I recently received a copy of Spineless comic from Lydia Wysocki at Applied Comics – a free comic put out under the Newcastle Science Comic banner about invertebrates published in partnership with the Spineless exhibition at Great North Museum: Hancock in Newcastle this summer. The exhibition and comic area all about minibeasts: where they live, what they do, and why they’re important.
The 16-page, full colour comic, which has a 20,000 print run, is great and if you can, get hold of a copy. The strips are fun and informative and all the creators involved were, importantly, paid for working on the title (as well as clearly enjoying themselves in the process).
Regular readers will recall Lydia was one of the team who put out the equally marvellous Asteroid Belter, published to promote the British Science Festival last year – and a terrific example of using comics to educate. It’s probably suitable for ages 6-110, never mind 6-10.
Those involved were Jess Bradley, Terry Wiley, Emily Rose Lambert (with guest curator Dan Skerritt), Samuel C Williams (with guest curators Vivek Nityananda and Erica McAllister), Sigmund Reimann (with guest curator Fiona Ware), John Gatehouse and Dave Windett (with the Environmental Records Centre North East).
“I had aparticular fascination with invertebrate creatures growing up,” says greetings card and illustator Emily Lambert of her involvement in the comic, “even keeping some (like Stick Insects, Giant Snails and Jewel Beetles) as pets! I was excited to have the opportunity in Spineless to combine both my interest in invertebrate creatures and my love of comics into something with an educational element.”
“I am really interested in my comics serving a purpose,” says Samuel Williams. “They are such a great format for conveying information and I knew it would be a great challenge. Also getting to work with people with a more academic background and sharing ways of presenting their work!”
Spineless-the-exhibition at the Great North Museum: Hancock runs from 1st August to 1st November 2015, but launch day is of course a special day. On Saturday 1st August the Museum is open from 10.00am – 4.00pm, with free cake for the first 200 children and activities all day – and, of course, your first chance to grab a free print copy of Spineless comic. (Yes, you can take an extra one for your friend, and yes teachers can take extra for their class). The exhibition is free but donations are welcome.
Spineless comic contributors and friends of the project will be at the exhibition from 3-4.00pm to have a good look around and marvel at all the people reading the comic.
The Applied Comics Network, which aims to bring together all those working with comics and information, is run by Lydia Wysocki (Newcastle Science Comic, Applied Comics Etc), John Swogger (Archaeology in the Caribbean, Something Different About Dad), and Ian Horton (Coordinator for Contextual and Theoretical Studies, London College of Communication).
• Spineless-the-comic is free and launches in print on 1st August. A digital version which will available right here at newcastlesciencecomic.blogspot.com and there are interviews with all the comic creators on the site about the project
• Spineless-the-exhibition runs from 1st August to 1st November 2015 at the Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle. Info: https://greatnorthmuseum.org.uk/whats-on/spineless
• Spineless comic has a @creativecommons CC BY-NC-ND 4.0 license so it’s free for non-commercial use & sharing. The aim is that such a license will make it easier for teachers/professionals to use and share Spineless
• You can still download a digital version of the Asteroid Belter comic here