Tsz Fung Kwan, ’13, doesn’t just love comics — they’re part of who he is. At the age of 7, when his family emigrated from Hong Kong, he chose “Garfield” for his new American name, in honor of the iconic lasagna-loving cat he loved reading as a boy.
Now a first-year graduate student in the marine biology program at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego, Garfield Kwan has been able to merge his love for comics and ocean science by creating Squidtoons — a website bustling with quirky, educational, kid-friendly comics with the intention of “illustrating science with farts, burps and giggles.”
“We really want to educate the public about science in a more visually appealing way, support scientists with illustrations and provide teaching aids to educators,” says Kwan.
Recent Squidtoons projects include “Regurgitated Gold,” a comic strip detailing the value of ambergris — or whale vomit — which contains a rare and lucrative chemical desired by the perfume industry, and “The Anatomy of the Osedax,” a detailed schematic of a strange and other-worldly deep-sea worm that feeds on the bones of dead animals (read more in “The deep comes alive”).
The site launched over a year ago with Kwan at the helm, yet the Squidtoons team now includes a number of Scripps scientists and graduate students, UC San Diego undergraduate students, and a handful of other contributors who advance the site’s mission of promoting scientific research.