The Stuff of LIfe

In five well-conceived and brilliantly, graphically executed chapters, The Stuff Of Life: A Graphic Guide to Genetics and DNA explains how life works: what cells are, how they duplicate, how they add up to a living organism, how sex works, how genetic material gets passed down from one generation to the next, and how it informs the next generation.

Award-winning scripter Mark Schultz and award-nominated illustrators and designers Kevin and Zander Cannon have created the perfect “graphic science” volume to draw readers in and explain what DNA is, how it works, and how scientists can manipulate it to create substances to help fight disease and predict what a person’s genetic baggage will be.

Already sold into many school libraries and classrooms across the country, and licensed for several foreign-language editions, The Stuff Of Life: A Graphic Guide to Genetics and DNA is a unique, one-volume introduction to complex science made easy.

Preview

Awards/Nominations

2009 YALSA Best Graphic Novels of the Year List

Scientific American Book Club Alternate Selection

 

Reviews

The Squinch, an asexual race from the planet Glargal, are suffering from a genetic crisis. In an effort to save them, interplanetary biologist Bloort 183 was transmitted to Earth to study the evolutionary success of its life. He is now back and presenting his findings to his planet’s leader. Much is packed into this book, which includes information on molecular and cellular life, the basic mechanics of genetics, key scientists who have made discoveries in genetics and DNA, and how they have been and are applying this knowledge. Touching on topics such as genetically altered foods and cloning, Schultz is careful to acknowledge controversial subjects while maintaining an unbiased view. His writing is informative, easy to follow, and infused with humor. The detailed black-and-white illustrations are a perfect match, offering images to enhance learning while adding to the humorous aspect of the book. . . .  This title would do well as standard reading for science students.

Lara McAllister, Halifax Public Libraries, for School Library Journal

 

It’s looking grim for life on the aquatic planet of the Squinch. A heritable disorder threatens the ruling family, indeed the whole asexual species that occupies the highest rung of the planet’s evolutionary ladder. Fortunately, the scientist Bloort is back from Earth, full of enthusiasm for the key to what will save the Squinch: sex. More fortunately, the sagacious and educable emperor wishes to know the full story of this “sex.” Bloort obliges, beginning with the emergence of life on Earth and an initial pitch for sex and proceeding to reveal how genetics works on the molecular and the cellular levels, how it facilitates inheritance, and how genetic knowledge has been applied in a panoply of scientific fields. Drawn with panache and great good humor by Zander Cannon and Kevin Cannon, and scripted with exceptional clarity by Schultz, this is pretty much the best educational graphic novel in Hill & Wang’s new line of them, good enough for interested nonscientists to keep handy for whenever they need a refresher on its subject. It even has a happy—well, promising—ending.

Ray Olson, Booklist

 

In the battle against scientific ignorance, graphic novels may be the only thing that can save us . . . What’s the solution to America’s crisis in science education? More comic books. . . .  The Stuff of Life: A Graphic Guide to Genetics and DNA, [is] a remarkably thorough explanation of the science of genetics, from Mendel to Venter, with a strand of social urgency spliced in.

Barry Harbaugh, Wired

 

The Stuff of Life is a beautifully written and lavishly illustrated example of the power of comics to communicate the wonders of the natural world. Mark Schultz’s words combine with Zander Cannon and Kevin Cannon’s pictures in a dynamic enzymatic reaction that gives readers a glimpse at how life works. . . . Often funny and always engrossing, The Stuff of Life provides an exciting point of entry for anyone interested in how life on earth shapes and reshapes itself in the face of ever-changing conditions. Learning genetics just got a whole lot more fun.”

Jay Hosler, Associate Professor of Biology at Juniata College

 

“Mark Schultz’s brilliant, whacky The Stuff of Life could hardly have arrived at a better time, with advances in genetics transforming the biological sciences—from microbiology to medicine. This is serious fun.”

Jessica Snyder Sachs, author of Good Germs,
Bad Germs: Health and Survival in a Bacterial World

 

“Drawn with panache and great good humor by Zander Cannon and Kevin Cannon, and scripted with exceptional clarity by Schultz, this is pretty much the best educational graphic novel in Hill and Wang’s new line of them, good enough for interested nonscientists to keep handy for whenever they need a refresher on its subject. It even has a happy—well, promising—ending.”

 —Ray Olson, Booklist

 

The Stuff of Life is incredibly thorough and, best of all, wonderfully accessible for experts and laymen alike. The book has already been tagged with high praise and awards (a Great Graphic Novels for Teens nominee from YALSA, a Scientific American Book Club Alternate Selection, a feature in Wired magazine). . . . Writer Mark Schultz and artists Zander and Kevin Cannon deserve praise for taking such potentially dry topic material and making it not only understandable but also fresh. . . .  The book has a distinct sense of wonder about the entire thing, and it’s hard not to get swept up in it. It’s just so exciting to think about, so awe-inspiring and incredible. It turns out there was a lot we all should have been paying attention to in science class. Luckily, it’s not too late.

John Hogan, Graphic Novel Reporter

 

Let’s face it: From adenines to zygotes, from cytokinesis to parthenogenesis, even the basics of genetics can sound utterly alien. So who better than an alien to explain it all? Enter Bloort 183, a scientist from an asexual alien race threatened by disease, who’s been charged with researching the fundamentals of human DNA and evolution and laying it all out in clear, simple language so that even his slow-to-grasp-the-point leader can get it. In the hands of the award-winning writer Mark Schultz, Bloort’s predicament becomes the means of giving even the most science-phobic reader a complete introduction to the history and science of genetics that’s as easy to understand as it is entertaining to read.

Goodreads.com

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