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The Wednesday Club’s Comic Picks: Misfits of Science
The Wednesday ClubThe Wednesday Club

The Wednesday Club’s Comic Picks: Misfits of Science

This week on The Wednesday Club, Geek & Sundry’s weekly talk show discussing all things comics, hosts Taliesin Jaffe, Amy Dallen, and Matt Key almost had too many comics to talk about as they dove into books about incredible feats of science and heroic scientists.

“There was a time in Western pop culture where scientists were given the same clout as superheroes and superspies and cowboys and pirates,” said Taliesin, “and there was this notion of the heroic scientist. It was a very brief time. We had heroes like Doc Savage, Quatermass, Buckaroo Banzai…

“So we thought we would share, between the three of us, some of our favorite books that celebrate the notion of intellect and reason as superpowers, and the notion of these superpowers being something that anyone can strive to achieve and a great way to inspire the youth of today to reach for new heights and read cool comics.”

The Five Fists of Science

A comic book starring Mark Twain and Nicola Tesla might not immediately sound like a compelling read, but this tale from Matt Fraction spins an exciting tale of saving the world in the late 19th century. “It’s a delightful sort of steampunky, late 1800s adventure,” said Amy.

“It just defied all of my expectations by being adventurous and rompy,” Taliesin said.

(Image Comics, Matt Fraction and Steven Sanders)

Orbiter

Orbiter

A space shuttle that hasn’t been seen or heard from in a decade suddenly crash lands back on Earth. In this “fake pre-future,” described Taliesin, the space program was cancelled after the shuttle disappeared. When it reappears, it’s been upgraded with alien technology–and one of the astronauts is still inside. A team of scientists must use investigation and deduction to find out what happened to the shuttle and the astronauts.

“It’s this very positive and glowing, beautiful story,” Taliesin said. “It’s got this very space-positive, get out there and meet alien worlds and get out there and explore [vibe]… It’s amazing.”

(Vertigo Comics, Warren Ellis and Colleen Doran)

Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur

Lunella Layfette isn’t your typical preteen. She’s a super-genius who carries the Inhuman gene within her, and she’s terrified of what that means for her future. Oh, and her best friend is a giant red dinosaur who time-traveled from the distant past.

“You just love her,” said Amy. “I was in Science Olympiad in junior high so I might over-identify slightly, but she just takes everything too seriously, wants to know everything, wants to figure everything out, she’s just delightful.”

(Marvel Comics, Brandon Montclare, Amy Reeder, and Natacha Bustos)

The Unstoppable Wasp

Janet Van Dyne, the original Wasp, takes young Nadia Pym under her wing (pun intended) in The Unstoppable Wasp. Nadia is the daughter of Hank Pym, and she’s spent most of her life in the Red Room where Black Widow received her training. Now that she’s out, Nadia, just a teenager, is determined to keep a positive outlook and share her love of science with the world.

“The whole book is super sweet and really fun,” Taliesin said, “and it creates an environment where you want to be around all these fun, smart people.”

(Marvel Comics, Jeremy Whitley and Elsa Charretier)

Riri Williams

Invincible Iron Man

Currently wearing the Iron Man armor as Ironheart, Riri Williams is a genius teenager and a new hero in the Marvel universe. “I love the notion that in the Marvel universe they have identified really smart kids and giving parents booklets on how to not raise a supervillain,” said Taliesin with a smile. “I like her because I believe she’s smart. She’s written smart.”

(Marvel Comics, Brian Michael Bendis and Stefano Caselli)

Letter 44

When a new president takes office, a letter from the previous President of the United States is waiting for him. In the letter, the new Commander-in-Chief learns a shocking truth: Alien life has been detected in the solar system’s asteroid belt, and a team of astronauts is about to make contact. Only a handful of people in the world know this secret, now including the new 44th president.

“The book goes back and forth between the politics on Earth and the astronauts in space and what they’re discovering,” said Matt. “And every single book gets better than the last. Soule very meticulously unpacks this world mythology that he’s created, and it feels very real and very well researched.”

(Oni Press, Charles Soule and Alberto Jimenez Alburquerque)

The hosts also happily chatted about a number of other science-themed books like Nowhere Men, Feynman, Laika, The Manhattan Projects, Narbonic, Buckaroo Banzai, Black Science, and more. SCIENCE!

Hang out on the Geek & Sundry Twitch channel every Wednesday night to catch the next amazing episode of The Wednesday Club.

Featured Image: Geek & Sundry

Other Images: Vertigo and Marvel Comics 

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