Blue Book (Volume 1) by Tyrion, Oeming, and BidikarBlue Book (Volume One) by James Tynion IV (script), Michael Avon Oeming (art), Aditya Bidikar (letters)

Blue Book is the true-life story of Betty and Barney Hill, a couple who claimed to have had an UFO encounter in the summer of 1961. While driving late at night, the young couple encounters a space ship, and then aliens abduct them, do experiments, and return them to their car within about two hours. All of this is narrated by Tynion in his script and shown through excellent black, white, and blue art by Oeming.

It is a compelling story, and most of the information comes from the famous book describing their encounter by John Fuller: The Interrupted Journey: Two Lost Hours Aboard a UFO: The Abduction of Betty and Barney Hill (1966). The book came out because a journalist leaked the Hill abduction story to the press in 1965, and the Hills became famous. So they worked with John Fuller to get their version of the story out there. Fuller had their full cooperation, as well as the cooperation of the doubting therapist who, nonetheless, conducted interviews with the Hills individually while under hypnosis.

However, Blue Book goes beyond The Interrupted Journey by telling what happened later on. Barney Hill died at age 46 in 1969, but unknown to the Hills, in 1968 Marjorie Fish, an amateur astronomer, read The Interrupted Journey and decided to examine closely the star map that Betty had drawn under hypnosis, a map that was reproduced in Fuller’s book. Fish built a three-dimensional map and looked at it from different angles before discovering that the star map coincided with a specific star system. Her discovery, surprisingly, was published by the journal Astronomy in 1974. This publication gave further credence to the Hill’s story in the eyes of UFO believers.

All of these aspects of the Hill story are recorded in Blue Book in a compelling manner, and the comic is quite engaging, and thus reads quickly. Not knowing much about UFOs, I had never heard of the Hills, but I imagine those who know about them would not find much new offered in this book. However, the pleasure, I think, is seeing their story told visually in a condensed format. I would think this approach would allow for an even wider audience to become exposed to the encounter and the lives of Betty and Barney Hill. And of course, seeing the encounter through the art of Oeming makes the story even more memorable than it might be otherwise. I think it is a solid comic deserving of four stars: The whole book is a beautiful work of art, and UFO enthusiasts will certainly want to own a copy of it.


  • Brad Hawley

    BRAD HAWLEY, who's been with us since April 2012, earned his PhD in English from the University of Oregon with areas of specialty in the ethics of literature and rhetoric. Since 1993, he has taught courses on The Beat Generation, 20th-Century Poetry, 20th-Century British Novel, Introduction to Literature, Shakespeare, and Public Speaking, as well as various survey courses in British, American, and World Literature. He currently teaches Crime Fiction, Comics, and academic writing at Oxford College of Emory University where his wife, Dr. Adriane Ivey, also teaches English. They live with their two young children outside of Atlanta, Georgia.

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