Blog Post for March 2, 2012: “Knowledge Is Power”
I forgot to mention this in the blog post for the first “Know your Neptune,” but these comics are an homage to the “Keys of Knowledge.” The “Keys of Knowledge” ran inside the front or back covers of some lucky Gold Key comic books, and they are great!
Here’s a link to a fantastic (and apparently wildly inaccurate) “Key of Knowledge” about fish. If you click on the picture at the link, you can see the whole thing. Black and white, impeccably designed, that killer Gold Key logo incorporated into the title—the key that looks like a sprouting weed—those are the characteristics of these one-page info-strips.
A lot of the “Keys” were about animals, but then a lot of them weren’t. The breadth of subjects covered is incredible. Don’t believe me? Follow this link for a list.
I think I’ve only seen a few—one about dinosaurs, one about electricity, one about Native Americans. But, reading that list, there are so many that I’m heartbroken I’ve never seen—especially if they’re all as riddled with errors as that one about fish. Dolphins ain’t fish!
For instance, how might “Key of Knowledge” Astronomy-6, which is about sunspots, get things wrong? Is one of the drawings a sun with chicken pox?
Or Fish-26 about weakfish—is it a drawing of a pre-Charles Atlas minnow getting sand kicked in his face by a beefy grouper?
Or the “Key” about “pioneer motorists,” somewhat illogically filed as Seagoing Vessels-41? Or History of Flight-14, “fireworks in space”? Is it just five panels of, literally, fireworks in space? What else could it be?
I also feel I’m not as toned and in-shape as I could be, and it’s all because I’ve never seen Physical Fitness-11, which details “twisting and bending.”
Anyway, the “Keys” I have seen, I love to death, and it was fait accompli that I’d use their design and purpose somehow in Harold the Astronaut. Filling in the blanks on Neptune occurred to me soon after, and everything just fit—so much so that I think these “Wedges of Wisdom” are among my most successful comics.
And that’s the last panel in Behind the Scenes-14, “Harold the Astronaut.” It’s a drawing of me looking up from my illustration board, Harold and Sally waving from the piece of paper I’ve been illustrating. Super-meta! Which is why it’s also an entry in the Meta series, Meta-12, “witty closing lines.”