In this section:
A documentary comic book debunking myths and exposing the lies of scientific naysayers and conspiracy theorists, and the role of the media.
By the author of the best-selling Psychiatric Tales, Darryl Cunningham turns his questioning mind and sharp intelligence to de-coding the myths and lies that have shaped some of the most fiercely-debated issues of the past fifty years. A graphic milestone of investigative reporting, Science Tales takes on controversies surrounding climate change, electro-convulsive therapy, the moon landing, the MMR (Measles, Mumps and Rubella) vaccine, homeopathy, evolution, the tobacco industry and science denialism. Thoroughly researched and sourced, Cunningham’s clear narrative, graphic lines and photographic illustration explain complicated and controversial issues with deceptive ease.
Cunningham's charming artwork complements his concise arguments on climate change, the first moon landing and homeopathy, among other subjects. He consistently champions the scientific method over all forms of quackery, and his stark lines and simple layouts give his comic the feel of a scientific analysis. The artwork is uncluttered, leaving little to distract the reader from the exposition, delivered in stripped-back, staccato prose.
[Climate change]...it's a familiar story. What's unusual is the way it's told. Science Tales...deals with some of the most urgent debates in science using pictures, speech bubbles and comic-strip layouts... Darryl Cunningham takes a view on such knotty issues as homeopathy and the MMR vaccine, sorting facts from fiction and presenting complex information in a highly accessible way.
Cunningham projects a quietly authoritative voice throughout. As the narrator and host for each chapter he is confrontational yet balanced; unflinching in his condemnation of the irrational and the unsupportable without ever lapsing into belligerence.
Each graphic essay provides a digestible analysis of the topic and an easily grasped and reasoned refutation of the counter-arguments to scientific procedure and exploration. Artistically, Cunningham’s clean lines and his deceptively simple cartooning style perfectly complement the clarity inherent in the delivery of his carefully considered points.
Cunningham manages to deftly précis the salient points of each chapter’s discussion in an entertaining, engaging, and sometimes slyly witty way. Science Tales manages to be somehow simultaneously both succinct and substantive, and a fierce and intelligent promoter of the scientific process over blind superstition and baseless supposition.
Cunningham's art ...has clean lines and a continuity that is often graceful, charming and endearing. He speaks with quiet authority on his subjects, but is careful to cite a whole range of sources and research papers.
It’s good to see the arguments presented so well, clearly and concisely…what Cunningham does here is rather brilliantly presented, and customarily classy. As an artist his work is equally at home in the stark black and white of Psychiatric Tales or the lush and varied colours in Science Tales...Science Tales is impressive, Cunningham delivering his message with style, great art, even moments of outright comedy. All in all, we have something else to deliver the message of science and reason, and that’s a good, good thing.
It’s a meticulous picking apart of the ridiculous web of half-baked facts and fiction that’s often woven around one or two grains of truth, usually completely taken and distorted totally out of context, to prove his case. Anyone who enjoyed Darryl’s previous work, Psychiatric Tales, will definitely enjoy this. Darryl also employs the same understated clinical yet also slightly comical art style… I personally would have included shampoo adverts with their pseudo-science, made up chemical names and definitive surveys based on massive sample groups of errr...100 people, but that’s my own personal bugbear!
A fantastic nonfiction comic book about science, skepticism and denial...Cunningham has a real gift for making complex subjects simple. If you're a Mythbusters fan, admire James Randi, enjoyed Ben Goldacre's Bad Science, and care about climate change, you'll enjoy this one. More to the point, if you're trying to discuss these subjects with smart but misguided friends and loved ones, this book might hold the key to real dialogue.
He has managed to distil the arguments into a wonderfully clear and concise form…a great primer for those seeking arguments to undermine their Daily Express-reading uncle.
Lisa Chalkley interviews Darryl Cunningham about Science Tales. It's at 57 minutes into the programme.
An essentially serious attack on science denialism. Cunningham is extremely good at explaining the links between bad science and profiteering, both by supposed scientists and by the media, not just by giving two unequal sides equal weight, but by actively promoting the irrationalists, boosting their own profits through exploiting audience fears.It’s clear and straightforward at all times, making complex issues simple, but never simplistic.
A comic book with a bibliography is a rare thing. Cunningham is admirably erudite and engages in extensive research while constructing his polemical strips. The result is persuasive rhetoric: popular science not overly technical, but communicated clearly and with conviction. I use the word polemical advisedly: the tentative, provisional language of academia is noticeably absent. Rather, Cunningham writes with the courtroom eloquence of the prosecuting barrister, denouncing the accused in capital letters, his words as precise as his drawing style is hard edged. Just the treatment these defendants deserve, In my view.
Book of the Week:
His style is cartoony and raw, but manages to be full of expression and also very evocative. Darryl displays a burgeoning talent as something of an investigative journalist. He has used many sources … to assemble lucid, clear and concise arguments against the prevailing opinions that often get blown out of all proportion by lazy media sensationalism.
[Science Tales] deserves a wide audience and even if you haven't tried to read something in comic format before, you'll find this easy to follow on the one hand, and thought-provoking on the other.
Interview by Elly Fiorentini Monday, 30th April. Starts at 35 minutes into the programme. “It is entertaining. even though it also raises some very serious issues. It is very colourful, and it will get people talking... whether they agree or disagree with you, they will have an opinion… it will get the debate going.”
Cunningham never accuses people who are swayed by conspiracy theories or pseudoscience of being evil or stupid, and his tone is polite enough to win hearts and minds, provided they're open minds...Science Tales will find its home in classrooms and houses with children, where young people will find it and then prick up their ears anytime an adult mentions "getting an adjustment" or "seeing a homeopath." It will remind them that science is a matter of facts, not politics.
With a controlled economy of line and minimalist page layouts, [Darryl] focuses on the efficient delivery of facts, which makes his comics irresistibly sharable. His iconic lines are mixed with artistic treatments of photographs—often used to introduce key figures...it never distracts from the work and gives his investigations an unmistakable documentary feel. New for Science Tales is Cunningham’s use of color, which is a welcome addition to his repertoire, and combined with the hardcover binding, makes it a classy addition to any skeptic’s comic book collection.
It takes a real talent to pack in so much information and so many ideas and arguments in a book that contains no more than a few hundred words. As a science primer that presents complex ideas in a simple, but never simplistic, way, Science Tales cannot be recommended enough.
Easy to read and entertaining.
A lovely book which combines its no-nonsense approach with a funny, pro-science attitude.
An eye-catching way to get across the important message that a science-based approach to understanding makes far more sense than one that is evidence-free....Cunningham draws out the fictions and lays bare the facts.'
Secondary school pupils will find this book appealing – so should some teachers! Buy a few copies and put them in the library.
It is very compelling – once you have started on the story, you read to the end.
A clear and thorough survey of the subject, and very important.
With simplicity and depth Darryl Cunningham produces cartoons that get to the nub of why understanding the world as it seems to be, is so important.
GOSH! Comics have copies with a beautiful bookplate designed and signed by Darryl.