This Used to Be the Future: Captain Baboon’s Space-War!

Welcome to the exciting world of The Future! I’m your host, Dave Lartigue, and each Wednesday I’ll be taking you on an exciting and educational journey into the time to come! Sit back, pull up a cosmo chair, pour a space drink, and enjoy!

Silver Age audiences loved them some war. And they loved monkeys. In today’s story, a guy with a war bumps into a guy with a monkey and the result is pure magic!

We begin in orbit around earth, where some maniac pilots a small spaceship recklessly into the space-lanes. Earth defense forces force the ship to land, and are startled when this guy emerges from it:

The baboon grabs a stylopen from one of the soldiers and begins writing — with superb penmanship — on the actual runway. He reveals that he is actually ex-captain Gordon Walters, and he has a warning that in three days Earth will be destroyed! Nobody bothers to get him any paper, so he continues his story on the runway.

The baboon reveals that fifteen years ago he, Gordon Walters — a human, not a baboon — was a Battle Fleet Captain in the war against a race called the Chall. Naturally, he was one of the bestest soldiers of the whole war!

The war over, Walters resigns his commission and heads back into space, but this time as an envoy of peace and progress. He grabs a bunch of seeds and heads out to the stars to plant vegetation in the ground instead of Challs. (He claims Johnny Appleseed is an ancestor of his.)

During one of his seed-spilling missions, he comes across something interesting.

This “transoptikon” allows Walters to swap minds with other creatures, which he uses to stay out of danger on the savage planets he often visits.

On one of those planets he comes across a healthy baboon. An oddity, since there doesn’t seem to be enough vegetation to support life. He decides to investigate and picks up a radio broadcast in the Chall language…and it’s addressing Ektinor!

This is peculiar because remember, Ektinor was put behind bars — no, wait, Walters says “disintegrated” — at the end of the war. I guess they kind of lost track of him? Anyway, he’s here on a planet around the star-sun “Asterope” and what’s worse, he’s got a Hyperometer, whatever that is!

What it is, according to the transoptikon, is a device that can teleport matter from one point in space to another! And that’s a serious problem!

At that point the Challs find Walters’ spacecraft and post guards around it. How can he leave to warn Earth of this threat? Thankfully, he’s got this device that allows him to switch minds! He’s used it before when attacked by wild beasts to make one beast chase the others away! So with these armed soldiers all around, his best bet for a mind swap is…well, it’s the baboon, of course.

The guards laugh as Koko climbs aboard Walters’ ship, amused at the thought of the simian piloting such an advanced craft. But the joke’s on them when he actually does take off, having “accidentally” hit the right controls!

Captain Baboon takes the ship to Earth, which is where we started. His story finished, he uses the last bit of runway to describe his plan. They can’t just blast the enemy, because the Challs might send the bomb to Earth ahead of schedule! Walters orders them to make up sleep-gas bombs that look like seeds.

Once he has these, he flies his ship back to Asterope and crash-lands so as not to arouse suspicion that he’s anything more than a merely adequate baboon space pilot. The Challs gather round and laugh at his merry antics.

Captain Baboon solves the problem of the remaining guard by…well, he gets called over to join the fun by his pals, and then the moment is right! He throws the fake seeds to the ground, releasing the sleeping gas, and also sends up a miniature, seed-shaped flare. Soon all the Challs (and Captain Baboon) are dozing peacefully on the ground as the Earth space fleet, seeing the signal, comes in for the capture.

And that, dear readers, is how a baboon saved the planet Earth! The baboon personally disintegrates Ektinor once and for all. Incidentally, no Trytanium bomb or Hyperometer is ever found, but the important thing here is that we rid the universe of this threat. The final panel takes place in the Chall capitol, where a statue of Ektinor is being pulled down.

By the way, this story was sort of reused several years later as a Lois Lane one entitled “I Am Curious (Baboon)”.

“Captain Baboon’s Space-War!”
Mystery in Space #68 (DC Comics, June 1961)
Writer: Gardner Fox
Penciler: Mike Sekowsky
Inker: Bernard Sachs
Editor: Julius Schwartz

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One Response to This Used to Be the Future: Captain Baboon’s Space-War!

  1. T. Derscheid says:

    Lois Lane is baboon-curious? Serves the Big Blue Boy Scout right for getting into so many tussles with gorillas over the years.