By Bernard K. Means
On Monday, April 12, 2021 Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) Communication Arts/Environmental Studies student Maggie Colangelo and I published Founding Monsters. This is a 24-page story about the history of early American paleontology told through sequential art. The comic book focuses on the roles of various Founding Fathers and their obsessions with extinct Ice Age megafauna, especially the mastodon.
The underlying story is based on research that I have done over the last five years at Independence National Historical Park and the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University, both in Philadelphia, and the Maryland Center for History and Culture in Baltimore. This research was supported by a VCU Seed Grant in 2018 and 2019 and a VCU Humanities Research Center Travel Grant in 2020. This story was developed by myself and Maggie, and Maggie wrote the script and illustrated the story.