Moon Landing: T Minus 5 Days – Predicting The Date

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 Expressstrip Jeff Hawke – and an eerily accurate prediction from Dennis The Menace in The Beano.

Jeff Hawke - Time out of Mind - Code JH1760
Jeff Hawke – Time out of Mind

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.

The Beano's Dennis the Menace predicts the date of the first moon landing
The Beano’s Dennis the Menace predicts the date of the first moon landing

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


The Jeff Hawke Club is online at

• The History Of The Beano (AmazonUK Affiliate Link)

On the 30thJuly 1938 a rainbow of colour emerged into the lives of children in bleak, pre-war Britain. The Beano was born. To celebrate its 70th year, and as a tribute to both yesterday s fans and today s enthusiasts, DC Thomson & Co. Ltd., and Waverley Books published this lavishly illustrated history in 2008. Researched and written by DC Thomson staff writers, this account explains how the comic has evolved and innovated, examining the secret ingredients behind seven decades of success.


Apollo (Graphic Novel)
By Matt Fitch, Chris Baker & Mike Collins
Buy it from AmazonUK (Affiliate Link)

Apollo GN - Cover

In 1969, humankind set foot on the moon. Neil Armstrong, Edwin ”Buzz” Aldrin, and Michael Collins carried the fire for all the world. Backed by the brightest minds in engineering and science, the three boarded a rocket and flew through the void―just to know that we could. In Apollo, Matt Fitch, Chris Baker, and Mike Collins unpack the urban legends, the gossip, and the speculation to reveal a remarkable true story about life, death, dreams, and the reality of humanity’s greatest exploratory achievement.

Carrying the Fire: An Astronaut’s Journeys
by Michael Collins
Buy it from AmazonUK (Affiliate Link)

The years that have passed since Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins piloted the Apollo 11 spacecraft to the moon in July 1969 have done nothing to alter the fundamental wonder of the event: man reaching the moon remains one of the great events – technical and spiritual – of our lifetime. In this remarkable book, Michael Collins conveys, a very personal way, the drama, beauty, and humour of that adventure

Apollo 11: The Inside Story
by David Whitehouse
Buy it from AmazonUK (Affiliate Link)

David Whitehouse reveals the true drama behind the Apollo 11 mission, putting it in the context of the wider space race and telling the story in the words of those who took part – based around exclusive interviews with the key players.

The First Moon Landing - A downthetubes 40th Anniversary Guide in British comics and related art

• 2019 Update: If you support Graeme Neil Reid on Patreon, you can download this image used to promote this post as a high resolution file – follow this link and join Patreon now to unlock the image

Jeff Hawke © Mirror Group Newspapers | Dennis the Menace © DC Thomson

Categories: British Comics, Comics, Events, Features, Other Worlds

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1 reply

  1. Hi,
    I just found a quite interesting documentary about the 40th anniversary of moonlanding! NATGEO celebrates the 40th anniversary of the moonlanding, too.