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Sunday 27 May 2012

Alien skull simulacrum

Paul Jackson found this enigmatic object in his garden a few days ago while clearing some gravel. What could it be? Is it just an oddly-shaped pebble, or is it a prehistoric stone-age carving in the realistic likeness of an ancient alien? It’s an oddly-shaped pebble, of course.

The iconic image of the “gray alien”—big eyes, big forehead, small mouth, small nose, no ears, no hair—has become a deeply ingrained part of modern culture. But it’s a relatively recent phenomenon, and it’s interesting to spot them turning up in anachronistic settings, such as the Alien simulacrum in the coat of arms of Florence, and this Alien-looking demon from a 1941 pulp magazine.

A few days ago I was looking at issue #1 of Dell’s Flying Saucer Comics, published in April 1967. This was well before the image of the gray alien was imprinted on the public consciousness in the 1980s and 90s. But many of the aliens featured in the comic have gray-like characteristics -- much more so than most popular-culture aliens of the period. In particular, there’s a six-page story called “Far-Out Physical” which features aliens that not only look a bit like grays, but indulge in gray-like activities such as abducting earthlings and subjecting them to medical examinations... as can be seen in the sequence below. I don’t think the alien dialog has been censored (although “bloody” was still quite risqué in the sixties)... I think the empty speech bubbles are meant to signify that their language is unintelligible to humans!


alanborky said...

Given how the comic strip aliens' heads and speech bubbles're practically interchangeable maybe they're 'saying' (a la Marshall Mcluhan) "We are our message - our message is us."

I can give an exclusive translation what the alien on the far right of the last panel is saying in response to gazing at the x-ray of the human.

"Ooh doesn't his skull look like that stone with the twenty pence Paul Jackson's go'n'o find in his garden 50 years from now!"

Anonymous said...

Most of these kinds of memes and themes seem to be evocative and manipulative in form and purpose. How can we be sure this isn't more of the same government and military-industrial-complex propagandization?
r emmet lee

TD said...

I have one the same.