Like a garage band with everything to prove, Ryan Claytor’s hitting the road this summer. After swimming through the shark tank that is San Diego, the self-publisher of the autobiographical series And Then One Day will be hitting the road on a 25-stop tour through the east coast and Canada from the end of July to early September.
I like interacting with people. I’m a reasonably social guy, so I like meeting new folks and introducing them to my work, and it’s always rewarding when returning readers come out to say hello. I’m also a big fan of the open road. Something about puttering around in a car and seeing new places…it’s very romantic, in a Kerouac sort of way.
Claytor will be signing, sketching, and selling his work, a series of autobio/graphic novels through which he’s not only explored his own life-from trouble at the DMV to embarrassing dance music- but what can be done with the genre of visual memoir. The latest volume, currently being serialized in individual issues, follows a discussion between Claytor and San Diego State University professor Harry Polkinhorn. Also on sale will be the reissue of the tricky-to-pronounce Concatenations: Autobiography in Comics, Claytor’s thesis on, well, autobiography in comics. The reprint is funded in part by Challengers Comics in Chicago, who are such fans of Claytor that they commissioned him to redesign their business cards.
When I first printed Concatenations, I wasn’t sure whether or not anyone would have the slightest interest in reading a bunch of WORDS about COMICS. To my surprise, they were.
The last two stops on the tour are set in Michigan where Claytor teaches comic art classes at both Michigan State University and the University of Michigan-Flint. to allow him to resume his busy teaching schedule. Between self-publishing, teaching, and helping to produce MSU’s annual Comics Forum, Claytor doesn’t seem to do “down time.” But despite the intensity of the summer tour (his third), Claytor sees it as a valuable experience:
I think it is important for art to be a shared experience. Art reveals intricacies of life, asks new questions, and stimulates though. It should not a hermetic experience. Self-promotion is just another way of sharing one’s art.
Greg Baldino lives and writes in Chicago, where he watches over the local comics scene like a posthuman autocrat. His fiction and journalism has appeared in many publications internationally. He can be contacted at email@example.com.
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