I think a lot of people read Adrian Tomine’s work and say “Hey! That could be me!” His characters seem very real and normal (albeit in an emotionally dysfunctional way), and the fact that they’re generally losers and outcasts makes them an easy identifier for comic book fans.
But this is just silly. I picked up Summer Blonde a few weeks ago (yes, yes, behind the times), and while “Alter Ego” doesn’t resonate with my personally, the character names are just freakin’ me out. The main character, Martin, doesn’t have any relation, but he’s got a friend named Ryan (me) dating a girl named Beth (my ex). That’s weird enough. But Martin’s dating a girl named Erin, a name shared by my sister and another ex. (Yes, I know, that’s fucked up even without Tomine’s help) And the girl Martin almost has an affair with is named Jenna (my current significant other).
None of the people in the story have much in common with the people in my life (aside from Ryan dating Beth), but it’s just too weird.
And yes, I know it’s sad that I’m only starting to read Tomine now. Summer Blonde was awesome, though, I’m going to pick up Sleepwalk soon, and there’s an all-new issue coming out in December. So get off my case.