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.

BookSense.com: 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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