Submitted by Alexander Danner on August 17, 2010 - 00:00
[Note: The following interview was conducted in July 2009, but has not previously been published.]
Since the 1997 release of his first graphic novel, Two-Fisted Science, writer, librarian, and one-time nuclear engineer Jim Ottaviani, has been telling compelling stories about the lives and work of scientists. He’s written about everything from J. Robert Oppenheimer’s work on the atomic bomb (Fallout, 2001), to Hedy Lamarr’s invention of an early “frequency hopping” communication sytem (Dignifying Science, 2003), to Harry Harlow’s investigations into the necessity of love (Wire Mothers, 2007). Along the way, he’s worked with more than two dozen artists, including Donna Barr, Roberta Gregory, Roger Langridge, Steve Lieber, Dylan Meconis, Linda Medley, and many others.
His eighth and most recent book, T-Minus: The Race to the Moon, illustrated by Zander Cannon and Kevin Cannon, relates the dual stories of the US and Soviet space programs through the late 1950s and 1960s, as they competed to be first to the lunar surface. But true to form, Ottaviani’s telling of the story focuses less on the astronauts who made the journey than on the engineers and rocket scientists who made the journey possible.