Sorry No Gas: Photos from Documerica, 1972 – 1975

At the dawning of the 1970s, Americans were more aware than ever of the great damage more than a century of unrestricted industry had done to their country. With the passing of Richard Nixon’s Reorganization Plan Number 3 by Congress in 1970, the U.S. government welcomed the Environmental Protection Agency to the roster of federal agencies. The EPA was meant to consolidate federal efforts to protect America’s air, water, and soil, and to give environmental protection efforts a fiercer executive independence…

Paul Bacon Cover Gallery, 1952 – 1983

After serving in the Marines during World War II, self-taught artist and typographer Paul Bacon (1923-2015) landed in New York City, where he designed several now-famous album covers for jazz labels Blue Note and Riverside Records. Bacon had discovered jazz in the ’30s, and he remained a great fan—he was befriended by Thelonious Monk, among others—throughout his life…

Fontana Modern Masters Cover Gallery, 1970 – 1984

The Fontana Modern Masters series was conceived in the late 1960s at Scottish publishers William Collins & Company’s Fontana imprint. Fontana Books had spent its first decade publishing inexpensive paperback pulp and detective fiction, priced between two and three shillings. But, in May 1968, revolutionary theory and Situationist praxis caught fire in the streets of Paris, as students plastered walls and barricades with catchy slogans meant to détourne the mainstream postwar advertising culture around which they’d grown up…

‘Science Fiction Monthly’ Cover Gallery, 1974 – 1976

From a merger of its 1961 acquisitions—British publishers Ace Books Ltd. and Four Square Books Ltd—the American Times Mirror Company created the New English Library (NEL) as a sister company to the New American Library. While the latter retained some of the cultural prestige of its original owner, Penguin Books, the NEL was under no such constraints of perceived quality: the publisher was therefore free to specialize in paperback genre fiction…

Judging Dredd: A Brit and a Yank Discuss the Legendary ‘2000 AD’ Strip

By Richard McKenna and K.E. Roberts

I guess we should begin at the beginning. I first got into Judge Dredd and 2000 AD in 1983, when Eagle Comics (founded by Nick Landau) started anthologizing the strip for an American audience. The Eagle editions were in color (I had no idea the original 2000 AD was black and white for many years), and the Dredd comics came with new, mind-bending covers by Brian Bolland. I had been collecting comics pretty obsessively for a few years at that point, but had never seen anything like Dredd…

Portraits of the Mushroom Cloud, 1946 – 1990

From the moment atomic weapons were first inflicted on the planet in 1945, the mushroom cloud became one of the defining motifs of the second half of the 20th century, assuming an almost supernatural significance that would only increase over time. It might seem paradoxical to speak about serendipity in the case of something that has been the cause of so much misery, but it’s hard to imagine nuclear weapons occupying quite the same space in the human race’s imagination had their effects not taken such a recognizable shape…

How Basil Wolverton Captured the Terrifying Imagery of the Biblical Apocalypse

By Greg Rozeboom

Born in 1909, Basil Wolverton was a successful American illustrator and cartoonist, admired within his industry and by its fans, yet little known to the general public. His drawings—the twisted shapes of spaghetti, meatballs, and mutation—may repel some, but they never fail to leave an impression, especially on the young. Wolverton was active between 1938 and 1974, and made a dent so deep that his style and influence were stamped into the underground comix scene of the ‘60s…

Between Authority and Resistance: The Terminator’s New Clothes

By Richard McKenna

Although apparently naked upon its arrival in the gloomy labyrinth of 1984, the Terminator is, of course, already wearing a costume: the layer of flesh and hair covering the titanium bones of its endoskeleton, which allows it to pass for human. Over the course of the film, though, the titular cybernetic assassin procures for itself two further and distinct outfits—-suits of fashionable armor associated with a wounded and dangerous type of modern masculinity…