is the story of Jimmy Yee, who enters a Phone Booth
and blacks out. He wakes up to discover that the booth is encased in concrete.
Using nothing but the contents of his pockets, a Pay Phone, and his skills in mathematics, Jimmy must deduce how he got there, and how to escape, before he runs out of air.
This comic strip by Jason Shiga
was originally published in the newspaper Asian Week
, but was cancelled two-thirds into its run. Shiga has since published the complete story on his website: it can be read here.
This comic strip provides examples of:
- Author Appeal: From Shiga's description of the comic on his website: "About a quarter of the strips feature the main character working through various math problems. They are some of the most dramatic math problems you'll ever see in a comic strip."
- By the Lights of Their Eyes
- Chekhov's Gun: The first call Jimmy makes using the coins isn't as dead as it looks.
- Continuity Lockout: It's no problem following the story when reading it all in one sitting; but the original print run was basically an object lesson in why newspaper comic strips are no longer a good medium for detailed, continuity-heavy narratives.
- Development Hell: There were plans for a movie adaptation in the early 2000s but nothing ever came of it.
- Dutch Angle: Indicates a devastating personal revelation.
- Fictionary: The character is in a fictional country with a fictional language. Fleep is one of the words in that language.
- Gainax Ending: The ending is so unexpected that even Jimmy wonders whether he's been hallucinating the whole thing.
- Genius Bonus: The fictional country the story takes place in, Simbia, and more to the point the terrorist organization Jimmy belongs to is named for the Symbionese Liberation Army, a left wing militant group best known for the Patty Hearst kidnapping in the 1970s. Symbionese isn't an actual nationality, of course, but rather a weird political buzzword the group came up with.
- Heroic Sacrifice
- Internal Monologue
- Laser-Guided Amnesia: With a large helping of Amnesiac Dissonance.
- MacGyvering: It's awe-inspiring what Jimmy accomplishes using the contents of a phone booth. He is a terrorist after all.
- Minimalism: Only one character and one very small room are shown.
- Minimalist Cast
- Ontological Mystery
- Phone Booth
- Puzzle Thriller: Jimmy employs various MacGyver techniques to stay alive while he slowly reconstructs what happened.
- Quest for Identity: Jimmy discovers a lot about his past while in the phone booth.
- Redemption Equals Death: Jimmy sacrifices himself in order to save an innocent victim of his terrorist attack.
- Death Equals Redemption: He openly admits that it's a cold, calculated decision: He wants to be with his dead wife, and he hopes to be redeemed enough by sacrificing himself for to save someone else's life.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Jimmy became a terrorist after his wife was killed in a bombing raid.
- Shown Their Work: Math Problems, mostly used to stave off death.
- Averted with Russian language, which is not only broken, but also contains some letters that that don't belong to the modern Russian alphabet.
- The Stoic: For being trapped in a phone booth, Jimmy seems quite adept at taking it all in stride. This constrasts with the decisions that got him into this mess.
- Tomato in the Mirror
- What Did I Do Last Night?
- You Wake Up in a Room: I mean, a phone booth.