Making a graphic novel 8: YURI’s LOVES

With the end of the war, the story takes a lighter tone. I would have liked to include more details of Yuri’s life, but there is a lot of important stuff still to get through. Yuri’s letters home are (I hope) obvious fakes, but they help to speed up the story telling. We know he did write home, and I am sure he did so at greater length and more gracefully. I hope however that my fake letters convey the sense of an enthusiastic young guy starting out in life, eager to do well.

yuri gagarin – from childhood to love of flying at Saratov Air ClubResearching this period I was impressed by the range of opportunities open to ordinary young men and women from working-class and technical backgrounds. Of course, there is a military angle to some of these activities, especially the flying club, but that is often the case in the west too.

I didn’t need to buy a kit for the flying club’s Yak 18 trainer – by chance several model enthusiasts had been publishing pictures of their own efforts on the net, plus many actual examples are still flying at air shows, so there was no shortage of pictures.

For the parachuting scene we were grateful for technical advice from a Polish special forces veteran. The Po-2 design was one of the most successful in the history of flight, but of the many thousands built, only a few are still flying today.

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