Chet’s unnamed grandfather is taking Chet on a camping trip, which has Chet kind of bummed out, because he and his friend are racing to build better rockets in their own little space race. This turn of phrase amuses Chet’s grandfather, so he decides to tell Chet about the history of rocketry and the space race of the twentieth century.
Impressively for a children’s comic, the story doesn’t just talk about the science, but also about some of the political circumstances surrounding the space race, including rockets’ military uses, the fact that Wernher Von Braun worked for the Nazis, and a brief overview of the Cold War — albeit all done in child-friendly terms. While the story mostly focuses on the mid-20th century, it also touches on rudimentary rockets, such as those created in old China. The story also briefly talks about modern space travel, such as the ISS. The story ends with the reveal that this is an old history lesson and that Chet and his grandfather live on a human colony on Mars.
The art, while not bad, looks a little unfinished. The lines are a little too rounded and many things that should be angular (like some of the rockets) aren’t. Still, this is not a big distraction and it’s not likely to be something the book’s intended audience will notice. Space Race is an unabashedly educational comic. However, while that may sound boring, it’s published by Campfire, which has educational comics down to an art form. The history lesson is interesting without being preachy. There’s enough information to teach children about space, but not so much that they’re likely to get bored. It’s a great way to introduce children to the history of space.
by CEL Wash
Art by K.L. Jones
Campfire Graphic Novels, 2011