Despite my professional adoration for comic books/graphic novels and all they do for my students, I am not actually a personal fan of the genre (using that word loosely). My brain is very visual and I seem to read in chunks. Pictures too close to my words tend to distract me. But I recognize that that is probably a ME thing, a brain and eye thing. That said, I don’t usually read or review graphic novels because it isn’t fair to them to have a reader who isn’t familiar with the field, who wouldn’t usually pick one up, try to advise as to quality. But I am stepping back from that and making a recommendation here. Buy The Curie Society. It is a simple story with complex ideas on a women, feminism, leadership, especially in science. And there is some kick ass useful science in here too!
In a world where superheroes are always rich, powerful and/or lucky, it is nice to have Sheroes who are such just because they are smart. In this graphic novel about a diverse cast of women, we learn how three young recruits to the scientific minded Curie Society are cultivated as leaders and agents of good. While the arc of the stories follow comic book pacing, this novel stops to navigate some important lessons that tends to get lost in the comic book world – interpersonal relationships and not simply of the romantic variety.
The Curie Society is clearly prepping our future scientists not be be not only original thinkers but also team players by providing real life lessons in how to work with (versus against) your team, how to appreciate interdisciplinary collaboration and how to navigate what can be a fine line for women between being assertive and confidence and being thought of as bossy and hard to work with. This is, to my knowledge, unique among action comics and I applaud MIT Press for taking on the challenge.