Let me introduce you to Yoko Tsuno, one of my favourite comic characters. She is the star of a series of a Franco-Belgian comic book series written by Roger Leloup.
From time travel to saving a baby who has been in a state of suspended animation since the Second World War, Yoko has adventures that often push at the boundaries of science and fact. The story On the Edge of Life deals with the theme of suspended animation.
A little girl has a blood disease and has been in a protective bubble for 30 years but has aged just two years since she was put in.
Does she get cured? Is this kind of suspended animation possible? Many people have paid a lot to be put in cryogenic suspension after they die but scientists cannot say if they can be brought back to life.
On the Edge of Life also looks at Germany when it was still divided into the East and West block and some knowledge of the second World War and the division of Germany will help you understand this story better.
In The Time Spiral, Yoko Tsuno has a visitor from the 39th century who asks her to save the planet from being destroyed by a bomb in the year 3872.
Does she succeed and does it really matter to us, so far back in time? Read and find out. When she is not travelling back and forth in time, Yoko is busy chasing ghosts. You might ask how something as unscientific as a ghost found its way into these comics.
Here is more: there is a castle, murder and plenty of gothic horror. So what is Yoko doing running behind a ghost that disappears into the darkness and crumbling outhouses that surround the castle? Will Yoko the scientist have to accept that there is indeed such a thing as a ghost? The Yoko Tsuno comics also look at the themes of loyalty and friendship, of family both biological and adoptive.
Although Yoko lives in Belgium, she never forgets her Japanese roots and the comics give us a rich insight into Japanese culture and life. There are more than 25 Yoko Tsuno comics.
All of them have been written originally in French but are getting translated and you can read all of the ones I have mentioned in English. If your school offers French as a second language, these will be excellent resources for middle and high school.
Have you ever been inspired to write your own comic? There are many websites that help you do so. Why not make a start? Collaborate with an artist friend.
What would you like to write about? School life? A distant planet where humans have moved to six hundred years in the future? An adventure that has taken you back in time to an ancient Indian kingdom? There are no limits, so do not doubt yourself.
Go and write that comic.
(Yasmine Claire teaches high school students and attempts to write twistedinside- out fairy tales. Write in to claireyasmine@ gmail.com)