Monday, October 1, 2012

UFO the Gold Key way

There I was.

A budding and impressionable Ufologist.

My curiosity for the UFO phenomena had already been stoked by books in the library and Leonard Nimoy's In Search Of.  Then Gold Key Comics came along and kept me awake for weeks.  That was silly, just plain dumb, even, in retrospect.  I shall explain.

From age six, I collected comic books.  By convergence of zeitgeist, that was around the same time as when I became interested in UFO sightings.  It was therefore not a far stretch for my grandmother to imagine that I would enjoy UFO Flying Saucers by Gold Key Comics.  She gave me a small stack of Gold Keys when I went to visit her one summer.  Sure, I was a solid Marvel and occasional DC reader at that time and Gold Key's art was perpetually hokey-looking to me (except for the covers, those were always engaging and captivating), but free comics were always welcome and utile.

Amid the issues of Space Family Robinson and Korak: Son of Tarzan was an issue of UFO Flying Saucers.  What struck me about that latter comic was the assertion that the stories between the covers were based on actual UFO reports.  While I'm certain that's stretching things (to say the least), the encounters detailed in the issues were actually terrifying.  In most cases, the UFO occupants meant out and out harm to humans.  At that age, I was swallowing everything I read about UFO phenomena without hesitation or the filter of critical thought.  If the comic declared "based on actual reports," then I believed that a little boy and his dog really were cornered by an eight-foot tall alien.  Thus, I spent many a night with the covers pulled over my head after reading UFO Flying Saucers.  Come to think of it, these stories might have been my very first exposure to the horrifying notion of alien abduction.

Yeah, UFOs started to scare me.

To be fair, I did later realize that the comics series would include brief profiles of famous UFO hoaxes.  One of the issues even did a cursory retelling of the panic that resulted from Orson Welles' War of the Worlds, though how that qualifies as a "UFO hoax" leaves one wondering.  Had I paid more attention to the hoax pages, perhaps that would have eased my worries.

True or not, I do believe that the Gold Key UFO comics are a repository of a sort of "lost era" in Ufology.  These days we're accustomed to fairly homogenized UFO reports.  If the witness met the occupants of the craft, said beings are typically of the "Grey" or "reptoid" variety.  Back in the 1950s and 60s however, there were UFO reports of all stripes and shapes.  Really, truly bizarre encounters with Gumby-like aliens, vegetable creatures, and dozens of other varieties of craft occupants.  The interactions could be peaceful exchanges, violent clashes, or just plain silliness.  While the vast majority of those reports can be either explained away or attributed to exaggerators and the mentally ill, the reports still constitute an era in Ufology.

Interesting that one of our more captivating records of this time is Gold Key Comics.

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  1. If UFO's are real then travel between the stars is possible. That also means that if faster than light travel is possible then whatever comes here cannot go back due to the collaped time situation. By the time they get home many thousands of years would have elapsed as the closer you get to the speed of light, time slows down to the traveller! The society that they laft behind would have changed out of all recognition. That begs the question - why are they here? Barry E Woodham.

  2. There is always the chance that the aliens developed travel via wormhole or warping space. That would not violate such regulations of physics.
    Nevertheless, the extraterrestrial hypothesis is only *one* explanation for the UFO phenomena. Their origins could be extra-dimensional, time travel, metaphysical tulpas, or something even weirder!
    Thanks for the comment.


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