20: Dummy cosmonaut

As the story developed, I found it was more and more possible to find photographs of many of the people and incidents. This led to the idea that I would gradually use more and more of these, as a way of showing the change in Yuri’s life, from an ordinary private citizen to an international media celebrity, and ultimately, a figure in world history.Gherman Titov and Ivan Ivanisovich (aka dummy cosmonaut)!
The pace of events is moving fast now, but there is still time for one odd and slightly droll story – the ‘dummy cosmonaut’ test that finally proved that all Vostok’s systems were ‘go’ for human flight. This presented another picture research challenge: the scene is set on an ordinary Soviet farm at haymaking time. Soviet farming was mechanising, like everywhere else, but as with all farming, there are always jobs that have to be done by hand. This allowed me to introduce a couple of characters from whose viewpoint we see the events. Fortunately I had a friend with a smallholding who had been experimenting with traditional Eastern European farming techniques. He had the right kind of traditional hay-forks, beautifully made in ash-wood, and even the right kind of haystack. The big collective farms wouldn’t have worked like this, but smaller operations or even just tidying up after the machinery on a really big farm, I am guessing would have looked something like this.

I also enjoyed squeezing in the recipe for borsch on this page, while a Russian helper gave us a translation of part of the song played on the test capsule’s radio transmission.

This entry was posted in Making a Graphic Novel, The Space Race, Yuri Gagarin, YURI's DAY, Yuri's life. Bookmark the permalink.

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