We're getting close to October and that can only mean one thing, a holiday filled with a terrifying horrific legacy that surrounds us all - Columbus Day. Just think of how wild the celebrations were back in 1992, the quincentenary of Christopher Columbus's famous voyage! Why, there was even a comic book.
Yes, "quincentenary" is a real word!
Blasting off from Palos de la Frontera Space Centre, the Santa Maria launched on a westward trajectory, losing some orbital velocity but avoiding populated areas. Soon the mighty vessel was in orbit, and that's how Christopher Columbus discovered outer space. The end.
It's fun to write about historical figures with obscure backgrounds, because you can have them do or say pretty much anything and just throw a "probably" in there. Sure, he probably went to Iceland. Why not. Now here's an orange!
Sailing all over Europe, staying up late making maps, this sure is one industrious gap-toothed Genoan!
Here we see Columbus on board a Flemish ship, which is why he's coughing
(see, it's like, phleghm, it's a joke, son)
We won't go into exactly why Western Europe needed a new route to Asia. The Quincentenary of the Fall of Constantinople Jubilee Commission had plenty of opportunities to publish its own comics!
"People" is doing a lot of weaseling around in this caption. Plenty of people knew North and South America existed, and plenty of other people knew that the circumference of the Earth was about four times larger than Columbus' estimate. Let this be a lesson to future Leif Ericksons to keep better records!
Laughter rings out in the courts of Europe as monarchs in full regalia enjoy the latest issue of "Holy Roman Empire Gags & Hanseatic Funnies".
Those three people were "Señor Col Ambus," the Fransciscan friar Father Christoforo See, and Don Manuel Incognito, all of whom bore a suspicious resemblance to Our Hero. Sadly, they were also unsuccessful.
The moral is, make a big enough pest of yourself throughout Christendom, and eventually they will literally send you to the other side of the world just to get rid of you.
And on August 3 1492 the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria set out, captained by what to modern eyes appear to be the mascots from three different brands of Italian dressing, on their historic attempt to make a mockery of the rhyme "In Fourteen Hundred Ninety Three, Columbus Sailed The Ocean Green."
Columbus calmed the crew by telling them all that this volcano wasn't NEARLY as large as the volcano he barely escaped from in, uh, let's say Iceland. Yeah, that's right, Iceland. Meanwhile, if you want to see a Canary Islands volcano erupt for yourself, you can watch it happen right now because the Cumbre Vieja eruption is happening even as I type this!
This is like when you're driving to the beach and you think you're almost there and you can almost taste those fried clams and feel the sand between your toes and then you see the next road sign that tells you you're still three hours away. Except they didn't know for sure there was a beach. And it probably didn't have fried clams.
"If only you MORONS would listen to ME, CHRIS COLUMBUS, who is leading you ungrateful wretches to a LIFETIME OF UNTOLD WEALTH only the RICHES of CIPANGU can provide! You'll be thanking me when we're honored by the Great Khan in Cathay!"
And just like that, postal workers and bank employees in the future are guaranteed a day off, just a few weeks after Labor Day.
Just think, they sailed AWAY from France, yet ironically found the exact place where the ladies (and the men, and everybody else) wear no pants!
Also, they're suckers for bells, get out your trinkets boys, it's time to trade.
That infallible sense of direction continues to serve Columbus well, as he is guided by people he swears are Indians towards an island he swears is Japan. You'd think the complete lack of maid cafes or life size giant robot statues would be a dead giveaway!
Subsequent research has shown this tale of Columbus about Cannibalistic Human Hispaniola Dwellers is actually true, that this kind of horror-movie stuff was actually going on down there. The massive amounts of gold, on the other hand... that'll be for somebody else to plunder.
It's always Japan tomorrow, never Japan today. Just over the next hill, Japan, I swear!
Sure, just leave the kid in charge, he won't be distracted from his duty because he's looking out for Santa and the reindeer, oh no sir.
Look, Miguel, the ONE RULE was, don't pinch their cheeks and tell them how cute they are! Just ONE RULE.
Hey guys, I'm sure those Ciguayos didn't mean anything by attacking you. Now take care of yourselves, we'll be back next year, see you then! I'm sure everything will turn out fine!
(they all died)
After a harrowing voyage back and having to land in Portugal instead of Spain, Columbus returns with exciting tales of riches and slaves with which King Ferdinand can finance a new Crusade to retake Jerusalem. Yeah, that was his whole thing, didn't we mention that?
Hey João II, chill out, all that land might belong to you anyway! Better convene a papal conference and find out. (narrator: it did not)
On the one hand, Columbus found a new continent. On the other hand, he was executing rebellious natives and parading their dismembered body parts around. He cut a guy's ears and nose off for stealing corn. Maybe we better chain this guy up just in case.
The courage and determination of Columbus tends to overshadow some of his more questionable accomplishments, like writing a "compilation of apocalyptical religious revelations" in which he locates the Garden Of Eden in modern-day Venezuela, and demands Ferdinand and Isabella become "Emperors Of The World," and, uh, the whole slavery thing, that's a big one. Just leave those parts out, it'll only confuse people.
It's both the Columbus Voyage Quincentenary AND the International Space Year so we have to tie in space travel with Columbus. I mean, a typical commercial air flight ALSO travels in hours the distance it took Columbus months to sail, but it's not the International Year of The Business Class Frequent Flyer, now is it?
Judging from that lower left panel, "Astronaut Dating" seems to be one of the things we're learning about
Let's remember the lessons we learned from the voyages of Columbus. Namely, exterminate the strangers BEFORE they start the murdering and enslaving.
Other safety lessons: know what the weather's gonna be like, have some lifeboats handy, and just give up on even building Space Station Freedom entirely. Can't get safer than that!
This is it, this is the one panel acknowledging that anything but sunshine and rainbows came out of the voyages of Columbus. Millions dead? Too depressing. Tens of thousands? Still too depressing. Let's dial that casualty figure down to "thousands" and call it a day.
Do YOU have the qualities of a Christopher Columbus? Namely, a healthy disregard for conventional estimates of the size of the Earth, religious fanaticism on a culture-destroying level, and a bloodthirsty streak that even shocks the citizens of the relatively violent late medieval period? Then maybe exploration is for you, so we can blast you into outer space where you won't bother anyone.
Are you a school or a church group or a space camp or the local chapter of the Knights Of Columbus? Why not buy ten or fifty thousand copies of this comic book? The Christopher Columbus Quincentenary Jubilee Committee would sure appreciate it! They lost a ton of money on that horticulture exhibit over in Ohio, ya know.
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