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Summer Blonde (Optic Nerve #5-8)

3.9  ·  Rating Details ·  6,516 Ratings  ·  299 Reviews
Adrian Tomine's cult comix series Optic Nerve is finally collected into one sharp-looking hardcover graphic novel. Described as the Raymond Carver of comix, Tomine constructs tales of emotional disconnection with an ear for painfully real dialogue. Combined with his deft black and white depictions of urbane lifestyles, Tomine's fans have often accused him of eavesdropping ...more
Paperback, 132 pages
Published June 1st 2003 by Drawn and Quarterly
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Jul 21, 2007 Rory rated it it was ok
SHUT UP, Adrian Tomine. I get that your characters are all you, and that they're all your girlfriends, and that they're all lonely and disconnected and pathetic. I get it, now SHUT UP. And endings? I know they're not hip, but you could humour us with some, couldn't you?
Jan Philipzig
Collecting four short stories originally published as Optic Nerve #5-8, Summer Blonde provides the compelling, highly memorable glimpses into teenage angst, alienation and romance you'd expect from Adrian Tomine. It's impressive stuff, especially considering Tomine was only in his 20s when these comics originally came out. The influence of cartoonists such as Dan Clowes and Jaime Hernandez can still be felt, but Tomine is gradually developing his own brand of subtly voyeuristic storytelling here ...more
Inutile cercare avventura, azione, detection, colpi di scena, trame piene d’intreccio nelle storie di Tomine che più ordinarie non si potrebbe.


I personaggi di Tomine vivono in appartamenti normali, di solito sulla West Coast, di solito a Berkeley, e possono avere vicini e compagni di casa fastidiosi - fanno lavori normali, mai brillanti, a volte li perdono, rimangono disoccupati - hanno storie d’amore che funzionano così così, oppure funzionano malino, finiscono,
May 13, 2007 M rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: fans of trendy sad bastard comix like Ghost World or Jimmy Corrigan
Such a right-on look at urban/suburban loneliness. We all may not have felt this way in our high school and college and 20-something years, but I sure have at times. Sure, the characters are whiny and self-pitying, but so are people who actually go through those situations. This is not as Raymond Carver-redux as everybody is claiming--for one thing, the situations are a little more unusual, where Carver really gets great mileage out of the banal and the utterly ordinary. No, this feels like clas ...more
Apr 03, 2013 Andrew rated it liked it
I suppose my reaction to the stories in this book is largely dependent on my hope that Tomine is truly critiquing the "nice guy" types who are the protagonists of his stories. Making a character loathsome is not the same thing as calling into question the basic validity of their self-image (for evidence that the two aren't necessarily the same thing, see Philip Roth or Martin Amis or Richard Ford).

The way that most of Tomine's female characters remain locked in the terms of manic-pixie-dream-gi
I don't know how I feel about this one: the actual short stories were engaging, interesting, refreshing, BUT none of them had a ending. They just stopped abruptly. I guess there was a message behind that, but I was not able to catch it.
Bryce Holt
Jul 28, 2014 Bryce Holt rated it it was ok
I'm constantly amazed that people crap all over themselves about books like this. It's all sad-ass stories about powerless people living very upsetting lives, nerds who have been picked on during high school and who are still dwelling on it, and human interactions that just don't typically happen (but are framed as commonplace). I feel as if the vast majority of these types of stories also are predominantly produced in Chicago and San Francisco, and this...of course...seems to all happen in San ...more
Aug 03, 2015 Sookie rated it it was ok
Shelves: graphic-novels, 2015
The characters see cruelty in this world and reflect the cynicism that they see. The problem is they refuse to see anything else. Self absorption can be forgiven in teenagers but not excessive self pity generated by being anti social. As there is no ending or a right beginning to these characters, I could be horribly unfair in calling these characters that.
Jul 22, 2007 Oriana rated it it was amazing
This is one of the books I read that summer I worked at the kiosk in Central Park. Something I'd never have picked up otherwise that just blew me away.
Sharm Alagaratnam
Dec 20, 2008 Sharm Alagaratnam rated it liked it
Shelves: comic-books
Summer Blonde by Adrian Tomine was my most recent comic book recommendation. The four stories contained within each encapsulate a little slice of California Gen X life in all its urban loneliness. In fact, what I liked most about them was that there weren't tidy endings to any of the stories. Additionally, anyone who is at all Chinese or knows anything about (migrant) Chinese culture may identify very much with Hillary in 'Hawaiian Getaway'.

I found a surprisingly good review of the book by Time
Mar 29, 2016 Lauren rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jul 07, 2008 Jen rated it it was amazing
Shelves: comics, short-stories
Wow. I had been enjoying the Optic Nerve single issues I was reading, but this book totally blew me away. I read Tomine's 32 Stories not too long ago (his collection of really early, self-published Optic Nerve issues), and the distance he traveled between that book and this one is remarkable to me. Summer Blonde is four different stories - each one of which was published in an issue of Optic Nerve, I believe, before they were collected - and the title of one of the stories is Summer Blonde. My f ...more
Apr 11, 2008 David rated it really liked it
These stories of young men and women seeking meaning (and seldom finding it) in a world that is as aimless and sometimes as cruel as they themselves are, may at first seem somewhat drifty and static, but they have a way of creeping in under the skin and setting up residence in the heart. A maladjusted former telephone girl – fired for acknowledging that it was William Shatner ordering those crewnecks – strikes up a relationship with a victim of a crank call. A socially inept author parlays his n ...more
Jun 30, 2009 Jimmy rated it it was ok
Recommended to Jimmy by: p.c. atl
Summer blonde, some are not blonde, and some just fantasize about blondes. There's too much teen angst and white-boy self pity in these pages for me to really be very enthusiastic about it. All four protagonists are losers who are just creepy or bitter enough for you to not feel sorry for him/her. The first two stories suffered from this the most, I felt like the artist was writing about himself. The last two stories are an improvement. I liked the 3rd story the most, because it was about an asi ...more
Jan 25, 2016 Zioluc rated it really liked it
Shelves: fumetto
Difficile non pensare al minimalismo di Carver leggendo questi racconti. Tomine sceglie solo storie tristi di personaggi emarginati, ma la sua capacità di resa psicologica è stupefacente e li fa amare più o meno tutti.
Mar 11, 2017 Sam rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
Compelling. That's the only way to describe this book. I challenge you not to see yourself and people you encounter throughout your life in this work.

