In spring 2020, a multidisciplinary group, including artists and scientists, received funding from the Rapid Response Research Program of the National Science Foundation to develop comic books that would help youth understand the COVID-19 pandemic.

The project built upon a decade of expertise in creating comics about the biology of viruses. In collaboration with virologists and artists, three comic stories about COVID-19 were developed during the pandemic and posted online during the last half of 2020.

The fictional narratives address fundamental issues in biology, virology and network science in order to help readers understand the complexities of living through a viral pandemic. The stories focus on three themes: the biology and social context of the COVID-19 virus; the relationship of wild animals, particularly bats, to the pandemic; and the impact of the pandemic on Tribal communities.