“Wave” VHS Art
In the USA beginning in 1996, the X-Files began to be issued in VHS (yes, that clumpsy magnetic thing before the Digital Versatile Disc or whatever it’s officially called came along), with each VHS tape containing two episodes. With these tapes came insert cards with art on the tape’s specific episodes. Not all the episodes were issued so not all episodes have their card, and for some reason the cards stopped being issued after Tunguska/Terma came out, so in all there are 42 panels. Not content to be novel enough for releasing so many episodes on VHS, the X-Files made entire pieces of art for each single episode!
I do not own these cards and I have salvaged the following scans from defunct 1990s fan sites, saving them from oblivion along the way. As far as I know, they now only exist here and in some collectors’ houses — which is a shame since this really is memorable X-Files art. I believe I had seen the panels for the Pilot and Deep Throat printed on T-shirts a while back. If you come across this page and can provide better scans for the world to see, please contact me.
The cards were made by Thom Ang and Cliff Nielsen. These are the same people who, with Miran Kim, did the artwork for the Topps trading cards of seasons 1-3. The trading card sets had cards and panels like this for each episode, but these are not the same paintings/collages. The artwork is not credited individually; I believe most, if not all, were made by Thom Ang (you will notice a trademark ‘a in a triangle’ in most panels).
The art is haunting and beautiful in its own, twisted way. Some “to be continued” episodes were given a special treatment, with imagery in one panel echoing the other’s: in particular take a look at Duane Barry / One Breath, Colony / End Game and Nisei / 731. Artist and X-phile Jared Adams tried to continue in the same vein, making panels for all the mythology episodes that followed, going so far as to use the same “The X Files” logo and the echoing between continued episodes’ panels — I find the result very successful and I encourage you to visit it here.