If there’s one motion in webcomics that I can wholeheartedly throw my hat in the ring for, it’s actually utilizing the web real estate to make a comic something more than it could ever be in print. AD: After the Deluge brings links and a multimedia experience to the table to enhance the reader’s enjoyment and I Am a Rocket Builder provides an interactive comic book that finally makes good on the promises of underwater bubble cities and flying cars made years ago.
Now, two mucho popular webcomics are forging a new path with two methods that are intriguing to say the very least.
Check ’em both out, after the jump!
First up, Tim Buckley of Ctrl-Atl-Delete has decided to leave the fate of his main protagonist, Ethan, up to his readers in a twist on the old Choose Your Own Adventure series:
When I was a kid I used to love this book series called Choose Your Own Adventure. They were gamebooks written in the 2nd person that allowed you to make decisions throughout that determined the course of the story and the ending you got. I was addicted to the things for a while. In high school I made a couple of attempts at writing my own versions.
For a while now I’ve wanted to try something similar with the comic strip, so that’s what I’m going to do now. I kept putting it off and putting it off, so I’m just going to do it before I push it off again. I have a wedding/pregnancy storyline to get back to, so it’s now or much later.
The premise is this: Think of the setting as a cross between Star Wars and Indiana Jones, but starring an idiot. Periodically during this story, Ethan will be faced with a choice of what to do next. There will be a few options, and you, the readers, will be able to vote for which option you want, effectively determining the course of the story. The choices will come every other or every couple of comics, so that I have a chance to set up the next set of choices. Voting will take place for 24 hours after the comic is released, after which I will draw the next comic in the story based on the majority vote.
I don’t know if this will work. It may work splendidly, or it may fail miserably. Hopefully either way it will be entertaining. In the old CYOA books, you could make decisions that would end with the death of your character, and I’m going to keep that spirit alive here. If Ethan MacManus: Space Archaeologist survives, and this little experiment works, we’ll do it again sometime, with an ‘issue 2’. If he dies but the experiment works, we’ll do it again sometime, but maybe with Ethan MacManus: Archmage or any of the other dozens of roles I can toss him into. If the experiment fails, it’s probably safe to say I won’t try it again. But who knows, I’m pretty stubborn.
If there was one thing that took the place of girlfriends and a social life in school, it was the CYOA books. Though I haven’t followed CAD in some time, I hope this is a huge success so we can get a strip that does nothing but stories where the readers determine the outcome. So go check it out and cast your vote! At the very least, you get to have the satisfaction of playing God to a character who wouldn’t even exist if not for this particular stunt (storyline)!
Lastly, Scott Kurtz has decided to let us in on the process of making PvP the special home brew that it is, week in and week out. Also, you get to watch him sip his coffee, pace around the room, and talk to his brother! It’s PvPtv and it’s revolutionizing the way you watch PvP: The Comic come into being!
Weâ€™re about to break new ground in multi-media-cartooning-technology. PvPtv is on the air. Itâ€™s a live stream of our studio cam and the desktop of my production machine SIMULCAST!
My brother Brian and I are broadcasting, taking your calls and working on the next week of PvP strips: LIVE! And we want you to participate.
To watch: visit the PvPtv page.
To call in: Just use your phone to dial 214-717-5487 and talk to the Bros Kurtz!
The broadcast has since ended but if you subscribe to Kurtz’s Twitter feed (yet another way to always know what your favorite creators are up to) you can be sure you’ll know about the next opportunity to walk that thin line between fandom and invasion of privacy when it hits! I’m going to have to tune in next time just to see what the heck this is all about and why I’ve never heard of this Brian fellow (not to be confused with Brian Fellows), so scope out that Twitter feed and let me know when that is!
Update: Gabe over on Penny Arcade has picked up on the PvPtv innovation and started one of his own, appropriately and predictably titled PATV. In his accompanying post, he states that the chat feature attached to the UStream application creates some lag on his end, making the Wacomness of the strip creation a problem, at the least. So it won’t be a regular thing, but he agrees with Kurtz that it’s worthwhile to explore and will doing it again at some point