Dells “Four Color” comic book serie med skiftende serier, heriblandt film og tv tegneserie bearbejdelser, er så vidt mig bekendt den comic book titel, der har opnået den højeste nummerering i USA, men det er så lidt snyd, for det er jo med skiftende indhold. Så kan enhver jo opnå en høj nummerering, hvis’n’altså det skal være på den måde! Wernher von Braun var jo en gammel raket-videnskabsmand, hentet over til USA fra Nazi Tyskland. Han blev nærmest idoliseret af raske drenge i 50’erne og 60’erne, den slags drenge, der ønskede sig en dampmaskine i julegave! Den slags dampmaskiner, man kunne se i annoncerne i de gamle Anders And & Co.! Kortærmet, ternet skjorte knappet til i halsen.
Wernher von Braun may have been a bit mercenary in his political dealings, but his work in astronautics and rocket design was instrumental in putting American astronauts on the moon. Between 1952 and 1954, Collier’s magazine profiled von Braun’s work in the series “Man Will Conquer Space Soon!” Next week, the materials von Braun created for this series will be auctioned off, including several sketches of his rocket designs.
Collier’s editor Cornelius Ryan detailed von Braun’s plans for manned spaceflight across several issues of the magazine. Articles featured topics on manned lunar and Martian exploration, the potential for a space station, property and passage rights, and, of course, the ships themselves. The ships illustrated throughout the series were based on von Braun’s earlier designs, but he worked with the series’ artists to sketch out sleeker, sexier designs that would pop up on the magazine’s pages.
March 22 2002 marked the 50 year anniversary of the most influential feat of popular science writing ever. The March 22 1952 issue of Collier’s stands a landmark in the history of space flight. Collier’s magazines from March 1952 to April 1954 outlined an amazing dream. There was a huge vertical three-stage launch vehicle with its horizontal landing ferry space ship, a large toroidal space station, orbital transport ships, a base on the moon, exploration of the moon, and ultimately a manned expedition to Mars. Even though the exposition in each issue was brief, all aspects of manned space flight were covered. Besides the hardware there was coverage of the medical/psychological and training elements of manned space flight, even the legal aspects of manned exploration of earth orbit and the moon. The prose in the Collier’s issues was simple, direct and clear. The illustrations on the covers and pages conveyed an immense sense of detailed design. Even if those articles were fairly short the amount of information contained in the paintings and drawings enfolded a mind boggling amount of depth of thought.
The March 22 issue of Colliers dealt with the design and building of the space station. The basic building blocks ferry ship and were incredible (sic), in the words of Wernher von Braun:
“Imagine the size of this huge three-stage rocket ship: it stands 265 feet tall, approximately the height of a 24-story building. It base measures 64 feet in diameter. And the over all weight of this monster rocket ship is 14,000,000 pounds, or 7,000 lbs – about the same weight of a light cruiser.” Hardly mentioned is that in the building and testing this ferry ship, man would have made his first orbital flight!
Only 15 years later von Braun led his Marshall Space Flight Center crew to design and build the Saturn 5.
Most interesting is how von Braun had expanded his idea of a Mars expedition (more on that below). He now recognized the importance of establishing what we call a ‘node’ in low earth orbit and introduced the space station. Important for many reasons the von Braun space station would serve as an assembly point for expeditions to the Moon and Mars. This was important logistical concept and solution to a crucial mass ratio problem. At the time thought to be more economic to launch from earth orbit than from a deep potential well.
Und det bringer os så videre til det legendariske Four Color #1148, fra Dell, October 1960, 10 cents, og Curt Jurgens, der ser drømmende op mod raketten på forsiden. For I ved jo godt, at Four Color var mere end Donald Duck og Little Lulu. Four Color serien kunne rumme så uendelig meget. Og hvis I anskaffer jer “I aim at the Stars”, kan I passende læse Howard Chaykins “Stars my Destination” i forlængelse deraf. Ikke fordi, jeg tror, der er andet end en associativ forbindelse til Four Color festen, det er bare mig, der dyrker de fede titler.
“Bionic Woman” og “Six Million Dollar Man” tegneren Jack Sparling, som jeg tidligere har præsenteret her i bloggen, har tegnet både de 32 sider af “I aim at the Stars” og så også lige en én-sides filler, “The Rocket in History”. Så vi er i gode hænder her i Four Color #1148. Det ville være oplagt at udvide Jack Sparling samlingen med denne kuriositet. Jack Sparling er en tegner, der dukker op de mest uventede steder, og det i sig selv kan være en billet til kult.
Ja, desværre er dette cover billede lidt uskarpt, men det var månelandingen på TV i 1969 jo også, så mon ikke vi klarer den?
The life of rocket scientist Wernher von Braun, from his youth in Germany through his involvement with the Nazi V-2 rockets; and then his participation in the United States rocket development program.
Wernher von Braun; Dr. Hermann Oberth; Elizabeth Beyer; Anton Reger; Heinrich Himmler; Major William Taggart; Adolf Hitler (cameo); Benito Mussolini (cameo)
Første gang, jeg hørte om Wernher von Braun, var i den filippinske kult film, “Perfumed Nightmare”, som DR viste i Natkassen i 70’erne. Jeg har aldrig brudt mig om skolefaget fysik, blev endda fritaget for det i high school, men inden det gik så vidt, nåede jeg at blive fascineret af Wernher von Braun og denne filippinske indy film. Instruktøren Kidlat Tahimik spiste mange hamburgers og pommes frites, da han voksede op i Baguio på Filippinerne, og det synes jeg, er en god ting at vide, når man så’en skal til at dyrke Wernher von Braun og Four Color tegneserien. For burger er nørd mad. Og Wernher von Braun er inspirationen. Drømmen. Visionen. Fysikken, uha!
Plot: Kidlat Tahimik is a young man living in a small Filipino village. As the film opens, we see him in three stages of life (symbolized by toy and then real “jeepneys,” the elaborately recrafted and decorated vehicles that have their origins in the Jeeps left by the Allies in World War II) crossing the bridge–“the bridge of life”–to his village. Narrating in voiceover, Tahimik explains the patterns of daily life in the village. He has a fascination with the Voice of America broadcasts, and particularly with the space program. He longs to be part of the developed world, and forms the Werner von Braun fan club. When an American arrives for an aborted international conference, he gets his chance. The American asks him to come to Paris, to run his chewing-gum-ball machine concession on the streets. In Paris, and on a trip to Germany, he makes friends and discovers that progress in the developed world sacrifices important values. Backgrounded by footage of a summit meeting in Paris, and unable to return to an idealized image of his past, he stubbornly refuses to capitulate to the terms of progress, resigning from his post as head of the Werner von Braun fan club and maintaining that he will find his own way.