Individual Voices: Ruby Pitts-Cranston

Image of comic “Abruption” by Taylor Dow

During our visit to the WSU Art Museum Collection Study Center I looked at the comic Abruption by Taylor Dow. I chose this comic because I felt that it was very unique and I really like the art style used. This comic used minimal text, so the majority of the story was told through imagery alone. When looking at other comics by the same artist I noticed that this was a common theme in his work. A couple of pages from Abruption were also enlarged but I’m choosing to look at the comic as a whole. Since this comic had minimal text, and since the imagery was a bit bizarre, it was very open for interpretation, but there was a general storyline that was easy to follow. It starts with a person in a clearing, that appears to be on a strange, maybe alien planet. He starts to run from some weird human like creatures and ends up climbing up a giant tree in the ocean. In a hole in the tree there is another person who calls out to him, but he keeps running and climbs further up the tree while hands reach out at him. He then jumps off of the tree onto what appear to be clouds and finds a house that’s very dark inside. There he encounters another “person” who eats a ball of light and leads him up a ladder to what looks like a moon.

Image of comic “Abruption” by Taylor Dow

The two characters get separated by a canyon, until they run and jump towards each other, where the comic ends when they meet in the middle. It’s hard to know what the goal of the main character is, whether he is just running from the creatures in the beginning, or if he had some other goal in mind that started before the comic did. The artist definitely has a very clear voice, and its easy to discern their work from others. The strong black and white contrast as well as the unique use of line to show texture and value give the comic a dark and mysterious feeling. It almost feels like the whole comic is a dream, or just happening in someones head. The artist also utilized many different types of panels in the comic to show time and motion.

Image of comic “Abruption” by Taylor Dow

One of my favorite examples of this is when he shows the main character jumping into the water, where he has two different frames that line up to show a larger scene. Another part of the story where I feel that the artist utilizes time frames is towards the end, when each page is a full spread showing the canyon, and multiple pages in a row show the same thing to sort of extend the amount of time that’s passing. This comic was definitely very interesting, and I liked how open to interpretation it was.

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