Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species: A Graphic Adaptation

Last month I was sent a review copy of one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever read: Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species: A Graphic Adaptation by Michael Keller and Nicolle Rager Fuller. Although, I haven’t finished the book yet, I think today, the 150th anniversary of the publication of the Origin, is an appropriate day to talk about it.

The book is a wonderful adaptation of the Darwin’s influential original. It beings with a history lesson about his voyage on the HMS Beagle and his return to England. It then follows with abridged text from the Origin and associated graphical adaptations. I could spend a thousand words describing the format to you, but it is more effective to simply share a lo-res sample with you. Although the format is great and beautiful, some of the artwork, especially people, does not look right. I would have preferred a style of artwork more suitable to the graphical novel medium, like The Manga Guide to Molecular Biology.—But doing it in manga form opens up the possibility of Darwin x Wallace dōjinshi, which makes me cower.—But this is probably just due to my taste.

Minor art issues aside, I believe that this book will make a great gift for anyone interested in science and especially biology. I also think that it can serve as a powerful teaching tool in high school and college, due to its uniqueness. For anyone that still has a bad taste in their mouth from Comfort’s bastardization of Darwin’s work, Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species: A Graphic Adaptation will make you feel better.