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Preview: Spacecraft: A Smithsonian Coloring Book

Spacecraft: A Smithsonian Coloring Book

(W) John Pirtel (A) John Pirtel
In Shops: Aug 25, 2021
SRP: $16.99

Launch into a universe of creativity-ready for you to color! The Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum presents a galaxy-spanning new coloring book that provides a crisp, informative look at the history of space exploration.

With this expertly crafted coloring book, fire up your imagination as you marvel at the wonders of interplanetary travel and interstellar exploration, plus the human ingenuity that made it possible, with a selection of the most celebrated artifacts and spacecraft from the National Air and Space Museum collection.

Curated by museum experts and masterfully illustrated by John Pirtel (Airplanes: A Smithsonian Coloring Book), get an up-close look at Sputnik, Explorer 1, Friendship 7, Space Shuttle Discovery, Voyager, astronaut Sally Ride’s flight suit, a real Mars rover, the Apollo 11 capsule Columbia, and much more. These detailed pen and ink illustrations encourage you to consider the vastness of space and the achievements necessary to make these giant leaps for humankind, which fans of spacecraft, coloring books, and space history can unlock with their own creativity.

Each page of Spacecraft: A Smithsonian Coloring Book not only stands alone as a work of art, but is also accompanied by brief and fascinating insights from the museum’s experts about each artifact and its history, ensuring that time spent coloring is also time spent learning.

Spacecraft: A Smithsonian Coloring Book

The Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Renwick Gallery Announces a New Digital Comic Series

The Smithsonian American Art Museum and the Renwick Gallery has announced a new digital comic series, Drawn to Art: Ten Tales of Inspiring Women Artists.

The series looks at visionaries and rule breakers: Alma Thomas, Berenice Abbott, Carmen Herrera, Kay Sekimachi, Mickalene Thomas, Corita Kent, Maria Oakey Dewing, Anni Albers, Edmonia Lewis, and Romaine Brooks.

The digital comics will focus on the lives of these important women with the hopes of inspiring a new generation. Each comic will be drawn by a student-illustrator at the Ringling College of Art and Design.

Read the comics now and check out the each below.


Illustrated by Lauren Lamb

Alma Thomas became the first woman to graduate from the art department at Howard University, as well as one of the first Black women to receive a degree in art. Her exuberant, colorful paintings explore the natural world around us, from garden to galaxy.



Illustrated by Emily Fromhage

Anni Albers studied art at the innovative Bauhaus, where she discovered weaving. She fled Nazi Germany and became an influential teacher at the experimental Black Mountain College in North Carolina.



Illustrated by Madeline Kneubheul

Born in 1898, Berenice Abbott discovered her gift for photography in Paris. When she returned home, she created iconic portraits of buildings and people in New York City, images that still move us to this day.



Illustrated by Ezra Gaeta

Carmen Herrera was born in Havana, Cuba, then lived in Paris before moving to New York City in 1952. She faced discrimination in the art world for being an immigrant and a woman and only found success late in life for her minimal, beautiful works.



Illustrated by Mica Borovinsky

Corita Kent joined a religious order after high school and became fascinated with screen printing. She would go on to be described as “the pop art nun who combined the sensibility of Andy Warhol with social justice,” and helped to bring a little more color to the world.



Illustrated by Rachel Bivens

The daughter of a Haitian father and an Ojibwe mother Lewis overcame many obstacles before finding success as a sculptor in Rome, where her fame brought countless visitors to her studio.



Illustrated by Emily Ehlen

Kay Sekimachi and her family were forced into a Japanese incarceration camp during WWII. There, she spent her time making art. After the war, she discovered weaving and her innovative practices and mastery of techniques earned her the sobriquet “the Weaver’s Weaver.”



Illustrated by Kippy Sage

Born in 1845, the American painter known for her depiction of flowers described herself as a “Garden-Thirsty Soul.” Her promising career was overshadowed by her marriage to a more famous artist. Her artworks remain unsurpassed in celebrating the beauty of the natural world.



