32. Media phenomenon

It was at this point in the story I really went overboard with press images and photo-reference. Yuri has become a media phenomenon, and ironically, the more visible he becomes in this way, the more Yuri the person begins to slip out of sight. Yuri Gagarin front page photo, Daily Mirror... Man in Space

It was a lot of fun tracking down newspaper front pages from around the world, and I have posted in an early blog entry, about the curious significance for space-farers, of the American local paper, the Huntsville Times.

Just recently, I was on holiday in the sleepy town of Ryde on the Isle of Wight, a small and rather old-fashioned fragment of the UK. Browsing in an antique-shop, I came across a collection of old newspapers, and one of them had me grabbing for my wallet. Here it is. The wrap-around front page, special edition with which the popular UK paper, the Daily Mirror, announced Yuri’s achievement.

Gagarin, the sky is dark, the Earth is blueThe story itself is frustratingly light on facts. With so much detail about the ‘First Flight’ available today, it is difficult to remember just how secret almost every aspect of it was back then. The Soviet press-release consisted of a couple of stock photos of Yuri, and a short announcement of the bare facts. For a long time, the West knew little more than that.

Looking inside the paper you get a glimpse of what is in many ways, a very different world. In 1961, people as young as eighteen are still being hung for murder in the UK, and in Germany, Nazi Adolf Eichmann is on trial for his part in organising the Holocaust. On the ‘women’s page’, however, columnist Marjorie Proops gets straight to the point: ‘Why wasn’t it a woman, eh?’ A little over two  years later, Soviet cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova became the first woman in space.

Why not a girl? (in space)

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

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