John Hambrock’s award-nominated comic strip The Brilliant Mind of Edison Lee offers a contemporary view of family life from the perspective of a precocious young boy, his middle-class parents, innocent cousin and absent-minded grandfather.
Edison Lee is an inquisitive 10-year-old boy genius, who is obsessed with science and curious about our world. Edison has well-informed opinions on everything from bureaucratic waste and health care reform to the high cost of gas, even though he isn’t old enough to drive. He isn’t hesitant to express those opinions to anyone within earshot. He often illustrates his thoughts with elaborate inventions that he creates with the assistance of his lab rat pal, Joules.
In an age when we are bombarded with information and a 24-hour news cycle, The Brilliant Mind of Edison Lee offers a disarming view of our world through the eyes of a child who is both a brilliant genius and an eternal optimist.
Awards and Distinctions:
Nominated "Best Comic Strip" of 2009 by the National Cartoonist Society.
The first book collection of The Brilliant Mind of Edison Lee comic strips was published in 2010.
Guest of honor and speaker at the 2010 Toonfest in Walt Disney’s hometown, Marceline, Mo.
Edison Lee is a 10-year-old boy genius obsessed with science and curious about our world. Politically astute and able to spot propaganda from a mile away, he is torn between his left-of-center social sensibilities and his deep-seated greed and desire to get ahead. Fueled by brilliance, ambition, and a child’s eternal optimism, Edison looks at the world around him and invents devices designed to make it a better place. His inquisitive nature and entrepreneurial spirit are reflected in his many inventions and often pointed observations about society’s pressing issues.
Don Lee is Edison’s father. A blue-collar worker with a union job, he is happy to be employed but frustrated with his lack of upward mobility. Don makes it a point to spend time with Edison whenever he can, either in the basement workshop, in the living room in front of the TV or out hiking in the woods. While Don is extremely proud of his son’s gifted talents, he is often perplexed by Edison’s homemade inventions and brilliant observations.
Carol Lee is Edison’s mother. She’s a part-time substitute teacher and aspiring author, as well as the juggler of the family finances. While she excels at bargain hunting, she is a frequently frustrated consumer. A patient parent, Carol knows where to draw the line when it comes to Edison’s crazy schemes.
Orville Lee is Edison’s paternal grandfather. He is a “slightly” overweight senior whose interests include sleeping and watching "Gunsmoke" and game shows, as well as eating bacon and Twinkies and spending time at the all-you-can-eat buffet. He has health issues typical of an older, less active person and is continually unhappy with the cost of his medications. While he uses a computer to access the Internet, he is hardly tech-savvy..
Joules is Edison’s lab rat assistant. He is Edison’s only companion in the laboratory and frequently plays the role of fall guy for Edison’s grand schemes. His only knowledge of the outside world is filtered through Edison’s opinionated perspective.
Harley is Edison’s younger cousin. While less intellectually curious than Edison, he is, in some ways, more street-smart and able to see the flaws in Edison’s schemes, to Edison’s great frustration. Raised in a single-parent household, Harley enjoys spending time with Edison but has learned from past experiences to be cautious when agreeing to participate in his cousin’s outlandish experiments.