MK Czerwiec’s (pronounced sir-wick) new book Taking Turns (Penn State University Press) shares the story of Unit 371, a shining example of excellence in the treatment and care of patients. Unit 371 was a community for thousands of patients and families affected by HIV and AIDS and the people …
Scenes from an Impending Marriage
Published by Drawn and Quarterly
54p, b&w, 5.25"x6"
Hmmm. I hates to say it, but I think this was published because it would make a good wedding gift. Tomine, who can draw like nobody's business, pays tribute to the status quo newspaper daily strip in this "Prenuptial Memoir". Everything ends in a sad little joke/realization that has that familial pacing of For Better or Worse with a healthy "Ack!" factor borrowed from Cathy. Design-wise Tomine's constantly riffing on Family Circus and Peanuts...using them as templates for bland little moments about the excesses of wedding planning, the give-and-take of couplehood and the ridiculousness of trying to hyper-plan a perfect day.
This is where the trick/sly/meta factor of the book might be happening, where we see Tomine is reeling that all this stuff your family-friendly daily strips have been talking about for years has slithered its way in and is infecting his entire life - and that it's okay- it's for love, after all, which no one should be denied or blasted for.
In that vein, it's actually pretty smart to take this format/approach to all the weird-ass petty-and-boring stuff people start making a big deal about when they plan a wedding. Just like the funny pages, it begs you to stop hating how unfunny the surface humor is and watch as the curtain is pulled back and things like Fred Basset become crazy hysterical exercises into surreal worlds of pre-concieved comforts and privileges. So could it be this ho-hum little volume is actually a crafty but confused double agent? I sure wouldn't put it past the guy. -EF