5.24.2011

Grinding It Out

And Then One Day #9: Page 19 (Elephant Eater): Panel 1: One of the random things I’ve been noticing is Ryan’s panel size choices. It’s interesting, to me at least, that most of the time his panels in this issue are never precise half or quarter pages. They’re not in easily recognizable “chunks.” For example, this first panel isn’t quite a half page, but it’s more than a third page, somewhere in between. I wonder if this is a deliberate choice for some reason, or if Ryan is simply following his gut and selecting what looks appropriate in his artist mind’s eye. This is a great establishing shot that reminds us we’re in Ryan’s abode, picking up right from where we left off last time. Ryan continues his morning ritual and I really like the angle he’s chosen here, to show us as much of the room and furniture as possible. It’s a unique angle that’s balanced nicely, with him on the left, countered by the hefty cabinet on the right.

Panel 2, 3, 4: This sequence of tight zooms comes at a staccato pace, which quickly draws us in to Ryan’s POV as he launches an application and starts up an email. Not much to add here other than the crystal clarity of the action and the close-up of his face, centered on the page, which again underscores that what’s about to follow is from his POV.

Panel 5: Probably the most interesting thing about this panel is its atypical size and shape. I’m wondering if it’s purely a functional conceit, that in order for us to be able to recognize and understand the “to” line in the email app, and the intended addressee, that we needed a long, flat, wide panel that allows us to get that close to the information in order to be able to read it. In any case, I like it because it’s more evidence, as the whole page is, that Ryan is very comfortable with panel to panel storytelling mechanics in lieu of any expository dialogue.

Panel 6, 7, 8, 9: I like the way that we’re flipping back and forth between big shots which pause our attention, and quick bursts of panels in rapid fire succession. This is probably my favorite on the page, because while the whole string of panels tells us what’s going on clearly, we also see that each individual shot is a slightly different emotional moment. In panel 6, we see Ryan pause in thought as he’s about to begin. In panel 7, we see him dive in and commence confidently. In panel 8, we see him stop dead in his tracks and redact the too-formal salutation. This shot is probably my favorite for the way Ryan captures the quick “delete, delete, delete” as be backspaces furiously on the keyboard in the manner we’re all so familiar with. Finally, in panel 9, we see pleased reconciliation as Ryan settles on the greeting he feels is appropriate given the relationship he has with Dr. Harry Polkinhorn.

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