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Shortcomings, a Graphic Novel by Adrian Tomine

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I hadn't ever read anything by Adrian Tomine before recently reading his newest graphic novel, Shortcomings. But I had heard of him many times before. He's been hailed for his comic book Optic Nerve, which he started writing and self publishing at the age of 16, as well as his artwork, which has filled magazines like The New Yorker and numerous album covers for bands like Weezer and Eels.

Shortcomings though, is a combination of issues from his Optic Nerve comic, brought together in one cohesive breath. It's a story about love you could say, but more so about a person trying to find themselves. The person in this story is Ben Tanaka, a guy who's completely insensitive and critical, who happens to have a dead end job managing a movie theater. He's starts having problems in his long-term relationship because his girlfriend thinks he has a wandering eye, which could very well be true. Without giving too much away, the story unfolds as the characters try to discover who they really are, and what it takes to make themselves happy.

I have to say that I truly enjoyed this book. I had a hard time dealing with the main character Ben because he's a huge prick. But as I kept reading it, I realized that I've had those same fights I was reading about. I've been in that weird, awkward situation where you know things are not going to work out like you planned. It's something in the way that Tomine draws the characters, and the exact words that they say that makes you realize this isn't a story. This is probably something that happened once to him. Because it feels like you're reading a page right out of life.