I am no stranger to E.J. Barnes’ work. She’s been a favorite of mine in Boston’s local small press scene for a while, and judging from her website, she’s producing work a a slightly quicker rate this year, and I might be revisiting her work on this site very soon, which is always nice for such a strong and versatile artist.
With comics in the classroom becoming a topic locally this month, it’s good to look out there and see what could be good examples. This one by Barnes (picked up at Comicopia) could go high on anyone’s list with its focus on the pioneering work of astronomer Caroline Herschel and her brother, narrated by the historical figure herself. it’s a clean narrative, certainly loaded with information but never coming off as over-exposition, which is a bit of a trick given that is coming from the mouth of the character, which is also smart. The story could have been dulled a little if told in third person form but instead here comes off as even a little lively in some parts and certainly compelling.
I hope there are more strides in comics finding their place in classrooms aside form the Scholastic editions of Bone. In just a slightly more progressive world, Barnes’ pamphlet could have been produced and handed out to students earlier this year to commemorate, say, Women’s History Month. Given how much comics and popular entertainment in general are making money hand over fist with women who are both glamorous and ass-kickers, it’s nice to take for a change to mellow out and examine a life well lived through hard work and know-how. My copy finally gets passed on to a young person tonight.