Science has always been a subject that I gravitate towards, so it is no surprise that I love science-related comics. Many of these books are biographies of famous scientists, but there are also wonderful comics about specific scientific subfields that offer a fun way to learn about a new topic and can help to inspire readers to continue reading about previously unknown topics. Here are just a few enjoyable comics for those with an interest in science.
Charles Darwin’s On The Origin Of Species: A Graphic Adaptation by Michael Keller and Nicholle Rager Fuller – You likely have heard about Charles Darwin before and you may have even heard about his seminal work, On The Origin of Species, but did you know that a graphic adaptation of it is available? With artwork by skilled science illustrator Nicholle Rager Fuller, this book brings a whole new side to Darwin’s classic work. It is a great way to get readers who might find the original a bit dry to give this influential piece of scholarship a chance. And, the artwork is sure to clarify many of Darwin’s points. This book also goes beyond the original text to put Darwin’s work into a broader context and to provide more details on Darwin’s place in the scientific field.
Radioactive: Marie & Pierre Curie: A Tale of Love and Fallout by Lauren Redniss – Marie Curie and her husband Pierre are some of the most famous and influential scientists of the early 1900’s. Together they added two elements to the periodic table and won a joint Nobel prize. Marie went on to win a second Nobel prize after his death as well. In this book, which was a National Book Award Finalist, Redniss adapts the facts of their lives into a unique graphic work that integrates art into the text in creative and impressive ways. Though this book is not a standard comic book, it is sure to fascinate anyone with an interest in the use of art to tell a story.
Coral Reefs: Cities of the Ocean by Maris Wicks – In her latest book, Maris Wicks tackles coral reefs. The result is a book that is both informative and adorable. Narrated by a fish who lives in the coral reef, the book provides a huge amount of information complete with illustrations that show the science extremely clearly. This is a great book for comic fans who have an interest in oceanography or science more generally. In addition to the great comic, this book also includes some very good extras, including an introduction from a scientist in the field, a glossary, and a list of additional resources.
Dinosaurs: Fossils and Feathers by MK Reed and Joe Flood – Another entry in the same series as Maris Wicks’ book is this volume by MK Reed about dinosaurs. This book is a perfect blend of the science of dinosaurs and the history of paleontology with wonderful artwork. The book weaves in biographical information about historical figures who have been important to our understanding of dinosaurs, ranging from Charles Darwin to a less well-known, but no less fascinating fossil hunter named Mary Anning. This comic will appeal to a wide range of readers and a wide range of age groups. As with Maris Wicks’ book, it also includes an introduction from a scientist working in the field, a glossary, and additional resources.
Levitation: Physics and Psychology in the Service of Deception by Jim Ottaviani with art by Janine Johnson – This book tells the story of levitation by magicians by focusing on the stage show of Howard Thurston, a magician who inherited the trick from Harry Kellar, who himself copies (or perhaps stole) the trick from a British magician named John Neville Maskelyne. The book is narrated by Guy Jarrett, another real-life figure who was the engineer who set up Thurston’s shows. The book not only draws readers into the science of this trick, which amazed audiences of the day, but also sets the scene for the world of stage magic during this time period.
I hope this list will help you to find the perfect science comic for you! If you are still looking for more, you can find a few additional examples in my post on nonfiction comics by women. And, if I have missed your favorite one by a woman, please let me know in the comments so I can check it out!
– Carli Spina, currently reading Bloodline by Claudia Gray