I picked this up at the Dallas Comicon this past January 08 from David Hopkins himself.
Astronaut Dad takes place in the early 60s, as the NASA space exploration was getting under way.
In volume 1 we meet the members of three fictional families living in Houston, Texas.
Jimmy Norton, the narrator, is bitter that his dad is “only” a reservist, and therefore not a “real” astronaut... or so he thinks, as he and Vanessa Kelly, daughter of another astronaut, discover the real truth hidden inside Stan Norton’s backyard fallout shelter.
This book presents a solid introduction of each character, their family situation, and personality types. The foundation for various dynamics among these characters gets established here. Telling this from the kids’ point of view is efficient in bringing home the realities and consequences of how these fathers’ work affected the people around them. Though this might have been a national and worldly event, everyday people and families where more directly impacted than we can imagine.
The art follows the three tone formula, with strong blacks, whites and grays. The style is very effective here, with the right balance between realism and minimalism, leaving room for reader identification with each character’s personality and physical traits.
Both adults and younger readers can enjoy this narrative. It offers insights on how kids perceived their parents, the ideas they have to them growing up, and how these perspective must go through several variations as kids grow up themselves and begin to understand deeper issues and the working of the world.
David Hopkins is a comic book writer and essayist. His work includes Karma Incorporated, Emily Edison, Astronaut Dad, and an adaptation of Antigone.
Brent Schoonover is a Minnesota based freelance illustrator whose first comic work is the self-published Horrorwood.