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By Hal Marcovitz

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62 The film is based on a series of graphic novels written by Lowell Cunningham and illustrated by Sandy Carruthers, first published in 1990. The agents work for a secret government agency, MiB (the initials stand for “men in black”), responsible for keeping track of extraterrestrials on Earth. “At any one time, there are about 1,500 aliens on Earth, most of them in New York City,”42 explains veteran Agent K to rookie Agent J. As J soon learns, most aliens do a very good job of disguising themselves as humans, but an experienced MiB agent learns to notice the stray tentacle slipping out from beneath the DID YOU KNOW ?

Both were avid readers of Amazing Stories and other pulp magazines and shared an interest in science fiction. They were also fans of the newspaper comic strips featuring Tarzan, the African jungle king, and Buck Rogers, a twenty-fifth-century adventurer. The two friends worked closely together on the Glenville student newspaper, where Shuster drew cartoons and Siegel wrote humorous stories. Away from school, they toyed with the idea of creating their own comic strip featuring a hero with super powers.

K has had his memory wiped clean and does not recall his years of service as an MiB agent. J helps bring the retired agent back to reality by quickly unmasking all the other post office workers as extraterrestrials. Other writers as well as TV and film executives have long exploited the comic potential of extraterrestrials living among ordinary people on Earth, starting as early as 1955 with the production of a TV play titled Visit to a Small Planet. ) The story follows a visitor to Earth who befriends a suburban family and falls in love with the family’s daughter.

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