Douglas Henderson, ‘Kosmonaut Gagarin’, 2012, Mazzoli

Yuri Gagarin seems to me a superhero in both graphical representation, and for his extraordinary survival of a space mission very nearly gone wrong. Packed into his tin can and fired into space, without any control over the mission (the authorities were very doubtful that he would remain conscious, so all control signals came from earth, over vacuum-tube radio equipment), things went very pear-shaped upon reentry and the capsule spun out of control for several minutes. Thanks to his training, he not only remained calm, but actually survived G-forces that would have killed a lesser man. Then elevated to a hero of the Soviet revolution, he was painted in brilliantly stylized posters across the USSR, and thus stepped off this earth and onto the pages of the comicbook superhero. Low frequency sound waves drive this depiction of his reentry to earth’s atmosphere and the beginning of his near (and I think deserved) sainthood. (Douglas Henderson)

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