Sunday, February 7, 2010

Sunday Comics: Top Ten Science Comic Book Covers

Yes, if nothing else on this blog screams to the world that I am a HUGE NERD, trying to marry my love of science with my love of comics should pretty much seal the deal.  Anyway, this list is pretty random.  I have no idea if I have found even the bulk of science related comics (though something tells me I got pretty close), and of course, these are mostly rated on my own personal opinion of what looks cool on a cover.  (Which means the rankings have nothing to do with content, particularly since I have only read a couple of the comics on the list.).  Anyway, there are obviously some good ones that didn't make the list (like this one at Nature), but here's the list...

10. Science Comics #1 (Feb 1940). Okay, so the "Science" in Science Comics is likely referring to science fiction rather than real science, but since this is a list of the top "science comic book" covers, it seems like I would be a little remiss not to include any covers from a series called "Science comics".  Plus, with "Electro" breaking through a steel wall to save the damsel in Bond-villainesque distress, this cover seemed to be much more exciting than some of the others that were up for consideration.

9. Captain Science #1 (Nov. 1950).  Again, this is an old school science fiction (rather than science fact) title, but again, he's Captain Science!  Plus, how can you not love the quasi-futuristic clothing (or lack thereof).  Clearly, in the future, all scientific research will be carried out with ray guns and in see-through clothing (thus ensuring your eyes remain focused on your work).  Also, I have to wonder, how does one go about obtaining the moniker "Captain Science"?  Do you think, if I just started referring to myself as Captain (or perhaps Admiral) Science, my friends and family (and co-workers)would all play along?

8. Two Fisted Science #1 (1997).  For the first real science comic book to make the list, we have Two Fisted Science, the comic from GT labs that would eventually be fleshed out into a graphic novel chronicling such heavy hitters as Galileo, Einstein, and Richard Feynman.  I love the title: "Two fisted science".  It makes it seem so action packed... I can't help but feel like the professor (I'm assuming it's Einstein) is reaching out of the page to give you the knowledge smackdown.  No, sir, I don't have any questions.  Please don't box my ears again with your two fisted fury of science.

7. The Sandwalk Adventures #3 (2001).  Charlie Darwin expounds upon his adventures on the Beagle and the finer points of evolution by natural selection... and, as follows logically, gets attacked by a giant space bug... Actually, this set of books, compiled into a graphic novel by "creator" Jay Hosler, is really a great primer on evolution (and as the cover shows, obviously entertaining too).

6. Optical Allusions (2008).  Another great book from Jay Hosler.  How could you not like this one?  You can see all of the crazy characters from the adventures of Wrinkles the Wonder Brain (yes, the hero of the book is a walking, talking brain).  And toward the bottom of the page, Charlie Darwin is punching a bad guy right in the jaw!  The only thing that would make this cover better would be a 1960's batman-esque "Wham!" or "Ka-Pow!" balloon over Darwin's mean left hook.

5. A Journey Through the Digestive System with Max Axiom, Super Scientist.  Okay, first of all, this guy's name is Max Axiom: Super Scientist?  God I hope he has business cards.  Second, he is surfing down the esophagus and out of a hemi-sected stomach (over what looks like the large intestine)!  And, his surfboard has lights on the bottom of it! Enough said.

4. Dignifying Science (2003).  Another graphic novel from GT Labs, and this one is obviously one that is well needed and well deserved.  I would probably put it up at number 1, except the one thing I don't like is how the cover model looks like just that (a model).  Why does she have to be all dressed up, in front of the dressing room mirror to do science?  And while her test tubes and other equipment suggest heavy duty science, I can't help but notice that the set she is holding makes it look like she is spritzing herself with perfume.  It's like the artist is saying, "sure, women can be scientists, but their first priority is looking pretty."  Which, to me seems to be a tad defeating. Other than that, a great book, profiling the likes of Marie Curie and Rosalind Franklin, and I believe it was even nominated for an Eisner Award.  You can check out some of the contents here.
(I know, that was pretty deep for a guy who just went crazy over Max Axiom surfing through the GI tract.)

3. Clan Apis #3 (Feb 1999).  Another great one from Jay Hosler.  All you ever wanted to know about the secret lives of honeybees.  Also, I like that the publisher is "Active Synapse", though I obviously take issue with the burst of light filling the synapse in the logo.  What really puts this one on the list, however, is that I can't help but admire such great artwork when the subject matter is a couple of insects and a dung ball. Seriously, look at the shading on that dung ball.  I've eaten meatballs that looked worse.

2. The Unexpected World of Nature #3 (2006).  Part of a series of books put out to accompany the PBS show "Nature".  This one doesn't really need much of an explanation, I mean come on, a treasure hoarding giant lizard?  Unless. like me, it reminds you of an ex-girlfriend, you have to admit, that is a pretty cool cover, and on top of that when it was available, it was free.  you can't beat that.

1. Fallout (2001).  Another book from GT labs, this one about Robert Oppenheimer and the development of the atomic bomb.  Clearly pretty heavy stuff for a comic book, but great art, and a great story as it follows Oppenheimer before and after the Manhattan project and examines his conflicting feelings on developing such a weapon.  The book also (obviously) delves into the relationship between politics and science (and political science).

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