Space Fiction Adventure in Pictures: ‘Starblazer’ Comics, 1979 – 1991

Launched in 1979, digest-sized monthly comic Starblazer was Scottish publisher DC Thomson’s attempt to cash in on the science fiction craze that had dominated popular culture since the release of Star Wars. Every aspect of the visual media landscape was saturated with trippy, futuristic imagery, triggering a commercial feeding frenzy in which normally staid companies like DC Thomson were eager to participate…

“You Don’t Even Have Pockets in That Suit”: ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’, 1977

I’m not going to beat around the bush, I’m not going to play humble, I’m not going to worry about the fact that I’ve bored literally everyone who’s ever met me with this, my one true fan-slaying anecdote, an anecdote that will echo down through the ages like the Iliad or the Mabinogion—no, I’m just going to come out and tell it: I watched The Amazing Spider-Man with Gary Kurtz…

Pontin’s International Holidays Brochure, 1976

A potent ingredient of the “You’ve never had it so good” mindset of post-post-war Britain was the modern holiday. Traditionally, the British industrial working- and lower-middle-classes had spent what holidays they’d managed to prise out of the generous fists of their employers in one of the many resorts dotted along the island’s coast…

Living Pod: The GMC Motorhome, 1973 – 1978

Combining the insular self-sufficiency of a lunar module with the intimidating bulk of a futuristic tank, the GMC Motorhome was the perfect attack vehicle for the leisure wars of the 1970s when—encouraged perhaps by the hermetic novelties of the space race—the recreational activities of the wealthiest fragment of the planet began to reflect a growing preoccupation with what we might call modular living…

This Green and Pleasant Apocalypse: Graham Oakley’s ‘Henry’s Quest,’ 1986

Four years after the release of Raymond Briggs’ When the Wind Blows, children in the British Isles were treated to another misleadingly cheerful-looking jaunt through a postlapsarian landscape in Graham Oakley’s 1986 book Henry’s Quest. I’ve spoken elsewhere about the extent to which the British culture of the 1970s and ’80s seemed determined to inculcate feelings of dread and hopelessness in young people, but with its superficially light-hearted tone, Henry’s Quest took a different approach…

Waiting for the Flood: ‘Noah’s Castle’ and the Inevitability of Brexit

By Richard McKenna

One of the most irksome things about my drizzly homeland of the United Kingdom is the widespread domestic habit of mistaking the material benefits of industrial and Colonial wealth, post-war socialism, and a happy lack of mass violence—all of which, for a good half century, guaranteed a relatively safe and stable life, good opportunities to better your lot, free healthcare, welfare, and a relatively graft-free state—for something as ineluctable as rain…