Space Cabby, of course, loves his space cab. But he wouldn’t want to live in it. Nevertheless, that’s exactly what happens in this story when he becomes trapped in a cab he never made!
It all starts, like so many things, with a toothache. Space Cabby’s tooth is ailing him, and he’s heading back over to the dentist to get a filling that was put in earlier that morning checked out. Strangely, his attempt to do so is foiled.
In addition to glowing, he also becomes extremely dizzy. He returns to the cab to radio a doctor, and immediately feels fine again. His toothache has also subsided, so he shrugs the whole thing off as just another space-nectar flashback and returns to his work.
Toting people around space is thirsty work, so Space Cabby heads for a refreshment stand advertising “MILKY WAY COLA — It’s Out of This World!” which is a slogan you’d think would be about as catchy as “British Airways — It Exists on this Planet!”. As soon as he steps out to grab a beverage, it happens again:
Back in the cab again, he returns to normal. Obviously something outside is causing this strange phenomenon. He starts putting his cab driver’s deduction to work. Maybe it’s the atmosphere — after all, when he’s in the cab he breathes “pure bottled oxygen from tanks”. To test this, he heads for Mars, where the air is “different”. Alas, it’s not the air doing it, as the same thing happens on Mars, as well as the other planets he tries out.
He tries wearing a space suit outside, but that doesn’t change anything. He has to spend all his time in the cab, even sleeping there instead of in a comfortable inflatable tent! How bad are the space-dizzies he gets? Lest you think I’m exaggerating:
It’s so bad that when he goes to “the stormy moon” and it storms, he can’t leave the cab for shelter or take off and has to ride through the violent tempest. He’s not losing money, but since he can’t go to a bank because for some reason drive-through banks no longer exist he has to keep the cash he’s making in the cab with him! And you know what THAT means.
The robber was there on Mars and knows that Space Cabby can’t leave the cab to chase him on foot, so he can make a perfect getaway! Even if SC calls Ippy this rogue can still easily make tracks before they arrive. It’s the perfect plan! The crook has Space Cabby fly him to an asteroid and on the way there our hero has to come up with a plan to defeat him. And to make things worse, his tooth is hurting again!
Once they land, the crook hops out, delighted at the foolproof plan he’s come up with. But Space Cabby ain’t no fool!
Space Cabby grabs the robber’s raygun and proceeds to explain what’s happened. Now, one thing I love about writer Otto Binder is that he doesn’t believe in crazy ‘Star Trek’ science. He’ll never just say that the pflibteron gas particles caused him to grow giant bat wings and a horn. Instead, some strange reaction between his new nickel-plated wristwatch and the sound waves from the latest radio hit caused him to grow giant bat wings and a horn. Such is the case here.
See, earlier the day this started, Space Cabby had a tooth filled — with a mercury-silver amalgamate. In addition:
So the rays from the defective lamp made the filling from Dr. Chekov, D.D.S., react, causing the strange glowing and dizziness. The faulty light only came on when the door was opened, and wore off by the time Space Cabby got back in the cab! Ironically, it was something inside the cab that was giving our hero the glowing space woozies! Once he removed the defective bulb, he was free to chase down, slug, and provide exposition to the crook!
Freed from his prison, Space Cabby can now drop this guy off with Ippy, get his tooth looked at, and replace his light bulb. Presumably, he can also go shower, wash his clothes, and poop for the first time in days.
If things look different, it’s because for the first time since issue 26, Gil Kane isn’t drawing the strip. Bernard Sachs, who had been doing most of the inking until now takes over for Kane on pencils as well, while Kane is off drawing more important books, like Rex the Wonder Dog. We’ll see ol’ Gil again before we’re done, though!
Next week: The Luxury Limousine of Space!
“Riddle of the Glowing Space-Cabby!”
Mystery in Space #44 (June-July 1958)
Writer: Otto Binder
Penciler: Bernard Sachs
Inker: Bernard Sachs
Editor: Julius Schwartz
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