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Cartoonists take science seriously

"Minute Physics" creator Henry Reich runs through some of his favorite science websites in a video.



If a picture is worth a thousand words, how many pages of scientific prose is a science comic worth? Or, for that matter, how many words in a blog post?

Science comics took the spotlight last week during one of the scores of sessions at Science Online 2013 in Raleigh, N.C. — and one of the takeaways was that illustrators and cartoonists are serious about the science they're depicting. Heck, many of them are trained scientists as well as gifted artists. Take MinutePhysics' Henry Reich, for example: He earned degrees in physics and math, but found himself drawn to film and video. Now he encapsulates complex concepts in physics (such as the quest for the Higgs boson) in YouTube videos that last just a bit more than a minute.

His latest MinutePhysics offering wraps up more than two dozen science websites and video channels worth checking out, including way-cool science comics such as xkcd and Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal. You'll want to scan the whole list, but you won't want to stop there. It's a good thing the weekend is coming up, because here are another eight science comics to while away the hours with:


Bird and Moon: Rosemary Mosco is a "nature lover with a passion for science communication" — and a flair for cute, colorful graphics that are thoughtful as well. Have you always wondered how to tell a dolphin from a porpoise? Check out the "Animal Cheat Sheet."  

Beatrice the Biologist: Katie McKissick is on a mission to "make science fun and interesting for the casual reader," and she's not afraid of stirring up a little controversy as well. Don't miss the story behind the "Facebook Genital Scandal of 2012."

Jay Hosler: Biology professor Jay Hosler highlights science comic strips of all stripes in his blog, "Drawing Flies," and creates his own highly respected comics and graphic novels

Luci's Let Down: Writer Marjee Chmiel and illustrator Sandra Lanz team up on an online comic book that's more about metaphysics than strictly physics.

PHD Comics: Jorge Cham draws the kinds of comics that graduate students might post on their office bulletin boards — when their faculty adviser isn't looking. Check out this Cosmic Log Q&A with Cham, as well as his fantastic guide to the Higgs boson.

Sci-ence.org: Maki Naro aims to "communicate science topics in a way that hopefully anybody can understand, and ideally elicit some chuckles." I had to chuckle over a certain zombie who guest-starred in a strip about last year's "Supermoon."

Walkabout Em: Emily Coren has degrees in ecology and evolutionary biology as well as science illustration. Her illustrations don't joke around — instead, they present creatures and concepts with a pleasing style.

2D Goggles: Melina Sydney Padua presents "The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage," a quirky webcomic interspersed with observations about the history of the Difference Engine and other geeky subjects.

Science-fiction author David Brin has his own list of favorite science webcomics. And if you're looking for science-centric graphic novels you can actually hold in your hand, keep an eye out for "Bone Sharps, Cowboys and Thunder Lizards," "Darwin," "Feynman," "Logicomix," "Neurocomic," "Radioactive," "Science Tales" and "Trinity."

More about science comics:


Alan Boyle is NBCNews.com's science editor. Connect with the Cosmic Log community by "liking" the log's Facebook page, following @b0yle on Twitter and adding the Cosmic Log page to your Google+ presence. To keep up with Cosmic Log as well as NBCNews.com's other stories about science and space, sign up for the Tech & Science newsletter, delivered to your email in-box every weekday. You can also check out "The Case for Pluto," my book about the controversial dwarf planet and the search for new worlds.

Published 10:19 p.m. ET Feb. 7, 2013. Last updated 12:36 p.m. ET Feb. 8, 2013.