Mitochondrial Follies: A Short Journey in Life and Energy
Communicating through comics can be an effective multi-layered strategy. The narrative of this comic transports the reader to a realistic, if abbreviated, view of mitochondrial biology blended with the changing daily routines of Lara. Lara is a fictionalized patient with an undisclosed metabolic disorder, who takes her health into her own hands, becoming interested in metabolism and mitochondria to better understand the processes by which living organisms convert food into energy at the cellular level. Moreover, her goal is also to communicate this fascinating world to friends and colleagues, in a way that may also be useful for scientists and the general public. The comic combines the discoveries of real individuals who have greatly contributed to the knowledge of mitochondria, namely Peter Mitchell, Hans Adolf Krebs and Lynn Margulis, with fictional characters, such as Lara and George, directly associated to the narrative. The interdisciplinary nature of graphic narration reflects the blending of text and scientific facts alongside visual information (both realistic and caricature-like) and critical-thinking-based dialogues and actions, that was enriched by the collaborative work between the researchers who developed the concept and the illustrator who brought it to life.