Review by Ian Keogh
Perhaps as a way to work through the stress common to almost everyone in the Western world planning a marriage, Adrian Tomine dived for his sketchbook and began drawing the brief strips collected for this small hardcover book detailing the progress of his wedding plans. Beginning with the discussion concerning potential guests (names advisedly redacted), then working through choice of venue, invitations, DJ and other necessities, Tomine applies a healthy dose of self-awareness to what, after all, are first world traumas. He follows all the way through to the first night of the marriage in the honeymoon suite, finally defying expectation, having established it early.
Scenes From an Impending Marriage could be seen as an adjunct to Tomine’s main catalogue of melancholic introspection, but is actually more appealing than some of his serious works. The separation point is spontaneity, a letting go rather than a scrunching tight. Tomine’s work features envious draughtsmanship, but this loses none of his skill while having a greater life to it, the people more expressive as presented in sketched ink. Furthermore, comedy isn’t the first genre description that comes to mind when considering Tomine, yet he’s a natural at illustrative one panel gags, the set-up and punchline strip and at observational humour. Much of it is pomposity-pricking, deflating his own pretensions while wisely avoiding any comment on his wife to be.
Tomine would hate the comparison, but Scenes From an Impending Marriage is his crowd pleaser, his domestic comedy, his Friends, a perfectly crafted pastiche in the manner of Bob Seger’s Old Time Rock’n’Roll.