Monday, August 27, 2012

One Giant Leap…

There’s not much I can add to the news of the passing of Astronaut Neil Armstrong… except to say that he may very well have been the “Last Great American Hero” in the eyes of all – before the effects of Watergate and subsequent occurrences permanently polarized this nation into differing “ideological camps” that are, today, stronger and more entrenched than ever. 

In that, I mean that we, in American society, have probably never again been “On the Same Page” as intensely as we were on the day Mr. Armstrong took his historic “Small Step”!   Today, more than likely, there would be voices of differing persuasions, shouting indignantly that the resources applied to a Moon landing would be better utilized for one or the other side’s particular special interests!

Yes, we were divided over some serious issues in 1969 – but, for at least that one day, we were as united as I’d ever seen in my lifetime.   And, I’ll never forget the thrill of that!   

On a purely personal note, Neil Armstrong’s courageous feat rendered THIS COMIC BOOK STORY that I worked on, as a “period piece”, forever stuck in its year of origin – 1963. 

Why?  Because in 1963, the Moon had yet to receive its first Earthly visitors!  And, in this comic, it did! 
The tricky thing was that its first appearance in the United States was in 2011 – so I had to explicitly frame it as having occurred in 1963.  And, in doing so, the natural thing to do was to paraphrase Mr. Armstrong’s historic quote and begin with: 

1963… When the “Giant Leap for Mankind” on the Moon was still six years away…”

When discussing comic-book scripting, I often evoke the phrase “Writer’s Shorthand”.   Considering that there were probably no readers that questioned my use of Armstrong’s words – and that all surely knew what was being referred to – Neil Armstrong provided me with a perfect example of that particular technique. 
For that, I’d like to dedicate my script, for the Mickey Mouse comic book story I titled “To the Moon by Noon” to Mr. Neil Armstrong!  



Anonymous said...

Today, unfortunately, we not only have the complaints like, "The money for the space program should have been spent on my project to study the history of violin varnish," we also have nutty conspiracy theories that the moon landing was filmed in the Mojave Desert. Of course, the people who think that the space program was fake tend to be the same people who think that professional wrestling is real. (What if John Glenn ran for president against Jesse Ventura?) A lot of them are in denial. And angry at NASA for proving that the Earth is not flat. :)

Joe Torcivia said...

“Glenn” vs. “Ven”? That WOULD be worth seeing! Great observations all around, Anon!

Chris Barat said...


Conspiracy theorists tend not to "specialize." Scratch a "moon hoax believer" and you're likely to also find a Birther, Truther, JFK conspiracy fanatic, anti-inoculation fanatic, or some combination of one or more of these.

FYI, there is a great Youtube out there in which a "moon hoaxer" accosts Buzz Aldrin, calling him a "liar," and the rather elderly Aldrin promptly punches him out. No, Buzz wasn't convicted. The judge basically told the nitwit that he had it coming to him.

Actually, when you compare NASA's budget in the late 60s and early 70s to social spending levels, EVEN THEN, the moon project was something of a bargain.



Joe Torcivia said...

Not that I’d like to change the subject, Chris… or maybe I do – that’s the fun of conspiracy theories, we never really know – but, after watching all 12 SNIFFLES cartoons in succession on the new DVD (see the post dated August 28), I’m about to unleash a “Sniffles Conspiracy Theory” of my own!

I’ve discovered something very interesting. Something that might not be apparent until you watch them all in order!

No, it’s not a message hidden in backwards song lyrics or anything like that… But it IS something that I hadn’t realized before – and makes me wish that Chuck Jones had gone on making Sniffles cartoons into the ‘50s.

Not sure when I’ll put it up, but it’ll be soon.