This UFO comic book had antecedents: EC's Weird Science-Fantasy #26 (1954) ran actual reported cases of UFOs, depicted in comic form. Dell picked up on the premise with the short-lived Flying Saucers (1967-1969), which featured fictional accounts presented as case histories.

Somewhere between the two approaches falls Gold Key's UFO Flying Saucers. Thirteen issues appeared at irregular intervals between 1968 and 1977, reflecting then-current interest in UFOs. The comic presented actual accounts, such as the Shag Harbour incident, but the writers were just as often inclined to fabricate plausible-sounding tales, complete with names, dates, and locations.

As with Gold Key's adventure-themed comics, issues of UFO boast impressive painted covers, usually emblazoned with histrionic text, like "More fascinating stories of the strange sightings that science cannot explain!"(#2) or "Have they come out of hiding? Do aliens walk among us?" The artwork within varied from issue to issue. In some early issues, the UFO designs oddly reflect each story's historical and cultural context. The Japanese UFOs recall Asian temples, turned on their sides. A Victorian encounter involves a steampunk vehicle out of Jules Verne. Aliens allegedly sighted on the moon wear souped-up period NASA gear. One of the "UFOs Over Russia" displays a red star logo.

Aliens initially featured in only a few stories each issue, but close encounters of the third kind quickly became the norm. Extra-terrestrials generally came from central casting, blue or green-skinned hominids with pointy ears and facial appendages, dressed in tights. In later issues, a top-hatted, tail-coated character called "the Hoaxmaster" appeared, in a feature that focussed on identified hoaxes and far-fetched claims.

The year the last issue saw print, interest in alien encounters was at a high point, with the release of Star Wars and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Troubles plagued Gold Key, however, and the once-mighty comic giant dropped many of its titles, before closing shop altogether in 1981. They published several other UFO-related issues, however, as UFO & Outer Space, which relied heavily on material reprinted from UFO Flying Saucers. Old issues of either continue to hold an interest for collectors, though they can often be had for less than contemporaneous Marvel and DC comix.


Bruce Lainer-Wright. "Four Color Saucers." StrangeMagazine.

UFO Flying Saucers. #1, 2, and sundry other issues.

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