We do a lot with film and TV here at the Science & Entertainment Exchange, but we also have a strong appreciation for the world of comics/graphics novels -- often a source of inspiration for the rest of the entertainment industry. So we were thrilled to learn, via io9, of a fabulous new webcomic, The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage.

It features Victorian inventor Charles Babbage -- best known for designing the first prototype computer, the Analytical Engine -- and Ada Lovelace, daughter of Romantic poet Lord Byron, a rare female mathematician and early proto-programmer. Historically, Lovelace died young at age 36, while Babbage never completed his potentially revolutionary invention, but what if he had, and Ada Lovelace had lived? Per io9:>

Artist Sydney Padua has been posting The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage on her comics site 2D Goggles. The premise holds that proto-programmer (and sole legitimate child of Lord Byron) Ada Lovelace did not die at age 36, but instead helped inventor Charles Babbage develop the first computer — a fully functional Analytical Engine — after which they retired to battle crime using the power of mathematics (and rayguns).

The result is Steampunk Supreme. You can read the ongoing adventures of Babbage and Lovelace over at 2D Goggles as they battle economic crises and subterranean salamander people. And while you're at it, check out Girl Genius, a more futuristic steampunk superheroine who fights crime with science.

There does seem to be a trend these days of drawing on Victorian-era science and literary figures for graphic novels. Matt Fraction and Steven Sanders caused a stir a couple of years ago with The Five Fists of Science (Image Comics), in which novelist Mark Twain and inventor Nikola Tesla team up to thwart a vast global conspiracy. Thomas Edison and Guglielmo Marconi -- who made radio a profitable commercial enterprise, even though Tesla technically came up with the idea first -- also make cameo appearances.

And who can forget Alan Moore's pre-Watchmen creation, The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen? Literary hero Alan Quartermain (King Solomon's Mines) teams up with Mina Murray (Dracula), the Invisible Man, Jekyll/Hyde, Tom Sawyer, and Captain Nemo (20,000 Leagues Under the Sea) at the end of the 19th century to -- you guessed -- foil another vast global conspiracy.

The original works inspired countless spinoff movies, so it's not surprising that Hollywood took notice and turned Leagueinto a feature film in 2003. We applaud this kind of creative cross-over, and can't wait to see what becomes of Five Fists, Girl Genius, and The Thrilling Adventures of Babbage and Lovelace as they fight the forces of evil -- with science!



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