The Loneliness of the Long-Distance Cartoonist

Drawn & Quarterly. Jun. 2020. 168p. ISBN 9781770463950. $29.95. Rated: Teen+. MEMOIR
In 1995, a young Tomine (Killing and Dying) rages at his classmates for mocking his dream of becoming a famous cartoonist. His fury makes them bully him even more, thus setting the stage for the stories that follow in this funny, bracingly self-deprecating record of the countless humiliations Tomine experienced over the course of his career. Early success in the mid-1990s leads to a series of humbling visits to San Diego Comic-Con. These include the thrill of his first book tour that ends quickly when no one shows up for his signings, and when fans on a comic book cruise don’t bother hiding their disappointment at being seated with him instead of Neil Gaiman at dinner. From a less skilled creator, the litany of awkward encounters might have become repetitive; instead, Tomine’s mortifying misadventures become funnier and more emotionally resonant in the latter part of this memoir, as professional success and a growing family find the anger and anxiety that ruled the author’s early years transform into an insightful and profound vulnerability.
VERDICT A hilarious, frequently cringe-inducing masterpiece from a fearless artist at the height of his powers.
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