Booksense interview: Adrian, comix and books

“Adrian, Comix and Books” / Booksense / Andrew Duncan / October 18, 2002

Adrian Tomine started Optic Nerve as a self-published zine in 1991. Drawn & Quarterly began publishing the comic in 1995, and has released two other Optic Nerve collections besides Summer Blonde: 32 Stories and Sleepwalk and Other Stories. Tomine has also contributed illustrations to numerous magazines, including The New Yorker, George, Details, Jane, and Pulse. When and why did you start doing comic books?

Adrian Tomine: I've been drawing comics (in various stages of crudeness) since early childhood, and my interest has just continued to grow over the years. I made the first step toward "serious" work when I was around 15, and I started self-publishing Optic Nerve as a little zine.

How did you get involved with [Optic Nerve publisher] Drawn And Quarterly?

After self-publishing Optic Nerve for a few years, I started to achieve some small level of recognition. A few established cartoonists gave me little "plugs" in their comics. I got a few write-ups, and I started selling more copies.

In 1994 or 1995, I got a call from Chris Oliveros, the man who essentially is Drawn & Quarterly, and he asked if I'd be interested in having them publish Optic Nerve as a full-size comic book. This had been my ambition all along, so I quickly signed on the dotted line, and I've been with them ever since.

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