Devil in the Details: ‘The Occult Coloring Book’, 1971

San Francisco’s Troubador Press, under the direction of founder and owner Malcolm Whyte, published a long line of innovative (and beloved, to many) coloring books from 1967 through the early ’80s. Often contracting illustrators with ties to the counterculture and underground comix, Whyte chose subjects that were sometimes anodyne—horses, ballet, wildlife, the Bible, dinosaurs—but often daring for the time…

From Bruce Banner to Star Brand: Marvel’s Militant Nuclear Mutations

By Evan Henry

When the “Marvel Age of comics” dawned in the early 1960s, the era of the Cuban Missile Crisis and Tsar Bomba, many of the new slew of superheroes embodied a politicized mutagenic anxiety surrounding the very real possibility of nuclear conflict. Throughout the decade, Lee, Kirby, Ditko, Heck, and others illustrated a bewildering array of physical monstrosities and curiosities…

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…

Grand Delusion: Cunard Caribbean Cruise Brochure, 1979

The number of cruise passengers worldwide increased from half a million in 1970 to 3.8 million in 1990, the hike almost exclusively thanks to Aaron Spelling’s The Love Boat (1977-1986), a one-hour dramatic fantasy that portrayed a relatively diverse, generally middle-class group of passengers and the close-knit crew that tended to them (and often cavorted with them) during the voyage…

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…