Space Cabby Sunday: The Pea-Pod Planet!

Ever notice how foreign people all look alike? That’s what Space Cabby has to deal with in this exciting adventure!

So Space Cabby is coming back from outside our solar system when he notices something weird. The sun, normally small and calm, is a lot bigger and brighter! What’s going on? Wait! CALLING SPACE CABBY!

Gasp! And despite the tight deadline, the Ippy guy goes on to explain that “the destruction of all the planets” means Mercury, Venus, Mars, and even Earth, going into graphic, page-filling detail about what would happen!

Fortunately, he explains, there’s one guy who can help: Professor Xitt Xott, who lives in the Sirius solar system. Professor Xott is an expert on novae (editor’s note: this is “the astronomical term for suns and stars that explode periodically in the universe”) and might be able to stop it. Space Cabby has to hoof it out to Sirius because cosmic static is preventing Ippy from just calling the guy up!

Space Cabby signs off of his space CB and heads out to Sirius at top speed! He gets there in record time and lands in Sirius City. In what seems to be a stroke of unbelievable, Silver-Ageian luck, the very first person he meets is Professor Xott! Except…he claims he’s not Professor Xott! Cabby attempts to prove him wrong by showing him the picture and the alien laughs.

Crud! They DO all look alike! And only now does Space Cabby realize that he’s trying to find a guy on an entire planet with nothing to go by but his name and photo. With the doomsday clock ticking, he’s got to track down Professor Xott through the authorities, a phone book, Google Sirius, or…

Well, I for one did not expect that. Apparently all Sirians, in addition to looking identical, all know each other.

An alien steps forth declaring himself to be Professor Xott and SC tells him to hop in the cab, as Earth needs his scientific expertise! The Professor asks the Cabby to run him past his house so he can get his science tools. He comes back with a briefcase and SC tells him about the important mission he’s needed for. This gets a surprising response:

The alien is actually a criminal (hardly a surprise!) who saw the space cab as a surefire getaway! There’s no time to accede to his demands without dooming Earth (oh, and the other planets), but our quick-thinking hero comes up with a time-honored cab driver tradition: driving around in circles so that the fare has no idea how far he’s actually gone!

They arrive at and land on a planet, but as soon as the crook steps out,

Ha! Space Cabby knew the criminal wouldn’t recognize his own planet because, as he explains, “you people have no spaceships and never saw how your own world looks from space!” So the Sirians, who all look alike and know each other, are just not as intelligent and advanced as we are!

The Sirian Police tell Space Cabby how to find Professor Xott and soon SC and the Professor are hurtling back towards Earth. They get there with only an hour to spare, but not to worry! Professor Xott’s “atomic fire extinguisher” is all it takes to instantly calm down the deadly chain reaction with “anti-nuclear foam”. So that’s taken care of.

Which only leaves one remaining question…but before Space Cabby can ask it, Professor Xott wants to know:

And suddenly each of them becomes just a little bit wiser.

There are two notable things about this issue. First, it’s one of the issues where this happens:

That’s the same guy talking in both panels, too! So even one character in one story couldn’t decide what the spelling should be!

Also, the space cab changes from being a 1950s car with a ridiculously huge fin on it to being more of a rocket-looking thing. Same writer, artist, and editor, but someone clearly decided it was time for a change. This is how the cab will look for the rest of the run.

Next week: Interplanetary Safari!

“The Pea-Pod Planet!”
Mystery in Space #32 (June-July 1956)
Writer: Otto Binder
Penciler: Gil Kane
Inker: Bernard Sachs
Editor: Julius Schwartz
Cabby/Cabbie: Both!
Table of Contents

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3 Responses to Space Cabby Sunday: The Pea-Pod Planet!

  1. Christine says:

    I learned a lot from this issue. Including how to draw a crowd. Indian war dance… of course!

  2. Andrew Weiss says:

    Binder also featured “anti-nuclear foam” as a plot point in one of the later Captain Marvel Adventures stories. Perhaps he had a stake in the company.

  3. Crowded House says:

    Sirians all look alike, know each other, have never developed space travel or satellites/telescopes (as evidenced by not knowing what their planet looks like from space) yet have developed an atomic fire existinguisher capable of putting out an expanding sun because…

    You know what? I’m gonna leave that question unanswered. Space Cabby is clearly trying to expand my mind and I just can’t conceive of it unparalleled genius.