Next week, all across America, we will go through a ritual holiday weekend. There is Thanksgiving Thursday; Back Friday, Bloated Saturday, and self-hating (still bloated) Sunday. For many, this is the weekend of eating way the [expletive] too much, watching football, putting up a Christmas Tree and starting Christmas shopping. For me, it means I’m not going anywhere near a shopping mall at anytime between next Wednesday and after New Years. For me, Christmas shopping is something happening right now. While clicking randomly through Etsy & ThinkGeek, it occurred to me that I’m not the only one already looking for a stocking stuffer or two, and maybe we can help each other out in this search. (I keep typing “stalking stuffer”, which somehow seems more appropriate.)
For you I’d like to offer this: Comic books are cheap, easy to mail, and roll nicely to fit in stockings (don’t do this to a collectable!! Those go under the tree in something with a cardboard backing). I personally have about 1000 Hanny and the Mystery of the Voorwerp Comics in my home, office, and my staff member Joe’s home and office waiting to get shipped. If you have a kid in your life, someone who acts like a kid in your life, or basically anyone in your life who breaths, please get them a comic. Please? $5.50+shipping (global).
That out of my system, I have to admit that since I got involved in facilitating the creation of the Hanny and the Mystery of the Voorwerp, I’ve had people approach me to say “Hey, have you seen this science-based comic?” (For full disclosure, this is often someone who puts a comic in my hands, and the two comics I’m about to mention have landed in my inbox and mailbox for free, but I liked them anyway )
If you are looking for a comic for that kid who may not get exposed to the Big Bang and Evolution in their home, then James Dubnar has a pair of (I’d call them graphic novels) science solutions. They are rhymed and illustrated in a way that should appeal to 3rd-5th graders everywhere (and likely middle schoolers and parents, but those two groups may be less willing to admit they love them). I think these would be a lot of fun to read aloud with a kid and then talk about what’s being read. You can order copies from James & Kenneth Publishers.
Now, none of these comics mentioned so far are honest to God comic books. If you are a true comic book snob, you will scoff at them. I am not a comic book snob. I like comic books, but have to admit I tend to be the person who only randomly buys the compilations. I have the Watchman, Sandman vol 1 & 2 (why are they so so so expensive?), a few X-Men, both Umbrella Academy Series, and then a box of all the early 1990′s Battlestar Galactica comics and a lot of X-file comics (I am way more of a fan girl than a comic book girl). While I can’t pretend to hold my own in a DC versus Marvel debate, I can still identify a real comic book when I see one, and this season there is an actual comic book of the super hero variety out that promotes science and education.
It’s by DC and called Mister Terrific. The hero (that would be Mister Terrific) is a the third smartest man in the world, and he is a black, olympic medal earning, billionaire. The comic book does touch on race and seems to be working to be socially relevant and to create positive African American role models. I have to admit, the social commentary is much more interesting than the ways they include science. This isn’t a comic you will learn a whole lot from – it is science fiction and built on the tenet that smarts wins. That’s a pretty good tenet. But the science in this comic is often made up (sonic black holes sound cool, but physically don’t make a lot of sense). Still, if you, like me, like extrapolated science like in “Fringe,” and if (perhaps more importantly) you have someone else in your life who likes comics and “Fringe,” this may be the comic for you and for you to gift. If you want this one, I strongly recommend going to your local comic book store. Really. Local businesses need your business, and comic books stores are rarely chain stores, so give an small business owner your business this shopping season.
Now, I know these can’t be all that’s out there. Below are the comments. Have at it. I want to hear all about the comics I don’t know about.
And please please buy a Hanny and the Mystery of the Voorwerp. I want my shelf space back!