Scenes from an Impending Marriage by Adrian Tomine

Scenes from an Impending Marriage
by Adrian Tomine
Drawn & Quarterly, 2011

This is the first book by Tomine that I haven’t immediately thought could be done a lot better by Daniel Clowes. Although an excellent artist, I find his material extremely self-absorbed. It’s not unusual for a cartoonist to portray themselves or their author-avatars as utterly unpleasant, but it requires a lot of nerve to make it entertaining and not just wank – Chester Brown’s porn-obsessed characters are cringe-inducing but still funny, like the original The Office, and Seth’s nihilism is so extreme it’s fascinating, but Tomine’s miserable, privileged, unsympathetic characters are just, well, jerks.

This small book is adapted from a comic he gave to his wedding guests, and is quite charming, slightly less Clowes-esque than his usual style with numerous references to The Family Circus and Peanuts (even the front cover). Unfortunately the story of his wedding preparations is completely unexceptional. He and his fiancé try to pick a DJ, they work on the seating plan, they buy clothes, they worry about the florist… it’s certainly sincere and must’ve made a neat gift for his close friends and family, but is it worth publishing? I suppose if you’ve just gone through planning a wedding yourself you’d love this book, but I’m not sure why the rest of us are supposed to care.

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