MSU Museum hosts comic book creator Ryan Claytor
"(Comics) are an art form that is part words and part pictures, and together, they can really create something unique," said Ryan Claytor, owner of Elephant Eater Comics and visiting assistant professor at Michigan State University.
Claytor, who has been self-publishing his autobiographical comic series "And Then One Day" since 2004, was asked to speak at the MSU Museum as part of its ongoing "POW-erful Design" exhibit.
"Part of the POW-erful Design exhibit looks at nature as inspiration for technology," said Stephen Thomas, assistant curator of science education for the museum. "For fictional technologies we looked at it through the lens of the comic book."
Claytor moved to Michigan three years ago from California, shortly after earning his master's degree in fine arts from San Diego State University.
In addition to creating his own comics, Claytor also teaches a class at MSU that shows students how to create comics of their own.
"It overenrolled the first semester and has filled up every semester since," he said.
At the end of the semester, each student compiles his or her comics into a 24-page book and then takes them to 21st Century Games and Comics to have an in-store signing.
Claire Boynton, 8, of Mason, said she went to Claytor's lecture with her parents to learn how to improve her drawings.
"I like how they draw (comics), like with the ‘POW' in the pictures," Boynton said.
She said her favorite comic book character is Spider Man, but like Claytor, she most enjoys drawing people.
Claytor said he wants to inspire people when he gives a lecture, and hopes attendees learn that comics can be much more than a medium for superheroes.
"Comics can be superhero; it's true," Claytor said. "But, they can also be historical, horror, humor, autobiography, you know, anything you can dream up, comics can be that, and they are."