Adrian Tomine is probably my favourite comics writer & artist working today. I got into his work with Shortcomings (2007), and immediately went back through Summer Blonde (2002), Sleepwalk (1998) and the rawer Optic Nerve stuff (-1998). Since then I’ve picked up pretty much anything with Tomine’s name on it: the 2004 scrapbook of uncollected work, the postcard set, and 2012’s New York Drawings - a wonderful hardback collection of the covers and pieces of artwork that Tomine has contributed to The New Yorker over more than a decade.
The cover of that book features Tomine’s best-known piece: Missed Connection, which was first published as a New Yorker cover on the 8 Nov 2004 issue, ten years ago today. It depicts a man and a woman, seated on separate subway train cars, making eye contact and holding copies of the same book.
There’s something immediately sad about the scene - the simultaneous sense of possibility and the loss thereof; the unfairness of their being powerless to change the fate of being headed in different directions. I can’t help but wonder where those two are going, what the likelihood of their encountering each other again might be, just what exactly they are losing by passing by each other. Whilst Tomine’s graphic novel work is full of great characterisation and well-wrought narrative, his ability to capture emotionally resonant moments in single frames is often simply astounding. Nowhere is this more elegantly done than in ‘Missed Connection’.