I grew up (to the extent that I have grown up) reading the works of Larry Gonick, expositor of science and history in cartoon format. As Cosma Shalizi wrote, “When I think about it, I realize a truly substantial proportion of my basic knowledge of the world derives from reading Larry Gonick’s Cartoon Guides and Cartoon History of the Universe.” So it was with great interest that I read in the Mercury News of 10 April 2008 that Gonick “hopes to work on a cartoon book about calculus” once he’s finished The Cartoon History of the Modern World Part II, which is really the fifth installment in the Cartoon History of the Universe series. However, that Mercury News article commits a serious gaffe:
Gonick hasn’t actually yet put in cartoon form a subject he knows at least as well as history: mathematics.
Ahem. The Cartoon Guide to Statistics (1994), coauthored with Woollcott Smith of Temple University. And that’s not even mentioning his “Science Classics” feature in Discover magazine, a regular two-page comic which often covered mathematical topics. We could go on to list the mathy subjects addressed in his other science books and even in his histories, but really.