Sydney Padua’s graphic novel The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace And Babbage: The (Mostly) True Origins of the First Computer is a rollicking romp through history with a dash of steampunk. The author presents an alternate history where Ada, Countess of Lovelace, and Charles Babbage, who had plans for an enormous calculating machine, actually do wind up building what they dub the Difference Engine and use it to explore uncharted waters of academia and oddly enough, to fight crime too.
Instead of bogging the story down with stuffy historical facts, Padua includes extensive footnotes for readers who are interested in learning more about the real-life story of Lovelace and Babbage, which includes never-before-seen-diagrams of the latter’s idea for a steam-powered computer. However, the heart of Lovelace and Babbage is the hilarious geeky humor and the whimsical tone of the novel. Padua balances her anachronistic one-liners with real-life facts about famous Victorians, which makes her graphic novel really fun to read. If you like history, steampunk, butt-kicking Victorians, or some combination of all three, this is a comic you must pick up.