Most writers hate their juvenilia: Adrian Tomine spends nearly the whole introduction of 32 Stories, a rerelease of his collected early work, slamming it. He uses the words amateurish, scattershot, affected, and deeply derivative. The title he picked kills him, because he put himself in the company of J.D. Salinger (Nine Stories) and Donald Barthelme (Forty and Sixty Stories). So, why is he putting it all out there again? Because he has a smart, persuasive publisher, Chris Oliveros of Drawn & Quarterly, and both of them had a great idea: Release the seven issues of Optic Nerve, which Tomine started self-publishing during high school in Sacramento, in the original Kinkod, pamphleted form, then ship them out in a box. Its like opening a time capsule from the early '90s, when Pavement ruled and everyone was tired. The copies, going from raw and dark to slick and clean as Tomine's stature rose, are faithful to the original works, right down to the letters, notes, ads, and Berkeley mailing address (which you should not use; God knows who owns it now). Today, at In Conversation: Adrian Tomine and Seth, he trades stories and pictures with a fellow now-aboveground hero (and fellow New Yorker illustrator) Gregory Gallant, to celebrate the release of five books between them.
Thu., June 18, 7:30 p.m., 2009