Three panels from page six of Founding Monsters, showing several Founding Fathers comparing their fossil teeth. Dialogue typed out at bottom of page.

Watch on the Cabell Library Ramcam at

Through the summer, a selection of panels from the comic book Founding Monsters is showing on the Cabell Screen. The comic book tells the story of the Founding Fathers and their obsession with prehistoric megafauna, especially mastodons and giant ground sloths.

The comic is a collaboration between artist Maggie Colangelo, a communications arts and environmental studies student at VCU, and Bernard K. Means, Ph.D., assistant professor in the VCU School of School of World Studies and director of the Virtual Curation Laboratory, whose research into the Founding Fathers’ fossil collecting shaped the narrative.

The full comic can be downloaded for free on VCU Scholars Compass.

And check out the exhibit of poster-size version of the pages and more inside Cabell Library.

About the Contributors

Maggie Colangelo is a communication arts and environmental studies student at VCU. While volunteering in the Virtual Curation Laboratory, she developed the idea of Founding Monsters and was awarded a VCU Fellowship for Undergraduate Research and Creative Inquiry to pursue the project. Founding Monsters is her first full-length comic book.

Bernard K. Means, Ph.D., is an archaeologist and assistant professor in the VCU School of World Studies. He is also the director of the Virtual Curation Laboratory, where he leads teams of VCU students to 3D scan and 3D print dinosaur and ice age animal fossils, archaeological discoveries and historical items for teaching, research and public outreach. He was inspired to research the fossils that belonged to the founding fathers when he went to Philadelphia in august 2016 and 3D scanned Benjamin Franklin’s mastodon tooth.

Image: Founding Monsters panel (dialogue: Panel one: “We’ve got to do something about this.” / “I have an idea!” / Panel two: “This tooth is evidence of a much larger creature.” / “I have one of those too!” / Panel three: “We can rub these in Buffon’s face.” / “And prove to all of Europe that our fellow colonists are not failing. We’re thriving.”), by Maggie Colangelo and Bernard K. Means, Ph.D.

Categories Comic Arts, Faculty Work, Student Work