Bucky Fuller’s Energy Slaves gets Webcomic Treatment

Australian environmentalist cartoonist Stuart McMillen has released a 84-page comic titled Energy Slaves featuring Buckminster Fuller.

The comic highlights Bucky Fuller’s work visualising the fossil fuel energy that our modern lifestyles require. Bucky twisted the concept of ‘horsepower’, when he realised that we could also discuss energy in terms of the abstract ‘humanpower’ that performs work on our behalf. He coined the term ‘energy slaves’ to describe these imaginary workers.

Did you know that every time you fill your car’s tank, the energy in the gasoline is the equivalent of 48 men each laboring for a month? Put another way, a healthy man exercising on a treadmill for an entire working year would produce only the energy-equivalent of just 14 litres (3.7 gallons) of gasoline.

The overwhelming message from Buckminster Fuller’s work, as depicted through Stuart McMillen’s comic is one of humbleness. Humbleness at how puny our physical bodies are, compared to the ‘exosomatic’ energy sources that do so much physical work for us.

McMillen’s comic highlights all sorts of overlooked mundane examples of ‘energy slaves’ working for us. The examples cover everything from the small teams of slaves that create the water pressure in our plumbing, through to the armies that hurtle our jumbo jets through the air on transcontinental flights.

The entire comic is a 10-minute reading experience that can be freely read online at this website:

Energy Slaves

How many invisible “energy slave” workers does it take to fuel our modern lifestyles? http://www.energyslaves.com/

Energy Slaves is Stuart McMillen’s second comic about Bucky, following 2015’s Buckminster Fuller's Chilling Domes. Each comic is accompanied by extensive behind-the-scenes information, describing the research that McMillen put into the pieces. Readers can support Stuart McMillen’s thoughtful comics about social issues through his ongoing Patreon crowdfunding campaign.