“An Immoral Experiment”: The Spiritual, Political, and Ufological Significance of the UMMO Letters

In the late ’70s and afterwards, UFOs hit the big time in pop culture with countless books about abduction experiences, major Hollywood motion pictures, and quickie B-movie documentaries. But before this turn into widespread exposure, ufology was largely a field defined by tightly-circulated, sometimes even self-published, written and photographic evidence…

Getting Bombed: Carl Chaplin’s ‘Art Nuko’

From the early ’70s through the early ’90s, Canadian artist and activist Carl Chaplin produced and exhibited a series of paintings depicting the atomic destruction of major cities from around the world “to point out the horror of what would happen to all of mankind in a nuclear war.” The series was called Art Nuko, and it became quite controversial…

Apocalypse, Rinse, Repeat: The Graphic Experience of Greg Irons’ ‘Light’

Despite a tragically short life, and despite still being almost completely unknown, Greg Irons has exerted an extraordinary influence on the course of underground and mainstream comics, graphic design, and the tattoo world, where he is regularly cited as a legend. Irons was born in Philadelphia in 1947 and moved to San Francisco during 1967’s Summer of Love, where he immediately found work designing event posters for music promoter Bill Graham…

Too Many Braincells Drowning in Inkwells: The Artwork of Nick Blinko

Thanks to the record covers he drew for Rudimentary Peni, the band for which he was vocalist and guitarist, artist Nick Blinko’s initial audience was mainly confined to the members of the thriving British anarcho-punk scene of the early 1980s. Despite apparently operating in the same aggressive idiom as their peers, however, it was immediately clear that the Peni were unique…

Earth Visitor’s Passport: ‘Tour of the Universe’, 1980

A collision of imperial phase-Young Artists—the London-based illustration agency whose imagery would dominate and define British science fiction and fantasy art throughout the 1970s and ’80s—and an attention to graphic design detail that bordered on the unhinged, Tour of the Universe was a bold attempt to create an immersive world of science fiction art and prose that still looks as wildly ambitious today…