Mystery in Space is the name of two science fiction American comic book series published by DC Comics, and of a standalone Vertigo anthology released in 2012. The first series ran for 110 issues from 1951 to 1966, with a further seven issues continuing the numbering during a 1980s revival of the title. An eight-issue limited series began in 2006.
Together with Strange Adventures, Mystery In Space was one of DC Comics' major science fiction anthology series. It won a number of awards, including the 1962 Alley Award for "Best Book-Length Story" and the 1963 Alley Award for "Comic Displaying Best Interior Color Work". The title featured short science fiction stories and a number of continuing series, most written by many of the best-known comics and science fiction writers of the day, including John Broome, Gardner Fox, Jack Schiff, Otto Binder, and Edmond Hamilton. The artwork featured a considerable number of the 1950s and 1960s finest comics artists such as Carmine Infantino, Murphy Anderson, Gil Kane, Alex Toth, Bernard Sachs, Frank Frazetta, and Virgil Finlay.
|Mystery in Space|
|Schedule||Varied between bi-monthly and monthly.|
|Publication date||April/May 1951–September 1966|
September 1980–March 1981
|No. of issues||117|
|Mysteries in Space: The Best of DC Science Fiction Comics||ISBN 0-671-24775-1|
|Pulp Fiction Library: Mystery in Space||ISBN 1-56389-494-7|
Directly appealing to public taste for science fiction in the early 1950s, Mystery In Space was launched by DC Comics with adverts in most of their titles published in early 1951 - proclaiming "The Universe Is The Limit In Every Issue Of Mystery In Space" and "The Magazine That Unlocks The Secrets Of The Future" around a copy of the first cover. The title of the series had been suggested by Whitney Ellsworth to editor Julius Schwartz. Offering "Amazing trips into the unknown", "Astounding adventures on uncharted worlds", and "Astonishing experiments of super-science" the title was modelled on the success of Strange Adventures which began publication the previous year. Like that title, Mystery In Space was an anthology comic featuring a combination of short science fiction stories, science-fiction based heroes and super-heroes, and single page articles on subjects associated with space and space technology. It is probably best known for publishing the classic Adam Strange series (issues #53–100, #102), but also featured a number of other characters in series of varying length:
Mystery In Space #1 featured "9 Worlds To Conquer", the first 10-page tale of the Knights of the Galaxy by Robert Kanigher (under the name Anthony Dion) with art by Carmine Infantino, together with three eight or ten-page non-series science fiction stories by Gardner Fox and John Broome, the first of a series of single page information pieces "Stars and their legends" and a two-page text article "What do you know about comets?"; establishing a format that would last for some years.
"Space Taxi" in Mystery In Space #21 (August–September 1954) introduced the first long-term series to the title - Space Cabbie (also known as Space Cabby), whose stories involved taking people from planet to planet in a battered space taxi he called "the jalopy" and the scrapes he got into as a result; written by Otto Binder with art by Howard Sherman. There was no indication the story was the first of a series, yet Space Cabby returned just three issues later in "Hitchhiker In Space" (Mystery In Space #24, February–March 1955), and then had an unbroken 22-issue run until "The Riddle of the Rival Space Cabbies!" (Mystery In Space #47, October 1958). The next few issues featured only short stories, and it was almost a year before another continuing series appeared in the pages of Mystery In Space. A story by Gardner Fox and Carmine Infantino, "Menace of the Robot Raiders!" (Mystery In Space #53, October 1959) featured one of the most enduring and fondly remembered space heroes of the next ten years, Adam Strange, in a 10-page tale which led to the best known period for the Mystery In Space title. Adam Strange had begun in a three-issue run in Showcase #17 (November–December 1958), and although DC considered that those issues had not sold sufficiently to warrant granting him his own title, his return a year later in Mystery In Space#53 was to last an impressive 42 appearances over the next seven years. The Adam Strange space opera tales were crafted by Gardner Fox in the best Flash Gordon tradition, with the hero caught between two planets and a love a galaxy away, giant menacing robots, dust devils, perils on two worlds, and distinctive art by Carmine Infantino and Murphy Anderson who drew almost all issues until #92 (June 1964). A number of these stories are considered among the finest of the 1960s, including the full-issue tale "The Planet That Came to a Standstill!" (Mystery In Space #75, May 1962), which won comic fandoms Alley Award for the "Best Book-Length Story" of 1962, and was fairly unusual for the time inasmuch as it featured a cross-over with other major DC characters, the Justice League of America. The following year Mystery In Space gained a further Alley Award, for "Comic Displaying Best Interior Color Work" - a result of the stylistic Infantino/Anderson Adam Strange pages.
