40 years ago today, the three astronauts making up the crew of Apollo 11, Command Module Pilot Mike Collins, Lunar Module Pilot Buzz Aldrin and Mission Commander Neil Armstrong were preparing for their launch on a Saturn V rocket from Pad 39A at Cape Canaveral in Florida. They were going where only nine men had been before, lunar orbit. However, they were scheduled to go one step further than all the previous Apollo crews – they were going to land.
During the next week and a half downthetubes will be taking you through the entire Apollo 11 mission as it was presented to children in comics, magazines, storybooks and through toys, from launch on 16th July to splashdown on the 24th July.
Today, as a taster, we present two predictions for the actual landing date. One from the Daily Express‘ strip Jeff Hawke – and an eerily accurate prediction from Dennis The Menace in The Beano.
The Jeff Hawke panels come from the 1959 story Time Out Of Mind, set on the moon, and both written and illustrated by Sydney Jordan a year and a half before the Soviet Union put Yuri Gagarin into orbit.
This story was reprinted in the Jeff Hawke’s Cosmos album Lunar 10, in which Jordan reveals, “my stab at the date for the first real landing was informed by the growing body of data coming out of the American and Russian programmes that would eventually put Man into space.”
The “Dennis The Menace” panel would appear to come from an early appearance in The Beano, before Dennis got his familiar red and black striped jumper and is remarkably accurate in its date. However, as if to prove that it is not just American superheroes that can be ret-conned, in 2000 for publicity purposes DC Thomson produced a one page strip that told the story of how Dennis got his now familiar jumper and included this “prediction”.
The full Dennis story can be read on page 289 of Morris Heggie’s excellent book The History Of The Beano.
Tomorrow – Launch
• Coinciding with Jeremy’s countdown to the 40th Anniversary of the first Moon Landing, downthetubes is publishing “Moon Landing 40th Anniversary: A Comics Celebration” – a gallery of illustrations and comic art inspired by space exploration
Jeff Hawke © Mirror Group Newspapers | Dennis the Menace © DC Thomson
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