Ryan Claytor and his lovely girlfriend, Candace, stopped by for a visit to my store at the end of July after the big San Diego Comic-Con. I always like visiting with Ryan because unlike me, I don't think he has a negative bone in his body.
Ryan, for several years, has been writing, drawing, and self publishing his excellent And Then One Day autobiographical comic. Just last year he moved to Michigan to be with Candace and they both do some teaching at a local university there (if I remember correctly, she's doing some graduate work in African studies). They were telling me that they'd gone to Africa earlier this year so I'm looking forward to Ryan's comic book version of that trip.
Yesterday I received the two newest Ryan Clator productions at my store.
The Machinist is a 24 hour comic Ryan did during one of the recent 24 Hour Comic Book gatherings. A 24 Hour Comic Book is just what it sounds like - a comic created entirely within 24 hours. Being that Ryan now lives in Michigan, he decided to do a comic about the vanishing industry there (machinists, car manufacturing). As you can probably imagine, it's a sad story and as Ryan states in his afterward (also illustrated), one without any easy answers.
The newest edition of And Then One Day is also out and features Ryan talking to Dr. Harry Polkinhorn, an English professor at the Michigan university that Ryan also does some teaching at) on the topic of autobiography. They talk about what constitutes autobiography and its differences from a personal essay and as regular readers of this blog already know, this is a topic of particular interest to me because autobiographical comics are amongst my very favorite comic books to read. I especially liked Ryan's questions / musings on objective versus emotional honesty in autobiographical works, with my only criticism being that I wished he would have presented examples within the comic book medium of which works he thinks best represent objective honesty and which ones best represent emotional honesty. I suspect that he'll be exploring this further in future editions of And Then One Day, so I'll be awaiting new volumes.
Besides being entertaining and engaging and featuring nice, clean, crisp, and easy to follow art, Ryan Claytor's comic books also have beautiful production values which have to be seen in person to fully appreciate so next time any of you reading this are at my store, ask me where the Ryan Claytor section is or visit his website: www.elephanteater.com for examples.
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