Tongue Tied

One of the perks of my job is being able to walk over to the middle school in the afternoon and walk with Max back to my office. Our walks can involve discussions of anything from four dimensional cubes to the nuances of evolutionary theory. Sometimes the ideas come a bit faster than Max’s mouth can keep-up (unlike his father, whose mouth often -unfortunately – out races is brain). This cartoon records a snippet of conversation from a few days ago.

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Free Comic Book Day

Today was Free Comics Book Day and comic shops around the country were inundated with folks looking for sweet, free comic goodness. As has been my tradition for the last five years, I spent a big chunk of the day sitting at a table with fellow cartoonist Jarod Rosello at The Comics Swap in State College. Normally, I don’t have anything to give away for free, but this year Jarod had the brilliant idea to put together a free mini. So, along with our other fellow cartoonist Denny Connolly, we each put together an 8 page story for a 24 page extravaganza called Evolution of Adventure (the title wasn’t my idea, but i love it for obvious reasons). The cover was done by yet another fellow cartoonist Alexis Bennett. All in all it was a pretty nice package. We managed to unload all 117 copies (yes, yes, they were free, but people didn’t have to take one…). So, in the spirit of Fee Comics Book Day and for those of you who couldn’t make it (you know who you are), I am posting my story here. It features the return of Ant Edna and Wilbur.

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Recycled Comics You Probably Haven’t Seen

As always, the spring semester is kicking my tail. So, in a desperate attempt to post something, I present a two page strip on SARS I did for a magazine called Your World: Biotechnology & You. This is one of a handful of strips I did for them a few years back. As a rare treat, it is in color! This strip was also part of the successful NSF grant proposal that eventually funded the production and testing of Optical Allusions.

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Photosynthesis, page 14

Y’know, it it was 50 degrees outside right now, I would be walking round without a coat. But thanks to a delivery snafu, we are temporarily without oil and 50 degrees inside seems pretty doggone chilly. We are all in the office, huddling around the EdenPURE,  all in all it is nice productive family time. Which brings us to today’s photosynthesis page, produced under the watchful gaze of Max and Jack (the disembodied head bit never gets old with them).  It has been added to the full story in the Whole Enchilada archive.

On a completely unrelated note, the quote of the weekend goes to Jack. We curled up under blankets last night to watch the Sorcerer’s Apprentice and I couldn’t contain my frustration with the crappy science used to explain magic (my patience may have been worn thin by the cold…). So much elementary school science so painfully wrong (which wouldn’t have been so bad if the main character wasn’t, y’know, a physicist). Truthfully, I have no problem with magic in a movies or books (i.e. Harry Potter, Fablehaven, etc) just don’t try to make it believable. You can’t. It’s MAGIC.  Anyway, when it was all over Jack innocently pointed out to me that, with regards to the explanation of magic, “Dad, without the stupid parts, they couldn’t have made the movie.” I  completely agree. Ok, I feel better. Here’s the page…

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Working on the road

We are in the midst of our yearly holiday visit to Indiana and Lisa decided that this year I was taking my drawing board (no more complaints of being bored or falling behind). So here is evidence of my productivity! This is the 12th page of the photosynthesis story and it was composed during some of the lulls in our family activities. As you can see Ant Edna and Wilbur continue their adventure in the thylakoid lumen.

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Page 9 and the page 3 poll results.

So, classes are done, papers are rolling in, my finals are written and by noon tomorrow all my students will have had an opportunity to show me how smart they are and I will have a pile of grading. Time for a new photosynthesis page! Page 9 focuses the oxygen evolving complex of photosystem II. This page went through more iterations than any I have done so far as I tried to figure out ways to succinctly illustrate where each component of the water goes after being cleaved. The page is below and I have added it to the post containing the ever expanding whole enchilada.

As for the page 3 poll, the result are in: 80% of respondents voted for the new version. A total of 10 people voted (which means that each of my readers must have voted twice): 8 votes for the new,  one vote for the original and one vote for something completely different. Democracy!

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Photosynthesis (or Gimme Some Sugar)

The following is a comic book story about photosynthesis. It was posted one page at a time and feedback from educators and researchers helped guide the refinement of the science presented. Anyone who teaches photosynthesis is welcome to use as much or as little as they like for their classes. If you do use it in your classes, let us know how it worked!

Read it online or download a pdf of the story.

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