Space Museum (comics)

Space Museum (comics)

Space Museum was a Science Fiction Comic Strip published by DC Comics in the early 1960s. The series was written by Gardner Fox and was generally drawn by Carmine Infantio. Sometimes other artists would help out with the drawing. DC Comics published the series in its Science Fiction anthology comic,Strange Adventures. The series was published once every three months and rotated with two other series titled The Atomic Knights and Star Hawkins. The Series was in first run from 1959 to 1964. The stories appeared in every third issue from 104 to 160. Like the other two series, Space Museum was under the editorial control of long time DC editor Julius Schwartz.

General story description

Space Museum was an anthology series with a regular framing sequence that would open and close each story. This sequence would begin and end each episode. The stories within the sequence would have different characters and were always set in outer space. The series' only continuing characters were in the framing sequence itself.

eries premise

The stories would always begin in the twenty-fifth century where in an unnamed city Tommy Parker and his father Howard would make a monthly visit to the Space Museum. The Parkers were the only two continuing characters in the series. The purpose of the Museum was to showcase five centuries of space travel history. At the time the series was published those five centuries were still in the future. The Museum fulfilled this purpose by having exhibits in transparent display cases. Each exhibit was from an adventure an Earth space traveller had in outer space. During these visits Tommy Parker would always ask his father about one exhibit in particular. Howard Parker would than start telling his son the story behind that exhibit.

The object in the display case would look ordinary. It might be a pair of contact lenses or a pocket watch. There were a number of other very ordinary looking items as well; every Space Museum story would focus on just one. As ordinary as the object looked, somehow out in Outer Space the object was used to either save the earth or some other planet from disaster or otherwise greatly aid the advancement of civilization as the Parkers knew it. The opening story of the series, The World of Doomed Spacemen, said of the objects in the museum "Behind every object in the Space Museum there's a tale of heroism, daring, self sacrifice."

Near the end of almost every story, Howard Parker would stop and ask Tommy if he could figure out how the object was used by the story's hero to save the day. Howard would then finish the story answering his own question. Then the pair would leave the museum and Tommy would ask one final question about the story his father had just told him. Howard Parker would answer his son's question as the episode ended. The reader was told to look for another Space Museum story coming soon.

tory examples

The first story in the Space Museum series was titled, The World of Doomed Spacemen, and it was unique in a number of ways. First of all it was the only story to ever appear on the cover. It was also the only story not at least partially drawn by Carmine Infantio. This story was drawn by Mike Sekowsky and Bernard Sachs.

The World of Doomed Spacemen starts by introducing Howard and Tommy Parker as well as the Space Museum in one panel. In the second panel the reader learns how "behind every object in the Museum there is a story of heroism, daring, self sacrifice." In the panel the reader sees Tommy look at a ray-gun and remind his father that he once told him how a space hero of the past "Captain Morgan" used the ray-gun to fight Space monsters on the planet Saturn. This scene reveals that these visits to the Space Museum have been going on for some time before this first story took place. Tommy sees what are to him two round pieces of glass. He then asks his father to tell a story about them.

Howard Parker explains that the pieces of glass are contact lenses. They belonged to the real hero of this story, Commander Tom Miller the captain of the Star Gazar the first manned spaceship to travel to the stars. Captain Miller meets a mind-controlling robot that is intent on conquering the universe. Captain Miller's contact lenses enable him to defeat the mind control. Captain Miller is never seen again after this story. In this story the object in the display case is Captain Miller's contact lenses.

Another story was Secret of the Tick-Tock World. It starts with another visit to the Museum by the Parkers. Tommy notices a pocket watch and asks about it. Howard Parker reples that it looks ordinary but without it there would be no Earth to live on.

