite series of a couple of friends so I figured I’d try it)
  • And now for a review of something I’ve read this week.

  • Shortcomings – By Adrian Tomine
  • I bought this story when it was serialized in “Optic Nerve” but since I’ve been on such a hard cover collection kick I decided to get this again. It’s a little smaller in size than the comic which is a bit of a disappointment to me but it’s not much smaller. I like oversized comics not undersized ones. Those Japanese style small paperbacks leave me cold.

    The first thing that strikes me about this story is that it is about Asian Americans. That’s not so unusual in and of itself but since this is a “real life” story I have to say that I think this is the first story about Asian Americans that was not about the martial arts. I’ve read “real life” comics about people of other ethnicities and backgrounds but never Asian Americans. I hadn’t realized that before I read this.

    The story is basically about the break up of a couple. We’re told it from the point of view of the guy and that’s who we’re supposed to be sympathetic with. He’s a bit whiney and annoying so sometimes it’s hard to be sympathetic with him but that seems to be on purpose.

    The beginning of the book is the hardest part to get through. The storytelling and dialogue are a little clunky and everything seem a bit forced to me. It doesn’t flow smoothly. I’m not sure if this is a criticism or an observation though because things are supposed to be awkward between the couple at this point in the book. Maybe Tomine succeeded too well. Either way if someone picks up the story and starts reading they may not be too impressed and it would be a shame if they didn’t stick around to finish.

    The last two thirds of the book are where things rang true to me. The dialogue and storytelling come together as we join Ben Tanaka on his journey through changes in his life that he doesn’t like. All sorts of topics including, love, sex, race, betrayal, friendship, and movies are explored and resolution is hard to come by. I like books and movies that are about dialogue and ideas and this falls into that category. I wouldn’t have purchased it twice if I didn’t like it. Recommended.


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