Miko suspects Ben of having a wandering eyes for Caucasian women. That accusation further becomes a riff between the couple. When Miko told Ben she is going to New York for an intership with the Asian American Independent Film Institute, he took it as a cue to go after the kinds of women he has always dreamed of being with.
But even with his escapades, Ben can never get over Miko's accusations. After a friend sent him a postcard promoting a boutique in New York with pictures of a model who looked eerily like Miko, Ben flies to the East Coast to find out what exactly is going on.
Finding that his girlfriend has been lying to him all this time, and that she is now going out with a "rice king," Ben confronts his girlfriend and try to resolve the matter.
Shortcomings is Adrian Tomine's longest story to date. Tomine started out as a zinester, making xerox copies of his comic book drawings to sell in the local shops. When he was picked up by the Canadian publisher Drawn and Quarterly, Tomine shifted his comic book, Optic Nerve, toward a more literary bend. The stories read like the graphic versions of Raymond Carver's short stories. Yet most of the stories never go beyond the length of a 32 page comic book pamphlet format.
Though the storytelling in Shortcomings is quite adept--and the illustrations top notch as always--Tomine's focus on the sexual politics of the Asian American community is its Achilles Heel. Reading the graphic novel, one wonders if those outside the community can actually relate to the issues Tomine talks about.
In the end, Shortcomings stands as a solid package of story and art. Far from perfect, it shows Tomine's talents, while at the same time gives us a glimpse of what may come from this contemporary young master of the sequestial artform.
Drawn and Quarterly