To The Moon (Time-Life Records)

To The Moon - Time Life Records

Something of a special feature here, original photography scanned from the breathtakingly beautiful ‘To The Moon’ (Time-Life 1969) an audio and visual chronology that documents NASA’s Mercury, Gemini and (of course) Apollo projects. ‘To The Moon’ includes 6 doubled sided 12″ Vinyl’s full of famous radio transmissions and interviews, plus an accompanying 190 page slip case book, and that’s the focus of this post. Many thanks to Craig for the temporary loan!

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I Could Tell You But Then You Would Have to be Destroyed by Me: Emblems from the Pentagon’s Black World

Minotaur Lockheed Martin Advanced Developement Programs

NRO We Own The Night

Tri-Service Standoff Attack Missile

B2 Stealth Bomber To Serve Man

Behind The Green Door Patch

Something slightly different – and frankly bizarre! – obscure US Military Patch graphics. I first tagged this set a while back (2008) but only just rediscovered whilst mining through the ever increasing stack of Sci-Fi-O-Rama resource bookmarks!

What we have here then are six samples or military shoulder/pocket patches taken from “I Could Tell You But Then You Would Have to be Destroyed by Me: Emblems from the Pentagon’s Black World” (published Melville House Dec 2007) a compendium of rarely seen “Black Ops” Military Unit/Projects memorabilia researched and compiled by American Artist’s Trevor Paglen. What constitutes a Black Ops Project then? well basically it’s any classified US military research project veiled in secrecy that quietly guzzle funds from the federal budget. Examples of Black Ops which have trans-located into the public domain include the F-117 Stealth Fighter or the B2 Stealth Bomber and those projects that don’t and remain forever shrouded? well it’s a conspiracy theorists wet dream isn’t it…

I’ve always been a fan of embroidered sew on patches be they Military, Space, Movie or otherwise (having assembled small collection via ebay) anyway this set with it’s extremely weird mix of cartoon visuals, Sci-Fi, the Occult and sinister cryptic slogans pretty much blows any other patch art into oblivion…

Here’s the notes then for the chosen images:

Top: National Reconnaissance Office Dragon Path – This patch is one of Trevor Paglen’s absolute favourites, and it’s not hard to see why! The whole visual concept – the green dragon holding the world in its clutches, American flag wings, and its tail wrapped around a diamond – is extremely sinister, and screams “Imperialism/New World Order/Illuminati” well at least that’s my half-baked conjecture!. The actual source of the patch apparently has something to do with a classified Satellite (probably signals-intelligence) launched into a geosynchronous orbit in 2003…

2nd Top: This one’s definitely my favourite – wicked design – Minotaur is a still-classified program undertaken by Lockheed Martin’s Advanced Development Programs division, the Skunk Works.

3rd Top:“We Own The Night” – This patch commemorates the August 17, 2000, launch of a “classified National Reconnaissance Office payload” atop a Titan IV rocket.

4th Top: The Tri-Service Standoff Attack Missile was a classified cruise missile symbolized by the Tasmanian Devil. The acronym Tssam recalled the cartoon character.

5th Top: The classic ‘Grey’ alien with a B-2 bomber in it’s clutches, the slogan “To Serve Man” apparently a reference to a classic Twilight Zone episode… The 509th Bomb Wing flew B-2 stealth bomber test flights, and used to be based at Roswell, N.M., home of the notorious ‘Roswell Incident‘.

Bottom: This one with it’s glowing eyed green wizard creature remains something of an enigma, Trevor notes: The origins of this patch remain unknown. The red star is in Southwest, which is many secret units’ home, while military intelligence typically uses green vaults.


For further reading and imagery check this New York Times article and interview with Trevor Paglin or visit Trevor’s home site:

Also you can buy a copy of “I Could Tell You But Then You Would Have to be Destroyed by Me: Emblems from the Pentagon’s Black World” starting from via Amazon, here’s a link:

And finally for more Secretive Military patch design inspiration check out this site:

History of The 20th Century

History of The 20th Century - Wrangel is coming


History of The 20th Century - Spion Kop

Ok so something a little different here, Non SF/Fantasy related material!

The above images come from a full colour 1968 Magazine Publication “History of the 20th Century” that I came across recently. The magazine was a long running weekly publication that built up in to volumes of 16, forming a substantial encyclopedia of mankinds recent past – as you can imagine, the focus is on colonialism, imperialism and of course war and its devastating effects that have shaped our modern world…

Aside from the extremely in depth content “History of the 20th Century” contains some stunning imagery, all of which has a real “technicolor” saturated feel photography in the way that only 40+ year old colour print can have.

Some notes on the images:

Top: Illustration from a poster produced by the Bolsheviks during the Russian Civil War (1917-20). Wrangelm the White (anti-Bolshevik) general, is shown striding towards Moscow, accompanied by Tsarist officers, a train of priests, officials and capitalists all bearing Tsarist flags… The slogan for this poster was “Wrangel is Coming! Proletarians to arms!”

2nd Top: Allegorical painting: comment on the legacy of war by Russian artist Vereshchagin. Painted in the early years of the 20th Century.

Bottom: From an extensive article on The Boer War; This map details part of the timeline from “The battle of Spion Kop” – which the article notes was perhaps the bloodiest single engagement of the war.

For more imagery from “History of the 20th Century” check Flickr user Mando Maniacs gallery

Katsuhiro Otomo – Akira

Katasuhiro Otomo - Akira

Katasuhiro Otomo - Akira

Super detailed draftsmanship from the absolute master of techno-Illustration; Katsuhiro Otomo, the Japanese Illustrator behind the legendary cyberpunk manga-fest “Akira”. This image is taken from the Epic Books Akira Collection “Part 10” fairly close to the epic sagas end.

The Akira Manga ran from Dec 1982 through June 1990, and was the basis for the simply stunning 1988 animated feature film, although the story is only loosely connected. The most fasicanting thing with Otomos work is the unbelievable attention to detail, every element is impeccably fashioned and has function. take for a example the above Illustration, Otomo has not just drawn this fighter jet, it’s designed to be as realistic as possible, his take on exactly how a US Navy jet would look in 2019. For case in point note the tilting Canard Wing and airspeed pitot tube (thanks Pete/NelC) at the front of the craft…simply amazing stuff!

Read more about Katsuhiro Otomo at Wikipedia: and the Akira Manga: (Warning Spoilers!!)

Lower B/W image via Flickr user: art_files

Philip Castle – Airflow

Philip Castle - Airflow (Cover)

F15 Fighter Jets soaring through the clouds and some gratuitous nudity feature on the cover of “Airflow” Philip Castle’s portfolio book published 1980. A design harking back to the tradition of  beautiful & scantly clad ladies painted on the noses of  WW2 American Bombers.

For a larger gallery of Philips Work check

Tom Lea – That 2,000-Yard Stare

Tom Lea - That 2,000-Yard Stare

That 2,000-Yard Stare
1944, oil on canvas, 36″ x 28″
U.S. Army Center for Military History, Washington, D.C.

Painting by Thomas C. Lea, III (1907 – 2001) American muralist, illustrator, artist, war correspondent, novelist, and historian….

Read more about him here:,_III and visit this site titled “Tom Lea – Artist and Texas Legend”