World Contact Day: Another Audience With… The Hoaxmaster!

« We all have a thirst for wonder. It’s a deeply human quality. Science and religion are both bound up with it. What I’m saying is, you don’t have to make stories up, you don’t have to exaggerate. There’s wonder and awe enough in the real world. Nature’s a lot better at inventing wonders than we are. » ― Carl Sagan, Contact

Time to keep a promise — a promise to myself, but just as worthy of being kept. A couple of years ago, I posted the first half of a favourite comics feature of mine, ‘The Hoaxmaster’, which ran in most issues of Gold Key’s UFO Flying Saucers in the 1970s. At the time, I declared that I might get around to posting the second half of the set some World Contact Day, which is today.

The bracing brand of skepticism demonstrated here by the Hoaxmaster, much needed as it was then — smack in the middle of the UFO-Spiritualism-Occultism mania of its era — is yet more urgently needed these days, as the merry-go-round of surreal disinformation spins faster and faster, further out of control with each passing day, it would seem. You may have noticed.

From UFO Flying Saucers no. 9 (Jan. 1976, Gold Key); as with all the Hoaxmaster vignettes, script by Pat Fortunato and artwork by Frank Bolle.
From UFO Flying Saucers no. 10 (May 1976, Gold Key).
From UFO Flying Saucers no. 11 (Aug. 1976, Gold Key).
This was the issue in question, my introduction to the title; it bore this terrific — downright terrifying — painted cover by George Wilson.
From UFO Flying Saucers no. 12 (Nov. 1976, Gold Key). Adamski!
From UFO Flying Saucers no. 13 (Jan. 1977, Gold Key). Bolle was always a solid artist — which is certainly why he enjoyed such a long and busy career — but I can’t think of any, among the myriad of features he worked on, where he seemed to enjoy himself this much. His work always had a deadpan grace, but here, the wit deployed in the scripts allows him to reveal a seldom-seen facet of his talent.


3 thoughts on “World Contact Day: Another Audience With… The Hoaxmaster!

  1. Ellen March 15, 2023 / 22:49

    “Fire from Space”? Can’t say as I followed the Hoaxmaster (The Man In Black Called Fate was much more entertaining). But Mary and I once wrote very much the same story. It was called “Night Light”, and ran in “Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine” for March, 1987. We’ve put together an anthology called “Minnesota Vice”. That’s on Amazon under “Monica Ferris Presents”.

    It was a tag-team mystery. I told her a few things I wanted in the first half of the story (which included flying saucers). Then I had to solve the mystery in the second half. It wasn’t exactly a Volkswagen ending, but it turned on real-world events.


    • gasp65 March 17, 2023 / 12:51

      Now you’ve got me intrigued — I’ll be on the lookout for that issue of AHMM. And kudos… pulling off a successful piece of tag-team writing is quite a feat… especially if you’re the one in charge of the ending!


      • Ellen March 17, 2023 / 15:06

        Tag team writing is perilous. Mary and I had six stories in AHMM, but that was all our systems could stand. There’s a rule for this: there are two writers and a manuscript. Only two at a time can be in the same room at once.


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