Evelyn Cheesman stars in: the woman who walked

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The incomparable tale of Evelyn Cheesman

Illustrations by guest comic artist Sammy Borras. Story by Florence Okoye and Kerry Lotzof.

Frame 1 & 2: Adventuress Evelyn Cheesman is crashing her way through the bush with a very determined expression Frame 3: An indigenous woman from the region calls out to Evelyn who appears to be headed in the wrong direction Woman: Don't go that way! Evelyn: Why Not? It's a shortcut!
Frame 1:  Woman: Giant Spiders and debbil debbils (also sometimes referred to as tambu or taboo places where spirits congregate Evelyn: Just What I'm looking for! Frame 2:  Evelyn trots confidently off into the bush, carrying her butterfly net. The indigenous woman turns to a friend and shrugs. Woman 2: She meant the spiders right? Frame 3: A close up of evelyns foot, snagging on a log Frame 4: Evelyn falls and exclaims 'Waaaa!' Frame 5 & 6: Evelyns with a quizzical expression find herself trapped in a giant spiders web.  The Narrator: Evelyn Cheesman was familiar with challenging situations Evelyn: Oh, Blast! A large spider drops into the frame Evelyn: Oh How Ludicrous! Well I can't Hand around here – science isn't' going to do itself. The natural history museum needs more specimens! Narrator: Evelyn was on a mission to map the Biogeography of the south webs pacific. Prevailing views were that the fauna were closely related to Australian species but Evelyn thought otherwise
In the centre of a large panel, Evelyn Cheesman is determinedly working away at freeing herself from a giant spider web through the use of a small nail file. The page is divided into several frames by the web. In each one is a memory. Narrator: … but being caught in a giant spider web was far from her first setback! Memory 1: An archbishop towers over Evelyn Archbishop: A woman on her own? Unthinkable! Memory 2: A strict Nanny discards a frog that a young Evelyn has collected from the garden. A very young Evelyn sniffffs and has tears in her eyes. Nanny: These aren't for little girls!  Memory 3: Evelyn looks across a garden party at two fashionably dressed women in pretty but impractical white gowns, a hobble skirt and a flammable tea gown. Evelyn: But these dresses are so restricting! Memory 4: A bearded academic towers over Evelyn, holding a pipe. College administrator: We don't take female students at the royal college of veterinary surgeons! Memory 5: Evelyn attempts to by trousers from a gentleman's outfitters in Australia. Clerk: But Madam! Trousers? Are you quite sure…? Memory 6: A woman in a white gown carrying a fan, being carried in a palanquin, calls out to Evelyn who is walking in the summer sun in the opposite direction. Laaydee: A Lady shouldn't walk in this terrible heat!
Frame 1:Evelyn is now holding the spider she has captured in a large jar back at camp where she is staying with a group of local indigenous people who appear pleased but also bemused by her presence. She is wielding a nail file and you get the impressions she has just recounted her adventure. Evelyn: Phew! That's the last time I go anywhere without a machete.   A girl: She made it through again! Frame 2: Six butterfly nets containing individual moments from Evelyns career.  In one she is capturing a grasshopper in a jar, in another an indigenous woman is showing her the Parau (a yellow hibiscus) that attracts a taxonomic collection of ants from the island. In another she is retrieving a rare blue orchid, sheltering from the rain under a bark umbrella she made herself and being nursed by locals while ill. with fever
Frame 1: Evelyn is in the village again, surrounded by indigenous people she has become acquainted with throughout the comic so far. Narrator: She also didn't do it all alone. Woman with flower: Hey, it's the woman who walks! She's back! Woman with necklace: How was it. Evelyn? Did you find new ants one the Parau like we said? Woman with rosy cheeks: We were worried for you in that storm! Frame 2: Evelyn is lugging a heavy case full of specimens up the front steps of the natural history museum. A Man in a top had meets her at the top of the stairs Narrator: As she wasn't officially an employee of the museum…  The Man: You realise we can't pay you for this, right? Evelyn: So?! Frame 3: Evelyn is at a writing desk scribbling away. Her desk is lit by the gentle glow of glow worms in jars. Narrator: Evelyn funded her collecting by writing. She ended up publishing 16 popular accounts of her travels.  Frame 4: A range of people of different ages and genders are reading her books and exclaiming. In particular one young girl in glasses looks completely enthralled. Bearded man: A woman did all this? Unbelievable! Narrator: She could handle anything. Frame 5: Evelyn looks disgusted, inverting a teapot, a leech falls out.  Narrator: well almost anything… anything except leeches in her teapot which she said was a personal limit Evelyn: This is the absolute limit! Frame 6: An empty bed, Evelyn, a patient seems to have escaped the supervision of her doctor. Doctor: Please, madam, back to bed! Narrator: Nevertheless she just kept on going, in fact she walked so much she needed a hip replacement.
Frame 1: An elderly Evelyn is tip toeing across the top of the frame, with her net. Evelyn: Shhh! Frame 2: An idyllic looking remote island in the south west pacific. The water is sparkling.  Narrator: her last collecting trip was to Aneityum island near Fiji when she was 73 years old. Frame 3: A headshot of Evelyn Cheesman receiving an Order of the Birtish Empire for her contribution to science. A series of drawing illustrate her achievements.  Narrator: Between 1924 and 1952 Cheesman went on 8 solo expeditions in the South Pacific. On her travels she collected 70,000 specimens, many new to western science. Authored 16 books including nuanced accounts of indigenous life, received diplomatic gifts from cannibal king Ringapat for George V. Was awarded an OBE in 1955 for her contributions to science along with a civil list pension offering her some financial security at last! And had no fewer than 69 specimens names after her and counting Evelyn: Your majesty, Kind Rangapat of Malakula sends his regards Museum curator Beulah Garner: And her collection is still yielding discoveries for scientists at the Natural History Museum.
Frame 1: An old world map of Papua new guinea and other islands in the south west pacific with boat and mermaid details.  Narrator: And her theory about the island biogeography? Turns out she was right! Life in New Guinea is a distinctive combination of Australian and Asian species unique from the rest of the world.  Frame 2: Taking up the majority of the page, a full length illustration of Evelyn in her field kit, surrounded by swirling purple butterflies.  Narrator: So here's to Evelyn Cheesman … the woman who walks! AKA.. the lady of the mountains, and an incorrigible woman!
Comic byline for artist Sammy Borras. Sammy is pictured left of frame with a backpack, glasses and notebook. text reads: sammy Borras is an illustration degree graduate from coventry who specialises in making comics.