Confessions of a Comic Book Guy is a weekly column by Steve Bennett of Super-Fly Comics and Games in Yellow Springs, Ohio.  This week, Bennett confesses that Snoopy reminded him that it was 50th Anniversary of the Apollo moon landing, and he then explores the famous beagle's relationship with NASA.

I really was finished with writing about astronauts until I realized I had never even acknowledged 2019 was the 50th Anniversary of humans first setting foot on the moon (see “Confessions of a Comic Book Guy -- Forward To The Future”).  After this revelation, it became obvious that I had also forgotten to mention the fictional character most closely associated with the American space program. This would be bad enough, but the really embarrassing part is that I didn’t realize this until I read "'Snoopy in Space' on Apple TV+: Everything to Know About Apple's Peanuts TV Show".

What makes this particularly embarrassing is, like most kids back in the 1960s, I was an avid astronaut aficionado, and as I confessed back in 2011, I was such a Peanuts fiend I had my own homemade Snoopy costume (see “Confessions of a Comic Book Guy--This Is Who He Is”).  But then, somehow, I also missed how in 2019 NASA and Peanuts Worldwide signed “a multi-year Space Act Agreement building on a historic partnership begun during the Apollo missions of the 1960s.”  Included in this agreement is the creation of  “original content starring Astronaut Snoopy” as well as “an in-school STEM-based curriculum about America's latest explorations into deep space”.

Made in collaboration with NASA, Snoopy in Space “follows Snoopy as his dreams of being an astronaut become a reality when he and Woodstock tag along with the Peanuts gang on a field trip to NASA and are chosen for an elite mission into space."  After astronaut training, Snoopy and Woodstock set off on a trio of imaginary missions, to the moon, the International Space, and finally into deep space.  Along with being educational, it’s mean to inspire kids to study science, technology, engineering, and math, and aspire to careers in space exploration.

Almost immediately afterward, I discovered I could have learned this months ago if I had only gone to San Diego Comic-Con and attended the Snoopy Space Traveler: The History and Future of Snoopy and NASA panel. Included was a discussion of Snoopy’s role at NASA over the last fifty years where he’s been the mascot for both the agency's deep space exploration missions and spaceflight safety initiative.  But most famously, in 1969, the Apollo 10 astronauts named their lunar module “Snoopy” (because it  “snooped around” the moon’s surface, scouting a landing site for Apollo 11, which touched down on the moon two months later) and the command module “Charlie Brown”. There’s even a statue of Astronaut Snoopy in the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

Two animation tests from Snoopy in Space were shown at SDCC, one in the traditional 2D style of the TV specials and the other the 3D version from 2015’s The Peanuts Movie. This was followed by an appearance by Snoopy himself, dressed in an orange spacesuit based on Modified Advanced Crew Escape Suit (MACES) which astronauts wear during deep space missions. And the panel was at SDCC, so naturally there was Astronaut Snoopy swag to be had and collectibles to chase. These days I’m increasingly immune to the allure of merchandise, but I’m still enough of a Peanuts fan that when I saw photos of what was available that I found a couple of items I actively wanted.

And of course, there will be an Astronaut Snoopy balloon in this year's Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, which makes sense given he’s longest-running giant character balloon, with a grand total of 38 appearances dating back to the 1969 first appearance of Original Astronaut Snoopy, in his classic white NASA spacesuit.  He's flown in eight parades total, but there have also been other iterations over the years including Flying Ace Snoopy, Millennium Snoopy (with a floppy jester’s hat, for some reason), Ice Skater Snoppy, and Flying Snoopy With Woodstock.

For Space and Peanuts fans, there seems to be no end to the new Astronaut Snoopy merchandise, including McDonald's Happy Meal Toys, but there’s also plenty of books. For kids, there's Snoopy's Constellation Quest, Snoopy The Mars Rover, Snoopy to the Moon, Snoopy and First Beagle on the Moon!  For comic fans who want to read the Charles Schultz comic strips from the week of March 10, 1969, where Snoopy became the first beagle on the moon, they can get a copy of The Complete Peanuts 1969-1970 Vol.10. And this December BOOM! Studios will publish the original graphic novel Snoopy: A Beagle of Mars, as part of its KaBOOM! Line, written by Jason Cooper, head writer and drawn by Robert Pope according to School Library Journal.

And, just so I won’t have to bring up this subject again anytime soon, I suppose I should mention that in Steven Universe: The Movie, Steven's best friend Connie Maheswaran spends most of its running time off-screen away at Space Camp, but does return during the Third Act, making a spectacular entrance while wearing a Space Camp Trainees blue jumpsuit.  And for some reason, Gary Goodspeed, the lead character of the Adult Swim Sci-Fi comedy Final Space is referred to as an “astronaut” in official descriptions of the series. This isn’t entirely accurate because when we meet him in S1, he’s serving a five-year sentence aboard the prison ship Galaxy One for impersonating an astronaut. This may seem harsh until you learn in the process he also destroyed 92 spaceships and a small family-owned Mexican restaurant.

The opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the writer, and do not necessarily reflect the views of the editorial staff of