Journeys inwards and to the Moon

Apollo Mood Board

We’ve been looking hard at each astronaut’s personal journey. There are loads of things to play with stylistically. The loss of a daughter, the approval sought from a distant father, the hopes of all mankind resting in your actions. Be assured this book wont just be three men in a can traveling to a rock in space.

Neil Armstrong: Crash Proof Pilot

It’s interesting to note just how much of a super pilot Neil Armstrong was. He survived a number of air incidents including some very close calls!

While piloting the Lunar Landing Research Vehicle (LLRV) in preparation for flying thee Lunar Lander, Armstrong was almost killed when a thruster failed, leaving it to the final seconds to bail as seen in this dramatic video:

Raising a glass to Apollo 1

Last month marked the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 1 tragedy (27th Jan 1967) in which flight commander Gus Grissom, Edward White and Roger Chaffee, died after fire swept through their Apollo spacecraft during rehearsals at Cape Kennedy.

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Apollo 1 is a moment in hIstory that we intend to pay our respects to in APOLLO. So today Matt and I were looking at a moment history forgot – the private drinks where a number of prominent astronauts including Neil Armstrong met after a presidential event to toast their fallen friends. Uncertainty surrounded the accident. Would the mission be scrapped? Matt and I want to use this event and the theme of death to dramatically build on the Apollo missions and what they meant for all involved.

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Not a crook…

So Matt and I have been chatting today about the president. No not Trump for a change. Today we are looking at Richard M. Nixon and the role he played in the Moon Landing.

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While he was always in Kennedy’s shadow, Nixon saw the race through. He was the man who had to deliver the bad news to the world if the mission failed. The speech written for this purpose is quite moving:

Fate has ordained that the men who went to the moon to explore in peace will stay on the moon to rest in peace.

These brave men, Neil Armstrong and Edwin Aldrin, know that there is no hope for their recovery. But they also know that there is hope for mankind in their sacrifice.

These two men are laying down their lives in mankind’s most noble goal: the search for truth and understanding.

They will be mourned by their families and friends; they will be mourned by their nation; they will be mourned by the people of the world; they will be mourned by a Mother Earth that dared send two of her sons into the unknown.

In their exploration, they stirred the people of the world to feel as one; in their sacrifice, they bind more tightly the brotherhood of man.

In ancient days, men looked at stars and saw their heroes in the constellations. In modern times, we do much the same, but our heroes are epic men of flesh and blood.

Others will follow, and surely find their way home. Man’s search will not be denied. But these men were the first, and they will remain the foremost in our hearts.

For every human being who looks up at the moon in the nights to come will know that there is some corner of another world that is forever mankind.

Sample Page #3

While Apollo will be a thoroughly researched, factual account of the Apollo 11 mission, we intend to take a degree of creative license as we explore the inner thoughts of the crew.

The page below, drawn by Mike as part of our Arts Council application,  is one such moment, dealing with Neil’s feelings about death following the Apollo 1 tragedy.

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Sample Page #2

On July 17th 1969, Just over a day into their journey to the Moon, the crew of Apollo 11 gave a tour of their space craft to millions of people watching on TV back home. The page below is Mike’s interpretation of that historic moment, drawn as part of our Arts Council application:

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And here’s a clip from the actual broadcast. This is Mike collins showing us the range of freeze-dried food available to the crew:

Sample Page #1

As part of our application to the Arts Council we needed to show them some art. There were a few scenes that we already knew we wanted to include in the book, so we wrote them gave them to Mike to illustrate. The pages were then coloured by our friend Greg Menzie, a talented colourist and artist in his own right.

Below is a page from a scene in which Buzz Aldrin discusses the upcoming mission with fellow NASA astronaut Al Bean:

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And here’s a PDF of the script that Mike was working from when he drew this:

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The page above may or may not make it to the final book – we’ll no doubt rewrite (or at least tinker with) the scene, and Mike is still exploring various styles and perfecting the likenesses of the characters.

We’ll be uploading more sample pages in the coming days while we busy ourselves with the task of writing some actual pages!

No, not that Mike Collins!

Apollo is being illustrated by Mike Collins. Mike has drawn everything, but in recent years he’s probably most well known for his work on Doctor Who Magazine. He also works on the show as a storyboard artist. Below is a small taste of his work:

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But there is another Mike Collins involved in our project… this guy:

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Mike Collins the astronaut was the command module pilot for Apollo 11. While he stayed in orbit around the Moon, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin left in the Lunar Module to make the first manned landing on its surface. Mike is one of just 24 people to have flown to the Moon.

By all accounts, Mike is a real stand up guy. Reading his autobiography Carrying the Fire, you really get a sense of his fun, down to earth, and almost spiritual personality. He’s often thought of as ‘the other guy’ on the mission but that is far from the truth. Mike’s role as Command Module Pilot was crucial and without his skill Neil and Buzz might never have made it home. Mike is one of our favourite characters in the Apollo story and we hope to bring him to life on the page in a way that does him justice.