'Meanwhile': Choose Your Own Adventure ... 3,856 Times

February 26, 2010

I haven't gotten my dog-earing hands on it yet, but for those of you near Berkeley...

Mathematician turned illustrator and cartoonist Jason Shiga and his new graphic novel Meanwhile have a pre-pub launch party this Sunday, Feb. 28th:

Books Inc. ~ 1760 Fourth Street ~ Berkeley, CA ~ (510) 525-7777 ~ 6 to 9 pm

Ten years in the making, the full-color Choose-Your-Own-Adventure-like comic for kids (and grown kids) follows little Jimmy on his journey through choices great (to time travel or not?) and small (vanilla ice-cream or chocolate?). Page tabs and winding tubes lead the reader through a whopping 3,856 story possibilities.

Meanwhile's self-published roots began with Shiga carefully constructing each copy--tabs and all--by hand to sell at local shops and conventions. Its complicated structure and groundbreaking format no doubt contributed to the ten years taken to reach mainstream publishing.

Per Shiga's website, his comics often feature "exciting uses of math." So, of course, Meanwhile somehow introduces quantum mechanics and parallel universes (to, um, kids) amidst fantastical hijinks initially instigated by chocolate ice-cream. Take the calculator, leave the ice-cream.