Jay Hosler's acclaimed graphic novel Clan Apis follows honeybee protagonist Nyuki on her journey through metamorphosis. Both writer and illustrator, Hosler conveys similarities between human and honeybee behavior in format accessible to child audiences.
"It's a balance between science and illustration," says Hosler, who visits the Toonseum Saturday evening.
Hosler, a professor of neurobiology at Juniata College, in Huntingdon, Pa., is fascinated by what connects us to the winged creatures, beyond their impact on agriculture. Speaking by phone from his office, he explains that this notion of interconnectedness, though fascinating, is not always poetic.
"You have a situation in which bees live on a wax hive -- wax they secrete from their own bodies. Imagine living in a house made from your own bodily secretions. It's gross, actually."
But Hosler emphasizes that both bees and humans exist in family-oriented communities and encounter like struggles. "We fight to protect our homes, we have to leave to find food and we defend our loved ones."
On Saturday, Hosler lectures and signs books in a two-part event. The first segment invites children to discover insect anatomies through illustrations. The demo culminates with an opportunity for each child to construct his or her own "super insect" by mixing different bug parts -- on paper, of course.
Additionally, the group Burgh Bees conducts a Q&A about urban apiaries and the role of honeybees in the promotion of local, sustainable agriculture. Local honey and meads will be in stock for sampling.
Afterward, Hosler presents "Attack of the Comic-Book Insects," a lecture on what it means to be both scientist and cartoonist, squashing the "left brain-versus-right brain" argument, once and for all. He'll also touch on what he considers to be the necessity for greater illustrated resources in children's science education.
Hosler's "Drawing a Super Insect" workshop is at 4 p.m. The Burgh Bees event is at 6:30 p.m. And Hosler's lecture and book-signing is at 7:30 p.m. Admission is $5.
The Toonseum (www.toonseum.org) is located 945 Liberty Ave., Downtown (412-232-0199).