BY JADA LEE
The guy drops down on one knee, pops the question, and plants the ring on her finger – what happens next? Does he really know what he is in for? In “Scenes from an Impending Marriage,” Adrian Tomine takes a witty approach in illustrating the days leading to his wedding with his soon-to-be wife Sarah. Through this autobiographical journey, the couple learns that a dream wedding is, well, much harder than it looks.
This short comic book is an intimate peek inside the true experience between a perfectly normal bride and groom planning their grand event. The series of skits run anywhere from decisions of who’s invited and who’s not, obligations to family and cultural preferences, and the struggles in picking a non-cheesy but cheap DJ. The scenes reveal day-to-day interactions, conversations, and petty disagreements between Sarah and Adrian. The reader gets the inside scoop behind what it really takes, the stuff that is masked by the white gown, three tier cake, sappy music and the pretty frills.
The reality is that the wedding planning process is overwhelmingly stressful, especially to a young couple like Sarah and Adrian who is quite new to it. Tomine’s casual illustration and writing style conveys this harsh reality in a laugh-out-loud way. The reader sees how even little decisions can eventually build up into mental chaos. The wedding madness even drives typical, indifferent, male Adrian into an obsessive compulsive control freak. This satire shows how absurd the process can be, yet any normal bride and groom goes through it anyway because “it’s emblematic of our whole culture.”
In the scene “Favors,” Sarah scans websites for wedding goodies and finds the typical gimmicks like personalized chocolates and magnets. The couple is not satisfied with their findings, so Sarah comes up with the brilliant idea of creating a comic book about the two of them getting ready for the wedding. Adrian reluctantly agrees and hence the making of this very book as their wedding favor.
What makes “Scenes from an Impending Marriage” appealing is that it is raw and relatable. Tomine has an amazing ability to transform simple sketches into real life characters. I found myself laughing at the things I could see myself doing. This is a must read especially for any couple in the process of planning a wedding. Short but definitely sweet, these 45 pages will provide much needed comic relief in the midst of the wedding planning madness. Not to mention – the cover of this book is Tiffany Blue!