Tuesday, July 20, 2010

APS hits ComicCon with the first superhero science comic

For the rest of this week I'll be blogging from the madness that is sure to be ComicCon 2010. APS will be the first professional society to bring a comic book, so us public outreach folks are excited to be rolling in with 2.5 tons of Spectra comics. For you unacquainted, the convention combines all things nerd under one massive roof for a week every year. All those people in Princess Leah or Batman or Wolverine or extra #554 from scene 3 on Tatooine in A New Hope costumes? This is their summer sanctuary. I'm not knocking... okay maybe I'm knocking a little, but only to make myself feel better about the costume I'll be wearing all week. I'm positive a certain amount of fear and loathing is in store for us (google image search comiccon), but with 125,000 people in attendance we should be able to bring our laser superhero comic to a willing audience.

APS's most recent comic series, Spectra, takes its name from the comic's heroine, who has all the superpowers of a laser. The idea was to create a comic for Laserfest that would educate a middle school to high school audience about the yearlong celebration of the 50th anniversary of the laser. In the past, APS had done comics that used historical figures in physics (i.e. PhysicsQuest), but the history of the laser is too complex for that. An enormous amount of controversy surrounds its origins even a half century later.

To avoid all that, APS designed spectra to make the science and history of lasers accessible to younger audiences with a colorful comic book storyline complete with heroes and villains. She can fly, cut through metal, diffract, refract, reflect and because excited lasers are blue and low-energy lasers are red, Spectra changes color based on how much energy she has. She can even play CDs with her bare hands.

Through the rest of the week I'll bring you all updates about the insanity and how Spectra's doing; I'll try to push my way into the Tron, Hobbit and Megamind previews; fill you in on what XCOR Aerospace says will be the future in NewSpace; sneak you some insights on the new BSG movie; report on abusing the sci in scifi with Phil Plait; and I'll attempt to snap a few paparazzi shots of Angelina Jolie and Jeff Bridges.

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