I am of the opinion that science is now accessible to everyone with the onslaught of graphic novels covering everything from molecular biology to evolution to even quantum theory. If you have a little time in the evenings, enjoy reading comic books, and have a sense of humor you can self-educate on the basic principles of each field. You won’t be an expert but at least you will have an idea of what the news is talking about when they bring it up or you’ll know when someone is blowing smoke–like physics finding god in the math.
As with any product, there are good graphic novels and poorly done ones. I’m going to be reviewing one later that I felt was poorly done, but Jay Hosler’s Evolution: The Story of Life on Earth is excellent. Jay Hosler scripted the graphic novel and it was illustrated by Kevin Cannon and Zander Cannon (no relation to each other). The Cannon team already have an excellent background in the comics field including the Eisner Award and the inking has a wonderful feel to it. Often what’s necessary when you do B/W pages is to have rich dark areas so that the reader doesn’t notice the lack of color and loses themselves in the art. The Cannons pour ink generously onto each page and when you buy this book you get your money’s worth.
However, more importantly, Jay Hosler uses an effective narrative to keep our interest as he explains a difficult subject: evolution. I don’t find evolution to be a dry subject but I know some people do and therefore it is hard to pay attention to the details or rather the mechanics of evolution. I also know that often people think they understand evolution but when you talk to them further they don’t.
The narrative Hosler uses expands on a previous book (The Stuff of Life) and we find that earth is being studied by Glargalian Astronomers, alien life forms including a one-eyed king, his son Prince Floorish and an tutoring underling who likes to grovel named Bloort. The character we relate to most is probably Prince Floorish who is slowly beginning to understand what Bloort is teaching. Bloort will make you smile as he is the ultimate brown noser. But in a way, he is brown nosing towards we the reader in order to get us to understand.
While I’m sure the target market for this book is pre-teen to teen, it’s for everyone who isn’t an evolutionary biologist. Possibly evolutionary biologists may get a kick out of it, but it’s basic stuff–even the basics can be complicated though depending on how much evolutionary science you have read prior. I would like to recommend this book to Christians who think they are creationists or who simply haven’t bothered to consider evolution due to time constraints with work and family. Honest, this book isn’t meant to turn you into an atheist (that’s my job! Just kidding!), it’s meant to give you an overview of the theory of evolution and even if you disagree with it you should understand what it is you disagree with. I guarantee that if you are only getting your information from creationism then you are getting misinformation. Creationism will give you doses of the theory but then try to explain away important facts, omit facts or even distort facts. Being raised on creationism myself, I know this to be true.
Freethinkers may also want to pick up the book for review or to read to their kids. The material covered is simplified, I’m sure, but not dumbed down. It makes for a nice read to remind you of certain core principles and even new information that has been added since you had to struggle through it in high school or college.
With all of the material laid out in a graphic novel format it’s a shame there isn’t a budget to turn this into an animated series.