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The modern-day naturalist: A chat with ‘Bird and Moon’ creator Rosemary Mosco

From MICE 2018, Boston.

Rosemary Mosco is living proof you don’t have to choose between art and science. A graduate of the University of Vermont’s field naturalism program, Mosco had dreams of being like the old 19th scientists, observing plants and animals in nature, drawing and taking notes on them to bring that information to the word.

Her influential Bird and Moon webcomic (now with accompanying book, Birding is My Favorite Video Game) let her do that, and thanks to First Second’s Science Comics, Mosco is able to bring that passion to even more people. AiPT! chatted with Mosco about her journey and her audiences at this year’s MICE expo in Boston, though it wasn’t easy — her table was very popular!

AiPT!:  Was Bird and Moon your first foray into [comics], or is it just the one that everybody knows?

Rosemary Mosco:  I think so. the name “Bird and Moon” comes form my first comic, which wasn’t at all sciencey. It was a sad comic about a lonely bird who meets the Moon, and the Moon is a bird. Since then, I’ve been doing more educational comics. It’s been about 15 years, off and on, that I’ve been doing that stuff.

AiPT!:  And you find it rewarding, fulfilling? You feel like you’re reaching the kind of people you want to reach?

Mosco:  I appeal to, hopefully, biologists. I’m a huge fan of them, and they’re my heroes, so making them laugh is great. I’m also hoping with the comics I can reach people who I wouldn’t normally reach, and get them … excited about science and animals.

AiPT!:  Tell me about the Solar System book. How did that come about?

Mosco:  That one, I was working in communications at a non-profit and really loving it, but I was sort of thinking about a career change. Around then, First Second contacted me and said they have this book about the solar system that they really need a writer for, and they had the brilliant Jon Chad doing the art, and it was like a sign. Like, “Oh, this is what I want to try doing!”

I wasn’t sure how I would like it, and I loved it. That actually kind of kickstarted me into doing more books, and it’s been a total blast. I wasn’t an expert on the solar system, I’m more of a biological sciences person, but I’m trained as a science communicator and we, at the very least, can get excited about almost anything.

AiPT!:  Do you have anything else in that vein coming up?

Mosco:  I don’t have another comic, but there’s some other stuff cooking. Then I have this Atlas Obscura kids’ book. I co-wrote the Atlas Obscura Explorer’s Guide for the World’s Most Adventurous Kid, and that was a complete blast, so now I’m hooked on the writing stuff.


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