Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species A Graphic Adaptation

Story by Michael Keller, Illustrated by Nicolle Rager Fuller

Rodale Books




192 Pages



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An Eisner Award Nominee

Few books have been as controversial or as historically significant as Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. Since the moment it was released on November 24, 1859, Darwin's masterwork has been heralded for changing the course of science and condemned for its implied challenges to religion.

In Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species, author Michael Keller and illustrator Nicolle Rager Fuller introduce a new generation of readers to the original text. Including sections about his pioneering research, the book's initial public reception, his correspondence with other leading scientists, as well as the most recent breakthroughs in evolutionary theory, this riveting, beautifully rendered adaptation breathes new life into Darwin's seminal and still polarizing work.


Praise for Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species

"One hundred and fifty years ago, a little big by the name of On the Origin of Species was published. Perhaps you heard of it? It ranks somewhere up there with the Bible, the Torah, and the Koran on lists of controversial books. And perhaps now more than ever, it's a perfect time to revisit the journey embarked upon by Charles Darwin as he put forth one of the most important scientific discoveries in history. Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species is not just a re-presenting of Darwin's book. It's also the story of Darwin's own personal evolution, the story of how he made his pivotal trip to Galapagos, and how he coped with the reaction to his work. In this latter portion, the afterword, Darwin narrates as he continues to learn how to tweak his theory based on the works of scientists who had come before. But before it gets to that point, the book first travels through Darwin's research and how he came to his shocking conclusions. A helpful timeline complements the text, rendering the book even more useful and informative. The book is written by Michael Keller, a journalist with a background in wildlife ecology (for which he earned a bachelor's of science degree). Keller has done his research—he includes Darwin's own letters, eloquently presents Darwin's research, and plainly states the results and implications of it all. As you might expect, it's rather heavy on text, but the illustrations (more on them in a second) help to make Darwin's work not only come alive but truly 'click' with the reader. And we are reminded how truly broad and groundbreaking Darwin's work was. While evolution remains the hot-button issue of the day, the scope of his research throughout is an incredible journey through human history. As for those illustrations: Nicolle Rager Fuller does an exemplary job of presenting so many species (it must have been an unenviable task to research the look of each of these animals, insects, plants, reptiles, fish, and more). Fuller herself has a scientific background—she runs Sayo-Art LLC, an illustration firm used by many scientific organizations. Her work here is impeccable. The illustrations are perfect, and more than ably suited for the task at hand. That task is plainly and simply explaining the work of one of the greatest scientists in history. Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species will be helpful in schools and libraries, where it will undoubtedly help science classes get the lessons of evolution across to students, but it also is useful to readers looking to finally understand what all the fuss was about."—John Hogan, Graphic Novel Reporter

"'It is like confessing a murder,' wrote Darwin, foreseeing that his complex work would upset millennia of theological tradition about the origins of life forms. Indeed, the creationism wars continue today. Now Rodale's lovely and multitextured version introduces a more accessible Darwin, no less complex—or fascinating. The graphic novel follows Origin's original chapters, combining snippets of Darwin's text with quotes from letters, illustrative examples from his time and from the present, and occasional invented dialog . . . Her full-color plants, animals, charts, maps, and scientific accoutrements are attractive and effective. In drawings of three saber-toothed cats, for example, we can observe the 'imperfection of the geological record' when only one animal perishes in a bog preserving the full skeleton. An afterword from Keller brings the scholarship up-to-date, from Mendel's pea plants to Wilson's sociobiology . . . VERDICT: This new version well conveys both the science and the wonder of Origin. Highly recommended for high school age and up."—Library Journal

Reviews from Goodreads



  • Story by Michael Keller, Illustrated by Nicolle Rager Fuller

  • Michael Keller, an award-winning journalist and writer, has a bachelor of science degree in wildlife ecology from the University of Florida and a master's degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism.

    Nicolle Rager Fuller is a professional illustrator, with a bachelor of arts degree in biochemistry from Lewis and Clark College and a graduate certificate in science illustration from the University of California-Santa Cruz. She lives in Washinton, DC, with her husband.