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Houghton Mifflin to publish Randall Munroe’s ‘What If?’

munroe-what-ifHoughton Mifflin Harcourt has announced the Sept. 2 release of Randall Munroe’s What If?: Serious Answers to Absurd Hypothetical Questions, based on the popular blog by the xkcd cartoonist.

Launched in July 2012, the blog features Munroe, a former NASA roboticist, answering hypothetical physics- or math-related questions — for instance, “How much Force power can Yoda output?” or “What if there was a robot apocalypse?” — with the help of infographics and the cartoonist’s signature stick figures. The book will include a blend of new questions and answers and old favorites.

“As I’ve sifted through the letters submitted to What If every week, I’ve occasionally set aside particularly neat questions that I wanted to spend a little more time on,” Munroe explained this morning. “This book features my answers to those questions, along with revised and updated versions of some of my favorite articles from the site. (I’m also including my personal list of the weirdest questions people have submitted.)”

The 320-page hardcover is available for preorder.

The Fifth Color | So what if ‘Avengers vs. X-Men’ has a ‘What If’?

whatifAvX_1What If comics are awesome, just not utilized as much as they used to be. It makes sense because anthologies, despite being a fantastic way to get into comics, meet new writers and artists and test out concepts on an open-minded audience, sadly don’t sell well in the United States. If something doesn’t sell well, we all know that means it isn’t going to last, and why spend money on a series that’s just going to be canceled in a month or less, right?

Aspersions on the comic market aside, What If comics are still nifty little treats of reading joy, and the current trend of basing them around big events makes a certain kind of sense. After all, everyone will have read the story in question, be familiar enough with how it went down and might be intrigued enough by a plot twist or two to try out the new take. So, this week we got What If …  Avengers vs. X-Men #1, the first of a four-part story that promises us … well, what does it promise us? Let’s take a look at the issue and the What If? format and see what we have in store in the annals of tragedy, because SPOILERS: Almost every What If story I can think of has a “down ending,” to borrow a Clerks phrase. Join me, won’t you?

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