Spreading science is an art, rarely verifiable as in the case of Marco Merlin and his young scientists, who were launched online just over five years ago and have been a growing success since. Now, the series is getting a book copy.
The work is released this week by the publisher Miguilim, following the pattern of the epidemic, that is, in live broadcast. The event is held on the channel of the Scientific Publishing Group garage dragons, an important character in the story, with the participation of Iberi Thinorio, from the channel Global Directory.
In January 2016 Merlin’s partnership with Dragons was born. “Although I am not from the scientific field, I have always followed the news and managed to get a good repertoire for a layman. Until then, I had been doing comics with a more typical mood, without that specific subject matter. Then these animations came to produce the genre of the material, which was very enjoyable for them [Dragões de Garagem] For me,” says Merlin, who is an advertising guy and finishes a fine art course.
One of the great references to the cartoonist is the astronomer and science publisher Carl Sagan (1934-1996), known for books such as “The Haunted World by the Demons” and the TV series “Cosmos”.
It’s no coincidence that one of the tapes’ most explored topics is #space – from hilarious conversations between the Sun, Earth and Moon to a more poetic conversation about humans’ place in the universe.
(Because Cientirinhas are webcomics, comics designed for the web, the author wanted to emulate a little of this environment on paper. The reader can browse through the book’s side tags and find comics under topics like #physics, #cultura_nerd, #geography, #characters, and #community .)
One of Merlin’s favorite clips is the one in which Terra talks about the moon and says he loves Raul Seixas’ songs very much, except for the one that says “I was born 10 thousand years ago.” “My age is 4.5 billion years is very good,” the planet tells the satellite. This includes, in addition to geological information, the denial of creation hypotheses that the Earth would only have a few thousand years of existence.
But the most successful comedian is one from 2018 and deals with the current topic: the lethality of the virus. The Death Commission discusses how it could be more effective, and one suggests: “If we spread a rumor that vaccines are bad, we can deal with viruses and bacteria that are already on the market at no cost.” This death is chosen as employee of the month.
There have been translations of this tape, No. 113, into at least 14 languages. The meme, with the original text being replaced by others from other subjects, also became further evidence of the work’s success.
In just four paintings, Merlin manages to “brush,” as he defines it, into scientific content and tie everything together with surprise or anticipation, a feature of humor. This, he says, sparks curiosity and helps open the door to a deeper discussion.
The Cientirinhas have already ended up in the textbooks and have already appeared in the college entrance exams. “It was a good surprise to see teachers see the possibility of introducing or using a topic in the classroom, breaking students’ resistance with humor, with something more playful,” says the cartoonist.
Success lies in the balance between agility and content. “If I spend too much time explaining things, I will miss the joke,” the artist says. “It’s a very nice exercise in brevity,” he summarizes, as he uses skills gained as a copywriter to come up with simple text.
He says that he finds it difficult to see himself as a communicator of science and sees himself more as someone who does not necessarily produce scientific knowledge but takes it to people outside the academic world. And in that, he says, external recognition helps.
Merlin says the inspiration for the work varies. Often, diving into a topic, he finds several hooks that eventually turn into a string. On the other hand, you have to push a little bit to get out. Initially, production was once every two weeks. Today up to two tranches per week.
In addition to Cientirinhas, Merlin publishes other projects under the umbrella Character Book كتاب.
Author: Marco Merlin. Miguilim Publisher; R$65.00 (180 pages)
Live on Dragões de Garage’s YouTube channel (bit.ly/livroCientirinhas)
This Thursday (17) at 7 pm