“Rock, Paper, Scissors – When microbes play games” is a graphic novel telling the toils and hardships of a cunning little virus triumphing over its enemies with the help of a valiant knight. It illustrates the intense struggles between viruses of bacteria and their bacterial hosts. The graphic novel is currently being developed under an intense collaboration between Andrei Serpe (recent graduate in BA(Hons)Fine Art , Falmouth University) and Mariann Landsberger (postdoctoral researcher, University of Exeter). It will be available in English, German and French.
Mariann says “The project received seed funding from the ESI Creative Exchange Programme in March 2018 (Environment and Sustainability Institute, Penryn Campus, University of Exeter), allowing us to establish our collaboration, create initial designs and a storyboard, and seek additional funding. The creation of the graphic novel is primarily financed by the European Society for Evolutionary Biology (ESEB), who awarded us the European Outreach Initiative Fund at the beginning of May 2018 and the Microbiology Society, who supported the project since beginning June 2018 with the Education and Outreach Grant. The project also received the Public Engagement Grant from the Genetics Society, which contributes to the development and promotion of the graphic novel. We are actively looking for a publisher to distribute print versions of the graphic novel. The graphic novel is intended to appeal to both teenagers and adults and aims to spark a curiosity for microbiology and evolutionary biology in the reader.”
The following exhibitions feature the final graphic novel, character designs and concept art:
- The Poly: Spring Gallery 9th – 14th July 2018 at The Poly, 24 Church Street, Falmouth TR11 3EG, UK
- Falmouth Café Scientifique: Presentation of the graphic novel, creative process and the science behind the story: 11th July 2018 7.45 pm at The Poly
- Hand Beer Bar: 1st – 30th September 2018 at Old Brewery Yd, High St, Falmouth TR11 2BY
“I really enjoy collaborating with Andrei on “Rock, Paper, Scissors – when microbes play games”. It inspires and motivates my research and everyday life. Andrei is bright, full of energy and I could not have wished for a better collaborator for the project. Whilst I write the storyline, we jointly work on its interpretation into the format of a graphic novel. I highly appreciate our conjoined effort, which I imagine less probable to naturally occur when commissioning an established artist, who would have had more experience in illustrating projects independently. It is a genuine exchange of ideas and concepts on both sides.
I would like to thank the ESEB for their invaluable support and encouragement. The European Outreach Initiative Fund allows us to fully illustrate the graphic novel, display our work and gather the public’s opinion, which will be crucial to create the final print-ready version of the graphic novel.
The Creative Exchange programme at the Environment and Sustainability Institute (Penryn Campus) inspired and encouraged me to take the time and make the effort to conceptualise and develop this project. The programme motivates and supports researchers to seek out and work with local artists. The only reason I could even consider developing the project and applying to the European Society for Evolutionary Biology (ESEB) for funding was due to the initial seed funding provided by the Creative Exchange Programme.”
“Working on this project with Mariann has provided an amazing opportunity for me for which I am grateful. Over the past three years I have been and am still developing a series of narratives, making this chance to illustrate a novel as my gateway into the industry incredible.
The challenge of illustrating this story was that it was that was completely new to me, in a subject matter I have never studied. This helped me develop my researching skill in researching something that I have never encountered. I found that throughout this project I have been learning and understanding Mariann’s research in a much deeper sense than I previously could. Working with Mariann has given me an insight into the industry and the key to collaborative projects, compromise. It has given me the confidence to put myself out there and advertise myself in the industry to enter the world of freelance as a career.
Overall, this has been a rewarding experience and I intend to carry on exploring narrative comics for many years to come. I have plenty of plans for projects and other collaborations for the future.”
Please visit their blog for updates on the most recent developments, upcoming events and exhibitions, information about their supporters and contact details. If you would like to display their project in your space, please contact them….they would love to exhibit in a range of venues to engage as many people as they can. Feel free to share the blog with your friends and family, comment and send them any questions you have regarding the project.