The Life of a Star
STEPHEN HAWKING: Riddles of Time and Space. Michael Lent and Brian McCarthy, with art by Zach Bassett. 24 pp. Bluewater Productions, 2013. $3.99 print, $1.99 digital for e-readers. http://bit.ly/18Z8Rq0.
Despite its somewhat esoteric nature, physics has produced a number of rock stars—luminaries in the field who are household names, even if most people couldn’t explain why exactly they are famous. One sure sign that someone has made it is to have his or her life story told in comic book form. This is not just an ego stroke. For the lay reader, this format can help bridge the gap between recognizing a researcher’s name and gaining a basic understanding of the science behind it; for the scientist’s fans, it can provide a fun biographical romp. Stephen Hawking has made numerous television appearances, even delivering self-deprecating jokes on sitcoms, but now his legacy has been ensured with a comic of his own, Stephen Hawking: Riddles of Time and Space. This 24-page volume couldn’t possibly delve into all the intricacies of Hawking’s findings, but it skims the surface effectively, often using striking metaphorical imagery to hint at the bigger story. It also cleverly captures Hawking’s irreverence and humor. As readers watch Hawking’s transition from a healthy and cocky student, too smart to really apply himself, to the iconic disabled figure who gained drive and focus from the limits imposed by illness, the comic is able to put a human face on a great mind while highlighting what it is about Hawking’s theories that made them so revolutionary.