Science Comic Books

Graphic novels that teach science

I'm a fan of science fiction and even science fiction comic books, like Iron Man and Fantastic Four, but it's the rare comic book which actually goes the next step to actually making the teaching of science a central priority. Still, there are some of them out there, and I've compiled a list of them below. Please e-mail me with any more suggestions.

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Cover of the book Feynman by Jim Ottaviani and Leland Myrick, a graphic novel about the life of physicist Richard P. Feynman. Leland Myrick/First Second

In this biographical comic book, author Jim Ottaviani (together with artists Leland Myrick and Hilary Sycamore) explore the life of Richard Feynman. Feynman was one of the most popular twentieth century figures in physics, having earned a Nobel Prize for his work in developing the field of quantum electrodynamics. Buy from Amazon »

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The Manga Guide to Physics

The cover for The Manga Guide to Physics. No Starch Press
This book is a great introduction to the basic ideas of physics - motion, force, and mechanical energy. These are the concepts that lie at the heart of the first semester of most beginning physics courses, so the best use I can think of for this book is for the novice student who will be able to read it prior to going into the physics class, possibly over the summer.

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The Manga Guide to the Universe

Cover from The Manga Guide to the Universe. No Starch Press

If you like reading manga and you like understanding the universe, then this just might be the book for you. It's a general resource devoted to explaining the main features of space, from the moon and solar system to the structures of galaxies and even the possibilities of the multiverse. I can take or leave the manga-based storyline (it's about a bunch of high school students trying to put on a school play), but the science is quite accessible. Buy from Amazon »

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The Manga Guide to Relativity

Cover to the book The Manga Guide to Relativity. No Starch Press

This installment in No Starch Press's Manga Guide series focuses on Einstein's theory of relativity, diving deep into the mysteries of space and time itself. This, together with The Manga Guide to the Universe, provides the foundations needed to understand the way the universe changes over time.

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The Manga Guide to Electricity

Cover to the book The Manga Guide to Electricity. No Starch Press
Electricity is the foundation not only of modern technology and industry, but also of how atoms interact with each other to create chemical reactions. This Manga Guide provides a great introduction to how electricity works. You won't be able to rewire your house or anything, but you'll understand how the flow of electrons has such a big impact on our world.

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The Manga Guide to Calculus

Cover to the book The Manga Guide to Calculus. No Starch Press

It might be stretching things a bit to call calculus a science, but the fact is that its creation is intimately tied into the creation of classical physics. Anyone planning to study physics at the college level could do worse to get up to speed on calculus with this introduction.

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Edu-Manga Albert Einstein

The cover of a book about Albert Einstein from the Edu-Manga series. Digital Manga Publishing

In this biographical comic book, the authors use the manga storytelling style to explore (and explain) the life of the famed physicist Albert Einstein, who transformed everything we know about the physical universe by developing his theory of relativity and also laying the foundation for quantum physics.

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Two-Fisted Science

The cover of the book Two-Fisted Science by Jim Ottaviani. G.T. Labs
This book was also written by Jim Ottaviani, the author of the aforementioned Feynman graphic novel. It contains a series of stories from the history of science and mathematics, including those based around physicists like Richard Feynman, Galileo, Niels Bohr, and Werner Heisenberg. Buy from Amazon »

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Jay Hosler's comics

I'll confess that I've never read these biology-based comic books, but Hosler's work was recommended over on Google+ by Jim Kakalios (author of The Physics of Superheroes). According to Kakalios, "His Clan Apis and Evolution: The Story of Life on Earth are excellent. In Optical Allusions he addresses the canard that evolution theory is unable to account for the formation through natural selection of working eyes."