By Larry Gonick & Mark Wheelis (Harper Perennial)
The educational value of comics is often understated, not to say completely forgotten. Will Eisner produced reams of comic manuals for the US army and other government departments. Japan has a number of text books produced as comic strips, and has even released government reports as comic strips to get around public apathy to reading high volumes of public information. So do we, and so do the Americans. I’ve even produced one or two myself.
None of us, however, can hold a candle to Larry Gonick. Since the 1970s this cartoonist and all around clever chap has been using the strip medium to stuff learning and entertainment in equal amounts into the weary brains of jaded students with such tomes as The Cartoon History of the Universe, The Cartoon History of the United States and The “Cartoon Guide to…” series (Computers, Non-Communication, Physics, Statistics and the Environment) as well as the two under the hammer here.
He often teams up with a recognised expert for these volumes but never lets one goal override the other. Teach and Entertain.
The current edition of “…Genetics”, produced in conjunction with lecturer and author Mark Wheelis, is heavily updated from the one my wife used when a Genetics Student in London in the 1980s, but is still one of the most memorable text books I’ve ever ploughed through, providing a clear, concise, chronological and practical outline of the subject.
On finishing it I was more than ready to start splicing some genes, but I haven’t as yet because I’m still finishing that long letter to Marvel clarifying just what a Mutant actually is.
© 1983, 1991, 2007 Larry Gonick & Mark Wheelis. All Rights Reserved.