By issue #71 (November 1961) the number of stories in each issue of Mystery In Space had dwindled to two as the Adam Strange stories increased in size. As well as single stories, a number of other characters filled the title behind Adam Strange. Star Rovers featured in seven issues between 1961 and 1964, written by Gardner Fox and drawn by artist Sid Greene. The Hawkman issues (Mystery in Space #87–90, November 1963–March 1964) followed two three-issue tryouts of the character in The Brave and the Bold #34–36 and #42–44, which had not sold enough copies to launch the character in his own comic but DC decided to give the character a further tryout. For this short series, editor Julius Schwartz replaced Joe Kubert with Murphy Anderson as artist, and utilised an unusual format for the day - the Adam Strange story "The Super-Brain of Adam Strange" in issue #87 led straight into the Hawkman story "The Amazing Thefts of the I.Q. Gang" in the same issue both written by Gardner Fox. In addition, for the first time since he had appeared in the title, Adam Strange was replaced as cover star and Hawkman took the honors. Although the characters returned to solo stories in the following two issues, "Planets in Peril" (Mystery In Space #90, March 1964) was an epic cross-world book-length team-up between Hawkman and Adam Strange. The cover to #90, with an iconic Adam Strange soaring between Earth and his adopted home, Rann, is often cited as one of the classic science fiction covers of the early 1960s, and this issue was also to have significant impact on DC story continuity in later years as the story first established the links between Rann and Hawkman's world, Thanagar. The war between the two planets has been the defining subject of many of both Hawkman's and Adam Strange's stories and mini-series in the 1990s and 2000s as well as a theme running right across many DC titles.
His Mystery In Space series was successful enough to finally launch Hawkman into his own title in 1964. After a final two-part Adam Strange story by Fox/Infantino/Anderson, "The Puzzle of the Perilous Prisons!" (Mystery In Space #91, May 1964), Jack Schiff replaced Julius Schwartz as editor and the series changed significantly. Schiff introduced Space Ranger, a long-running character from Tales of the Unexpected, another DC anthology title he edited, while Adam Strange was given a new writer, Dave Wood, and artist, Lee Elias, as Carmine Infantino had moved with Schwartz to his new titles. Space Ranger would slowly edge Adam Strange out - taking the cover of four of the next ten issues and sharing two more with Adam Strange (neither appeared on the cover to #100 (June 1965)), co-featuring in the story "The Riddle of Two Solar Systems" (Mystery In Space #94, September 1964) and sharing a storyline in the separate stories "The Wizard of the Cosmos" and "The Return of Yarrok of Zulkan" (Mystery In Space #98, March 1965). For issue #100, Adam Strange was reduced to an 8-page story: he did not appear at all in #101 (August 1965), and his last appearance was in the 16-page "The Robot World of Ancient Rann" (Mystery In Space #102, September 1965). Space Ranger ended the following issue with "The Billion-Dollar Time Capsule" (Mystery In Space #103, November 1965), and the title was not to regain its earlier form again. From issue #103 (November 1965) Mystery In Space featured a new character - Ultra the Multi-Alien - but the series was cancelled because of poor sales only a year later with issue #110 (September 1966). The annual circulation statement in issue #110 showed average sales of 182,376 copies: considerably more than most high-selling American comics of the 2010s, although not even in the Top 50 sales at that time and significantly less than 1960s declared sales total of 248,000.
Fourteen years later, the title was revived with Mystery In Space #111 (September 1980), edited by Len Wein. The revival replaced DC Comics' only other science fiction anthology title at the time, Time Warp, which had recently ended with issue #5 (July 1980). All the stories in the 1980s version of the title were short one-off tales by a number of writers and artists, including younger artists Marshall Rogers, Michael Golden, Joe Staton, Brian Bolland, and Rick Veitch, and longer-established artists like Steve Ditko, Tom Sutton, Joe Kubert, Carmine Infantino and George Tuska. Despite the line-up the series was not a success, ending after seven issues with #117 (March 1981).
|Mystery in Space (vol. 2)|
|Publication date||November 2006 - June 2007|
|No. of issues||8|
|Main character(s)||Captain Comet|
|Written by||Jim Starlin|
Jared K. Fletcher
|Volume 1||ISBN 1-4012-1558-0|
|Volume 2||ISBN 1-4012-1692-7|
In September 2004, DC Comics released DC Comics Presents: Mystery in Space #1, featuring the stories "Crisis on 2 Worlds" written by Elliot S. Maggin with art by J. H. Williams III, and "Two Worlds" by Grant Morrison with art by Jerry Ordway and Mark McKenna. Featuring Adam Strange, with supporting characters Alanna Strange, Elongated Man and his wife, Sue Dibny, this single issue revival was a homage to the original Adam Strange series including an Alex Ross recreation of the Adam Strange cover to Mystery in Space #82 (March 1963). The comic was one of a series of eight tributes to DC editor Julius Schwartz, who had died earlier in the year.
