Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Entry 78: Junior Scientist Power Hour

If you have been devoutly following every recommendation I’ve ever made in this blog and reading every single comic I’ve ever written about… as is only fair and right, after all… then you are already a fan of Abby Howard’s The Last Halloween, because you jumped over and started reading it as soon as you read my post about it. If, however, you only ever follow my recommendations, and never click on links that you don’t find on this very blog, (because everyone besides me is untrustworthy and probably trying to lead you astray) then there is no possible way you would have known that Abby Howard creates another webcomic as well. Therefore, for the sake of all you people who read every comic I link you to and precisely nothing else, I will today do you the favor of telling you about Junior Scientist Power Hour.

I put this excerpt first because I cannot imagine anybody not relating to it.

Junior Scientist Power Hour is a little bit journal comic, a little bit gag-a-day humor, and a whole lot of fun stuff that comes from some unfathomable depths of the author’s mind. You can jump in anywhere in the archive, hit the Random button to jump around wherever it takes you, or dedicatedly read through every single installment if that’s the way you roll. (That is the way I roll. It is not necessarily any better or worse than other ways.) If you choose not to read the whole archive you may find yourself lacking in the full context for certain later installments, but not to the point that they become incomprehensible or inaccessible. This stuff can be absurd or slice-of-life-y by turns, and there’s no real pressure on the reader

For the most part, Junior Scientist Power Hour is lighthearted and silly, full of quick jokes or amusing concepts that make for a moment’s diversion before the reader moves on. This is true even when the subject matter is weighty.

When reading this type of comic, one gets a sense of what’s going on in the author’s mind, or at least, the part of her mind that she’s elected to share with us. Like keeping up with an old friend, I witness Howard’s triumphs and her challenges, her foibles, her strengths. I could almost interpret Junior Scientist Power Hour as a self-portrait, more accurate in some ways than external visions of her because Howard is no doubt more familiar with herself than anyone who is not her, less accurate in others because no one is more biased about a person than the person herself.

When reading something that way, getting a feel for the author and who she seems to be as a person, I of course find myself making comparisons, evaluating her as a person based mainly on how many things she seems to have in common with me.

Like me, Howard hates restarting her computer and loves cats. (This comic features kind of a lot of cats. This is generally speaking a good thing for any online piece of media, because the Internet also loves cats. However, what some people fail to realize is that the Internet loves cats because they are objectively the best animals and anybody who disagrees is flat-out wrong.) Unlike me, Howard also like cute butts, while I am a bizarre person who doesn’t even really understand what makes butts cute or the difference between a cute butt and an uncute one. I can’t even blame that one on my prosopagnosia, because even I can tell a face apart from a butt.


Though most of the comic consists of amusing anecdotes or funny ideas or nonsensical jokes or just drawing of cats because cats are the best, at times it does tackle more serious subject matter. It tends to do so in a manner consistent with the tone of the rest of the comic, juxtaposing real concerns and important insights with absurdity or comically exaggerated activities.

If you elect not to read through the whole Junior Scientist Power Hour archive (though you totally should because it’s what I would do and also it’s not too long you can totally get through it), I would still recommend you read this installment and its follow-up. Howard rightly puts some fat-shaming dudes in their place with completely sensible arguments and completely disproportionate physical violence. It’s pretty much the best.

Junior Scientist Power Hour is written and drawn by Abby Howard… as I mentioned in the first paragraph, but hey, maybe you have a problem with your short-term memory and need to be reminded. If you’re looking for a fun way to spend a couple of hours, or you just need a quick laugh, or want to feel a moment of empathy with someone who loves cats the way every right-thinking person should, I suggest you treat yourself and give it a read. Howard presents herself and her thoughts with a self-awareness and humility that makes me constantly want to be on her side, even when she does things that are genuinely super annoying and oh god just stop please now stop. In short, she has a rare gift, and you owe it to yourself to check it out.

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