Illustrated by Shayna Cohen

When contemporary artist Mickalene Thomas was in art school, she couldn’t afford traditional materials and gravitated towards craft stores and the glitter and rhinestones within. Her paintings speak to female empowerment and of women of color owning and defining their own spaces.



Illustrated by Abigail Rajunov

Romaine Brooks suffered an abusive childhood but triumphed as an adult, embracing gender fluidity and her queer identity. Her fierce independence is inspiring to people today.


Preview: Smithsonian: Airplane Coloring Book

Smithsonian: Airplane Coloring Book

(W) John Pirtel (A) John Pirtel
In Shops: Dec 30, 2020
SRP: $16.99

The greatest aircraft of all time are lifting off again your help! The Smithsonian’s National Air and Space Museum and IDW Publishing present a fascinating new coloring book that provides a beautiful and informative tour through the high-flying world of airplanes.

With this exquisitely designed coloring book, aviation lovers of all ages can soar through the skies with some of the most recognized and revered airplanes from the collection at the National Air and Space Museum. Guided by museum experts and the thrilling artistry of John Pirtel, meet the 1903 Wright Flyer, the Lockheed Vega 5-B, Northrop Gamma Polar Star, McDonnell F-4S Phantom II, Concorde, and many more. These detailed pen and ink illustrations invite you to strap in and experience thrilling scenes of these aircraft in action, which fans of airplanes, coloring books, and aviation history can unlock with their own creativity.

Each page of Airplanes: A Smithsonian Coloring Book not only stands alone as a work of art, but is also accompanied by brief and fascinating insights from the museum’s Aeronautics experts about each aircraft, ensuring that time spent coloring is also time spent learning.

This book’s deluxe ivory paper allows for a variety of artistic media like pen, pencil, or even watercolor, to ensure your creative vision comes to life just the way you want lasts for years to come. Officially licensed by the Smithsonian and developed in collaboration with experts from the National Air and Space Museum.

Smithsonian: Airplane Coloring Book

Airplanes Soar and Dinosaurs Roar in The Smithsonian Institution and IDW Publishing’s Enlightening New Line of Coloring Books

Time spent coloring can also be time spent learning, thanks to two beautiful and informative coloring books presented by IDW Publishing and the Smithsonian Institution. This October, aviation and paleontology fans of all ages can look forward to a creative exploration of their favorite topics, as they color their way through Airplanes: A Smithsonian Coloring Book and Dinosaurs: A Smithsonian Coloring Book.

These books are designed to provide fascinating coloring experiences for readers. The pages stand alone as works of art and the books also contain insights from the National Air and Space Museum’s aeronautics experts and the paleontology experts from the National Museum of Natural History.  

Airplanes: A Smithsonian Coloring Book allows readers to soar through the skies with some of the most recognized and revered airplanes from the collection at the National Air and Space Museum. The thrilling artistry of John Pirtel vivifies the very first powered aircrafts of the 1900s, revolutionary bombers and jet fighters of the 20th century, supersonic passenger airliner, and many more.

Dinosaurs: A Smithsonian Coloring Book invites readers to explore millions of years of animal wonders, guided by experts from the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History. The artistic wizardry of Rachel Curtis (The Princess Bride: A Storybook to Color) captures scenes featuring the herbivorous Stegosaurus, the sea-dwelling Hesperornis, the giant sauropod Camarasaurus, the mighty Tyrannosaurus, and many more.

IDW and the Smithsonian Announce a New Graphic Novel Program

Smithsonian Institution Building by Nate Powell
Smithsonian Institution Building by Nate Powell

IDW Publishing, and the Smithsonian Institution have announced a multi-year global publishing program, which will create an unprecedented library of graphic novels built on the cultural and scientific knowledge of the world’s largest museum, educational, and research complex.

