A Graphic Novel by Jean-Baptiste De Panafieu, art by Alexandre Franc
Extinctions by Jean-Baptiste De Panafieu and Alexandre Franc is an interesting little book that talks about the Earth’s history of extinction-level events and shows that we are most likely well into the sixth ELE due to things like global warming. This story is bookended by a framing narrative using a group of journalists and scientists doing research work on an island in The Arctic Circle. The journalists are recording some of the scientific work and have plenty of questions regarding the fossils of extinct animals they are finding. Things like what exactly an extinction event is, what causes them, when did they happen etc. It’s all covered here.
“Two journalists travel to an island in the Arctic Circle where scientists are searching for fossils of extinct animals. Like all journalists, they have a lot of questions: how is it possible for an entire species to completely disappear? Word has it that we’re in the midst of a sixth mass extinction, but what exactly does that mean? How did the first five happen? What is the scientific definition of an extinction? Alexandre Franc adeptly illustrates the narrative by Jean-Baptiste de Panafieu, a specialist in natural sciences and doctor of biological oceanology. Panafieu, who has already authored a number of popular science books, gives a clear explanation of what mass extinctions are, cleverly comparing past extinctions with the one we are witnessing now. The two authors present us with a clear, intelligent, and lighthearted perspective on a fascinating phenomenon.”
In a way, this book is somewhat like another book by Europe Comics, Underworld wherein the story was educational and somewhat like a secret textbook in some ways. This makes perfect sense as the author, Jean-Baptiste de Panafieu, (according to his publisher website) “is a professor of natural sciences and a doctor of biological oceanography, as well as a documentarian and author of numerous books including Evolution.” The book is very well researched, informative, and has a charming storyline.
The only real issue I had with this book was the font used in the word bubbles being somewhat not appropriate for an eBook edition as the handwritten style is not ideal. It was never hard to read, but the lines were broken up a bit, and I had to zoom in at times. This honestly could be because of me having a proof copy of the book in a lower resolution to what the actual purchased copy would be, but I am not certain. I will just say to take care if you are visually impaired in some way, as this could be an accessibility issue.
This is a nice little self-contained comic with a great story and a very important call-to-action. If you want to learn about extinction, and a huge textbook is not something you’d like to endure, this is actually a pretty interesting comic. historical figures are outlined, animals are explained, and scientific theories are discussed. This is definitely a comic that many would overlook here in the United States which is a shame because stuff like this would be awesome to have more of. Definitely recommended, especially for anyone studying Earth Sciences.
For more information and purchase links for this book, click HERE.
NOTE: I received a free preliminary, and likely unedited copy of this book from Netgalley for the purposes of providing an honest, unbiased review of the material. Thank you to all involved.