TWO Space Cabbies!?!? It happened! Actually it happened in the third story. Fine, then, how about THREE Space Cabbies?
You see, Space Cabby is on Mars when three passengers come running for a taxi. Naturally, he can only take one, and since the one he picks up isn’t a crook, he must be a wacky scientist! Space Cabby wishes aloud that he was triplets, so that he could make even more money driving people around, and his passenger, Professor Parker, claims he can make this wish come true!
Sure enough, the ray produces two identical Space Cabbies, both of whom think they’re the real deal!
Professor Parker sees this as a great opportunity to test his invention! He whips up two more cabs and declares this whole thing an experiment to see if the other two are as good at driving space cabs as the original.
To avoid identity confusion, Space Cabby names the clones “Ultra” and “Infra”, writing the names on their hats. They then all take off to make some quatloos.
Later, Space Cabby is heading towards a fare when another cab also shows up…a very familiar cab. It’s Ultra! Heading for the same fare! You can imagine the effect this has on the poor customer.
This is a disaster! Instead of making more money, Space Cabby is making less! Clearly the entire solar system is too small for three cab drivers, so they have no choice but to divide the area in thirds to avoid overlapping!
At the end of the week they compare receipts, and both of the duplicates earned more than the original! And if that’s not bad enough, check out what Ultra’s up to!
Space Cabby decides to take advantage of the situation. With Ultra and Infra raking in the dough, SC himself can just lounge around and take it easy. He ends up riding in Ultra’s cab for free (because it’s technically his own cab) and he doesn’t even tip!
But the party doesn’t last long…
SC rushes back to Professor Parker, who is astounded to hear about this development. Apparently the process is unstable, and the duplicates eventually vanish. This means that Infra will vanish too, and if he does so in space…with a fare on board…GULP!
This just keep getting worse! He tries to warn a policeman but the cop thinks he’s nuts. And when he gets on the radio to Infra, there’s no response! He quickly blasts jets to get to Infra’s portion of the solar system. Naturally he’s delayed by the usual problems — the August 15 “meteor flock” is happening, and a hydrogen cloud collided with an oxygen cloud, causing a fire in space that needs to be put out. Eventually he gets there, though, and spots Infra’s cab. Why didn’t he answer the radio call? Reader, can you guess?
While the bad guys are counting their loot, SC unties Infra and they attack, but during the conflict Infra vanishes! Space Cabby is now outnumbered!
He then points at a rock and declares that he’s made the crooks’ ray guns vanish. These brain surgeons are so baffled by this they forget that their guns were actually on a different rock, but it doesn’t matter because Space Cabby has grabbed the guns!
He turns in the crooks, gets a fat reward, and life goes back to normal.
At least, I assume it does…
See, folks, this is the end of the road for Space Cabby. Issue 47 of Mystery of Space was the last issue featuring our hero. Though the book would go on to feature such luminaries as the Star Rovers, Space Ranger, Ultra the Multi-Alien, and the venerable Adam Strange, Space Cabby’s candle, which had burned oh so very brightly, was extinguished.
Although his stories would show up in the occasional reprint, it wasn’t until 27 years later that the character would appear again.
Next week: The Evolution of Space Cabby!
“The Riddle of the Rival Space Cabbies!”
Mystery in Space #47 (October 1958)
Writer: Otto Binder
Penciler: Gil Kane
Inker: Bernard Sachs
Editor: Julius Schwartz
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