Beginning in fall 2020, IDW and the Smithsonian will invite readers on a voyage of discovery with a comprehensive range of graphic books in a variety of formats. Among the planned product lines are: Time Trials, a middle-grade graphic novel series inspired by the National Museum of American History video series; original graphic novels focused on landmark events and individuals, in the tradition of IDW’s acclaimed March and They Called Us Enemy; coloring books in both the youth and adult categories; picture books for young readers; and more.

Drawing from the Smithsonian’s vast holdings, which include some of the world’s most popular museums, IDW will create exciting visual narratives for lifelong learners worldwide, produced by a close working relationship between experts at the Smithsonian and top talents from the world of graphic literature.

IDW’s books published in collaboration with the Smithsonian will be available everywhere books are sold, including comic book specialty shops, bookstores, libraries, museums, and ebook vendors.

Awesome Con and the Smithsonian present Future Con

Science experts and entertainers will unite this month at the Smithsonian magazine Future Con, a themed pavilion celebrating science, technology, science fiction and fantasy within the Mid-Atlantic’s premiere pop culture convention Awesome Con. From March 30-April 1 Future Con presents three days of special programming that will include tech demos, meet-and-greet opportunities with scientific leaders and the opportunity to dive into the stimulating and fantastical overlaps between real-world science and science fiction. Attendees of all ages can engage with panels and discussions as well as hands-on tech demos and workshops, all focused on fostering awareness and enthusiasm for science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM).

Awesome Con welcomes the brightest minds from organizations leading scientific advancement and education to Future Con, with representatives from Boeing, National Science Foundation, American Association for the Advancement of Science, Association for Psychological Science, and the Planetary Society leading programs and workshops throughout the weekend.

Panels like Turning Science Fiction Space Travel into Science Fact presented by Boeing will bring together visionaries and engineers to share how ongoing scientific developments and research are laying the foundation for future space exploration. Learn from experts about what it takes to survive in space, travel to Mars, launch the largest rocket ever into space, and more.

Science lovers will also be able to sit in on Future Con events like the Netflix: “Lost in Space” panel presented in partnership with Netflix, an exclusive preview of the upcoming dramatic re-imagination of the classic show and an exploration of the goals of modern space travel. Attendees can stop by the Future Con pavilion and into an immersive “Lost in Space” pop-up complete with show props and décor that will be featured on the galactic adventure show.

In the panel Science behind Mad Science, X, The Moonshot Factory’s Rich DeVaul will reveal how the moonshot factory brings science fiction-sounding technologies such as driverless cars and balloon-powered internet to life. DeVaul will also share tips for aspiring moonshot takers and unveil some never-before-seen explorations. At the X booth at Future Con, show attendees will be able to see some of X’s prototypes up close and learn more about how engineers, scientists and entrepreneurs are part of X’s early-stage work. The X booth will also allow attendees to play a rapid-fire moonshot thinking game, learn about rapid prototyping and meet some of the scientists, engineers and entrepreneurs behind X’s technology.

Star Wars fans will be delighted with exhibits and events presented as part of Future Con, with franchise film stars John Boyega, Joonas Suotamo, and Jeremy Bulloch planning special appearances over the weekend.

Sci-fi movie fans can also attend a Science of “Pacific Rim” panel inspired by the blockbuster 2013 film. Dr. Rich DeVaul, Director of Mad Science at X, and Legendary Comics’ Senior Vice President of Creative Strategy Barnaby Legg clue attendees in to how close to we are to building defensive robots known as ‘jagers,’ whether we can merge consciousness and share memories and feelings with other individuals, and delve into the scientific principles explored in the film.

Future Con also takes a fun look at fiction vs. fact in the comics world, with panels like The Technology of Dark Nights: Metal featuring a discussion with “Batman” artist and writer duo Greg Capullo and Scott Snyder about the technology at the iconic character’s disposal.

