Tuesday, October 29, 2013

A Stray in the Woods by Alison Wilgus

Last month, I learned of the extremely cool story A Stray in the Woods by Alison Wilgus, thanks to a tweet and corresponding Instagram posted by fellow author and artist Dave Roman. I was immediately drawn to the title and the adorable cat on the cover. Then I went to Alison's site and discovered how the story was written. In her own words: 

A Stray in the Woods was originally posted on Tumblr, updating at least once per week barring holidays and travel. After each update, I took suggestions via the "Ask Box" as to what Cat should do -- Investigate an object? Move into another room? Eat something off the floor? These "commands" could be mundane or ridiculous, foolish or brave, serious or silly -- the only rule was that they be possible for Cat to do, given the current circumstances. When I sat down to draw an update, I would read through all of the commands that had been submitted and select one as the basis for the next page.

That's right! Interactive storytelling! With cats! How cool is that?

Well, I read the entire thing in one fell swoop and I can tell you: Very cool. The pictures truly tell a story, with the text explaining all that needs to be explained. Moving forward one prompt at a time, Wilgus created one or more pictures per prompt and developed a really nifty story for readers who are as curious as her feline protagonist.

As you read the comic, look for my three favorite panels: a cat stretch, a cat nap, and a catnip mouse.

Bonus: It has a theme song, written by Paul Tuttle Starr, which is just as cute as the cat. Listen!

Follow A Stray in the Woods by Alison Wilgus on Tumblr and pick up the bound book, which is being published after an incredibly successful Kickstarter campaign.

Fun fact: Dave Roman and Alison Wilgus wrote The Last Airbender prequel comic Zuko's Story.

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