Dec 30th 2011 By: Lauren Davis
If you've exhausted your supply of Kate Beaton comics and you're looking for more historical figures to point and laugh at, look no further than 2D Goggles, or The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage
, in which the Father of the Difference Engine and the Mother of Computer Science join forces to fight crime
. In their latest misadventure, the mathematically inclined duo battle those most byronic and illogical of foes: the vampire poets. They're joined by the Brontë sisters, whose literary antics may have placed them in lyrical peril.
Sydney Padua wrote the original 2D Goggles comic
for Ada Lovelace Day, detailing the proto-programmer's origin as the daughter of the tempestuous Lord Byron whose brain was turned away from poetry thanks to a steady diet of mathematics. But Padua added an alternate ending to the Countess of Lovelace's tale, explaining that a pipe-smoking Lovelace and a raygun-toting Charles Babbage teamed up to fight crime. In subsequent installments it becomes clear that the pair has had a very liberal definition of "crime." Lovelace and Babbage have fought the evils of street music, economic collapse and the mechanical ignorance of Queen Victoria.
In "Lovelace and Babbage vs. The Vampire Poets," Babbage may have stumbled onto some actual criminal activity. Emily Brontë, wandering the streets drunk on verse, has been kidnapped by a shadowy, paper-wielding figure, leaving her sisters Charlotte and Anne distraught. Surely, though, it's no coincidence that Lovelace's own father had a poetic obsession with the undead, and was the inspiration for the bloodsucking Lord Ruthven in John William Polidori's novella "The Vampyre." Could Ada's poetic pater make a posthumous appearance?
Be sure to read the endnotes that come with each Lovelace and Babbage
installment. Although Padua's comics are set in an alternate (and yes, slightly steampunk) universe, her stories and jokes are often based somewhat on historical fact, so that even the most ludicrous act of Lovelace-on-interior-wall violence has some historical justification:
Indoor target practice was a habit of both Sherlock Holmes and Lord Byron, so it's only natural to transfer it to Lovelace. Particularly as she possibly did own a pair of duelling pistols.