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Science storytelling, comics-style
Once upon a time, comics were primarily the domain of costumed heroines and heroes preoccupied with battling evil supervillains and saving the planet. But generations of comics creators have proven that the graphic format used by comics can convey a wide range of narratives.
And a series of nonfiction graphic novels is proving that comics are terrific for telling stories about science.
Today (Nov. 16), First Second Books announced 13 upcoming titles in their "Science Comics" book series, to be released from 2017 through 2019. These nonfiction graphic novels combine engaging and vibrant artwork with characters who will introduce readers to a range of fascinating science topics: the history of drones, the evolution of the human brain, crows' intelligence, and the unexpectedly compelling life of trees.
The notion of combining graphic storytelling with science subjects made sense to First Second — in a statement, they called Science Comics an "amazing mix of two nerdy things that go excellently together." The series launched in March 2016 with two volumes: "Coral Reefs: Cities of the Ocean," and "Dinosaurs: Fossils and Feathers," followed by "Volcanoes: Fire and Life," published Nov. 15, and "Bats: Learning to Fly," which will be available Feb. 28, 2017.
But there are many more Science Comics waiting in the wings — and First Second gave Live Science an exclusive peek. Here's a hint of what's to come.
Brains (Tory Woollcott and Alex Graudins)Slide 2 of 17
Brains (Tory Woollcott and Alex Graudins)
When a mad scientist and his zombie assistant kidnap a girl named Fahama to try and steal her brain, she must learn the evolution and science of the human brain as quickly as possible, in order to plan her escape.
Publish Date: Winter 2019Slide 3 of 17
Cars: The Engines That Move You (Dan Zettwoch)Slide 4 of 17
Cars: The Engines That Move You (Dan Zettwoch)
Writer and illustrator Dan Zettwoch takes the wheel in a road trip exploring the history of automobiles, how they're put together, and how they came to shape the world we live in today.
“I’m excited about all the brain-tingling research and high-octane art I’ll get to do for this book," Zettwoch said in a statement. "There’s gonna be so much fun stuff to learn about and then get to turn into crazy (but hopefully clear!) cartooning: weird history, complex contraptions, obscure and (mostly) lovable characters, and literally thousands of explosions."
Publish Date: Spring 2019Slide 5 of 17
Computers (Penelope Spector and Perry E. Metzger)Slide 6 of 17
Computers (Penelope Spector and Perry E. Metzger)
A cast of anthropomorphic Victorian-era dinosaurs introduce readers to the basics of how computing originated, what the first computers looked like, and how they developed into the machines that can be found in nearly every corner of our lives.
"Computers really are complicated," Metzger said in a statement. But we've set out to prove that with the help of some well-mannered dinosaurs and a lot of surrealism, children — and perhaps even some particularly bright adults — can understand how these marvelous machines function."
Publish Date: Spring 2019Slide 7 of 17
Crows (MK Reed and Kyla Vanderklugt)Slide 8 of 17