Book 02

Page 001


Welcome now, dear readers to Astronaut Academy, in it’s serialized return to the increasingly futuristic landscape of THE INTERNET! This comic of sequential nature, will be called Astronaut Academy: Re-Entry and be the perfect follow up to the one distinctly labeled Astronaut Academy: Zero Gravity!

The first 25 pages are available to read totally FREE and have the proper resolution for your screen to appear enjoyable to your reading satisfaction! And as a bonus that will leave you content, are ongoing blogged posts by Dave Roman who happens to be the author of the content referenced above!

PAGE 1 Commentary:
The kids are boarding the ramp to the bus station waiting area. This was inspired by the ramps at Tomorrowland at Disneyland park in California. I’ve spent a lot of time running up those ramps leading to Space Mountain. I wanted the return to school at Astronaut Academy to have a similar feel. Hakata was already on the school bus at the start of Book 1, so it was nice to show a bit more of the anticipation I used to feel waiting at the bus stop with friends.

Tomorrowland skyramp

Page 002


This page offered a subtle opportunity to establish some of the kids who are into the Monchichimon card game that will figure into the story later.

Page 003


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The buses at Astronaut Academy are an overt homage to the Catbus from the film My Neighbor Totoro, which is one of my favorite movies of all time (more about that in a blog post soon). The AA buses are mechanical and require human bus drivers. Sadly they don’t have fuzzy interiors like real cat buses, but on the positive, they do have air conditioning.

Page 005


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My biggest debate writing Book 2 was whether or not to show what happened to the kids over the winter break. It would have saved a lot of time if I jumped right into the main storyline, but I couldn’t resist showing the cast outside of the school and on their home planets.

Page 007


My original instinct was to make Earth of the future much more dystopian. But I started thinking about how few bright and sunny futures we ever see in pop culture, and realized that it was a chance to do something that reflected Miymi’s upbeat nature. So I ended thinking of the happy landscapes in classic 2D sidescrolling video games, specifically Super Mario World and Wonder Boy in Monster World. The space cruiser that Miyumi’s family owns is based on the Opa-Opa ship from Fantasy Zone.

Page 008


Can anybody guess how Miyumi’s sister disappeared? There’s a lot of clues on this page!
We’ll learn the secret origin of Hakata’s scarf later in the story!

Page 009


Since I depicted Miyumi’s neighborhood as looking like Super Mario World, I wanted the chores that Miyumi and Hakata do to feel like different levels in a videogame. I always thought it was cool that so many Studio Ghibli movies focus on characters having to do hard work, chores, and manual labor. They make you think it’s totally fun to dust, mop, and farm! In Spirited Away this is a huge part of what helps Chihiro transform from sullen child to confident woman! I also wanted to show that Hakata is very grateful to Miyumi and her grandfather for letter him stay in their home over winter break.

Page 010


Through most of the first book, Hakata is hoping or waiting to make contact with his friends on the Meta-Team. His heroic friends mean the world to him, but he began to fear that while he was at school, they had moved on without him.

The Communicom devices are a nod to the Digivices the characters use in Digimon, but sometimes I think of them as hi-tech baby monitors. Since the signals have been blocked, Hakata hasn’t been able to use all the functions of the communicom device, like its ability to send out sonic wave blasts. Maybe we’ll get to see some of that later?