This is the story of a very unusual project: a 250-page comic showing people talking about science. Not your cup of tea? Actually, the seeming lack of overlap between “comics people” and “science people” is part of this story. It was one reason this book took nearly two decades from inception to publication.
In this episode, Ryan Haupt joins Tim to review this book, called The Dialogues; then, the book’s author, USC physics professor Clifford V. Johnson, explains the arduous journey of this book, which explains a topic that’s poorly understood by the public via a medium that’s also poorly understood by the public.
Also including some actual science talk, including Ryan’s recommendations for other non-fiction comics about science!
This week Derek talks with Edward Gomez and Laura Sorvala about their Kickstarter campaign Ada’s Adventures in Science. This project began as a three-comic-book series, starting with the idea, “There’s no such thing as a stupid question.” The ultimate goal of this Kickstarter is not only to excite children about science, but to empower them to pursue it. Edward and Laura’s protagonist Ada is a believable, relatable character pursuing her interests in science. She functions as both as a role model and as a conduit for the reader.
What is so significant about this Kickstarter campaign is that not only will you be able to get the collected three-issue Ada’s Adventures in Science series in one nice volume, but by backing this project you’ll be providing students around the world with copies of the comic books and encouraging them to pursue their own passions in science.
On this interview episode Derek has as his guest Clifford V. Johnson. He is a professor of physics at the University of Southern California, and his new book The Dialogues: Conversations about the Nature of the Universe was released last fall by the MIT Press. Clifford talks with Derek about the genesis of this project, his choice of the dialogue form in structuring his text, and the challenges — as well as the appropriateness — of representing complex scientific concepts through comics. The Dialogues is a fascinating work of ideas, one that could even be categorized as a graphic cycle, and a book that can be appreciated by scientists and laypeople alike. Science!
Be sure to check out Prof. Johnson’s blog, Asymptotia, for his ongoing thoughts on science in our contemporary culture.
Andy Hirsch is back on the podcast, and this time he talks with Gwen and Derek about his new book, Science Comics: Dogs: From Predator to Protector. This is the next volume in First Second’s important Science Comics series, one that uses comics to educate both younger readers and adults. In fact, Gwen and Derek spend a lot of time asking Andy his illustrative strategies for taking complex concepts and making them understandable to a broader audience. There is a lot of science packed into this book, and not all of it specifically devoted to canines. But Andy uses colorful charts and graphs, as well as particularly effective storytelling conventions, to present his dense subject matter. Guiding the reader through all of this information is Rudy, the lovable mixed-breed narrator who, in many ways, functions as a stand-in for Andy Hirsch himself. Over the course of the interview, Derek and Gwen talk with their guest not only about the new book, its genesis, and Andy’s growing association with First Second, but they also share their own love of and histories with dogs, making this episode of the interview series somewhat of a canine lovefest.
We get the feeling you guys could use a Chamber Chats. Maybe you’re a bit down and out because Doc Fluxx had promised a proper episode of Feed It Comics where he and Father Shepherd would address Fanquisitions, but worry not!! That episode is on the way. In the meantime, SHUT UP and enjoy Dewayne Feenstra and Pawz Man as they chat with Doc on a whole slew of topics.
They talk about new Spider-Man casting that puts a twitch in our britches, and speculate on a new Spidey villian. They talk about some exciting new Daredevil, casting as well as Marvel’s trouble with “mysticism”. They talk about Bill Nye, Neil Degrasse Tyson and light sail. They talk Twin Peaks and cornering Guillermo Del Toro in an elevator!. Grab a stiff drink and join us by the fire for another Chamber Chats!!
To submit FANQUISITION topics for our weekly panel to address, submit via twitter with #FICquiz, comment on the episode page (recommended) or firstname.lastname@example.org. You will be entered to win seriously cool comics.
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The Wake gives us a nautical based story with strong characters and an intriguing mysterious creature that is terrorizing mankind. We look deeply at the ending of the story and do our best to explain some of the unclear elements and discuss the characters, science and mythology woven into this tale.
Having grown up with feet planted firmly on both sides of the Pacific, Aya Rothwellhas always been observant of cultural differences, and this shows up in her comics. Who else would do a comic about a human visitor to an alien world, with the biggest conflict being that the human keeps getting the aliens’ names mixed up?
Aya also fills us in on using watercolors in her comics, her journey to comics via the worlds of biology and film, and more.
This week, another comic involving science — Jonathan Hickman and Nick Pitarra’s The Manhattan Projects — and thus another visit from comics-and-science-loving podcaster Ryan Haupt! He and Tim speculate on the meaning of Hickman’s tag line “Science. Bad.”, examine which parts of the story are fact and which are extrapolation from fact (or just plain made up!), some facts that Hickman got wrong, and more. Plus: how can the writer of such a wacky book turn around and write such dark, funless Avengers stories?