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Chris Mautner returns to the site today with a review of one of the last still titles standing in the single-issue Kwality Komix game, Adrian Tomine's Optic Nerve #14.

Tomine has long trafficked in stories about shame, embarrassment, and awkward relationships, but never in quite so stellar a fashion as he does here.

Part of that is because of the way “Killing and Dying” is laid out. Tomine holds to a tight 20-panel grid and tries to keep his characters in midframe and in the center of these small panels as often as possible. This does two things. Firstly, it helps create a sense of constriction and claustrophobia, which is important in a story where characters are willingly and unwillingly humiliating themselves in front of others. Secondly, and perhaps somewhat conversely, it gives Tomine room to draw out the dialogue, allowing for awkward pauses, subtle changes in facial expression, and significant gestures, all of which goes a long way towards increasing our affection for and identification with these characters.

Meanwhile, elsewhere:

—News. The Harvey Award nominations are in.

—Interviews & Profiles. Jezebel talks to Kate Beaton about her new children's book.

Sequential State interviews Kevin Czap and L. Nichols about the Ley Lines series of single-artist showcases.

Marc Maron talks to Bob Fingerman and Robert Kirkman.

Gil Roth interviews Tom Tomorrow (Dan Perkins).

—Reviews & Commentary. Colin Smith writes about the earliest Superman stories.

Warren Peace reviews Love & Rockets: New Stories #7.

Alexandra Molotkow reluctantly loves <em>Ghost World.

J.A. Micheline is not a fan of Mark Waid and J.G. Jones's Strange Fruit #1.

—Misc. Mental Floss looks at the bad blood between J. Edgar Hooover's FBI and Mad magazine.

Animation Resources brings you Basil Wolverton on cartoon sound effects, originally from the late, great Graphic Story Magazine.

Kevin Huizenga thinks out loud about narrative.

—Not Comics. Talking to the Associated Press, actor Jesse Eisenberg took a heel turn, comparing Comic-Con to genocide (and referring to journalists as pariahs), and a bunch of people pretended (or maybe really!) got upset. I love that some comic sites felt the need to tell their readers that Eisenberg was using hyperbole.


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