Sunday, July 27, 2008

Clan Apis by Jay Hosler

It's not unknown for one work of art to devalue another, but it's not as common for those two works to be of completely different kinds. But Clan Apis has seriously devalued my (already low) opinion of Bee Movie.

You see, Apis author Jay Hosler is a biology professor and researcher specializing in honey bees, and one of the many facts about actual bee biology that he works into Clan Apis is that bees change jobs over their lives -- and that there's no typical progression, either. Bees can do very different things depending on what's needed. So the entire plot of Bee Movie was even more based on hooey than I'd previously thought; there's not a scrap of even half-remembered science behind it.

Clan Apis, on the other hand, manages to be a pleasant comics story about the life of a bee named Nyuki, from larva-hood to death and beyond. It's filled with actual science facts, which come up naturally in the course of the plot and are only occasionally too much.

I remember Jay Hosler from his strip in Comics Buyers Guide back in the mid-90s, and I knew that Clan Apis was out there. (It was published in 2000.) I even picked it up in a comics shop once or twice, but never bought it. But it was in a library that's part of the local consortium here, so I got it that way -- and it's really a great book for libraries, so I hope it's in a lot of collections.

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