Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Watch the Skies!

Remember how paranoid everyone seemed to be in the Fifties?

Invasion of the Body Snatchers
, blacklists, Kefauver hearings...ah, the Good Old Days!

Anyway, one of the many lingering doubts that lurked in the back of American minds was that the government was keeping information about flying saucers away from them. Silly,right?

Well, it turns out that apparently the government was getting their information about UFOs from comic books:

National Archives photocopies
"Saucers Over Washington, D.C."
Reed Crandall art/Al Feldstein story

The U.S. Air Force apparently paid particular attention to this one story that was part of the EC comic's "Flying Saucer Report Issue". Photocopies of this story reside in the National Archives as:
Saucers Over Washington, DC, 07/19/1952 - 07/19/1952
ARC Identifier 595553 / MLR Number A1 294D
Item from Record Group 341: Records of Headquarters U.S. Air Force (Air Staff), 1934 - 2004


Right up front, on the inside front cover, Feldstein made the purpose of the comic known:

WEIRD SCIENCE-FANTASY #26 inside front cover

This was obviously Feldstein and Gaines' way of tweaking the nose of their governmental tormentors. On April 21st of 1954, Gaines had made his disastrous appearance before the Kefauver committee. Angry and frustrated, both men were feeling the heat as this comic was conceived in the wake of the bad publicity.

Feldstein couldn't confront Kefauver, et al. directly in the pages of a comic, but he could go after a part of the government that a portion of the public already suspected of hiding something.


The Air Force obviously took note. The two-page story about the appearance of UFOs above Washington, D.C. must have been especially intriguing to them.

You can only imagine a low-ranking Air Force officer setting a copy of the comic on a long table lined on both sides with grim-faced higher ups.

"We have to do something about this!," a general thundered as he slammed his hand on the table.

And in an office at 225 Lafayette Street, New York City, Al Feldstein was smiling.


  1. Nice to know that Al, Reed, Gaines and the boys were watching the skies for us back in the day.

  2. The truth is out there, Allen!

    (cue the X-Files theme song)