Go For Launch - Merlin & His Friends (1st Ed.)
THE FIRST EVER SPACEX-INSPIRED ILLUSTRATED BOOK
Introducing Go For Launch Comics: Merlin & His Friends, the first book in the Go For Launch series!
Go For Launch is largely narrated by Merlin the rocket engine, with each character introducing itself and telling the story of how they work together to complete a mission. The first book's timeline covers the first orbital rocket booster landing in history, the first drone ship landings, reusability, and getting ready for Pad 39A. The second book is in progress and will include Falcon Heavy, Starhopper, Starship development, and Commercial Crew! Every book contains easter eggs that parents and engineers will enjoy.
THE BACK STORY: Go For Launch: Merlin & His Friends is the very first SpaceX-inspired illustrated children's book, created in 2016. It was created by Abby Garrett, an artist who lives near the SpaceX McGregor test site. She heard engine tests every day for years and followed SpaceX's progress. When she was invited on-site as a guest for SpaceX's 2015 return to flight and very first landing, she got to see what it was like for engineers and other critical members of a rocket company. This experience changed the trajectory of her life. They weren't just launching rockets--they were launching these machines they had been working on for months or years and were connected to them like they were their children. It was as if a piece of them was launched into space in that moment. There was an explosion of joy in the room when the launch was not only successful, but made history as the first ever orbital rocket launch and landing. Even if a person wasn't an engineer, technician, or employee, it was impossible to not jump up and cheer, moved to the point of tears as so many accomplished a collective dream. It was during emotional and thrilling moment that Abby decided everyone needed to be able to experience a glimpse of this feeling and understand how companies like SpaceX are changing our future. A few days later, Abby sketched a cartoon of Merlin the rocket engine while hearing the deep rumble of an engine test from 20 miles away, and Go for Launch Comics was born. Over the next several months, despite a major spine injury, Abby completed the very first Go for Launch book in a neck brace and gave some of the first copies to the "rocket scientists" who inspired her.
THE CHARACTERS: Abby anthropomorphized the different rocket components and spacecraft (Falcon, Dragon V1, Dragon V2, Merlin, etc.) in order to make the vehicle and its complexity more relatable to kids of all ages. Not only is Elon Musk introduced, but also SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell--someone girls can definitely look up to. Though it's a "children's book," space lovers of all ages can find something to relate to, learn, and enjoy in this book. Diagrams and advanced terminology are incorporated into the art and story, which go into detail behind how a rocket goes from production to test, to launch, landing, and reuse. The goal is that as a child grows, this book will teach them (and their parents) new things over time. This first book covers detail from 2015-2017. Book 2 will cover the updates and cool stuff like new vehicles!
AN OUTREACH TOOL: Since their creation, the art and comics have had moments of virality on the internet, have been loved by space fans and aerospace employees, and have been introduced to schools around the world. Every year, Abby gives away books to schools, kids in need, and children's hospital wings. She also does outreach in schools to get kids interested in space and make it more relatable through art. This is a self-published book and comic strip series. All proceeds go directly towards funding local STE(A)M outreach efforts, enabling Abby to continue creating more space art, potential animation, and funding the next book.
Go For Launch: Merlin & His Friends is dedicated to the employees of SpaceX--the people who worked tirelessly on a dream many thought was impossible and made it reality, ushering in a new era of spaceflight.
BOOK SPECS: High-quality, 28-page (plus cover), durable paperback children’s book. The book printed on 8.5×11″, 120#, slightly glossy, full-color pages featuring all hand-drawn art. Abby was directly involved in printing this book and chose the paper type to best suit the art and reading experience. The art was created entirely in colored pencil.
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