Special Guests

                Industry Experts

  • Dr. Rich DeVaul (Director of Mad Science, X, The Moonshot Factory)
  • Dr. Suveen Mathaudhu (Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Material Science, University of California-Riverside)
  • Dr. Erin McDonald (“Dr. Erin Explains the Universe,” Stanford University)
  • Dr. Theresa McCulla (Beer Historian, Smithsonian)
  • Jared Espley (Planetary Scientist, NASA)
  • Terry Hurford (Planetary Scientist, NASA)
  • Carie Lemack (CEO, DreamUp)


                Entertainment Guests

  • John Boyega (Star Wars: The Force Awakens, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Pacific Rim Uprising)
  • Dave Bautista (Blade Runner 2049, Guardians of the Galaxy, Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2, Spectre)
  • Michael Rooker (Guardians of the Galaxy, Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2, The Walking Dead)
  • Pom Klementieff (Avengers: Infinity War, Guardians of the Galaxy)
  • Sean Gunn (Guardians of the Galaxy, Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2, Gilmore Girls)
  • Michael Dorn (Star Trek: The Next Generation, Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country)
  • Jeremy Bulloch (Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, Star Wars: Return of the Jedi, The Newcomers, Doctor Who)
  • John Barrowman (Doctor Who, Arrow, Torchwood, Legends of Tomorrow)
  • Joonas Suotamo (Stars Wars: The Force Awakens, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Solo: A Star Wars Story, Lego Star Wars: The Force Awakens)

Future Con takes place March 30-April 1, 2018 inside this year’s Awesome Con, and no separate ticket is needed to attend Future Con events.

Smithsonian and Awesome Con introduce Future Con

Smithsonian magazine and LeftField Media today announced a partnership to create an exciting new live event called Future Con,” a three-day science, technology, and entertainment celebration that will be featured within the upcoming Awesome Con on June 16-18, 2017 at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. Future Con will highlight the intersection of science, technology, and science fiction inside D.C.’s largest pop culture event. It is sponsored by Science Channel, features partners including NASA, the American Physical Society, the National Science Foundation, and Nerd Nite, and it will be headlined by StarTalk Live! hosted by Astronaut Chris Hadfield, who became a social media sensation through his (literally) out-of-this-world videos and performances from the International Space Station.

Driven by experts at Smithsonian magazine, Future Con will mix together interactive experiences, engaging discussions, and special guests centered around creating new awareness and advocacy for all things science, technology, engineering, and math.

Awesome Con, now entering its fifth year, attracts over 60,000 attendees and participants. Awesome Con is a celebration of comic books, movies, television, toys, and games, and Future Con will add science to the worlds Awesome Con explores.

Future Con’s kickoff event will welcome Colonel Chris Hadfield to host a special edition of StarTalk Live! Col. Hadfield is a veteran of two space shuttle missions and former commander of the International Space Station. He’s also been called the “most social media savvy astronaut” by Forbes for his ongoing documentation of his time in space to over 2 million Twitter followers. Col. Hadfield will appear at Future Con to lead a taping of StarTalk Live!, an award-winning talk show bridging the intersection between pop culture and science with humor and passion.

Future Con will see further pioneering names in space travel, artificial intelligence, nanomachines, climate science, and medical research share the stage with some of the brightest names in pop culture—with presenters including John Mather (NASA’s Nobel Laureate and head of the James Webb Telescope), Adam Steltzner (NASA’s “Rock and Roll Engineer” and head of the Mars 2020 mission), and Seth Shostak (Senior Astronomer at SETI: the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence). Thought-provoking talks at Future Con will include Cassini’s Spectacular Grand Finale at Saturn, Parallel and Multi Universe Theory in Sci-Fi, Mars: Past, Present, & Future, Harry Potter and the Genetics of Wizarding, Space Lasers, and Antarctic Dinosaurs.

Future Con takes place June 16-18 inside this year’s Awesome Con, and no separate ticket is needed to attend—admission to Awesome Con includes access to Future Con’s speakers, exhibits, and events.

