Why Were Blacklight Posters So Popular In The '70s?

By Jacob Shelton
Left: A blacklight poster featuring R. Crumb's 'Mr. Natural' character and his slogan 'Keep On Truckin',' circa 1972. Right: detail of 'Dr. Strange Meets Eternity,' 1971' printed by The Third Eye. Source: Heritage Auctions

Few wall adornments are so quintessentially '70s as the blacklight poster, depicting Marvel superheroes, noble warriors, R. Crumb cartoons or drug imagery. Throughout the late ‘60s and ‘70s, it didn’t matter if you were partaking of Tijuana gold in a wood-paneled basement, or lying in a dark bedroom and listening to the thrum of psychedelic tunes, the one constant was the hazy glow of a blacklight poster. With their surreal visuals and fluorescent glow, these posters seemed to offer a doorway into a new dimension. But how did these Day-Glo scenes become ubiquitous?