Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Tales From Outer Space

Tales From Outer Space

When We Dream, We're All Winners

There's a quote from Carl Sagan, famous astronomer and astrophysicist, that has always inspired me. Unfortunately, I can't remember the exact wording. Something about the only limits of space being our vision or something like that. The closest I came to finding the full quote was this snippet from Carl Sagan's dentist, Dr. Robert Hefferman, "Brushing twice daily can reduce plaque by up to 80%".

These quasi-quotes really get to the heart of what the Draw Your Own Thrilling Space Adventure Contest was all about. Without the dreamers of this world, the Carl Sagans and Dr. Robert Heffermans, to lift us, inspire us, and push us to make the unreal real, how could we ever accomplish such impossible dreams like outer-space travel, or an eighty-percent reduction in plaque? The dreamers make the difference.

None of us can say with any certainty what tomorrow will bring. But neither can we say what it won't. And should we discover, twenty-years from now, that there is a horrible race of Space Reptiles that loves pancakes, or that all our robots are emotionally-crippled by Uranus jokes, I can't say for certain how I'd react, but I suspect I won't be surprised.

Because thanks to you dreamers... I've already seen it.

The Top Five

I am proud to present the following five winners of the Draw Your Own Thrilling Space Adventure Contest. Winners, you have each earned a signed copy of The Superest Book (I'll be contacting you for addresses), as well as a special place in my heart. Congratulations!

Nathan Scheck

Nathan Scheck's Submission

I have to say I had a weakness for any entries that resulted in the cosmic obliteration of the protagonist. Also, I like the idea of a planetary equivalent to Webster's house.

Eric Cator

Eric Cator's Submission

Remember what I was saying about the dreamers? Well, this comic is doing double dream-duty. If it turns out the future has interspecies dalliances and pens that draw their own comics, you'll have Eric to thank.

Mike Carpenter

Mike Carpenter's Submission

One of mankind's greatest evolutionary advantages was our application of heat to create edible and bacteria-free sustenance. Mike did a fantastic job of capturing the humanity of this hideous intergalactic reptile.

Peter Miller

Peter Miller's Submission

Let us not forget the perils the pioneers of space-colonization will have to face. We will remember. Once it happens, I mean.

Tom Deal

Tom Deal's Submission

I had almost the exact same thing happen to me. Except instead of a hideous space reptile I hit a skunk. And I was the one who actually did the eating. It's like you saw my life and put it in panels, Tom!

The I-Can't-Resist-Mentioning-ables

As tends to happen in these sort of contest thingies, there were a number of entries that I just can't help but mention. I was quite fond of this submission by Christian Bailey, though because it was so similar to Mike Carpenter's entry, I felt I had to go with one or the other. I found Brad Behnes crayon-scrawled entry to be quite moving, though he was edged out because he had to share the writing credit with Annie Proulx. And thanks to Ava Ann, I don't think I'll ever go back to washing my car with water; not now that I know I can harness the pure cleaning power of fire.

I also managed to coerce submissions from two of my esteemed illustrative collaborators. Matthew Sutter provided some comics, my favorite of which I used as the lead image of this article. And Peter Dalkner provided such a finely-crafted comic tale of bittersweet comedy that I can't help but share it here:

Peter Dalkner's Submission

To anyone who I did not mention, please don't feel slighted. Every submission brought me tremendous joy, and I can't thank you enough for sharing a little bit of your time and talent with me. Kudos to you!

For those of you kicking yourself because you've only just now realized there was a contest, or if you've submitted already but found you just can't stop drawing Thrilling Space Adventures, you're more than welcome to continue sending them my way. I do enjoy them. Though you won't retroactively win the contest. Unless you bribe the judge.

In a completely unrelated note, I enjoy Peanut Butter Cups, and 100 dollar bills.

Comments on this Article

There are currently 16 comments.

[ Add one of your own! ]


Such rampant awesomeness. Thanks for pulling it all together Mr. Cornell.


Well, thank YOU for participating!


Oh man—that was some good stuff there. I'm glad you have some brave readers. Me? I'm a gigantic wuss, but a thoroughly entertained and giggling wuss.


I wouldn't call you a gigantic wuss... you're under 9 feet tall, right?


This is soooo good!!! Really lovely and entertaining, makes me wish I tried my hand at it, but when I draw - I get crabs, on the paper that is, as my drawing is very crab-like.


Huzzar! I am mentioned in the The I-Can't-Resist-Mentioning-ables! Some great work here which I have been chortling over!


Not really fair, you know? There's no way I could get my hands on Peanut Butter Cups this part of the world...

But that aside, I loved it, thank you.

Jonathan Wagener

Really awesome. Such a lot of great entertaining imagination. Bribing the judge ... hum ... might not be a bad idea, do you take visa?

Alan Scott

Alas I'm too late for tales from outer space but please see what my entry would have been based on - the vexation of loss of bite caused by slippery lips and no gravity.

I shall visit here more often. I've been before a while ago to read the advice on persevering as an illustrator which I have just re-read.



Thanks for putting me in the mentionables even though the hand flame roasting theme was rather pervasive. Who would have guessed?
I was under strict contract with Annie Proulx that if we won I was to share the book by tearing it in two and giving her half. She wanted the top half since that's who I borrowed the crayons off of.


Loved the one by Eric and Tom.

Are there any other gems sent by email?


Ok, sorry for double posting but 100 dollar bills are bad for digestion. Specially if you eat them with peanut butter cups. Or stolen triangular pies.


I received my Superest prize today. I am overcome with emotion. Although it could be varnish fumes from the French Polishing factory next door. Whatever the case, thank you so much for my prize, and here's to many more Thrilling Space Adventures!


Great competition. Such fun.Nathan's is genius. Peter Dalkner's is heartbreaking. Thanks!


I am now the proud owner of some of the Superest Supers that ever supered, and I have thrilling space adventures to thank for it. Thanks thrilling space adventures!

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