The Smithsonian Hosts the Russo Brothers for Marvel Men Discussion

Captain America Civil WarAt a theater on the University of the District of Columbia Thursday night, the Smithsonian Associates hosted directors Joe and Anthony Russo to chat before a sold out 900 person crowd. NPR‘s Linda Holme‘s moderated the event and topics ranged from their early career, to the future of entertainment, and also some breaking news about a certain character and Avengers: Infinity War.

But, the event was held the opening night of Captain America: Civil War, and that film was on everyone’s mind on top of where the Russo brothers go from there. The two will direct the two part Avengers: Infinity War and are rolling right into production of that film. The directors explained that the two part film will actually be two distinct movies that are the culmination of everything that has come before. The directors said the main impetuous for the movies being filmed concurrently is that it’s much easier to get all of the actors involved together to shoot the film and it saves on the budget. But, they emphasized the two films are very much their own thing. Shooting begins in November 2016 and will go to September 2017. They receive the first draft next week at which point they will sit down with the writers and for a month go over various scenes and character arcs.

new-captain-marvel-jpgBut, the biggest news of the evening came from the QA period and involved Avengers: Infinity War. When asked how the directors handle characters who haven’t debuted, such as Captain Marvel, the directors responded in an affirmative that we’ll be seeing Captain Marvel in the film. She gets her own solo film in 2018 after Avengers: Infinity War Part I. Her appearance felt like a given, but at this point an unconfirmed thing. Then then spent some time backtracking on that slip, so we know one character in the film! But, to answer the actual question, they said it’s one of the most difficult things. There’s lots of challenging parts with a lot of specificity missing.

But, the main focus of the night was Civil War which is a sequel to both Avengers: Age of Ultron and Captain America: The Winter Soldier. But, compared to the two films, the directors feel that Civil War‘s structure has more in common with The Winter Soldier. They even both have a section of the film that’s a moment of reflection. The two films deviate in the third act. But, it’s the fact the film is a sequel to two different franchises is what’s interesting to them. The concept of sequels took off in the 80s they explained, but the idea of multiple franchises weaved together is something new, experimental, and Marvel’s approach is the future of cinema. That’s a topic the two pontificated on a bit.

2016-05-05 1They felt that films will become even more event driven based around intellectual property with big experiences while television will be where the experimental and smaller films go. Those indie/smaller films will need new distribution models and take advantage that people can consume on a mass level with just a click of a button. That two will also mean there’ll be a need of new measurements of success. Plus there’s a little something called VR on the way too. We understood movies to be one thing the past 100 years and the next 10 to 20 years will vastly alter that.

But, back to the discussion of the night, Civil War, which the Russo’s described as Captain America being the most human he’s been. It’s “Steve Rogers vs. Captain America.”

The film pits Captain America against Iron Man as the two clash in philosophies. It takes Steve Rogers from a leader to a soldier questioning his superiors and eventually a rebel. Due to the actions of the Avengers a fearful state exists causing individuals to become radicalized, part of the political theme of the film. But, while it asks a lot of questions, it doesn’t actually give a lot of answers.

To them the film is about a family torn apart with at times a tense and dark tone. It’s a psychological thriller with influences such as Se7en, Fargo, and Blow Out. But that dark tone also had the directors looking to lighten it up and change the emotion with characters such as Black Panther, Ant-Man, and Spider-Man. The comedic elements, especially from those last two, help release the tension as it builds up. But that varied emotion helps layer the film.

But which side are the two directors on? They wouldn’t give an answer saying the most compelling films are the ones where you get to the end and you’re not sure which side was right.

William Shatner, Chris Carter & Syfy’s 12 Monkeys at Smithsonian’s The Future Is Here Festival

logoFanboy favorites from Star Trek star William Shatner and The X-Files creator Chris Carter to Syfy’s hit series 12 Monkeys and Deadpool director Tim Miller are squarely in the spotlight for Smithsonian magazine’s fourth annual The Future Is Here Festival, a three-day event highlighting the most advanced thinking in science, technology, space, art and engineering from a dazzling array of experts, visionaries and noted science-lovers.

