Space in the Imagination: How Comic Books Envisioned the Moon Landing | KCET
Space in the Imagination: How Comic Books Envisioned the Moon Landing
Relive the excitement of man’s first steps on the moon and the long journey it took to get there with 20 new hours of out of this world programming on KCET's “Summer of Space" Watch out for “American Experience: Chasing the Moon” and a KCET-exclusive first look at "Blue Sky Metropolis," four one-hour episodes that examine Southern California’s role in the history of aviation and aerospace.
By the 1950s, America was ready for space travel. Before anyone took the leap though, comic books, film and television were predicting humankind’s forays into the outer limits. In all forms of entertainment, science and technology were weaved into adventure-filled tales that launched little hearts and minds into our galaxy and beyond. Cowboy hats were traded in for plastic domes as girls and boys dismounted spring loaded horses and turned their attention to the heavens.
We were not in the dark about our solar system, and the mode by which we would arrive on the moon was only slightly mysterious (recent developments in rocketry had given us a pretty good idea.) In fact, by the 1960s we were actively sending people into orbit. The method by which we could realize the dream of standing on the moon was becoming clearer by the day.
Comics made within the two decades leading up to the moon landing were almost a guarantee to young readers, offering as much science fact as science fiction; The tiny dot patterns, like stars, forming the universe in our collective imagination. A collection of pre-moon landing comic books reveals this stratospheric excitement that surrounded humankind’s first forays into space, get a glimpse of a few pages below:
No doubt, Walt Disney had a hand in making Americans believe it could be done. After all, how could Walt be wrong? A comic book adaptation of his television series "Man in Space" is the layman's entry into the what and how of space travel. Part science, part prediction, its optimistic outlook and air of certainty drove the nation even closer to the stars.
More About Space
A retelling of Jules Verne's "From the Earth to the Moon" is as surprisingly accurate as it is fantastically fiction, and the fact that the book itself was written a hundred years before the moon landing makes it even more astonishing.
Connect with KCET
Top Image: To the Stars, Dec 1961
All images from the collection of Henry Cram
Former Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca was ordered today to turn himself in no later than Feb. 5 to begin serving a three-year federal prison sentence for obstruction of justice and lying to the FBI.
A proposal to declare a climate emergency in Alaska has brought up long-running tensions over development and conservation among the groups that advocate on behalf of Alaska’s Indigenous people.
State officials quietly gave away a significant portion of Southern California’s water supply to farmers in the Central Valley as part of a deal with the Trump administration in December 2018, potentially harming California salmon and L.A. County.
Sharon Ellis' luminous landscapes draw on nearly the whole history of landscape painting. Think American Luminists, Charles Burchfield and his "animated landscapes" and even Light and Space artists James Turrell and Robert Irwin.
- 1 of 231
- next ›
Aviation takes flight in early Los Angeles, becoming an industry of dreamers, risk takers and entrepreneurs. The region is America’s “arsenal of democracy” during World War II, as two million workers build 300,000 aircrafts.
The Cold War and Pentagon dollars fuels the explosive growth of modern Los Angeles and creates the military-industrial-complex.
This episode traces how The Cold War and Pentagon dollars fund the explosive growth of modern Los Angeles and create the military-industrial-complex.
The end of the Cold War brings massive layoffs but tech billionaires choose Southern California to launch their space companies. Though committed to the “democratization” of space, SpaceX and Virgin Orbit include the Pentagon as a major customer.