Cosmix #1

Posted: Tuesday, March 27, 2007
By: Steve Saville

Cover of Cosmix #1 Creator(s): Various
Publishers: Otago Museum
From: New Zealand
Price: Free

‘Cosmix #1’ is the first of three comics produced by Otago Museum with the intention of using the comic format to make Science seem fun and cool. The audience is primarily school students who have a developing interest in, and fascination of things scientific.

There is a bit of a tradition in New Zealand of comics being produced with the intention of promoting something quite ‘uncomicy’ for example we have had comics produced over the last decade that warn against peer pressure in schools, promote vegetarianism and even present the humble tomato as a super hero. That last one was distributed via supermarkets and unfortunately never got past the first issue. A bit of a shame really, I thought it was such a bizarre little venture that I got quite excited about it.

I realise that we are not alone here, Australia used the iconographic Phantom to encourage Aborigines to enrol and vote. So ‘Cosmix’ is tapping into a tradition and good on it.

I have no problem with comics being used to promote education and learning, far from it. I applaud the producers, the museum and the funders for this most worthwhile of ventures. However my role is not to laud the worthy intentions of this production but to review it as a comic.

Because this is a sponsored comic there was obviously funding available to produce an attractive finished product. The paper is of a high quality and it is full colour throughout, so it looks and feels good. The art work shows a definite Japanese influence and in many cases is reminiscent of the style of programmes like ‘Digimon.’

There is a great variety of stories presented in the 15 or so pages, each is well drawn by a separate artist and each showcases a different aspect of the scientific world.

The first, ‘Sound Off’ uses the story of a bunch of kids forming a band to relay some physics. Then we have a story that looks at laser beams and the like. ‘Broken Dawn’ concentrates on forensic science, ‘Eugenius’ the world of bugs and my favourite, ‘Risky 4 Cast’ looks at the weather and other geographical issues.

A good range then. I think the most difficult task facing this type of publication is managing to create an effective and engrossing story while still educating. ‘Cosmix’ does not quite succeed in this area and the stories themselves don’t really reach the stage of being totally convincing. Never mind though, this is attractive and well intentioned comic.

I know all three editions are now available because I have them all and when placed together they form a nice little set. If any parents are out there reading this, do your kids a favour and track down all three editions, call it playing your part in their education.

In a Word: Enlightening.

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