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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

UFO: Clouds of Madness UFO
"Clouds of Madness"
Countdown #49, January 22, 1972
Writer: Unknown
Art: Brian Lewis


The aliens jettison canisters of gas down to Earth's surface, turning those who come into contact with it violent.


Read the Technodelic story summary at the Internet Archive




At the end of the story Straker proclaims that one Interceptor in every flight will now carry a missile containing several small individual shells that will spread out on launch like shotgun pellets to stop the gas canisters released by a UFO. There is no evidence of this change in the televised episodes of UFO, so one might assume this story takes place after the TV series ended.




This is a 6-page, self-contained story in Countdown #49, January 22, 1972.




Though the strip is in black-and-white, on the last panel of page 1, it appears that one of the purple-wigged Moonbase girls is manning a station at Earthside SHADO HQ. In the televised episodes, the females only wore the wigs while on Moonbase, as part of their uniform.


A batch of the alien gas canisters lands upon the grounds of the Duke of Brandon. The title of Duke of Brandon is part of the Peerage of Scotland and was created in 1711. The holder of the older title of Duke of Hamilton is the also the holder of the Duke of Brandon title. In the 1980s of the real world (when this story takes place, but written in 1971), the Duke of Brandon was Angus Douglas-Hamilton (1938-2010), the title held from 30 March 1973 – 5 June 2010.


On page 5 of the story, the Duke's herd of highland cattle, under the influence of the alien gas, attacks Straker and Freeman. Highland cattle are a Scottish breed of cattle with long coats and horns, just as depicted here.




What did the aliens hope to accomplish by using gas that would make humans (and other mammals) on Earth become suddenly violent? Was it meant to keep SHADO and other military forces busy while UFOs raided other parts of the planet for human bodies?


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