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The Cartoon Guide to Life, the Universe, and Everything

Larry Gonick is a veteran American cartoonist best known for his delightful comic-book guides to science and history, many of which have previews online. Chief among them is his long-running Cartoon History of the Universe (later The Cartoon History of the Modern World), a sprawling multi-volume opus documenting everything from the Big Bang to the Bush administration. Published over the course of three decades, it takes a truly global view -- its time-traveling Professor thoroughly explores not only familiar topics like Rome and World War II but the oft-neglected stories of Asia and Africa, blending caricature and myth with careful scholarship (cited by fun illustrated bibliographies) and tackling even the most obscure events with intelligence and wit. This savvy satire carried over to Gonick's Zinn-by-way-of-Pogo chronicle The Cartoon History of the United States, along with a bevy of Cartoon Guides to other topics, including Genetics, Computer Science, Chemistry, Physics, Statistics, The Environment, and (yes!) Sex. Gonick has also maintained a few sideprojects, such as a webcomic look at Chinese invention, assorted math comics (previously), the Muse magazine mainstay Kokopelli & Co. (featuring the shenanigans of his "New Muses"), and more. See also these lengthy interview snippets, linked previously. Want more? Amazon links to the complete oeuvre inside! [more inside]
posted by Rhaomi on Jun 6, 2011 - 29 comments

 

An Amazon-ian Warrior

Amazon-ian Warrior. An unassuming Canadian chap has been quietly submitting ludicrous reviews of products sold on Amazon.com for nearly 5 years. For example, his detailed commentary on George P Joyce's A Comparative Analysis of Two Alternatives to Chemical Aircraft Paint Stripping:

Joyce is an alchemist, taking the leaden medium of technical report writing, and transmuting it with his warm spirit, pouring his pen over the obscured voices of the chemical aircraft paint strippers like a mellifluous caramel gold; redeeming them in a universal chorus of aircraft paint strippers, their individual spirits vibrating like strings in a cosmic harp.

Part of the fun is seeing how many people rated each review as helpful; for example, he gets 100% approval for his comments on Flautist Angel Statuette (This 'flautist angel' is crude, eschewing classical representation to debase itself in the distortions of folk art. A freak frisson of masochism prompted me to order an item that believes human anatomy is modelled upon slurry running from a faucet. Look at it.) while virtually no-one was impressed by his analysis of How Conservatives Won The Heart Of America (Thought-provoking. I did not know that the "heart of America" is an actual item the Conservatives won in a game of squash in 1972; I assumed it was a metaphor.) Since Amazon started adding RSS feeds and enabling comments on reviews, he finally appears to be starting to reach an audience; those wishing to keep updated with his sporadic but fantastic work may appreciate this handy Feedburner URL.
posted by rhodri on Jan 22, 2007 - 56 comments

"The saxophones would eat the same thing as Gene [Vincent]." - Now how do I mark this as best answer?

There is a new question asking website. It is powered by humans via the Mechanical Turk program. Said the Gramophone has a bit of fun with it.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Feb 18, 2006 - 16 comments

Once Upon A Time

Sony explains the PlayStationPortable's launch delay. The bestselling PDF, now available on Amazon for $750.
posted by DrJohnEvans on Jan 13, 2005 - 32 comments

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