UFO zines


Or close encounters of the graphic kind. The fanzine concept has never been limited to the music world. Any niche interest with a large enough group of adherents can support the existence of amateur publications, not least in the esoteric realms of Forteana (Fortean Times itself began life as an amateur publication in the 1960s) and UFOlogy. The Internet Archive has a sub-archive, UFO Newsletters from the Archives For the Unexplained, which contains over 10,000 items dating back to the 1950s. As with crank books, the cover designs interest me much more than the contents which tend to be the pre-digital zine default of page after page of single-spaced typewriter text, plus the occasional grainy photograph.


Despite their amateur status, many of the cover designs seem to be the work of aspiring or actual graphic designers, frequently showing more finesse than you’d find on the cover of a music or genre fiction zine of the same period. I like the way many of these covers are modelled on the design of scientific journals but with the added frisson of outlandish headlines and pictures of flying saucers in all shapes and sizes. (George Adamski’s clunky “chicken brooder” spacecraft is a common feature of the early publications.)

The last three images in this post are from Fonts In Use, and are included here as superior examples of the form.




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