The elder Parker then relates the story of the spaceman Harvey Drake who lived two centuries earlier. Harvey Drake was the owner of the watch in the display case. He also tested the first faster than light space craft which was called the Pathfinder. The test is a success and the spaceman reaches a planetary system with six planets, each one a parallel of some era of Earth's history. The planets are Dinosaur time, Egypt, Rome, the Dark Ages and the 1950s. The sixth was destroyed in a terrible natural catastrophe. The spaceman from Earth must now land on the fifth planet and has to solve the mystery of why the sixth planet was destroyed and why the Earth was not. He must do it in time to save the fifth planet, Shalador, from meeting the same fate as the sixth. The answer seems to be tick-tock watches that set up sonic barriers against the magnetic storms. The story ends with Tommy promising to always keep his tick-tock watch wound. In this story the object in the display case is the windable watch that spaceman Harvey Drake used on the Pathfinder's test flight.

Another story, The Evolutionary Ensign of Space, is told by Tommy's mother rather than his father. She tells about a war with another space invasion force. A female soldier, ensign Blondy Gordon, has to use a sewing needle in order to defeat the threat. This happens after radiation causes her to evolve quickly and become unable to touch anything but the needle. That soldier turns out to be Tommy's mother with Gordon being her maiden name. Here, the narrator is someone other than Howard Parker, and she places herself in the story. In this story the object in the display case is the magnetic sewing needle, the very one Mrs. Parker used to defeat the aliens.

Another story, Rescue by Moonlight, introduces a heroic descendant of Adam Strange and Alanna, Alan Strange. That Alan Strange is descended from Adam and Allana is explained in an editor's note on the story's second page. With the exception of this one character and the Parkers themselves, all the lead characters in the stories that Howard Parker told were never seen again after one appearance. Alan Strange teamed up with the Space Ranger in another story. This story ties the Space Museum series into the DC universe. In this story the object in the display case is a female alien who appears in the display case voluntarily on moonlit nights.

Later appearances

After the Space Museum series completed its run, a few of the stories were reprinted in "From Beyond the Unknown". That was DC's later Science Fiction reprint anthology. The reprinted stories included "World of Doomed Spacemen" and "Secret of the Tick-Tock World."

The Space Museum also figured prominently in the origin of another DC comics character, Booster Gold. Michael (Booster Gold) Carter, a disgraced ex-football player, was working as a night watchman in the Museum. One night while on his rounds he found Rip Hunter's Time Sphere—that is a time travel device that belonged to another DC character. Carter used the device along with several other Museum artifacts to journey back to the 1980s and become a superhero. It was in this story that the home city of the Museum finally got a name. The name was Metropolis, Superman's hometown.

The Space Museum finally got an origin in the last 1980s issue of Secret Origins. In this story, Howard Parker finds an artifact in the Museum that reminds him of his own past. In the story it is revealed that Howard Parker is himself a space war hero just like his wife. He also reveals that his war experiences led to the founding of the Space Museum. In this story, the object in the display case is an old Space Marine's footlocker, one that contained artifacts from four previous stories. These artifacts are the contact lenses from "World of Doomed Spacemen",the jewel from "Secret of the Space Jewel" in Strange Adventures #106, the toy soldier from "Toy Soldier War" in Strange Adventures #130 and the ray-gun from "Threat of the Planet Wreckers" in Strange Adventures #118.

Those objects help Howard Parker defeat the aliens from "Threat of the Planet Wreckers" from making their second appearance. His knowledge of space travel history is what enables him to use the objects to save the day. This story enables Howard Parker afterwards to prove the value of knowing space travel history to the authorities after the aliens are defeated. That is why the Space Museum is created. Tommy Parker realizes that his father is the founder of the Space Museum at the end of the story.

As an adult Tommy Parker took his own son Gordon to the Museum as was shown in Justice League 208.


1.Strange Adventures #104 May 1959, The World of Doomed Spacemen.

2.Strange Adventures #109 October 1959, Secret of the Tick-Tock World.

3.Strange Adventures #148 January 1963, The Evolutionary Ensign of Space.

4.Booster Gold #7

5.Secret Origins #50


1.Comic Book Marketplace issue number 75, January 2000

2.The Amazing World of DC Comics No 12 Aug 1976

External links

* [ Strange Adventures] , Includes a study of the Space Museum tales.

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