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Jul 15 2015

First “Issue” of Brain City Heroes Now Available

My comic-booky story about super heroes battling stage fright from the inside is up at last.

I wanted to post it months ago. Inside Out is already released. There’s common ground, but in all the time I spent researching this project, I was able to find nothing like what I’ve created, an adventure story which also introduces the science of how the brain works.

I’m calling Stage Fright the first “issue,” because it’s the start of a planned series. I’m writing the second issue now, but I already have other stories written with the characters, which will come in later.

I’m a big Game of Thrones fan. I got so into the TV show, I read the books. Now I have all this information about that world filed carefully in my mind. I know Maesters forge their chains in Oldtown, with different metal links representing different subjects, and that the Free Cities of Essos were all founded as colonies of the Valyrians. Long ago, I spent countless hours learning the history and geography of Middle Earth. I know Gandalf’s part of a group of Maiar called the Istari and that Osgiliath is between Minas Tirith and Minas Morgul.

That’s a lot to keep track of, and I’m a nerd for working so hard at it, but what if Tolkien had started his world building with the periodic table instead of folklore? How many of us would know so much more chemistry right now? Stories have a unique power to get information stuck in our heads.

When I dove into this project, I couldn’t find a broad introduction to neuroscience for the non-scientist. Sources like Neuroscience for Kids are really dense. I found so many foreign concepts used to explain other foreign concepts, it felt like I had to understand everything already, just to be able to start my research. Brain City Heroes is an alternative to that kind of study, informative almost on accident.

History has a lot of foreign concepts to get across too, but historians try to start us off with simple explanations for big events, and there are so many interesting, relatable stories to be starting points for understanding history.

For all of recorded history, philosophers have been trying to unravel what science is just starting to understand — the principles of how we think, understand and feel. Neurochemistry defines the experiences of our lives, and now that science is starting to understand how, way more people should know about it.

I think this piece of meat in my head’s ability to become aware of its own abstract operation is one of the most fascinating developments in the history of life on Earth. Our growing understanding of that has the potential to transform how we think about psychology, will and the concept of self. How’s that for building up this little thing I made?