Post Academic

Footnotes: Sunday Funnies

Posted in Absurdities,Housekeeping by Arnold Pan on July 4, 2010
Tags: , , , , ,

Happy July 4th!  Footnotes is a semi-regular series that collects some stories and postings that are semi-relevant to the semi-academic focus of the blog.  Since today is a lazy summer holiday Sunday, we figured we’d keep it short and sweet and funny.  This time around, we’re linking to some Ph.D. oriented comics.

"Jorge Cham giving a talk at the EPFL" by Rama (Creative Commons license)

PhD Comics: Probably anyone who reads this blog is aware of PhD Comics–aka Piled High and Deeper--since it gets, like, a gajillion pageviews.  The title pretty much explains it all, but for anyone who’s unfamiliar with it, it ‘s the product of Jorge Cham, a PhD in Mechanical Engineering and one-time instructor at Caltech.  PhD Comics really is a phenomenon, spinning off books, merch, and tons of appearances for Cham at a campus near you from the original enterprise.  The comic captures a lot of the absurdities of Ph.D. life, and some of the recent comics cover what it’s like for grad students to grub around for free food and a Mad Libs version of a conference CFP.

LitBrick: LitBrick is a more recent concoction of John S. Troutman, whose inspiration for his great books inspired webcomic seems to be have been his attempt to read the Norton Anthology from cover-to-cover.  According the LitBrick’s about page, Troutman whips up something about whatever piece of classic lit he feels like, including a comic and a commentary.  So far, it seems like he’s at the beginning of the Norton Anthology, rendering and/or musing about ye olde canon into comic strip form, like Bede, Beowulf, and, currently, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.  We’ll keep track of how far into the Norton LitBrick gets!

Nobody Scores: OK, Nobody Scores isn’t a webcomic primarily about academia, per se, but it does bill itself as a “little comic about inevitable disaster”.  It definitely touches on some of academia’s absurdities from an outsider’s perspective and, besides, it’s the brainchild of a great childhood friend of mine (with whom I’ve fallen out of touch), Brandon Bolt–if you get a pingback at your site, Brandon, howdy!  For us post/academics, one of the main characters, Raoul, is a professor-type, who’s described as “a man of peerless logic, scintillating intellect, and great, and always irrelevant, accomplishments”.  So that how a well-read, well-educated non-academic might look at academia, huh?  It’s serendipitous for us that the current edition of Nobody Scores is titled “Triumph of the Nerds”.

Have good holiday and enjoy a few days off!