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British Comic Book Created for Russian Cosmonaut

16. February 2011 by Michelle 0 Comments

British author Piers Bizony wanted a real life person rather than a super human hero to star in his new graphic novel. With the upcoming 50th anniversary of Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin's first space flight, he found his real life hero.


"You can have supermen, but they don’t have the frailties of human beings, they don’t have to be brave," Bizony said. "Gagarin had to be brave to go up there, and he had to be brave when he came down to deal with the crowds, the adulation and all the interest in him."


Bizony partnered with designer Peter Hodkinson and illustrator Andrew King to create "Yuri's Day, The Road to the Stars", a comic book telling the dramatic story of early Soviet rocket adventures. The author claims that every detail is entirely factual, and even within the first few pages of the book, a statement claims, "Everything you are about to read in this book is true."


King said some people were concerned that the book would include Russian stereotypes, to which he replied, "I can guarantee, hand on heart, that no bears, and no balalaikas have been allowed into this story; that there are only two babies, and neither is eaten by Stalin, and that although there are a couple of KGB men, they are friendly, tactful and have a sense of humor; and finally that there are only two or three bottles of vodka in all 64 pages. This was Russia after all..."


While Gagarin is the main character, the book also shares the story of Sergey Korolev, Russia's greatest rocket genius, who was imprisoned in a Siberian labor camp. He designed the Soyuz spacecraft, which is still used today.


So far the book is receiving positive reviews from fellow Britains, with John Freeman, editor of the comics website downthetubes.net saying, "A fascinating snapshot of the space race from Russia’s point of view — the script gives you a lot to think about. The mix of text and comic strip pages is intriguing — I think it works in this context." 


Currently, the book is available in English, but the creators plan on producing translated versions in several other languages, including Russian.