Does NASA’s New Graphic Novel Ignore an Already Inclusive History?


The Jerusalem Post says NASA’s releasing a graphic novel starring a fictional lady astronaut, in a story meant to reflect their quest to train and send a female member on another moon journey. But, it would seem there’s political correctness at work here too:


NASA has made no secret of its plans to put a woman, as well as a person of color, on the moon in its widely-anticipated Artemis mission. But while that is still many years away, the US space agency has given people the chance to see what this might be like in the form of graphic novels and interactive experiences.

Dubbed First Woman: NASA’s Promise for Humanity, these graphic novels tell the story of Callie Rodriguez, a fictional character created by NASA who, in her story, is the first woman and person of color to head for the lunar surface.

Written by Brad Gann and Steven List and illustrated by Brent Donoho and Kaitlin Reid, the first issue was released Saturday in honor of Free Comic Book Day and is available on NASA’s website. Titled “Dream to Reality,” it shows Callie’s journey to prepare for her mission, featuring her robot sidekick RT.

The 44-page comic shows Callie and RT in space, while also flashing back in time to tell her life story, back to her childhood at her father’s auto shop fascinated with space, going through school and into NASA, overcoming challenges and loss to eventually become the astronaut she has dreamed of being her whole life.


It may be an inspiring idea to send a lady astronaut to the moon, but is it that big a deal to make it a POC who’s chosen, rather than training and talent? Because that’s what this GN risks making it look like in its vision. Let’s be clear. Space travel, as we know it, can’t be politicized, yet that’s become the norm in the USA these days, and it doesn’t bode well for development of space travel.



I’m sure someday, a woman – and also POC – will be able to travel on planetary journeys like these in the depths of outer space and the solar system. But astronomy can’t be held to the standards of leftist politics and social justice pandering, or else the projects will never be realized properly. Nor for that matter will fictionalized comics stories telling what we hope to achieve in the future.


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It so happens there already has been a woman who flew into space, Mae C. Jemison, who’s also African-American. She made her first journey in 1992, almost 3 decades ago. So what’s the point of NASA’s new graphic novel, when there happens to already be a lady who’d made the amazing journey to the stars on board the Endeavor shuttle years before? This is just stunning how history’s being obscured for political correctness.


Originally published here.

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Avi Green

Avi Green was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. He enjoyed reading comics when he was young, the first being Fantastic Four. He maintains a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy of facts. He considers himself a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. Follow him on his blog at Four Color Media Monitor or on Twitter at @avigreen1