Writer(s): Adrian Tomine
Artist(s): Adrian Tomine
Publisher: Drawn and Quarterly
ISBN: 978-1897299166
Price: $19.95
Page count: 104
Year Released: 2007
Status: in print
Original Source: Optic Nerve 9-11
Other Collected Edition(s): n/a
Genres: literature; romance/relationships; slice of life
Recommended for Fans Of: Raymond Carver; Godard's Contempt
Possible Objectionable Material: brief nudity; adult situations; coarse language
If You Like This Book, Try: Blankets; Caricature; Ghost World
Also in This Series: n/a

Plot Summary
Ben Tanaka is a 30-year-old movie theater manager in Berkeley whose girlfriend, Miko Hayashi, suspects him of suffering from a wandering eye. This might not be such a problem for her, except that Ben seems to be obsessed with blond-haired Caucasian girls. This leads to countless arguments between the couple but Ben, a chronic pessimist and all-around grouch, finds his girlfriend's seemingly newfound interest in racial identity tiresome. Then Miko gets a four-month internship on the other side of the country, and Ben is left behind to determine what he really wants in a relationship. The result is a story that's sometimes surprisingly funny, often painful, and, as Junot Diaz pointed out, an explosion of the myth that love is blind.

My Own 2 Cents
Shortcomings is Tomine's first full-length work, and certainly his most mature work to date (though there are echoes of his earlier stories, particularly of several collected in Sleepwalk and Other Stories). Some critics have said he owes a lot to Dan Clowes, but this story is 100 percent Adrian Tomine. I'm particularly smitten with the character Alice Kim, a lesbian Ph.D. student at Mills, and Ben's only friend. The scene in which she takes Ben along as her date to a family wedding sums up these two characters with economy and precision. Those who are looking for the story of a relationship in decline will find few better examples in the comic book medium.