I got an early Christmas present last year: a package from Los Angeles cartoonist Mike Jasorka. Inside was the fruit of his efforts and my $20 Kickstarter pledge: December 3rd 1967: An Alien Encounter, a graphic novelisation of the strange case of Herbert Schirmer, a Nebraska state patrolman who claims to have been taken aboard an alien spacecraft.
I commend it to all wrong-thinking disinfonauts everywhere, for several reasons, but mostly aesthetic. The black and white panels occasionally splashed with dramatic colour ensures that the 50+ page book is a visually compelling artefact:
It also arrives with a CD, a word for word adaptation from the found audio of Schirmer at a 1970’s UFO conference in Florida, making it simultaneously an aural event (surely a first for a graphic novel, but fanboys will no doubt correct me). Finally, there’s the story: of Schirmer’s childhood upbringing that leads him to become a police officer, what happened that very night on duty and why even after countless ridicule, he stuck next to the unbelievable truth.
You can get a foretaste of the audio-visual effect at Jasorka’s website, www.bombshell-comics.com – where you can now buy the Kickstarter-funded comic for $13US.
There are two other reasons for the commendation: for acknowledging the ‘forgotten humanoids’ of UFO lore, and for revealing the future of funding for all things Fortean.
Today, popular culture is permeated and UFOlogy dominated by the archetypal ‘Greys’ from Zeta Reticulli. But before this, between the ‘Greys’ first brush with humanity in the Betty and Barney Hill abduction of 1961 and 1973, the infamous ‘Year of the Humanoids’, lies the high strangeness of the forgotten humanoid encounters. The global preponderance of non-Grey encounters prior to the 1980s could almost call it the dirty secret of ‘nuts and bolts’ UFOlogy. The beings in the Schirmer case serves as a reminder that groupthink can skew even the most Fortean of researchers.
A project like this is one of the reasons I signed up eBay, Amazon-powered Kickstarter and donate to PayPal-enabled sites like The Daily Grail: like all disinfonauts I am passionate about giving repressed knowledge a voice amidst the cacophony that is the Internet (among other things). And lo! the internet did come to our aid to fix the problem it helped to create by providing a voice box in the first place. In the successful crowdfunded wake of the projects like this and others like Daniel Johnston’s Infinite Comic Book of Musical Greatness and the films Supernature: Esalen and the Human Potential and The Spirit Molecule, I see a rich future for Fortean and outsider works in the Long Tail of the 1000 True Fans.