Hello,

We noticed you're browsing in private or incognito mode.

To continue reading this article, please exit incognito mode or log in.

Not an Insider? Subscribe now for unlimited access to online articles.

Rewriting Life

Exploring Comics Space

www.unitedmedia.com/explorer/

Is your comics reading in a rut? Well, this site sponsored by United Media is intended to blast you out of it. Pick a comic-Dilbert, say. Today’s strip appears on the screen, along with tools that let you go back and see the last couple of weeks. Now for the cool part. A set of color-coded sliders represents four defining characteristics: the age of the characters, the age of the strip, the continuity of the story line, and the “zoo factor” (extent to which characters are nonhuman). Move these sliders up and down and you will see, bobbing across the bottom of the screen, a constantly reshuffling set of icons for six or seven other comic strips that have the specified qualities.

Say you start with Dilbert, then raise the zoo factor and lower the continuity and the character age. Result: a selection set that includes Robotman, Peanuts, and Alley Oop. Choose Peanuts, and the Dilbert strip disappears with a gradual, peel-away effect to reveal today’s adventures of Snoopy and friends. The whole point is to tinker, so now we lower the zoo factor and raise the story continuity, and get dealt a new set of choices, including Arlo & Janis and For Better Or For Worse.

OK, so it’s only comics. But others would be wise to look here for a creative approach that might apply as well to weightier types of literature. You can keep up this reshuffling and sorting endlessly, but make sure you have a fast computer. The Java applet works tolerably on a 266 MHz Pentium II, but trying it on a slower machine may put you in foul humor, no matter how funny the comics.

Couldn't make it to EmTech Next to meet experts in AI, Robotics and the Economy?

Go behind the scenes and check out our video
More from Rewriting Life

Reprogramming our bodies to make us healthier.

Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe to Insider Basic.
  • Insider Basic {! insider.prices.basic !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Six issues of our award winning print magazine, unlimited online access plus The Download with the top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox.

    See details+

    Print Magazine (6 bi-monthly issues)

    Unlimited online access including all articles, multimedia, and more

    The Download newsletter with top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox

/3
You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. This is your last free article this month. for unlimited online access. You've read all your free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for more, or for unlimited online access. for two more free articles, or for unlimited online access.