Science Comics: Plagues: The Microscopic Battlefield
The most recent Science Comics entry in the First Second line of excellently readable educational graphic novels is Plagues: The Microscopic Battlefield by Falynn Koch (who also wrote and drew the Bats volume). It uses the framework of scientists working within a computer simulation to personalize various cells, germs, and processes when the human body gets infected, including Yellow Fever, Bubonic Plague, and a white blood T-Cell.
Scientists are trying to enlist harmful germs in attempts to develop new vaccines. As part of the pitch to get the germs’ cooperation, they explain much of the history and knowledge about the subject. The art is attractively readable, and the information is interesting, in a disturbing way. If you want to know
- the difference between an epidemic and pandemic
- different type of plagues, from cholera to E.coli
- how germs can be, in addition to viruses and bacteria, protozoa and fungi
- the development of germ theory
- how the human body defends against bacteria
- what happens to someone with the plague
- the effect of living conditions on hygiene
- about immunity and vaccination, including the history of smallpox and how it was eradicated
then this is the comic for you! There’s also a glossary, diagrams, and a timeline in the back.
I didn’t find this installment as involving as I have others in the series, but I suspect younger readers will enjoy the battles between the monster-influenced, anthropomorphized cells and germs. The goofy Yellow Fever, in particularly, is entertaining, and the journeys inside the body engrossing. (The publisher provided a digital review copy.)