The Contactees, for you UFO N00bs out there, were these endearingly colorful individuals who started to come out of the woodwork in the 1950s, during the craze of the first flying saucer sightings; they claimed to have met the occupants of those silver disks –who all looked like good-looking human beings, conveniently enough– and that these superior beings meant no harm to us. In fact, the flying saucer men (and a few women) had come to Earth to proclaim the gospel of interplanetary good will and universal peace.
They were… our Space Brothers!
Now, don’t get me wrong here: When I say “out of the woodwork” it doesn’t mean that I believe all these people were charlatans or deranged. There are many things that fascinate me about the Contactee movement in the sense that they managed to capture, in all its bizarre and kitschy glory, the true zeitgeist of the post-war era and the Cold War anxieties to which Western society was trying to adapt to. While Humanity was starting to turn its head toward outer space and the future thanks to the blood-stained advances attained during World War II, at the same time people started to see that future through the lens of uncertainty; because that same technology which had vanquished the Axis powers and could propel us into the stars, could also mean the literal extinction of the entire human race.
And into all of this a ‘new’ mystery emerged, in the lenticular shape of the UFO. What could it mean? Were these the heralds of a new aeon, or the angels signaling Armageddon?
The Contactees proclaimed to have the answers, and in doing so they inadvertantly paved the way for the 60’s counterculture and the Hippie movement that came after them.
…And of course, there’s always the nagging ‘what ifs’ surrounding some of these stories –what if these people were actually in contact with someone… or something?
Those are the kind of things I think of when I look back with nostalgia to the Golden Age of flying saucers, wishing I had been able to attend one of those meetings at Giant Rock. And this is the kind of things you’ll be able to read in the book prepared by Gorightly and Bishop!
As per the design of the cover, I am very proud of the end result, because once again I tried to use a minimalist aesthetic into trying to capture the ‘vibe’ of the vintage books that were often self-published by the Contactees themselves. The palette is very basic and contrasting, and from the beginning I knew teal had to be the main color –is there a more 50’ish color than teal, I dareask?? 😉
I took inspiration from an old comic depicting the (alleged) encounter between George Adamski and Orthon , the Venusian he (allegedly) met one fateful day on a desolate Californian desert. There’s something evidently mystical about the whole narrative of it –going into the wasteland on a spiritual quest, meeting an angel of the Lord who bestows sacred knowledge and annoints the pilgrim into a prophet– and I realized THIS figure of the blond Space Brother with one arm raised and the other to his side (almost like an “as above so below gesture”) was a perfect way to convey what the Contactees were. It also allowed me to play with the ‘A’ of Adamski and turn the letter into a beam of light cast down by a lenticular shape on top of the composition –once again there are beams in my UFO covers; some of these days someone will have to explain to me why I am so obsesses with the UFO as a ‘projection’ mechanism…
The book hasn’t been released yet, despite what the promo said –I’ll update you when it does– but I’m sure a lot of UFO enthusiasts will appreciate it for what it is: A glimpse into a bygone era in which people’s ideas about flying saucers were ‘bubbling’ and in constant flux –instead of ‘stagnant’ and set in stone, like what we can perceive out of contemporary UFO narratives…
And if you’re interested in contacting me to discuss a book cover design, please leave a comment and I’ll get back to you.