To accentuate its dramatic aspect, the story is built in camera and takes place in flashback. An off-key text written by the main character supports the introverted nature of the graphic novel.
The first version was drawn on paper and then scanned for coloring. The progress of computer technology later allowed me to do without pencil and paper by drawing directly on screen. This technique requires a little practice but allows you to make corrections and insert or modify boards without having to redraw everything. It's a bit like editing a movie.
The characters are drawn in the style of the clear line while the sets are very realistic. This choice is justified by my desire not to overload the drawing and to keep a good visibility of the image. This unusual style may shock but it is widespread in the classics of cartoons. The movement of the characters has been dosed in order to give a natural dynamic, and to avoid the Marvell or manga style.
The power of computers and my experience in model making have allowed me to create rockets, ships and lunar ground in 3D. This gave me the freedom to make a layout according to my wishes, which would not have been the case if I had inserted photos.
The layout is inspired by the works of Albert Weinberg (Dan Cooper). I had the pleasure of meeting this great author at the 2005 Geneva Book Fair and the chance to show him some of my plates. He had strongly encouraged me to complete the comic book and to publish it.
Genesis of a comic book
This is the image with which it all began!
When I discovered this photo of the Soviet lunar module LK in the early 1990s, I came up with the idea of telling the story of a cosmonaut who landed on the Moon before the Americans. At that time, information on the subject was still scarce and the Internet was in its infancy, making a credible scenario difficult. A totally in camera story of a cosmonaut trapped on the moon and left to his own devices seemed to be the only way to avoid telling incorrect facts. Gradually, a lot of detailed information on the inhabited lunar programme of the former USSR became available. It was planned to send two ships to the Moon, one remaining in orbit, the other landing on our satellite. In every cabin there had to be a cosmonaut. So, I had to rework the script and add a second character. The idea of a cosmonaut woman came from a colleague with whom I shared my project. I immediately adopted his proposal. The romance between the two characters came only at a later stage. I got myself somewhat surprised, as if the characters were evolving beyond my control. As more detailed information became known, I reviewed the whole story and included all the details of what had really happened. By comparing the chronology of American and Soviet programs, I realized that it was possible to merge them and thus make the story plausible. All dates, times, the position of the Sun and the Moon's quarters do correspond exactly with the unfolding story.