By Michele Robertson Comics have relayed stories, messages, themes, topics, and the like since the late 19th century. Adapting to societal demands as time goes on, comics are a versatile and widely popular form of art and storytelling. This medium is what Ross Wood Studlar (pronounced STEWED-ler), cartoonist and nature interpreter, uses to convey his research about nature, frogs, and monsters. A blending of science and art, Studlar creates characters to convey information about frogs, turtles, spiders, and more. His blog A Voice from the Wood found at https://rosswoodstudlar.blogspot.com/is a variety of information on varying topics from animals to environmental issues, outdoor life, survival,sustainability, and several other genres that will put your narrative inquiry to work. Studlar developed a passion for comics at a young age, starting with Spiderman. He saw Spiderman on the TV show Electric Company and wanted to see the character in its original form, as a comic book. As Studlar grew older, his infatuation with superheroes waned and his comics of choice adapted.Studlar moved to Carlsbad in 2017 when his job as a park ranger with the National Park Service brought him to the Carlsbad Caverns National Park. Studlar is a graduate of the Center for Cartoon Studies (Vermont) and the Denison University (Ohio). Comic books are the medium and language he learned for storytelling, and Studlar employs multiple techniques to weave his tales. Most of his comics are nature themed, and through feedback from colleagues, he realized he was really good at drawing animals and that drawing the human form was challenging for him. “Comics are a labor intensive medium,” Studlar shared. “If you’re going to draw a story, make it about something you are passionate about,” he added.“Comic books can be as diverse as prose books,” shared Studlar. Frog Stories, published in 2012 features what Studlar considers his best artwork and includes a story about his pet frog, Bo who was an Argentine Horned Frog. Studlar considers his comic Humble Joy to be his best story. Studlar’s stories are inspired in part, not only by his pets, but those of his family members as well. These pets become reinvented in many forms throughout his comics. His latest work Can Jumping Spiders See the Moon? Includes a darling little tale about a spider that specializes in hunting other spiders, typically ones larger than themselves. Studlar chose to use jumping spiders because of their big, captivating eyes and he hopes to help change the negative stereotype on spiders with these wide-eyed arachnids. The tale informs us how these spiders hunt and how they find a mate. Scientifically accurate and absolutely adorable, a bit of scientific whimsy if you will. “Animals have a broader range of behaviors than you’d think,” Studlar explained. “In a way I’m still a 10 year old boy in my mind and I like to see animals fight,” he added. You can see this with his recent blog post Desert Tortoise vs Gila Monster where he draws a female tortoise defending her nest.
“Humans have been proven wrong often, as animals exhibit behaviors consistently thought of as uniquely human,” Studlar shared. He has published several comics of his own and been included in multiple compilations where he shares scientific information through the use of comic strips. Studlar is an artist for hire, if you’d like to employ him to create a unique piece for you he can be reached through email at firstname.lastname@example.org you would like to purchase his work he has an Etsy store and several locations around the country who sell his work, including two in Albuquerque.