32 Stories: The Complete Optic Nerve Mini-Comics by Adrian Tomine
You’ve gotta love this boxed set of eight little mini-comic books. As a not-so-cool high school student (the first picture you see once you slide out the contents) who didn’t have much of a social life, Adrian Tomine had quite the cool other-life, inking comics about what he would have liked to be doing, his friends’ experiences, some made up stories, a few really random dreams, and perfectly captured little moments about the world around him.
From 1991 to 1993, he self-published these mini-comics, literally cutting and pasting them into short little books, then taking them down to the local Kinko’s to make copies he hoped to sell. He found readers here and there, and eventually, he even graduated to offset printing. He had his dream come true a couple years later, and got picked up by a much-admired real-life publishing house, Drawn & Quarterly – whose publisher, Chris Oliveros, ruefully questions how his first letter he ever wrote to Tomine was “on the back of a J.D. King ‘Beastniks’ strip.”
All that’s in here: all seven of the original mini-comics faithfully reproduced (with stickers even in issue #4!), Tomine’s 1995 introduction when they were first published together as a real book, his updated 2008 re-introduction, and publisher Chris Oliveros’ own remembrance of things past to match Tomine’s. The result is an absolute delight, not to mention quite a heady record of the development of a very talented artist as a very young man. Makes for great gift-giving, too, with its nifty cardboard box, too!
Readers: Young Adult, Adult
Published: 1991-1993 (self-published mini-comics), 1995 (first published anthology), 2009 (boxed reprint)