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Explore hidden world of microbes in new comic book

Posted on 21 April 2021

A team of scientists have co-written a comic book aimed at helping young people aged 10 and above understand the world of microbes.

Luna and Simon tackle evolution and adaptation of microbes. Illustrations by Edward Ross.

Researchers from the Universities of York, Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield, Birmingham, and the John Innes Centre worked with author and illustrator Edward Ross to create the comic book for school children at key stage three and above. 

The comic, Luna & Simon: Bizarre Bacteria and Peculiar Plasmids, is available to download or print at home here. Readers can join Luna and her brother Simon as they explore the diversity of bacterial life, and the ways in which microbes continue to evolve and change the world.

Anti-microbial resistance

Dr Jamie Wood, from the University of York’s Department of Biology, said: “It has been very exciting to work with colleagues on fundamental research and see the science communicated in such a vibrant and accessible way. 

"It is important that the threat posed by bacteria is not forgotten during this viral pandemic, and that we continue to maintain our awareness and vigilance of the danger posed by anti-microbial resistance."

There is a significant amount of microbe diversity and adaptations, but it is typically microbes that are causing disease that get the most public attention.  The team of scientists aimed to show young people that microbes can also be a source of wonder, and not just a threat, by creating a story that was ‘fun’ for children’s imaginations. 

Playful and fun

Dr Jamie Hall, from the University of Liverpool’s Institute of Integrative Biology, said: “I hope readers will see how science thrives on imagination and creativity, just as much as it needs rigour and precision.   

“This project was particularly fun to develop, because by putting the science in the hands of Luna and Simon, we had the freedom to be a bit more playful with some of our explanations." 

The creators of the comic hope to inspire key stage 3 students towards science GCSEs, but the themes covered in the comic are also relevant for further and higher education students. 


Edward Ross added: “Comics are a great way to reach new audiences with science. Exciting images catch the eye and fun stories draw readers in.

“With Luna and Simon we wanted to capture the adventure and imagination of comics like Calvin and Hobbes and The Phoenix Comic, while bringing some truly amazing science along for the ride.” 

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About this research

To access the comic and accompanying educational resources, visit the And The Microbes website

This work is funded by BBSRC and NERC.

To read more about our research click here.