And Then One Day #2

Posted: Tuesday, February 8, 2005
By: Darren Schroeder

Cover of And Then One Day #2 Creator(s): Ryan Claytor
Publishers: Elephant Eater Comics (Self Published)
From: USA
Price: $2(US)

Are comics the perfect medium for autobiography? Can the mix of images and text convey a person's view of themselves and their life better than just text, or film, or the self portrait? Well, autobiographical comics are certainly a popular genre, From epic self narratives such as American Splendor to the myriad of mini comics focusing on moments lived, anyone with a pen and paper seems prepared to regale us with their life story.

Ryan's take on this type of comic is a good example of the trend, with a collect of one page strips which set out to encapsulate single days as a form of diary. Boiling down 24 hours of actions, thought and feelings in to one page means that an essential component in autobiography is at work: selective editing. The day is dramatised with focus given to certain aspects and a narrative structure imposed. Life isn't usually lived with such tidy arrangement.

Autobiography, no matter how honest it appears, creates a dramatic persona for the writer. They portray themselves in a certain light - hero, villain or bystander to larger events. It is what they see themselves to be. Ryan presents himself as a good natured chap - always nice to people and worried about their feelings. Can anyone be that nice? It would be good to think so. His days are made up of whimsical observations and the occasional emotional event - in this issues case the break up of a relationship.

Ryan draws himself as an affable looking bloke; no muscle bound hero, but no blemishes either. The artwork is well executed, making the most of the small format with inventive layouts and lively characters. I was especially taken with the page for 09.19.04 which overlays a page of rough sketches onto a grid of non sequitur panels.

Ryan's life as constructed in these pages isn't an excitement filled drama, but then few peoples are for more than a brief period here and there. What it is filled with is amusing, silly and thoughtful observations imaginatively conveyed.

In a Word: Personable.

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