SPACE THRILLER

It fascinated me that Yuri lifted off, perched at the top of a towering mass of technology, but he landed, boots on the earth, in nothing but the suit he set off in. The whole system was a one-shot disposable. It vividly dramatises the difficult logistics of the war against gravity. Manga StudioEX distortion tool for fish-eye lense effect

Just as with the launch, I wondered for a long time, how to depict the drama of the landing. Reading and re-reading the accounts in Starman and other sources, I was drawn to a very human image: Mother and daughter Anna and Rita Akimova, the first people on Earth ever to meet a real spaceman.

How to show their confrontation? For some reason I immediately thought of a poster for the 70’s space conspiracy thriller Capricorn One, in which incongruous things are reflected in a spaceman’s visor. To create the image, I first drew Anna and Rita, and the calf they were leading, using a mixture of photo-reference and details from their own story. When the image was complete, I used a distortion tool in Manga StudioEX (™) to give the ‘fish-eye lens’ effect of the reflection in Yuri’s convex visor.

The Gary Powers incident was still very fresh in people’s minds, and Cold War paranoia had everyone worried about American spies dropping from the sky. Shortly after meeting Anna and Rita, but before the military arrived, Yuri had an another encounter with some locals who were highly suspicious. After all, very few of us even now, have met a real live space-farer.

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