It’s been established that Space Cabby drives people around in a rattling junkheap, so what happens when he is offered a sleek and stylish new ride instead? How deep is his love for his beloved Space Cab?
Space Cabby is flying around when he’s waved down by a guy whose space car has broken down on a lone meteor. Lucky this cab came along!
Our hero boasts about the tinkering he’s done with his atomic motor, giving the cab a fast pickup. And of course, we already know what a crack driver he is! He proceeds to expertly navigate the cab through the requisite space hazards, including that most feared of cosmic phenomena:
He also lets a comet shove them along because, “a comet’s glow, you know, is ‘cold fire’…not hot flames!”
SC gets Ames to Mars in time and the tycoon is wowed by the speedy yet safe trip. He pays his fare — presumably in interplanetary jewels — and promises a tip later. Since this is the fantastic world of the imaginary future, the rich guy really does give him a tip later!
It’s a fancy new cab! (Which looks a lot like how his cab used to look.) Not only is it sleek and stylish, it has all sorts of amazing features. The air conditioning is perfumed! The back seat has dispensers for free cigars and cosmetics! This is mighty tempting, but Space Cabby loves his old cab. He faces a dilemma over whether or not to abandon it for this sexy new
Well, maybe it’s not that tough a decision after all. Space Cabby, you dump your beloved immediately for the first new thing that comes along — do you wonder why you’re single?
Of course Space Cabby’s greatest love is cash, and his eyes are filled with dollar signs as he imagines all the tips he’s going to get riding people around in this amazing spaceship. But soon the reality sets in:
And if that weren’t bad enough, we find out all kinds of other ways this new cab cramps SC’s style. It takes up two parking spaces, so he has to pay double rates! He can’t fit in the asteroid tunnel! It drinks tons of fuel! Other cabbies look more in need of business than him! This gift is a white elephant! He goes back to Smiling Sam, but the old cab has already been sold to two guys who were impressed by its great pickup.
I’m sure you can’t guess where this is heading.
Yep. Space Cabby does see his old cab again…making a getaway from a bank robbery! He chases after the crooks, but they’re too fast and maneuverable for his gold goliath.
He decides to set a trap for the crooks. By burning the taxi insignia off his roof he looks like just a plain old private limousine. He cruises around waiting for them to try to rob him. When they approach, in a lonely, deserted clump of meteors, he tries to signal Ippy, but they’re on to him and jam the signal.
They start to get away, but Space Cabby is a quick thinker! He uses his meteor deflector to shove a meteor at the crooks. But not just any meteor — a magnetic one! It sticks to the rear of their ship and slows them down! But alas, this plan has one tragic side-effect.
Space Cabby grabs onto the magnetic meteor, and the crooks plan on landing somewhere to get rid of it — and him. But within moments, Ippy shows up in a spaceship marked “Ippy”! That’s like the police having “Po-Po” on their squad cars! How did Space Cabby manage to call for help?
I can imagine how that transpired:
IPPY 1: See anything requiring our attention?
IPPY 2: Nah, just a dude in a space suit hanging on for dear life to a magnetic meteor on the back of a spaceship in the airless void of space.
IPPY 1: Wanna grab some coffee?
IPPY2: Wait a minute, he’s writing “SOS” on the meteor in lipstick! I think he’s in trouble!
He set the space cab free and it came back to him, indicating that it’s his forever! Space Cabby has learned what countless other people have only learned from TV and movies — that rich people seem to have it great but would give it all up in a minute for the simple pleasures that we honest folks enjoy.
This is a very special Space Cabby story for me, because it’s the first one I ever read — and for the longest time, the only one. In August of 1976 I was eight years old and bought DC Super Stars of Space #6 off a newsstand somewhere. I loved that comic and read it to pieces. It featured Adam Strange, Tommy Tomorrow, Captain Comet, and this Space Cabby story, which was my favorite.
What’s not to love? It’s a story about an average Joe in the future who has an incredible adventure. It’s got excitement, humor, pathos, and drama! The other stories were good too, but this one really got my attention. It wouldn’t be until several years later that I would read my second Space Cabby story (again in a reprint), “The Robinson Crusoe of Space“.
Yep, folks, this is the story that made me love this noble and dignified character!
Next week: Search for a Star!
“Riddle of the Glowing Space-Cabby!”
Mystery in Space #45 (August 1958)
Writer: Otto Binder
Penciler: Bernard Sachs
Inker: Bernard Sachs
Editor: Julius Schwartz
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