It’s not a factoid that’s often bandied about, but while America succeeded in putting the first man on the moon, it was actually the Soviet space program that launched the first woman into space. Next February, writer Jim Ottaviani and artist Maris Wicks tell the story of that astronaut, Valentina Terishkova, as well as the stories of Mary Cleave, the women of NASA’s Group 9 and other space-bound female pioneers in Astronauts: Women on the Final Frontier.
“Someone, somewhere out there right now, will go to Mars,” Ottaviani said in an exclusive statement. “And someone else — many someones, in fact! — will make scientific or engineering breakthroughs that make that trip possible. They just don’t know it yet, so I wrote Astronauts to help them find their way onto their path, and get them moving down it. (Also, because it meant Maris and I got to hang out with cool astronauts and engineers!)”
Astronauts arrives courtesy of First Second, publisher of award-winning fiction and non-fiction graphic novels for all ages. Writer Jim Ottaviani has previously teamed with First Second for Feynman, a biography of the Nobel-winning physicist; and Primates, which was illustrated by Ottaviani’s Astronauts collaborator Maris Wicks.
“When I came up with the initial sketch for the cover, I purposely made it unclear whether the astronaut (in this case, Mary Cleave) was viewing the stars from space or from Earth.” Wicks explained. “(I mean, I know she’s wearing a space helmet, but who hasn’t walked around on Earth in a space helmet from time to time?) I wanted to capture the awe that I feel when I look up into the night sky, and I wanted to show that you don’t have to be an astronaut to be inspired by space.”
Paste readers can take an exclusive first look at Wicks’s cover below. Astronauts: Women on the Final Frontier hits stores February 4th, 2020.
Astronauts: Women on the Final Frontier Cover Art by Maris Wicks