The British comic The Phoenix has given us many contemporary gems, but one of the shiniest has to be Corpse Talk, where cartoonist Adam Murphy draws himself interviewing famous and influential figures from the past in the form of animated cadavers.
Mixing humour, history and facts the strips are quick to fascinate and illuminate, not least because they inject some personality into what otherwise could be a dry topic, and as Horrible Histories has proven successfully in the past, there are plenty of interesting bits in the lives and experiences of historical figures that get overlooked, but these can often be the hooks to draw young minds in (in fact, anyone in).
Adam and Lisa Murphy don’t talk down to their readers and are happy to pick the more obscure figures from the past, so readers get a broad mix of the familiar and not-so-familiar, and all with an interesting story to tell. The book also gives some additional pages to expand or explain a discovery or idea, such as Mendeleev’s Periodic Table and, perhaps most helpful, Einstein’s Theory of Relativity, all done with cartoons.
It’s a book as relevant and interesting to adults as it is to kids, with lots to discover, intrigue and make you smile. The creators have worked hard to keep it readable and accessible – a grand example of how the medium can be used to convey information, humour and entertainment in one tidy package.
And if you liked that: There are two other Corpse Talk books in the series you might like to take a look at.