For our spin-off series “Moments in Aviation History”, we do a lot of historical research. We usually don’t research very deeply, but rather skim topics on the surface in the hope of finding something that we can turn into a cartoon, although every now and then, we fall down a historical rabbit hole. I could call myself an aviation history expert! I would be lying, of course, for I am but an interested layman, but I have indeed have learned a lot while working on this series.
One of the harder subjects is usually how to distinguish various “first” events. E.g. the first transatlantic flight, the first non-stop transatlantic flight, the first non-stop transatlantic solo flight, etc. As a kid, I always thought that Charles Lindbergh was the first to cross the Atlantic on a plane, and I bet, if you asked the average Joe or Jane, that’s what they would think too.
We try to be precise, but in the limited space available in a box or talk bubble in a comic, you have to make concessions. So, in today’s strip we write “first transatlantic passenger flight”, but in reality, it refers to the first regular transatlantic passenger service by an airline (Pan Am between New York and Marseilles). Many passengers crossed the Atlantic in various other airborne ways before that, of course.
Have we mentioned, that we are working on a whole “Moments in Aviation History” book? I’ sure we have. It is our first collaborative project with author and aviation historian Jim Cunningham, who has already written a whole series of hilarious short texts that will help put our cartoons into the proper historic perspective. We are still months away from completion, but we’re very excited about the whole thing! Stay tuned!