Words in put order your own

Saturday’s a good day to read a comic strip. If you still buy newspapers you’ll find some comic strips in the Saturday edition. And you’ve got the internet, right?


Two good legs? A pad and a pen? A wall you can cover in crayon?

Whatever your means, you could spend a Saturday afternoon at the London Cartoon Museum and draw a lot from it.

I came away with punitis, a copy of a graphic novel by Joe Matt (featured above) and the first scribbles of an idea.

A great comic strip, or graphic novel, engages a reader across two media. And with that effort of interaction, in joining the co-ordinates to “get it”, the reader becomes more involved.

When readers became gamers the interaction got steroid-pumped. Now you are the character. The story is a game and you play out the next move. The new GTA features Ricky Gervais. When you’re interacting with a celebrity fat man in a story of your own making, you know you’re having fun.

This puts completely new demands on classic storytelling, and I’m very impressed with work going on at Penguin right now. The idea comes from nonlinearity and uses the language of digital technology.

We Tell Stories (found at Boing Boing) is a project that embraces interaction. I would explain more, but you could go there and turn it into a better story yourself.

You can’t leave storytelling alone. I know I can’t leave storytelling alone. I’m already itching at the prospect of working with London Poetry Systems on an interactive poetry night next month. (Don’t worry – the words will be a lot better than these. I’m just playing around with videos on a wall).

But remember this: no one ever stopped you interacting with the humble comic strip. You can still have a good play with it. You just need to find new ways.

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