Grinding It Out
Panel 2: In this tighter shot, I find myself focusing more on the dialogue than the construction of the panel. I like that as Ryan and Professor Polkinhorn discuss a “pulled-back” camera shot in the first panel, that’s what the reader experiences, and as they continue their conversation to discuss the illusion of the objectivity that creates, it goes away and is the exact opposite in this panel. I think one of the key words they’re talking around here is “context.” With the pulled back camera shot, there’s more environment readily apparent, which adds context to the proceedings, which in turn may add greater objectivity to the information being presented. When the shot is extremely close up, you lose context, and can even lose any semblance of meaning for that panel if it’s too tight of a zoom. Anyway. This is going to be nitpicky as hell, but let’s talk about the informal colloquial substitution for the word “yes” that’s being used. In most of Ryan’s work he uses the “yah” variant, which is completely acceptable and correct grammatically. You can argue word derivation back and forth from upper-class British, to Egyptian, to Hebrew syllables for Yahweh, and inherent subtleties in meaning, but me? I always prefer “yeah” as my go-to substitution. To my ear, “yah” sounds more like “yaw,” so I shy away from it because when I see it, it pushes me out. I want to reiterate that this is totally personal preference and either is grammatically correct, it’s just my weird sensibility. Let’s move on, shall we?
Panel 3: It’s a tighter zoom here that fits in tonally with the discussion, and once again we see the “controversial(!)” crystalline background pattern technique adorning the top. But, more than anything I want to discuss Polkinhorn’s point. This gets back to one of the original philosophical underpinnings of the conversation – that the way information is presented is on a continuum. The fact that the shot, any shot, appears in a comic book, means that it is an illusion. It may be a relatively accurate illusion or an intentionally misleading illusion, but it’s an illusion all the same. It ties back to one of Ryan’s own Graduate Thesis investigations about the nature of autobiography, in that it is probably some mixture of truth and fiction, presented by the narrator with certain inherent characteristics that may be more or less truthful depending on a wide variety of factors that affect its presentation. Bottom line, another great page from another great book.