Thought number one: Hey! A Choose Your Own Adventure strip! That’s awesome!
Thought number two: Huh. That first path had a rather… dour ending.
Thought number three: But hey – Escherworld! Nice!
Thought number four: And more melancholy… wait… do all paths end with this? Damn.
One of the recent storylines in Alma Mater has been focusing on how one of the characters, Eileen, feels isolated from the rest. Now, it can be tempting to disregard feelings of ennui when they come from the perspective of girl in 7th grade – but today’s comic does a remarkable job at capturing how thorough the sentiment runs, and giving a solid look at exactly what thoughts lead to it.
I’ve always been impressed by WJR’s willingness to experiment with the strip, especially with somewhat unique layouts; today is no different, and the experiment clearly paid off. The Choose Your Own Adventure aspect made for a more exciting read, but also served to make the culmination of the strip even more profound. It demonstrates the inevitability of the mood Eileen finds herself afflicted with, and by having the readers walk through that path themselves, forges a more personal connection with them than they would otherwise have.
As I said – I’m most certainly impressed.