Comics / DC Comics History

DC Comics History: Spaceman at Work (1960 - 1964: the Silver Age)


By Deejay Dayton
Jun 25, 2017 - 9:09

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Spaceman at Work continued to appear sporadically in Tales of the Unexpected during the period 1960 – 1964: the Silver Age, but would not last until the end of that era. It was no great loss. The series had never had more than the loosest of frameworks. Without the Spaceman at Work logo, there was nothing to distinguish the stories from the others that appeared in the book.

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The Spaceman at Work story in Tales of the Unexpected 57 deals with a young inventor who wants to win "space hero of the year." His inventions work, but are too powerful. A heat ray, and later a big magnet, both cause more problems than they solve. But at the climax of the tale he uses both in tandem, pulling down iron meteors from the sky and melting them to seal up some huge cracks that have appeared on Earth.  And what do you know, he wins space hero of the year!

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The story in issue 63 deals with an Earth doctor who specializes in treating alien animals.  So I guess he is really more of a veterinarian. We see him treat a few unusual beasts, and then he has to deal with the major problem as some Plutonian Gargantors eat Locus Weed, and go on a rampage. 

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It turns out not to be accidental, that evil Martians brought the Locus Weed to Earth to cause this situation.  But the doctor climbs on top of the alpha Gargantor and rides it, leading the others away from the city.

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The Spaceman at Work story in Tales of the Unexpected 78 deals with a mechanic who is a master of rebuilding old space ships. A customer gets him to fix one up to be really fast, and then turns out to be a criminal plotting to use it to avoid police. 

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The mechanic manages to get the guy to fly into a cosmic whirlpool, which damages his ship.  The mechanic captures him, and hauls him off to the police.

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The final Spaceman at Work story, from Tales of the Unexpected 80, deals with a man who tames alien beasts. In many cases, he not only domesticates them, individually, but even trains them to perform useful tasks for the more sentient beings inhabiting their worlds. The main ones in the story that he winds up dealing with turn out to be sentient anyway. 

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He treated their attacks as those of mindless animals, and almost killed them all, before realizing they were intelligent, and just wanted to get rid of him.  He saves their lives and offers to become their teacher as the story ends.  I bet they all kill him the next day.

And that’s it for Spaceman at Work. Never revived. I doubt many noticed it was gone.

Spaceman at Work: Tales of the Unexpected 57, 63, 64, 72 – 74, 76 – 78, 80 (Jan 61, July – Aug 61, Aug/Sep 62 – Dec/Jan 62/63, April/May 63 – Aug/Sep 63, Dec/Jan 63/64)

Next up – Justice League of America!

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Last Updated: Jun 25, 2017 - 9:14

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