Friday, June 7, 2019

UFOs: Contact in the Comics from 1964

Buz Sawyer was the daily comic strip created by Roy Crane in 1943 featuring the adventures of a heroic Navy pilot. When a Sunday comic strip was added, it was produced by Crane's assistants and featured a different storyline starring Rosco Sweeney, Buz Sawyer's comic sidekick. The Sunday strip was a comedy, mostly about Rosco Sweeney and his sister, Lucille, dealing with country life on the family farm.

A typical day at the Sweeney farm, 1963.
Al Wenzel's (Albert Borth Wenzel, 1924 -1995) art career took flight illustrating Superboy comic books in the late 1940s, and by the early 1950s he was producing cartoons for magazines and ghosting comic strips such as Will Eisner's The Spirit. In 1960, he became Crane's assistant on the Buz Sawyer Sundays, then took over producing the strip in 1962. Wenzel continued the premise and flavor of the strip, but in 1964, things got weird when a flying saucer turned up.

Robert Barrow, a long-time ufologist, sent us a note about some comic strips he'd saved:
After the Lonnie Zamora UFO report in 1964 all manner of newspaper responses showed up.  These are three separate weeks from the Sunday newspaper comics featuring the "Buz Sawyer" series by Roy Crane, and these involve "his pal" Rosco Sweeney.
We've shared the 1964 strips below, and Claude Falkstrom was able to locate some black and white reproductions of the other strips in the the series, along with a few of the final ones in color from UFOPOP. It looks like there was an earlier introduction, that may be missing, but otherwise the story looks complete. It's an interesting look at the attitudes of the time, from the public's view on Air Force UFO denials to the concern by witness that they'll be seen as kooks. As for the visiting extraterrestrial, he's a little green man from Mars.



The Dec. 1964 episode ended the flying saucer storyline, at least for a while. In March of 1968, the Martian made a return visit.

Thanks to Robert Barrow for sharing his original newspaper clippings from 1964. Check out Robert's work at UFO: The True Story of Flying Saucers 


  1. Hm, interesting. The earliest daily strip that I've been able to find that significantly references the subject is this:

  2. ISleepNow, that's great! Outstanding for its portrayal of the little men. There were a few other saucer references in the comics, but your may be the first serial.

    Previously, Will Eisner's "The Spirit" comic section was believed to be the first saucer story, dated September 28, 1947.

    I recently came across an even earlier flying saucer bit in the "Superman" Sunday comic section of August 24 & 31, 1947. It's just a short gag, Superman hoaxing a flying saucers (with noble intent of course).
    We'll probably cover that one soon here at STTF if I can get a good color scan of it.

  3. Have you ever covered old time radio series that had flying saucer episodes? For example:

    I'm doing research on the topic and can pass along other links if you want to do your own take on the subject.

  4. the martian gave the Sweeneys a tree that grew money, at the end, the treasury dept bulldozed it

    1. He gave the green man a bill and he zapped it with something. Roscoe planted the bill and a money tree grew I remember plain as day. They kept money in shoe boxes in the closet. I forget how the irs found out!

    2. I believe that all the bills had the same serial numbers (or whatever you call the long identifying number on each bill, such as D 52994602 A). Someone noticed bills with the same number were being spent locally, and they were deemed to be counterfeit, since bills all have different numbers. The Sweenys somehow got out of being arrested for counterfeiting -- they may have said they found the money, or someone gave it to them. They had to chop down the money tree because it was causing trouble.

  5. I notice that they had to put pants on the Martian...


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