Thursday, February 4, 2021

UFOs and Our Space Age by Otto Binder

 

Otto O. Binder, as described in the introduction to the Inventory of the Science Fiction Archive of Otto Binder housed at Texas A&M University’s Cushing Memorial Library:

“Otto Oscar Binder (1911-1974) began writing science fiction with his brother Earl under the pen name Eando Binder and was first published in 1932. … by 1938, according to S-F authority Sam Moskowitz,’Eando Binder had become one of the three most popular writers in the field.’ ... [Otto] Binder had a talent for plotting, and was credited with being one of the more imaginative writers of the period. He largely left the S-F field in the 1940s to write continuities for the Captain Marvel comic book series, which he did for 17 years. … Binder also wrote more than 300 nonfiction articles, and wrote extensively on unidentified flying objects.”

Binder wrote a saucer story in Captain Marvel Adventures # 98 from 1949

Binder wrote about UFOs in both science fiction and nonfiction over the years in many books and magazines. His chief nonfiction books on the topic were Flying Saucers Are Watching Us in 1967, and What We Really Know About Flying Saucers in 1968.


Our Space Age 

In 1960, Otto Binder launched Our Space Age (originally), a daily feature syndicated by Bell-McClure. It was illustrated by Carl Pfeufer (1910 – 1980), an artist who had drawn comics for Dell, Centaur, Fawcett, Marvel and other publishers.

Our Space Age focused on rockets, satellites, and space exploration, and The Fabulous Fifties blog has a sampling of early panels from 1961 – 1962.


March 22, 1962

Jan 5, 1963

Binder combined his interest in flying saucers and comics in several of his Captain Marvel stories, but in 1965, he did it again as nonfiction for Our Space Age. In 1966 UFOs became the sole focus of the series, as seen below in the advertisement for the series. Binder frequently urged readers to send in their own sighting reports, and also directed them to contact Ray Palmer of Flying Saucers magazine and Jim Moseley of Saucer News for further information on UFOs.

Our Space Age covered a mixture of classic cases, profiles of UFO witnesses, and recent sighting reports. We’ve assembled a sampling of the episodes from across the run of the series.

Sept. 28, 1965

Oct. 1, 1965

Oct. 4, 1965

Oct. 27, 1965

Sept. 28, 1965

Jan. 24, 1966


Feb 19, 1966

Feb 23, 1966

Feb 28, 1966


Aug. 5, 1966

March 24, 1966

June 1, 1966


June 14, 1966


June 23, 1966


Aug. 6, 1966

July 7, 1966


July 8, 1966


Aug 17, 1966

Binder's series featured all aspects of the UFO experience: contact, abductions, humanoids, UFO performance, ancient astronauts, hoaxes, and more.
Sept. 6, 1966

Sept. 29, 1966

Oct 31, 1966

Nov. 1, 1966

Sept. 28, 1967

Dec. 3, 1966

July 20, 1967

Oct. 16, 1967

Oct. 10, 1968

Oct. 14, 1968

Oct. 14, 1968

Sept. 25, 1969

The Human Flying Saucer

In 1966, Binder reunited with C. C. Beck hoping to recapture the magic of their Captain Marvel success. What we got instead was Fatman, the Human Flying Saucer. It only lasted three issues. Deliberately silly in the wake of the campy Batman TV series, we mention it here chiefly for presenting a panel from Our Space Age in color in each issue, as seen in the collection above.


Otto Binder's Legacy

Our Space Age ran from 1960 - 1969. Binder died in 1974 at the age of 63, but he left the world with a wealth of fantastic characters and stories. For more information on the life and work of Otto Binder see, “Before the Golden Age-Eando Binder,” from the site, Tellers of Weird Tales.

Bill Schelly wrote Words of Wonder, the biography of Otto Binder, which was reviewed by UFO researcher Martin S. Kottmeyer. Since then, the book was re-released in 2016 as: Otto Binder: The Life and Work of a Comic Book and Science Fiction Visionary by Bill Schelly.


6 comments:

  1. As a Spanish UFO comic collector and ufologist myself, I already knew about Otto Binder involvement with Captain Marvel and Fatman, but those beautiful daily strips were new to me. Have they been collected somewhere?

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    1. Not as far as I can find! I'd love to see such a collection. We are planning to another few articles on special episodes from the series in the future.

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  2. Thanks for the unique access to material! Otto was often referred to as a 'NASA scientist' revealing astronaut stories. Wasn't he also involved in 'Space World' magazine before Ray Palmer took over? jamesEoberg@comcast.net

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    Replies
    1. Yes, that's him. As far as I know, Binder didn't represent himself as a NASA scientist, but there are a lot of charlatans and sloppy researchers did and still do.

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  3. The "Roadblock Riddle" UFO looks remarkably similar to the "kerosene lamp on end" UFO from the Indrid Cold encounter in West Virginia. I always search for these repetitions because they tend to occur (usually) close together in time, as though it really was a solid (or temporarily solid) object genuinely flying around and being encountered.

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  4. After a lot of work, I've managed to pull together all but ten panels of the "Our Ever Changing World/Our Space Age" series in three large binders. When I find the other ten, I'll be scanning the lot.

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