Scenes from An Impending Marriage – your wedding favour will never top this.
By Adrian Tomine
Drawn & Quarterly
Created as a wedding favour at the request of his fiancée, Scenes From An Impending Marriage is a far more lightweight and altogether happier comic than you’d expect from something with Tomine’s name on it.
But just because the tone is lighter doesn’t mean it’s any less perfectly put together. Throughout this slight, but practically perfect little book (56 pages, in a cd cover sized hardback, consisting of tight 9 panels grids and single page illustrations) Tomine expertly cartoons his way through so many familiar hiccups along the way to organising that perfect wedding; the guest list questions, the DJ, flowers, registering a list, booking the venue and all the other sent to drive you insane little details along the route to wedded bliss.
Anyone who’s ever gone through a wedding will be able to see something of their own personal wedding nightmare in here.
(That’s just the book’s frontispiece – a perfect distillation of the Tomine wedding and the division of labour!)
This is a simple, yet perfectly done, lightweight treat of a book, it tells, with a smile, and some very funny observational comedy, a tale of the madness and obsession that goes hand in hand with wedding planning. Tomine documents every step as the plans take over his and Sarah’s life.
And throughout, Tomine’s expertly timed comedy will leave you smiling from ear to ear – not something you’d have imagined from the man who brought us the brilliance of Optic Nerve. But he’s taken every bit of brilliant characterisation that he usually delivers in his comics to give us some rather unpleasant people and turned it on himself and (to an understandably lesser degree) Sarah. And he perfectly captures the ridiculousness of the situation they find themselves in.
Take this beautiful example, when his fiancée makes the mistake of talking about getting the invitations professionally printed:
It’s witty, it’s out and out funny, it’s so true to life and it’s unashamedly sweet and sentimental.
And the cartooning is just perfection. Tomine has long been held up as a master of his artform, and although the panels may be small, the quality is huge. There’s almost a Schulz like minimalist perfection to it at times. He does so much, so perfectly, with so much economy that it’s hard to see any fault in any panel.
(Tomine gets his Schulz on. And then, with that “nuptial narcissism” line is right back in his own voice.)
But you didn’t need me to tell you that did you? Just look.
Scenes From An Impending Marriage has 56 pages and they’re all as good as the three examples on this page. As a wedding favour it’s better than any gift. And now we get to share as well.