Strange Moon

Cidu Bill on May 8th 2017


Filed in Bill Bickel, CIDU, John Deering, Strange Brew, comic strips, comics, humor | 32 responses so far

32 Responses to “Strange Moon”

  1. James Schend May 8th 2017 at 12:25 am 1

    Are those two scribbly rectangles in the front a cellphone and a SIM card? Does that provide a clue at all? I… I’m totally stumped.

  2. Arthur May 8th 2017 at 01:25 am 2

    The only thing I can see which could make this a joke is if
    those foreground objects were on the Moon’s surface, just out of
    sight of the astronauts. They had a bad attitude, didn’t search
    well enough, and are missing a HUGE discovery because of it.
    (Think of all of those Sergio Aragones drawings of people
    digging lots of holes, with what they’re looking for between
    those holes.)

    I hope that’s not what was intended, though. There’s no evidence
    any of the Apollo astronauts had bad attitudes. One object
    really looks like a smartphone, which is anachronistic. They’re
    all plainly human objects, yet they’re seemingly lying on the
    Moon’s surface.

    I suppose it could be some kind of reference to the Moon hoax
    theory, but it’s not very clear how.

  3. Kilby May 8th 2017 at 03:51 am 3

    The composition is horrible. At first I thought the phone was supposed to be the device with which that “last photo” was taken, but the coffee cup shows that they are probably on the artist’s desk, and not on the moon.

    P.S. My first thought was that this panel was supposed to refer to one of the lunar missions in which the astronauts forgot to pack an important piece of scientific equipment back into the lander, stranding the results on the moon, but it doesn’t connect well enough for that.

  4. Olivier May 8th 2017 at 04:36 am 4

    Tribute to Eugene Cernan ? Jab at fake lunar landings conspiracy theorists ? Conflation of the 2 ?

  5. narmitaj May 8th 2017 at 05:25 am 5

    What’s that spirally G next to the pencil… is it a mysterious logo or a loose paperclip? Is it relevant? (I don’t suppose it is a reference to Operation Paperclip).

    There’s talk of a robot Audi rover mission to visit the Apollo 17 site in the next year or two. But I don’t suppose that is relevant.

  6. Ian D Osmond May 8th 2017 at 09:00 am 6

    I think this is a scene from the set where they were faking the moon landings.

  7. Kilby May 8th 2017 at 11:23 am 7

    @ narmitaj (5) - It’s a paperclip, half attached to a sheet of notebook paper that the colorist did not bother to differentiate from the underlying surface. I’m not sure that Ian has it at 6, but I am definitely sure that we’ve wasted more time trying to figure out the meaning of this scribbling than Deering bothered to use in creating it.

  8. BeckoningChasm May 8th 2017 at 11:34 am 8

    The guy has an ironic poster of the Moon landing he’s going to put on the wall, but he put it on his desk first and then gradually covered it with other stuff he was working on. So the poster is still covering the desk.

    Yeah, that’s stupid but I have no idea how the comic is supposed to work.

  9. Folly May 8th 2017 at 12:37 pm 9

    Some thoughts, although they don’t fully explain the comic, especially the stuff in the background. Gene Cernan, the last man to walk on the moon died in January.

    Snoopy was a semi-official mascot of Apollo 10 (which wasn’t the last one) but there is this associated photo. If that’s not a camera being held, maybe its Snoopy.

  10. Joseph K. May 8th 2017 at 12:42 pm 10

    I thought the stuff in the foreground was just garbage they left on the moon. The joke is that the astronauts are so cynical and jaded they littered all over and don’t even care, they just want to go home.

  11. Folly May 8th 2017 at 01:02 pm 11

    The last Apollo mission also had the famous ‘blue marble’ photograph. Part of the joke may be that the only purpose of the mission was to get that photograph as everything else about traveling to the moon had gotten so boring at that point.

  12. Scott May 8th 2017 at 01:13 pm 12

    The foreground, with a smartphone, is modern, so I’m guessing that this is about what Apollo XVII would be like in the modern days - they’d take a picture for Instagram and then leave.
    I saw Apollo XVII launch, and I read Cernan’s autobiography not too long ago, and I don’t see this as much of a tribute to him.

  13. Mary Ellen May 8th 2017 at 02:26 pm 13

    I agree with Ian — it’s the soundstage where the moon landing was faked.

    Or maybe it’s suggesting that they aren’t leaving the moon for the “last time,” since they’ll have to go back for whatever all that stuff is?

  14. Boise Ed May 8th 2017 at 02:26 pm 14

    I had thought maybe the modern items, which the lazy speaker won’t find, imply some other, more recent visitor. It looks like there’s a USA flag in the scene, though, which says the “action” is no later than 1972.

  15. woozy May 8th 2017 at 04:17 pm 15

    I’m finding myself falling back on the “the cartoonist has an obscure idiosyncrasy but assumes it is universal” explanation more and more frequently lately. So this cartoonist when bored likes to doodle iconic images of the moon-landing and assumes everyone else doodles the same thing when bored. So the moon people are tired of being doodled all the time.

    Meh, makes no sense but nothing else does either.

  16. Brent May 8th 2017 at 06:47 pm 16

    Are you sure the USA is going to collapse before they get back there to replace the flag? Because the one up there will have sun bleached itself white by now. So it looks more like a picture from the future.

    Although I can’t help feeling that maybe there was a “Lunarian Tools” caption that got cut off the bottom. :)

  17. James Schend May 9th 2017 at 12:52 am 17

    If it were the soundstage used for faking moon landings, why would it have a smartphone which didn’t exist at the time?

    I’m not convinced by any of the explanations so far.

  18. Meryl A May 9th 2017 at 01:12 am 18

    Hmm, sound stage where they filmed the landing.

