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Mastodon Mania! A True Story About the Founding Fathers Obsession with Mastodons told in a Graphic Format

By Bernard K. Means

This illustration shows a rearing mastodon below the phrase "Founding Monsters" written in a spooky script.
Front Cover of Founding Monsters by Maggie Colangelo

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.

This back cover shows a fainting Thomas Jefferson held by Charles Willson Peale, who is pointing to the right.
Back cover of Founding Monsters by Maggie Colangelo.

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.

Maggie Colangelo and Bernard K. Means holding a printed version of the Founding Monsters comic book.

The comic is freely available, and can be downloaded here.  Further information about the comic book, its creators, and the creative process can be found here

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