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Gutter Space #8 by Leslie Salas

 Interactivity in Randall Munroe’s XKCD

xkcd

I’ve already talked about xkcd, “A webcomic of romance, sarcasm, math, and language,” before, but I think Randall Munroe merits a second post for comic 1110, “Click and Drag.”

Regular readers of xkcd will tell you that xkcd is known for a certain level of intelligence and Internet sophistication from its readers. So for a comic to be titled “Click and Drag,” and for the hover-over text to also say, “Click and drag,” one would hope the readers would get the hint: click on the largest panel, and drag your mouse across the screen.

The result of following the commands yields hours of exploration in this giant black and white canvas of stick figure people interacting with their silhouetted environment. Hidden among the landscape is  not only a peculiar scenery, but thought-provoking circumstances and statements posed by some of the stick people, as well as a few hidden references to Internet and popular culture.

This kind of interactivity with a comic—the choice to move the contents of a panel and discover new places and situations that were previously uncovered—could not easily be replicated in a traditional print medium. The clicking and dragging lends itself to a sense of exploration and excitement for the reader; choosing which direction to move in and whether or not to follow a line of parked cars, a tunnel into a mountain, or looking up toward the sky, gives each reader a choice and a unique reading experience. How much time spent exploring and which areas are explored first—if at all—is completely up to the reader. And if the reader happens to get lost, they can simply refresh the page to start at the beginning and explore again.

To read another brief review of “Click and Drag” featuring an extended interview with Munroe, check out this article from The Atlantic.

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Leslie Salas (Photo by Ashley Inguanta)

Leslie Salas writes fiction, nonfiction, screenplays, and comics. She earned her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Central Florida and attended the University of Denver Publishing Institute. In addition to being an Associate Course Director at Full Sail University, Leslie also serves as an assistant editor for The Florida Review, a graphic nonfiction editorial assistant for Sweet: A Literary Confection, and a regular contributing artist for SmokeLong Quarterly.

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