Above is a illustration from the December 23, 1893 edition of the Ottawa Journal‘s reprint of HG Wells’s article ” The Man of the Year Million.” It may be the first visual representation of the famous “Greys.” The first description, however, may belong to Kenneth Folingsby, who wrote about a race of evolved beings in Meda: A Tale of the Future.
This makes an excellent companion to my Evolution of the Mutant in Popular Culture.
I will echo the comment from the bottom of that page that points out that there were many other representations of aliens in popular culture. The Grey-esque images the author links to sound relatively obscure compared to other portrayals by the time Grey sitings became popular.
A few questions:
1. Are there any older portrayals of “Grey-esque” creatures – in, for example, ancient tribal art?
2. When did accounts of Greys become particularly popular?
3. What is the likelihood that the earliest reporters of Greys had seen stuff like Amazing Tales covers?
FWIW, I like Douglas Rushkoff’s hypothesis from Playing the Future: the archetypal image of the Greys comes from the human fetus, and both their appearance and alien abduction phenomena correlate with the increased public debate over abortion.