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Adrian Tomine (pronounced toh-mi-neh) was born in Sacramento, California in 1974 and his childhood was spent in various small towns along the West Coast of the USA as well as a year spent in Europe at the age of 13. He studied English at the University of California and currently resides in Berkeley, California.
He has been producing his comics since he was 17. "I became painfully aware of my detachment from any type of social interaction early into my freshman year. It was one those quite weekend nights when even my parents were out having fun that I began making serious attempts to create stories in comics form. It was a cheap way to keep myself occupied, and when a strip started really coming together, I actually forgot that most of my peers were interacting and socialising."
A particularly strong early influence was the comic Love & Rockets by Jamie and Gilbert Hernandez, which he began reading at the early age of 13 despite its adult themes and content. In 1991, while still in high school, Tomine started writing and drawing fictional and autobiographical stories, which he published in his first mini-comic Optic Nerve. A year later, he was hired by Pulse! Magazine to produce a monthly comic strip and a few years and six mini-comics later, publisher Drawn & Quarterly offered him to produce 'Optic Nerve' as a regular comic series. Tomine won the Harvey Award for Best New Talent for this work. Eventually, he received a Xeric grant to publish the seventh issue of his mini-comic, Optic Nerve, and since then, Tomine's art appeared in several magazines, including The New Yorker. Stories from Optic Nerve have been adapted and performed on stage by the Inertia Ensemble in Chicago and his art has been featured by Drawn & Quarterly exhibitions in Portugal, Holland, Finland, Canada and the USA.
In addition to his eight issues of Optic Nerve, Drawn & Quarterly also published the books 32 Stories (a collection of his mini-comics, 1995), Sleepwalk and Other Stories (1998), and Summer Blonde and Other Stories (2002).
Adrian Tomine is a keen observer of the intricacies of human relationships. The characters that populate these stories may appear to be well-adjusted on the surface, but Tomine takes us deeper into their lives, subtly examining their struggle to connect with friends and lovers. Throughout his career, he has come to develop his own Gen X sensibility within alternative comics.