DC revived Mystery in Space between November 2006 and August 2007 as an eight issue limited series written by Jim Starlin and drawn by Shane Davis. This series featured a new Captain Comet, in a detective story set in the far reaches of the DC Universe. The first seven issues also contained a backup story starring The Weird from the eponymous 1988 miniseries, with art by Starlin. Neither character appeared in the original Mystery In Space series.
In 2012 an over-sized Mystery in Space One-shot anthology was published, featuring stories and artwork by Mike Allred, Paul Pope, Nnedi Okorafor, Michael Kaluta, Robert Rodi, Sebastian Fiumara, Ann Nocenti, Fred Harper, Andy Diggle, Davide Gianfelice, Steve Orlando, Francesco Trifogli, Ming Doyle, and Kevin McCarthy. The covers were drawn by Mike Allred and Ryan Sook.
Season #2, Episode #14 of the Batman: The Brave and The Bold animated series, first aired in March 2009 was titled 'Mystery In Space'. Written by Jim Krieg and directed by Brandon Vietti, it featured Batman, Aquaman, and Adam Strange rescuing Alanna Strange and Rann from certain doom.
Two British companies reprinted DC's science fiction stories from Mystery In Space during the 1950s and 1960s.
L. Miller & Son, Ltd. who also reprinted Captain Marvel's adventures for a British audience published nine issues of Mystery In Space, a 28-page A4-sized magazine, between 1952–54, while Strato a subsidiary of publishers Thorpe & Porter published thirteen issues of a 68-page A4 size magazine with the same title between 1954-56. Both featured black and white reprints of DC's Mystery In Space and Strange Adventures stories with slightly adapted covers from the original Mystery In Space series.
Thorpe & Porter published a hardback Mystery In Space Annual in 1968. Although it used the cover to Mystery In Space #95, the contents of the annual were complete random issues of remaindered comics from a number of companies including their covers, and not Mystery In Space stories.
[Whitney Ellsworth] had time to propose a new title to Julius Schwartz...Ellsworth's suggestion was the wonderfully evocative Mystery in Space, which on its debut in 1951 became DC's major genre offering.
Although the early 1950s were difficult years for super heroes, they were boom years for science-fiction comics, so DC took its opportunity to launch its second title in the genre, Mystery in Space.CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link)
1964 in comics,
1966 in comics,
1960s in comics and the
list of years in comics
Publications: January - February - March - April - May - June - July - August - September - October - November - DecemberAdam Strange
Adam Strange is a science fiction superhero appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. Created by editor Julius Schwartz with a costume designed by Murphy Anderson, he first appeared in Showcase #17 (November 1958).
Adam Strange makes his live action debut in the television series Krypton, portrayed by Shaun Sipos.Bob Brown (comics)
William Robert "Bob" Brown (August 22, 1915 – January 1977) was an American comic book artist with an extensive career from the early 1940s through the 1970s. With writers Edmond Hamilton and Gardner Fox, Brown co-created the DC Comics hero Space Ranger, drawing the character's complete run from his debut in the try-out comic Showcase #15 (Aug. 1958) through Mystery in Space #103 (July 1965).
Brown also penciled the DC title Challengers of the Unknown, taking over from Jack Kirby, from 1959 to 1968.Captain Comet
Captain Comet (real name Adam Blake) is a DC Comics superhero created by DC Comics Editor Julius Schwartz, writer John Broome, and artist Carmine Infantino.
Once a minor character in the DC Comics canon, he occupies an almost unique position in DC Comics history as a superhero who was created between the two great superhero comics periods--the Golden Age and the Silver Age. His early stories fall into a no-man's land, sometimes referred to as 'The Atomic Age' because of the recurrent science-fiction themes of most comics of the period, when very few superheroes comics were published and less than a dozen short-lived, superhero characters were introduced.
Along with Marvel Comics' Namor the Sub-Mariner and Toro (sidekick of the original Human Torch), he is among the first mutant metahuman superheroes (meaning he was born with his powers), predating X-Men by 12 years. He is one of the few DC Comics characters not to have had their earlier history significantly changed by various DC Comics major continuity changing events over the years such as Crisis on Infinite Earths and Zero Hour.Hardcore Station
Hardcore Station is a location in the DC Comics Universe, a corrupt commercial satellite station with a population of several million in a free space zone between a number of trading civilisations.
It is also the title of the DC Comics six-issue limited series Hardcore Station (July–December 1998) in which the concept was first introduced, created by writer Jim Starlin.
