I grew up devouring comics and playing game books – Fighting Fantasy mostly, but I wasn’t too fussy; I’d read and play pretty much any interactive fiction I could get my hands on.

One such unusual source of interactive fiction that I became obsessed with was Dice Man – a series that was a spin-off from British comic 2000AD. These interactive comics featured the eponymous character and many more familiar 2000AD characters such as Judge Dredd, Sláine and Rogue Trooper (as well as one which put you in the shoes of Ronald Reagan in a biting political satire – the goal being to prevent nuclear war).

My childhood interactive fiction addiction – and in particular, my interest in the five issue run of Dice Man, which was far too brief – is one reason why The Man Who Died Twice, a graphic novel currently seeking funds on Kickstarter, has caught my attention.

Though billed as a choice driven murder mystery, what’s especially intriguing is what it isn’t. That is to say – and this is quoting the Kickstarter page directly – that: ‘it’s NOT a ‘Choose Your own Adventure’. It’s NOT a branching story, which other comics have tried to emulate. TMWDT is a set story, presented in a non-linear fashion that the reader controls.’

The description of How to Play is similarly tantalising, imparting the following information:

  • The book opens with an introductory scene.
  • In order to proceed to another scene, you must identify a suspect to pursue, or location to investigate.
  • When you have someone, or somewhere in mind, you turn to the London Directory at the back of the book, find your target, and get an associated page number to turn to.
  • — If you deduced correctly you’ll encounter another chapter in the story to continue your investigation!
  • — If you figured wrong, you’ll reach what we call a Dead End; a fancy historic Victorian Era Advertisement, or a single-page side diversion narrative. Don’t worry a Dead End doesn’t mean your investigation is over! Simply go back to your notes and pursue a different clue or lead.

It’s a beautifully illustrated book too, as can be seen from the samples of art sprinkled throughout the campaign page.

There’s a great variety of pledge levels and rewards on offer at each tier too; intriguingly, though extra cases are available for the Sherlock Mysteries app that the book is adapted from, there are no digital versions of the book itself being offered here.

That’s important – the case the book presents is available on the app, but it’s advised that you don’t spoil the book by playing it – as the tactile pleasure of examining evidence in the comic’s pages and physically thumbing through pages to find solutions is an important part of the experience that it provides.

WIth just under a month to go on the campaign, there’s plenty of time to check it out and pledge for your very own edition of The Man Who Died Twice – along with bonuses such as new cases for the Sherlock Mysteries app, art prints or variant covers, if you choose.

You can check out the Kickstarter campaign page for The Man Who Died Twice here.

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