    Hey, some of the old Grumman buildings here on Long Island, including those related to the lander (per what I have read and been told - if the lander was not really worked on here, I have been lied to by at least one person who said they worked on it) have been made into, yes, sound stages. There are two studios in the buildings.

    Among the things shot there are “the Americans”, “Salt”, “Kevin Can Wait”, and the live TV performances of several musicals over the last few years.

    So maybe there were already sound stages there from when they filmed the moon landings? :-)

  19. James Pollock May 9th 2017 at 01:21 am 19

    “why would it have a smartphone which didn’t exist at the time?”

    That’s just what they WANT you to think…

  20. Olivier May 9th 2017 at 02:43 am 20

    If we stopped going to the Moon, it was because there was nothing left to do but take pictures.
    Maybe the smartphone is here to suggest that nowadays, we would go to the Moon just to take pictures.

  21. wkiraly May 9th 2017 at 10:07 am 21

    Still clear as mud to me but the Atlantic has an article about the last words spoken on the moon which closely echo those in this cryptic cartoon. Doesn’t explain the timing, the coffee cup, paperclip or iPad but it has to part of the key to understanding this…

    From the article linked below:
    “According to Apollo 7 astronaut Walter Cunningham in his book The All-American Boys, Cernan’s final words on the moon were: “Let’s get this mother out of here.” (Or as O’Brien spells it, awesomely, “let’s get this mutha.”) And there would be, indeed, something wonderfully poetic about “let’s get this mother” — excuse me, mutha — “outta here” as our parting words to the moon: something very human and honest and inscribed in its time.

    But the “outta here” thing is likely, alas, apocryphal. According to NASA’s official transcript of Apollo 17’s return to Earth, what Cernan actually said was in part a response to a malfunction his fellow astronaut, Jack Schmitt, was encountering with a camera: “Now, let’s get off. Forget the camera.”"

  22. billybob May 9th 2017 at 12:28 pm 22

    The cup of coffee and other objects only make sense if they’re resting on a picture of the moon landing. And if both astronauts are in the background, who took the picture?

  23. James Pollock May 9th 2017 at 12:35 pm 23

    “According to NASA’s official transcript of Apollo 17’s return to Earth”

    I wouldn’t trust NASA’s official transcript. They PR’ed over everything, both before AND after the astronauts did anything.

    “if both astronauts are in the background, who took the picture?”

    Cameras work even if nobody is standing behind them. We have video of Neil Armstrong climbing out of the Apollo 11 lander and stepping on the moon. This does not mean that somebody has to have gotten out before him and pointed a camera at him.

  24. Christine May 9th 2017 at 01:40 pm 24

    How many of the things in the foreground would use spin-off technology? To my mind, there are too many things that are completely unrelated to the space programme for this to entirely work, but as has been pointed out, they’re hard to identify. I was originally thinking that the comic was supposed to be mocking people who claimed that there wasn’t a lot of benefit from space programmes, they were just there for the pictures, by contrasting that phrasing with technology that came from the programme. But I can’t see a cup of coffee or a pencil as having technology developed for space.

  25. larK May 9th 2017 at 02:22 pm 25

    Coffee: was heated in a microwave, which we only have because of the space program!

    Pencil: the result of an exhaustive engineering challenge to make a pen that works in zero G!

    (Actually, the story is supposedly: NASA spent many thousand$ working on a pen that would be leak proof, and pressurized and whatever, so it would work in zero-G; the Russians just used a pencil…)

  26. Christine May 9th 2017 at 04:10 pm 26

    Just in case anyone doesn’t know the story of the space pen: has a good summary of the facts. (I admit, the pencil was what made me realise that my first thought of “spin-off technology” wouldn’t work, because the space pen thing is so well known.)

  27. Winter Wallaby May 9th 2017 at 05:38 pm 27

    I still don’t have any idea what’s going on in this comic. It sort of looks like a fake moon landing, but if it is, what’s the joke? Is it just “the moon landing was fake; here’s a picture of them faking it?” Doesn’t seem like a joke, whether or not you think the landing was faked.

  28. Mark in Boston May 9th 2017 at 08:10 pm 28

    EVERYBODY knows the last words spoken on the moon were “Good luck, Mr. Gorsky.”

  29. Brian in STL May 11th 2017 at 01:49 pm 29

    “Coffee: was heated in a microwave, which we only have because of the space program!”

    No. The microwave oven was developed from the experiences of radar technicians in WWII.

  30. Bob May 11th 2017 at 10:56 pm 30

    MiB - LoL!

  31. Meryl A May 17th 2017 at 01:21 am 31

    Husband and I used to have Space Pens (purchased at the Smithsonian of course). Eventually I lost mine. I don’t carry a purse and like a pen in my pocket and larger pens scare me with the thought of falling and pushing the pen into me. Husband gave me his - lost that.

    Husband started turning wooden pens on a lathe. He got the small pen tools and made us very nice small wooden. Unfortunately something in the paper now being used for many credit cards receipts no longer works with the ink from those pens (or vice versa - the pens no longer work…). So we went to Staples with a coupon and bought - 2 new Space Pens.

    I am trying very hard not to lose this one! There also seem to be refills from the company which work with other pens. It is the refills that actually makes the Space Pen.

    Quick story - When my nephew (now 26) was a very young boy, Robert showed him his Space Pen - told him about them and why they came about and that they do not need gravity to work and will work pointing up, etc. Nephew took it and a piece of paper, fell on his back and holding the paper and pen above him wrote HELP. His idea was that something happened to one and one was upside down one could still write for help with the Space Pen.

  32. Folly May 17th 2017 at 03:41 pm 32

    Popping back in to see if the mystery was solved… aw nuts.

    OK. One last thought. “the moon landings have been tabled”

    See, the last moon landing is literally being used as a table and…

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