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…

‘Mad Police’ Model Kits, 1982 – 1983

Mad Max 2 (released as The Road Warrior in the US) was a surprise international hit in 1982. Unlike 1979’s Mad Max, which was dubbed and poorly marketed to American audiences, the sequel became an instant action classic, and its post-apocalyptic punk aesthetic forged a sci-fi subgenre that has been mined (and crassly exploited) ever since…

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…

Calling All Computists: The Us Festival in ‘Silicon Gulch Gazette’, 1982

In April 1977, computer enthusiasts gathered in San Francisco for the inaugural West Coast Computer Faire. (The quirky spelling of the word “Faire” evokes another nerdy subculture born in California: the Renaissance Faire.) Two personal computers that would go on to dominate the first half of the red-hot PC market in the 1980s had their debut that year: the Commodore PET and the Apple II…

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…