All of the negative reviews are true. Each short story is unrelated to the others, they are realistic, sweet (sometimes) but mostly sour, and even depressing. They lack beginning and certainly ending. They are only brief snapshots of normal human beings floundering in life.

Snapshots fantastically captured in mind-reading-genius detail.

John Donne
I am glad that I didn't review this book immediately after finishing it, as I usually do. I had time to think and process this book and stories presented within its pages. Summer Blonde is a collection of four short stories presented as comics. The stories are very subtle and follow certain kind of people - people that are sad, depressed, people that struggle with finding sense in life. Reading the stories gives you a voyeuristic feel. You feel like the shadow on the cover that is following some ...more
Oct 19, 2014 Jeff rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jeff by: a review by Paul Bryant
Adrian Tomine's characters and stories are not for me. I rapidly skimmed the title story (2nd of 4 in this collection) from about the midpoint. Someday i hope to understand what other people have enjoyed so much about his work as it'll likely mean i've learned something about Gen Xers. For now, i feel more alienated from Tomine's work than his typical lead characters feel from the girls they long for.

Upon further self-examination:
I feel affronted, angry, irritated. I'm fighting an urge to create
Jul 16, 2010 Christina rated it it was ok
struggling with how many stars. prob between 2 and 3. tomine has struck a chord with his writing/drawing style: these are well-crafted short stories with literary merit that could only be told the way he tells them. and he's really good at creating characters that feel true and alive and very sad...don't read it if you're in a bad mood or are feeling mildly depressed. because these characters are sad and they make me sad. and sometimes they're hard to like...much like some people in real life. i ...more
Dec 02, 2011 Jamie rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Jamie by:
Shelves: adult, graphic-novels
Oh, the ambiguous endings. Or lack thereof. I find these stories to be perfect, and the endings to be so as well. When you read a book, and get to know the characters, do you really want to think that their story is over just because you have finished the book? Or do you prefer to think they go on living their imperfect lives? I guess I'm the latter.
More like 3.5... Summer Blonde is a collection of fourt stories originally presented in Optic Nerve each about someone who is painfully uncomfortable in their own skin. I could see how some people could find Tomine a little redundant, but I think if it's good, go with it.
vicky ✨
I get that this is supposed to be like an indie movie portraying the struggles of adolescents. Sadly, I didn't care for any of the characters, neither did I like the art in this, so there wasn't much for me to enjoy.
Feb 03, 2016 Bill rated it it was amazing
Can't get enough Adrian Tomine. I especially liked the first story in this collection. Seems like a lot of Tomine's stories end in a real-life, naturalistic manner and the first story ended with some really great tension still hanging in the air--perfectly balanced.
Jul 28, 2015 Kate rated it it was ok
This is really more of a 1.5 stars. I picked this up at the library knowing nothing about it. I didn't really see the point in any of these stories. They were all cut way too quickly or had no development. This is one of the not-so-great graphic novels I've read. There are better ones out there.
Jan 16, 2014 A rated it really liked it
Recommended to A by: Alarra
Quiet, beautiful and perfect. There is a strangely crystalline property to his work that feels like everything is being minutely observed and preserved in the bell jar of the page. I could read this through over and over (and have!).
Larry C
Jan 31, 2016 Larry C rated it really liked it
Exactly as I have read, Tomine is the Raymond Carver of comics. Great short stories that are emotionally charged. He writes dialogue that's real, not forced.
Jun 28, 2015 Adan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tomine moves into longform storytelling in this collection, with each story the length of the original Optic Nerve issues. I think I prefer his shorter work, but am still digging his stuff.
Jun 25, 2011 Michael rated it really liked it
Shelves: sequential-art
Sehr melancholisch, sehr literarisch; sparsame Zeichnungen, die die Emotionen auf den Punkt bringen. Das beste Comic, das ich in letzter Zeit gelesen habe.
Edward Smith
Apr 07, 2016 Edward Smith rated it it was amazing
Just the right amount of angst to keep the story interesting without wallowing. Enjoyed the story and the simple art work
Mar 09, 2012 Kristin rated it did not like it
Boo hoo, Adrian Tomine. Get over yourself and your terrible high school experiences. I've never seen so much self pity crammed into so few pages.
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ADRIAN TOMINE was born in 1974 in Sacramento, California. He began self-publishing his comic book series Optic Nerve. His comics have been anthologized in publications such as McSweeney’s, Best American Comics, and Best American Nonrequired Reading, and his graphic novel "Shortcomings" was a New York Times Notable Book of 2007. His next release, "Killing and Dying" will be published by Drawn and Q ...more
More about Adrian Tomine...

Other Books in the Series

Optic Nerve (1 - 10 of 15 books)
  • Optic Nerve #1
  • Optic Nerve #2
  • Optic Nerve #3
  • Optic Nerve #4
  • Optic Nerve #5
  • Optic Nerve #6
  • Optic Nerve #7
  • Optic Nerve #8
  • Optic Nerve #9
  • Optic Nerve #10

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