This chapter surveys animation’s depictions of aliens and alien worlds throughout the pre-war era, with an emphasis on two common approaches: depicting the other in a conventionally exotic manner and trying to convey a sense of what H. P. Lovecraft termed strangeness. With this iconic element animation also demonstrates another dimension of its intersection with modernism, particularly that movement’s questioning of conventional representation, while also underscoring its emphasis on what has been termed a “new visuality.” In addition, the chapter argues that these comic alien figures and strange worlds, much as in SF literature, often defy efforts to categorize animation under the heading of a conservative modernism, because of the way they are used to address a number of contemporary cultural concerns, including political, economic, and social issues.
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