Ootastic: PCOS in pictures

March 16, 2018

More comics about scientists

Filed under: comics, science — ootastic @ 12:54 pm

It’s come to my attention that my recent blog post missed some interesting comics about scientists, so please consider this a follow-up.  Matteo Farinella pointed me to his collection of Cartoon Science links, which includes Darwin: A Graphic Biography (sub-titled “the Really Exciting and Dramatic Story of a Man who Mostly Stayed at Home and Wrote Some Books”) by Eugene Byrne and Simon Gurr. As recommended by Jordan Collver, Trinity: A Graphic History of the First Atomic Bomb by Jonathan Fetter-Vorm chronicles the controversial endeavours of Robert Oppenheimer and other atomic physicists.  Also from the same creator is Attitiudes vs Actions, a graphic essay about sociologist Richard LaPiere’s research into racial discrimination.

I was especially pleased to find more stories about female scientists. Neuroscientist Rita Levi-Montalcini has been the subject of two comics: Finding her Nerve by Dwayne Godwin and Jorge Cham of PhDcomics fame), and a 40-page comic by Manfredi Toraldo and Franceso Mobili. Brazen: Rebel Ladies Who Rocked the World by Pénélope Bagieu includes astronaut Mae Jemison (who also features in the Women of NASA Lego set) and forensic pioneer Frances Glessner Lee.  Also immortalised in Lego is NASA computer scientist Margaret Hamilton, who has been captured in comic form by Lucy KniselyFor International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month this March, Dale deBakcsy and Ele Willoughby have been tweeting comics and lino cuts (respectively) about illuminaries such as physicist Chien Shiung Wu, computer scientist Grace Hopper, astronomer Caroline Herschel and botanist Anna Atkins.  Finally (for now), Rachel Ignotofsky’s illustrated Women In Science includes mathematician Katherine Johnson and chemist Rosalind Franklin.



March 6, 2018

The Biopsy

Filed under: cancer, comics — ootastic @ 6:22 pm

If the sanitary products were substituted for plasters, this would be a direct follow-up to The Check-Up and The Scan (which found a thyroid nodule).  Instead, this comic follows an abnormal smear test and colposcopy and I tried experimenting with grids.

February 26, 2018

Comics about scientists

Filed under: comics, science — ootastic @ 6:34 pm

I’ve just finished reading the enlightening Graphic Science by Darryl Cunningham, which tells the stories of lesser known scientists such as the paleontologist Mary Anning, agriculturalist George Washington Carver and astrophysicist Jocelyn Bell Burnell.  As a scientist by day and (amateur) comic artist by night, I thought it’d be interesting to collect links to similar scientific comics.

A long time ago in a bookshop far far away, I happened to pick up the graphic bibilography Feynman by writer Jim Ottaviani and illustrator Leland Myrick. This proved such a surprisingly entertaining and informative life story of the controversial yet popular theoretical physicist Richard Feynman, that I went back further to read some of his old lectures on quantum mechanics. This encounter led me to Ottaviani’s publishing outfit G.T. Labs and their veritable treasure trove of comics about scientists (“What a dangerous experiment!”), including renowned mathematician and computer scientist Alan Turing, physicist Niels Bohr, psychologist Harry Harlow, and (collectively) primatologists Jane Goodall, Dian Fossey and Birute Galdikas.

Another great source is the Zen Pencils cartoon blog by Gavin Aung Than which features short comics inspired by quotes from famous people, including inventor Nikola Tesla, chemist Marie Curie, inventor Margaret E Knight and astronaut Chris Hadfield.  Artist and Anne Simon and writer Corinne Maier have produced a series of books about physicist Albert Einstein, psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud and philosopher Karl Marx.

I found multiple narratives around certain people, including Tesla (see the aforementioned Graphic Science and Tesla by Matthew Inman), Feynman and Einstein.  However, as shown in Zen Pencils’ science all-stars poster, there seems to be a paucity of comics about female scientists.  I can thoroughly recommend The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage by Sydney Padua, which started off as a jokey one-off, turned into a webcomic and was subsequently published in fabulously footnoted book form.  In this alternate history, mathematician Ada Lovelace and inventor Charles Babbage succeed in building the mechanical computing machine known as the Difference Engine and use it to fight crime and battle economics.  Also, the MassiveSci website features a series of articles about female Science Heroes, illustrated by neuroscientist and cartoonist Matteo Farinella.  Closer to home, I’ve drawn my own comic about crystallographer Dorothy Hodgkin and have a couple of other subjects in mind (see also mathematician and codebreaker Bill Tutte).

So, if you have a favourite comic about any kind of scientist (the obscurer the better!), please let me know and I’ll add it to this collection.


November 1, 2017


Filed under: comics, films, TV — ootastic @ 11:06 am

After the recent backlash against an all female reboot of Lord of the Flies and fuss about the lack of female judges for the Young Cartoonists of the Year, I’ve been participating in the themed (p)inktober drawing challenge on Twitter and have collated the results here.

July 18, 2017

Collected infertility comics

Filed under: comics, TTC — ootastic @ 7:50 pm

I first started drawing comics when I was struggling to get (and stay) pregnant.  Given that fertility problems affect an estimated one in six couples and that up to a quarter of pregnancies end in miscarriage, it should be of no surprise to find so many comics on these topics. This is the second of two posts collecting links to relevant comics and other illustrations. Please feel free to point me to any I’ve missed!

The tortures of trying to conceive (TTC) have been captured in the comic memoir Good Eggs by Phoebe Potts, which is reveiwed on the Graphic Medicine website.  Similarly, Broken Eggs is an autobiographical visual narrative by Emily Steinberg, which is further detailed in Cleaver magazine.  One book I was able to read in full is One Good Egg, Suzy Becker’s illustrated memoir about the “Baby Decision” and undergoing IVF.  Got Pins And Needles is an illustrated essay exploring the limits of fertility treatment for “social infertility”.  Meanwhile, the male perspective is covered by The Infertile Man by Drs Aniruddha and Anjali Malpani.  The same authors also offer the Comic Book for Infertile Couples, which is reviewed on the BioNews website.  Finally, the amusingly named Cranky Vagina has a couple of one-panels about fertility treatment.

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