Branching, interactive graphic stories –web comics– are a relative of “choose your own adventure” stories. Long a favorite of bored parents, these stories allow a child to make choices on behalf of a character, causing the story to follow a variety of branches that result in different outcomes.

This form of interactive storytelling is best when served in images, sequentially presenting the images in the manner of a comic. A graphic story can be more informative than plain text, and technology now allows us to create and disseminate graphic stories far more efficiently and effectively than drawing by hand and then printing comic books.

As you read a branching web comic, you follow a character’s story. At the end of each scene, you’re presented with a decision and asked to make a choice for the character (“go ahead and click on the link”; “yes, download that attachment!”) that affects what happens in the next scene, and may even change the direction of the storyline. Results may be disastrous in an exaggerated, even comical manner – keeping the reader engaged while showing both positive and negative consequences of their choices.