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Comics Career Guide: What to Expect From a Career in the Sciences

We all know what we should expect if we were to venture into the realm of our fictional heroes: Gruesome death. There’s no way around that, so if you see a glowing portal open up in the air, and your favorite hero waving from the other side, run away as fast as your legs can carry you.

If there is one thing I have have learned from my time on this planet, though, it’s that when glowing green portals open up, it’s usually not easy to avoid them. Sometimes there will be a vortex. Sometimes the vortex opens up at the bottom of the stairs. Sometimes the waving hero on the other side has a lasso — I’m looking at you, Wondy — so if you do get dragged over, it’s best to know how to make a life for yourself. For your enjoyment and edification; may I present the comics career guide, focused on the realm of the sciences.But, you say, you don’t have any experience in the sciences. No problem. The loonier your dream and fewer your credentials, the more likely you’ll be able to succeed.

Biology/Genetics:


Best Case Scenario: An unholy army of animal minions — cool ones, like walruses or turbo-sloths — that do your bidding. Or gazelles. Gazelles are pretty.

Worst Case Scenario: You get pummeled to death by your own unholy army. Sloths are covered with bacteria, so that’s not a pretty death. Gazelles can run you down, even if you go upstairs. You don’t even want to know how walruses use those tusks.

Middling: You get mutated when your genes are accidentally crossed with a member of your unholy army.

How to aim for the best: Don’t go dark. If you start killing people in an extremely gruesome way, your army will turn on you by the end of the story. Go for light thievery and mischief. Mutation often happens, but you tend to come out of a mutation as an exaggerated version of how you went in. Keep yourself well groomed. Get nice haircuts. Wear nice clothes and stay in shape. And maybe focus more on the gazelle end of the animal kingdom.

Physics:

Best Case Scenario: You make one big discovery — a time machine, interstellar travel, alien communicators, other dimensions — have one big adventure, sell your idea and head for the hills.

Worst Case Scenario: There are few things that comics like more than nutbag physicists, driven crazy by an ironic punishment for the crime of hubris. Stuck in paleolithic times, stuck on an alien planet, stuck in an alien zoo, stuck in another dimension. Whatever it is, you’ll be there long enough to lose your sanity and grow a beard. Yes, even the ladies.

Middling: You get kidnapped by a villain for your precious inventions.

How to aim for the best: Hubris is the key character trait to avoid. You never want your adventure to be on a grand or epic scale. Epics last a long time, most of it spent beard-growing. If you have a time machine, aim for mid-seventies so you can get a first edition mood ring, not the dawn of time so you can watch life begin. If you want to find another dimension, pick one in which they routinely serve breakfast food for dinner, not where dinosaurs still roam the earth.

Avoiding hubris means avoiding kidnapping, as well. Never tell people what you’re doing. Don’t correct people’s math on message boards, and never ever go to a bar and brag that you’re going to be rich soon because you’re almost done with your invention. That’s just a way to make sure you’re tortured until you’re all the way done with your invention.

Chemistry:

Best Case Scenario.Worst Case/Middling/How To: No way around it, there’s going to be an explosion. Is it going to be an explosion that mangles you and takes out a town or an explosion that’s contained, gives you superpowers, and tastes like oreo filling? Regardless of exactly how it goes down, you know it’s going to happen, so plan for it.

Psychology/Psychiatry:


Best Case Scenario: Get murdered quickly by your patient.

Worst Case Scenario: Fall in love with your patient, thereby violating your professional ethics. Then get murdered by your patient or by one of your patient’s criminal associates. Die knowing that the one you love will fly back into the arms of madness and both your personal and professional life are a failure.

Middling: Get murdered by someone else’s lover/patient.

How to aim for the best: There’s no good here.

Engineering:


Best Case Scenario: You live in a world of fantasy, in which your machines are your companions, robots are your family, an android is your love, and your every day is filled with whimsy.

Worst Case Scenario: See above.

How to aim for the best: Be bad at your job. You’ll end up surrounded by broken doll heads in a basement, but at least you’ll have a dog or a fern or something.

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