Grinding It Out

And Then One Day #9: Page 9 (Elephant Eater): Panel 1: For some reason, I feel like this page is really near and dear to my heart. As a critic myself, I find it fascinating to take the ideas that Ryan and Dr. Polkinhorn are discussing and apply them to myself. I think the duo make an important distinction here by saying that most of what critics have to say should not be interpreted as empirical fact, but rather as opinion. Now, you can find critics whose opinions you may agree or disagree with, whose style you may like, whose tastes may fall in line with your own, whose statements occasionally challenge you to consider a work of art differently, but at the end of the day, it’s all just one person’s opinion, and remembering that would probably eliminate at least half of the flame wars on the interwebs. Artistically, this first panel is well balanced visually, with the figures to the left and the heft of the speech balloon over to the right.

Panel 2: I like this panel a lot because it shows off the range of facial expressions and figure gesturing that Ryan is capable of. There’s not a lot of artists out there, from the indie crowd to the mainstream masses, that could capture this squinty-blinked expression that we’ve all seen so many times before in our daily lives. It doesn’t have a common name, it’s hard to describe verbally, but as readers we know it the instant we see it visually. It’s a tremendous example of our visual symbolic language that only the medium of comics can get away with so beautifully and succinctly. Subtlety and nuanced detail add so much; try to imagine this panel without the four small motion lines surrounding Ryan’s hands and it would be a totally different effect.

Panel 3: This panel is incredibly strong on both fronts. Visually, it’s another painstakingly rendered panel full of life, detail, and depth. The line weight varies with each layer of depth and you can imagine the scene vanishing on the horizon just beyond the speech balloons in the middle of the panel. In terms of dialogue and ideas, this is the panel that really sold the whole page for me. Inspired by Craig Thompson’s one page intro/summary/brilliance of DC/Vertigo’s recent Daytripper collected edition by Fabio Moon and Gabriel Ba, Ryan and I were actually joking about how cool it would be to provide reviews of comics in comics format. It’s something that, to my knowledge, has never been done before; I could provide the review content and Ryan could illustrate, though with a weekly review schedule involving multiple books, I’m not sure Ryan would look forward to that penciling schedule! But, my heart still longs to try it as an experiment, a least once, in order to blur that line between critical critique and critical output. At the end of the day, ATOD #9 is shaping up to be yet another issue where Ryan pushes us to examine the way comics work functionally, and he’s doing it by utilizing the comics medium, something pretty rare and unique in itself. More, please!


At 9:40 AM, Blogger Ryan Claytor said...

Hi Justin,

There were a few things I was a little apprehensive about during the creation of this page. Probably my main concern was panel 2. I felt like I knew what I wanted (with respect to body posturing/expression) but was really afraid of how it would be interpreted. Would it come across as the juxtaposition with panel one that I was hoping for, or just an awkward and confusing mess. I'm glad to know that, without prompting, it functioned for you. Here's hoping it does the same for a few more folks.

Thanks, as always, for your support and frequent reviews,
Ryan Claytor
Elephant Eater Comics

At 10:48 AM, Blogger Justin Giampaoli said...

Hey Ryan,

Well, for what it's worth, I think the juxtaposition between the two is pretty clear. It helps that the figures in both panels are on the same eye level and just opposite each other. That final panel is pretty bad ass, man!


At 3:41 PM, Blogger Jay Jacot said...

Justin I've got one word for your reviews on Ryan's pages...



At 4:06 PM, Blogger Justin Giampaoli said...


At 6:39 AM, Blogger Ryan Claytor said...

Thanks for the love, guys! :)
Ryan Claytor
Elephant Eater Comics


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