Hardcore Station is home to Captain Comet.I.Q. (comics)
I.Q. (real name: Ira Quimby) is a fictional supervillain in comic books published by DC Comics. He first appeared in Mystery in Space #87 (November, 1963), and was created by Gardner Fox and Carmine Infantino. I.Q. has most often appeared an enemy of Hawkman, and was most recently seen in 52.John Broome (writer)
John Broome (May 4, 1913 – March 14, 1999), who additionally used the pseudonyms John Osgood and Edgar Ray Meritt, was an American comic book writer for DC Comics.Knights of the Galaxy
Knights of the Galaxy was a short-lived science fiction series published by DC Comics. They first appear in Mystery in Space #1, (April–May 1951), and starred in the first eight issues of the series. They were created by Robert Kanigher and Carmine Infantino.Lady Styx
Lady Styx is a fictional supervillain in the DC Comics Universe. Her first appearance occurred in the weekly series 52.Pied Piper (comics)
Pied Piper (Hartley Rathaway) is a fictional superhero appearing in comic books published by DC Comics, and is commonly associated with the superhero the Flash. The character was created by writer John Broome and artist Carmine Infantino, and made his first appearance in The Flash #106 (May 1959).
Piper was originally introduced as an adversary of the Flash / Barry Allen and eventually became a member of the Rogues, a criminal association led by Captain Cold which often battled the Flash. During the crossover event Crisis on Infinite Earths, most of the Multiverse was destroyed, the DC Universe was rebooted, Barry Allen died, and Wally West took up the Flash mantle. Following the events of Crisis on Infinite Earths, Pied Piper was re-introduced in The Flash #20 (December 1988) as having reformed and become a champion for the poor. Soon afterward, Piper became an ally and friend of Wally, and an integral member of the Flash family.
Following the events of Flashpoint, DC Comics rebooted its universe once again and relaunched its titles in 2011, during The New 52 event. Here, Piper is portrayed as a former member of the Rogues, who has given up being a vigilante and is dating David Singh, Barry's Director at the Central City Police Department.
The Pied Piper made his live action appearance in an episode of the first season of The Flash played by actor Andy Mientus. Mientus returned to the role in an episode of the second season.Shane Davis
Shane Davis is an American comic book artist best known for his work on Superman and Batman for DC Comics.Space Cabbie
Space Cabbie (also spelled Space Cabby) is a science fiction character in DC Comics.Space Ranger
Space Ranger is a science fiction hero who was published by DC Comics in several of their 1950s and 1960s anthology titles. He first appeared in Showcase #15 (July 1958) and was created by writers Edmond Hamilton and Gardner Fox and artist Bob Brown. The character has notable similarities to a preceding character named David "Lucky" Starr, created by novelist Isaac Asimov in his 1952 novel David Starr, Space Ranger. After appearing in Showcase #15 and 16, the Space Ranger was given a cover-starring series in Tales of the Unexpected, starting with issue #40 and lasting until #82 (1959–64). Afterwards, he moved to Mystery in Space for issues #92–99, 101, 103 (1964–65).Star Hawkins
Star Hawkins is a science fiction detective character published by DC Comics) in their flagship science-fiction anthology title Strange Adventures. He and his ever-present robot assistant Ilda first appeared in Strange Adventures #114 (March 1960) and featured in 21 issues of the title, but after that only made four other appearances in other DC Comics before he was killed off in Mystery In Space vol 2 #2 (December 2006). The characters were created by John Broome and Mike Sekowsky.Star Rovers
"Star Rovers" was a short, science fiction, American comic book feature published by DC Comics between 1961 and 1964. The feature first appeared in seven issues of DC's science-fiction anthology comic Mystery in Space, followed by two issues of DC's companion science-fiction title Strange Adventures. The characters were created by writer Gardner Fox and artist Sid Greene, who were responsible for all nine stories.Starfire (Teen Titans)
Starfire (Koriand'r) is a fictional superheroine appearing in books published by DC Comics. She debuted in a preview story inserted within DC Comics Presents #26 (October 1980) and was created by Marv Wolfman and George Pérez. The name "Starfire" first appeared in a DC Comic in the story "The Answer Man of Space", in Mystery in Space #73, February 1962, written by Gardner F. Fox.
In 2013, Starfire placed 21st on IGN's "Top 25 Heroes of DC Comics".Starfire has appeared in numerous cartoon television shows and films. Starfire appears in her first live adaptation as one of the main cast of the Titans television series for the new DC streaming service played by Anna Diop.Ultra the Multi-Alien
Ultra the Multi-Alien was a science fiction superhero featured in comics published by DC Comics. He first appeared in Mystery in Space #103 (1965), pushing out Adam Strange and Space Ranger from that title. He was created by writer Dave Wood and artist Lee Elias.Weird (comics)
The Weird is a fictional DC Comics character created by Jim Starlin and Bernie Wrightson. He first appeared in his own self-titled miniseries The Weird in 1988.