The murmur of the snarkmatrix…

August § The Common Test / 2016-02-16 21:04:46
Robin § Unforgotten / 2016-01-08 21:19:16
MsFitNZ § Towards A Theory of Secondary Literacy / 2015-11-03 21:23:21
Jon Schultz § Bless the toolmakers / 2015-05-04 18:39:56
Jon Schultz § Bless the toolmakers / 2015-05-04 16:32:50
Matt § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-05 01:49:12
Greg Linch § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-04 18:05:52
Robin § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-04 05:11:02
P. Renaud § A leaky rocketship / 2014-11-04 04:13:09
Jay H § Matching cuts / 2014-10-02 02:41:13

The man and his map

A few things in sequence:

First: Jason Shiga is one of the most incredible comic-book creators in the world, and probably the least-known relative to the magnitude of his talent. If you doubt me, go read Bookhunter:

The year is 1973. A priceless book has been stolen from the Oakland Public Library. A crack team of Bookhunters (a.k.a. library police) have less than three days to recover the stolen item…


As you’ll see, Shiga is one of those artists who takes simple forms—his people all look like potatoes, basically—and makes them come alive. But I’ll take Shiga’s super-kinetic ovoids over the static muscle-men of superhero comics any day. He’s like the Alice Waters of comic books: simple ingredients done exactly right.

Okay, now: Shiga’s terrific Choose Your Own Adventure-style comic Meanwhile has just been ported to the iPhone and iPad. I haven’t tried the iPad version yet, but the book is a brain-bending delight. It makes a great (unique) gift for someone who likes comic books and/or storytelling and/or, I don’t know, combinatorics.

Finally: Meanwhile has a crazy branching/looping narrative (with time travel, natch) but it’s still a comic book, so the panels all have to be laid out continuously in 2D space. I’m not even going to try to explain how this works in the physical book—it’s ingenious—but apparently, to figure it all out, Shiga drew… THIS:

Guys: this photograph is my new spirit animal.

I am not joking, not exaggerating, and definitely not being snarky. This is my new portrait of success: the creator standing smiling next to the map of his made-up world.

I can’t pile enough superlatives on Shiga. Do go check him out.


Oh I love Bookhunters! He did an amazing job a a comic book reading (I KNOW!) at Pegasus some years ago when I was quite broke, and even though I had firmly resolved to not give in to any temptation, he busted open the piggy bank for Bookhunters. Thanks for the update, I’ll have to pick up these new things.

I do love Meanwhile. But somehow the idea of Meanwhile on my iPad makes me nervous! I’m not sure why–I think maybe I love Meanwhile in part because it feels like it plays with the form of the book in ways that are interesting. We’re used to reading books from front to end, even though the codex form itself is really ideal for reading disjointedly. Meanwhile takes advantage of the ability to turn pages and jump sections and makes the book form unfamiliar, just like the story turns in on itself and repeats itself with a difference. I guess my first instinct is that moving the book to the iPad loses that defamiliarization with non-linear reading. Or, rather, that its non-linearity feels less defamiliar because it isn’t fighting against the ways we expect the medium to work.

Ok, I’m not sure quite that’s what I mean to be saying. But I’m also pretty sure that I’ll end up buying Meanwhile for my iPad nonetheless!

The snarkmatrix awaits you

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