Summary: In The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage, Padua takes the true story of the collaboration between Ada Lovelace, a British mathematician often noted as the first computer programmer, and Charles Babbage, a mechanical engineer with a quest to build a computational engine, and turns it into a series of fictionalized adventures. Lovelace and Babbage never realized their theoretical difference engine, which would have been the world’s first computer but in the alternate reality presented here Lovelace and Babbage actually do build their difference engine and adventure and chaos ensue.
Review: Padua drawing style is full of energy and moves the story at a breakneck pace that is only slowed by her obsessively researched footnotes and endnotes. The fictionalized account of the lives of Lovelace and Babbage is highly entertaining and is told with a sly wit. Padua artfully mixes period imagery and her own playfully rendered characters to create a world that is a joy to inhabit. The well-researched footnotes and endnotes mean that while this is a fictionalized account the reader still learns a great deal about the fascinating lives of Ada Lovelace and Charles Babbage. This graphic novel is a must for anyone interested in the history of computing or anyone who loves adventure!
Read-a-likes: Anyone interested in humorous historical comics should be sure to check out the work of Kate Beaton. She has two collections Hark!: A Vagrant and Step Aside, Pops. For another graphic novel that illustrates the life of a scientific figure in an inventive way check out Radioactive: Marie & Pierre Curie, a Tale of Love and Fallout by Lauren Redniss.