Ordinary Things

What Did I Learn?

weekly webcomic reviews by Delos

This review is on Ordinary Things by Ozge Samanci. It has the tag line “an online journal of my observations in the comics form.”

This is not your standard comic, nor is it even a diary comic. Even the about page is not run of the mill. I’ve included two samples but there isn’t a single comic that I would pick as being the most representative. As a result, this won’t be a standard review either. There is no regular cast of characters, other than drawings of the artist. There is no standard story, other than the story contained in the single comic. So what is this comic about?

Every Ordinary comic is based on some ordinary event in the artists’ life. There is watercolor, collage, line, inked textures and even some other materials. You’ll find newsprint, maps, red stamp ink, pearls and maybe sawdust or glitter. Even some gold paint or foil, I think. Some even (rarely) border on sculpture once in a while. Sometimes the style leans towards cartoonish while others have a decidedly realistic effect. The website directs you to the comic without much distraction.

Yes, I agree with the artist that they are comics, even if they don’t have panels. A comic panel is just a snapshot of an ongoing story and as it so happens, these snapshots on the artist’s story about life. Now lest you think that I’m a wack, Scott McCloud talks about this uncommon kind of comic on page 139 of his book Making Comics; montage. It’s a collection of words and images that might not have direct connections to one another.

Since there is no story to drag you along a certain line of focus, you might also feel like there is no overriding theme; nothing to link these comics together as a satisfying whole. Take each comic alone and you might ask why such an ordinary event (like this sleeping cat) was worth drawing. Then you may ask yourself what the cat has to do with self examination of your personality. After looking at a number of these comics, you can’t help but feel you understand the artist a little bit. Despite the amazing depth of topics in Ordinary Things, it has a theme.

This comic gives a little peek. There’s a quiet musing that the artist does about the little things in life. And before you “meh,” ask yourself what life would be without the little things – like coffee. Isn’t your morning coffee comforting? What would you do without it?

When you add to this that the comic is written mostly in English yet the artist is from Turkey, you can then appreciate the word choices. (Everything is clearly understandable with better-than-native-speakers’ grammar.) The words give off a vibe of not-quite tempered sensation which complement the ripped, raw images nicely. The more of the comic you read, the more complete a picture you start to get on appreciating it. When you have (or want) a few moments of quiet, swing over Ordinary Things and muse with the artist.

What Did I Learn?

A large part of what I enjoy about other comics is the personal vision that each artist shares. Most of us have comics with a very set look and approach. It might not be so bad to throw a twist on our normal technique once in a while. I’m not saying that we all need to jump to sculpture but let’s allow the creative urge move us in new ways. If we can make that an Ordinary part of our process, our work will be better for it.

Addendum: There are a million other takes one could have on this comic. Feel free to volunteer yours right here.

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