There are quite a few science-themed online comics out there, many of which are excellent. I thought I would share my favourites here, many of which are comics that have followed me for years, from the early days of PhD research, thesis writing, paper writing, paper rejection, job hunting, job rejection, late days in the lab, early days in the pub, new jobs, old jobs, new gross fluids, old gross fluids, data that doesn’t make sense and data that makes even less sense – in short, all the crazy of science.
In no particular order:
XKCD (https://xkcd.com/). XKCD is a comic about math, sarcasm, romance and language. I have seen perhaps a smidge more sarcasm than romance, but this may just be my interpretation. Nevertheless, XKCD is fantastic. It is written by a physics graduate and manages to be both funny and educational (for us non-physics people) at the same time. (It offers explanations: http://www.explainxkcd.com!)
Red Pen/Black Pen (https://redpenblackpen.tumblr.com/). Home of the oft-shared peer-review car illustration, Red Pen/Black Pen takes a slightly cynical view on the world of academia and has a hint of a computational biology angle. Also on Twitter as @redpenblackpen.
The Awkward Yeti (http://theawkwardyeti.com/). Features the cutest gallbladder in comics. This is a anatomy/medicine-themed comic which follows the eponymous awkward yeti, Lars, and his organs as they deal with social situations, anxiety, bodily functions and bodily malfunctions. There is even a spinoff, called Heart and Brain.
Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal (https://www.smbc-comics.com/). SMBC is a quirky and occasionally sciency comic, covering anything from religion to economics to astronomy in daily, stand-alone strips. Its vast archive is enough to lose all productivity for at least a week.
The Upturned Microscope (https://theupturnedmicroscope.com). Written by a cell biology PhD, hence rife with funny lab mishaps and a good dose of cynicism. For someone who is not used to working in a white coat, the Upturned Microscope is a great view into a world of reagents gone wrong.
Piled Higher and Deeper (http://phdcomics.com/comics.php). Also called PhD comics (geddit?), as it revolves around the ups and downs and potential free food of graduate life, with a few post doc experiences thrown in for good measure. This is the place to go if you are struggling with the thesis and want to know that you’re not alone.
Bird and Moon (http://www.birdandmoon.com/). I have not read as much Bird and Moon as I would like, having only come to it in the past year. It is a beautifully drawn comic by Rosemary Mosco, a field naturalist, that centers on the weird and wonderful aspects of nature and wildlife.
(UPDATE: here is a recently published paper on drawing science comics, titled
“Ten simple rules for drawing scientific comics” by Jason McDermott (Red Pen/Black Pen), Matthew Partridge (Errant Science) and Yana Bromberg: http://journals.plos.org/ploscompbiol/article?id=10.1371/journal.pcbi.1005845)