Meanwhile

Meanwhile

The cover claims 3,856 possibilities in this “Choose Your Own Adventure”-style comic by Jason Shiga, and I can believe it. Unfortunately, the introduction to Meanwhile warns us “most will end in doom and disaster” (also like the CYOA novels) and only one path will “lead you to happiness and success”. On the bright side, that means lots of re-read and play value as the reader tries to figure out the best choices.

Jimmy winds up in a mad scientist’s laboratory and has to choose among a time travel machine, a memory transfer hat, and a doomsday device. A unique path system allows the reader to follow the adventures from page to page using tabs on the page edges, and through complicated branches on each page. The first choice, chocolate or vanilla ice cream, teaches the reader how different fates can result from each decision. The reader might dip onto a page spread only to read one of the many panels and then off to another set of images. The reading path can go in any direction. There are some complicated physics concepts involved (as you’d expect, from mathematician Shiga), so it’s not so much a story as a game. I loved it (as I have since its original minicomic publication; the color here makes for a richer experience). Incredibly clever.

Find out more in Douglas Wolk’s review, while the Forbidden Planet blog has page samples.

Meanwhile



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