‘Apollo:’ Graphic Novel Review

Next year will be the 50th anniversary of the first Moon landing. We’ve all seen the historic moment: Neil Armstrong stepping off the ladder, taking a few bounds, and saying, “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” But how did they get there? Who were those brave men who took that mission, and what was the process that took them from the Kennedy Space Center to the Moon and back?

Apollo explores the details behind the Apollo 11 and its crew, the first manned mission to the Moon. In a way, it’s similar to the movie, Apollo 13, only with a more triumphant ending. We begin at the launch in July of 1969 and follow the mission as Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin, and Michael Collins forge a new path to the stars. Along the way, we see flashbacks of the astronauts and how they came to this point, as well as some of the tests—and failures—that brought NASA here.

We see the tragedy of the Apollo 1 which caught fire during a test run and killed all three crew members. We see Buzz’s childhood fascination with aviation (despite getting motion sickness) and his disappointment that Neil, not he, will be the first to set foot on the Moon’s surface. We see Neil struggle with his own past tragedies in the face of this momentous event. And we see Michael—left back on the shuttle while Buzz and Neil get all of the glory—grapple with his own place in history and the enormous (but largely unsung) job he has before him, making sure his crewmates get back safely.

We also get to explore the reactions of the people back on Earth as this is going on. We see Nixon wondering if this will help to shape his legacy. We see soldiers in Vietnam taking a break from the horrors of war to unite for a message of peace. The whole world watched with bated breath as history was made.

The story told is a fascinating one, beautifully complemented by colorful artwork that helps to bring the mission to life. If you have an interest in NASA, the Moon landing, or the history of space travel in general, this comic is one you’ll definitely want to check out.

Creative Team: Matt Fitch and Chris Baker (writers), Mike Collins (illustrator)
Publisher: Self Made Hero
Click here to purchase.

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