February 7, 2011
My path to Carl Sagan began with magic. In my my early 20′s I developed a hobby for card tricks and slight of hand. Penn and Teller were my main influences and through them I discovered (The Amazing) James Randi. I remember James Randi once saying Richard Dawkin’s book, The Blind Watchmaker should be required reading in all American classrooms. Hearing that I decided to read the book. I found it amazing. After that I read every Richard Dawkins book I could find. Through these books I discovered Carl Sagan.
Reading Sagan’s The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark changed my life. The way he explained the scientific method and the value of skepticism made me want to learn to more. The Demon-Haunted World remains one of my favorite books of all time.
In Cosmos: A Personal Voyage, his stories about the Heike Crab, and Eratosthenes’ calculation of the circumference of the earth blew my mind. Today these stories still resonate with me and I look forward to the day when I will share them with my children.
The Cosmos episode, “The Harmony of the Worlds”, in which Sagan challenges Astrology, inspired me to draw the comic. I thought it would be funny to have him encounter the forces of pseudo-science as he flew through the Cosmos in his spaceship of the Imagination. The design of Carl’s spaceship and his iconic wardrobe were fun for me to draw. I enjoy his mannerisms and his careful choice of words, so I tried to echo them in his dialog for the strip.
While Carl Sagan’s books have remained my favorites, I currently enjoy following scientists like Brian Cox, Neil deGrasse Tyson, Brian Greene and Michio Kaku. I love the quest they are on, the questions they ask, and I appreciate the way they communicate with their readers.
To see the entire storyboard, and to check out the rest of Michael’s work, visit his site Ninjerktsu.