The Festival kicks off on Friday, April 22nd at the Shakespeare Theatre’s Sidney Harman Hall with an exclusive ticketed evening event featuring Shatner, in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Star Trek; a conversation with Carter, fresh off the triumphant return of The X-Files to television; and an exclusive glimpse into the thrilling second season of Syfy’s hit series 12 Monkeys (premieres April 18) with special advance footage presented by stars Aaron Stanford and Amanda Schull and executive producer Terry Matalas.

USA TODAY entertainment writer Brian Truitt will conduct the conversation with Carter, and renowned astronomer/author Phil Plait will moderate the 12 Monkeys panel.

Tickets for this exclusive Friday night event can be purchased now.

Programming for Saturday and Sunday includes appearances by Deadpool director Tim Miller, The Martian author Andy Weir, explorers Céline & Alexandra Cousteau, noted science fiction author Bruce Sterling, leading NASA scientists and a profound list of visionary speakers and presenters, offering the audience an eye-opening look into the future. Among the entertaining events on the weekend slate is an electrifying concert by Tesla Coils band Arc Attack, and a performance of mind-bending techno tricks by Marco Tempest, the world’s leading cyber illusionist.

The Future Is Here Festival convenes the world’s leading experts in science and technology, including:

  • Vint Cerf – Vice President and Chief Internet Evangelist for Google, one of the “fathers of the internet”
  • Alexandra Cousteau – Explorer, storyteller, environmental advocate
  • Céline S. Cousteau – Explorer, Founder & Executive Director, CauseCentric Productions
  • Frans de Waal – Professor of Primate Behavior at Emory University & Author, Are We Smart Enough to Know How Smart Animals Are?
  • Anthony Fauci – America’s point man on epidemics, Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institute of Health
  • Kirk Johnson – Director of the National Museum of Natural History
  • Nicholas Negroponte – Co-founder of the MIT Media Lab, Founder of One Laptop Per Child Project
  • Rebecca Newberger Goldstein – Philosopher & Author, Plato at the Googleplex: Why Philosophy Won’t Go Away
  • Dava Newman –Deputy Administrator of NASA
  • Fiona Raby, Professor of Design and Emerging Technology at Parsons
  • Martine Rothblatt – Transhumanist and Founder of Sirius Radio, Geostar and United Therapeutics
  • Sara Seager – Planetary Scientist and Astrophysicist
  • Seth Shostak – Director of Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI)
  • Adam Steltzner – NASA Engineer/Mars Rover, Author, The Right Kind of Crazy
  • Bruce Sterling – Science Fiction Author
  • Marco Tempest — Cyber Illusionist
  • Andy Weir – Author of The Martian (via Skype)

Additional speakers/programming will be announced as confirmed.

The Future Is Here Festival, an exciting and mind-expanding live event taking place April 22-24 in Washington, D.C., is accompanied by Smithsonian’s May “Future” issue, which hits newsstands April 26th, bringing the excitement of The Future Is Here Festival™ to 6.8 million readers and 5 million digital viewers across the country and around the world.

Around the Tubes

It’s new comic book day! What’s everyone excited for? What’s everyone getting?

Around the Tubes

The Beat – Justin Jordan on the Differences Between BOOM! and Image – A great read.

Spinoff Online – Smithsonian Institute Asks For Fan Help To Resurrect ‘Star Trek’s’ Enterprise – This is really cool.

The Diplomat – How Artists Are Fighting Extremism in Pakistan, One Comic Strip at a Time – Very interesting read.

Kotaku – Rihanna, The Pokémon Gym Leader – Lol


Around the Tubes Reviews

Newsarama – Daredevil Vol. 3 and 4

Bleeding Cool – Harrow County #5

Newsarama – Tet #1, Tyson Hesse’s Diesel #1

Almost American
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