Graphic Content – Meanwhile

Two weeks later and this is no longer a wrist problem, but my whole right arm and shoulder. The dictated reviews shall continue on.

List Item:  Read half of the 1001 Comics You Must Read Before You Die
17/501Title: Meanwhile
Writer & Illustrator: Jason Shiga
Year: 2001
Country: USA

When I was a lot younger I really enjoyed those “Choose Your Own Adventure” books. They were probably the only reason that I liked my primary school library. It’s not like they had many of these books, but the good “Choose Your Own Adventure” book can entertain a kid for hours. Meanwhile harkens back to the days of “Choose Your Own Adventure” and does it in the form of a graphic novel.

I got a great deal on this from an Amazon vendor. Unlike most other comics forward/graphic novels/manga on this list you really need to have Meanwhile as a physical copy. The reason being that as a “Choose Your Own Adventure” you need the luxury of flipping between pages at a moment’s notice. Also, the way that the author (Jason Shiga) has used tabs to make every page easily accessible is a genius move.

If I’d bought/found a digital version then I would not have read the author’s note on page two. In this box he explains exactly how he created this complex graphic novel (which as he points out is beautifully illustrated and intertwined series of flow charts) using computer algorithms that took 12 hours of processing time to work out. They say you should never see how the sausage is made, but that’s freaking cool.

The story itself is incredibly inventive and a lot of fun. I mean who knew that your choice of ice cream flavours could influence the end of the world!? I must have read this book at least seven times and been on so many adventures and yet there are pages that I never reached in my branching. My husband also had an extremely different set of adventures to me, which is amazing.

I have a feeling that Meanwhile will be the only book of this type to feature on the 1001 comic list. It is a bit of a pity, but at least I got to experience the craziness. I would never have picked this up otherwise.

Next on my reading pile and is a selection of works by Robert Crumb that recently came to the mailbox. That is how much watching his documentary inspired me to seek out his work.


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