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Adrian Tomine

He is a cartoonist and I learned to know him by looking for graphic novels similar to those from Chris Ware. So far I have read Killing and Dying (2015) and Shortcomings (2007).

Killing and Dying

The stories he tells in his comics feel very real and often include many powerful and subtle elements. Like in the story Killing and Dying the Mom of the young teenage comedian slowly dying from cancer. Therefore the story also shows the denial we have towards death during our daily routine as the characters never even acknowledge her illness.


In Shortcomings we follow the disintegrating relationship between the Japanese Ben and his girlfriend Miko. There final arguments often revolving around Ben's attraction towards white women, which insults Miko, who is also Asian. Ben is not a very likable character, but it was still hard to see how his life is turned upside down in this story.

I really enjoy his art style, which is very calm and clean in both graphic novels. It is also fun to think about the similarities between Adrian's characters and himself. It is easy to find them in Shortcomings, since both Adrian and Ben are of Japanese descent and both live in California.