August 26th, 1962
The Space Coupe was a vehicle invented and designed by Dyne O'Matick, who worked for Diet Smith Industries. The Space Coupe's proponents claimed that "It [would] do everything a copter will do only better and noiselessly". In addition to traveling speedily around the Earth, the Space Coupe had the ability to leave Earth's atmosphere and operate in outer space.
The Space Coupe functioned by pointing its magnetic "ears" at one of the planets and applying power. It needed 16 atomic energizers to ramp up the magnetic attraction and had a 2-year atomic power supply. The Space Coupe also had an ejector tube that was designed to be used for experiments (which was big enough to eject a man).
Space Coupes and their operations were entirely in the hands of private industry, rather than a government agency (though Diet Smith did make Coupes available to Dick Tracy's police department). Space Coupe pilots (such as Maay) were privately trained and employed. The position was considered very prestigious, though Space Coupes were later shown to be very user-friendly and relatively simple to operate.
The Moon Connection
The Space Coupe allowed for quick, easy travel between the Earth and the Moon, and resulted in mankind's first interactions with the people of Moon Valley. In an early incident, the Moon Governor attempted to steal a Space Coupe, since the Moon lacked the element titanium which made a reusable spacecraft possible. The plot was foiled, and positive relations between Earth and the Moon were secured (for a time).
The Space Coupes made frequent trips between Earth and the Moon, for reasons related to industry, scientific discovery, and tourism. It was on one such trip that Honeymoon Tracy was born (during a time in which tensions were high between the Moon Governor and his daughter's new family).
Over the years, the Space Coupes increasingly became the objects of desire of the underworld. Mr. Bribery and Ugly Christine stole one and used it to murder Nah Tay by ejecting him while in orbit. That Coupe was subsequently destroyed in a crash.
Later, Mr. Bribery convinced George Chin Chillar and his wife Notta to steal a police Space Coupe in an attempt to retrieve $100,000 in orbiting money. Bribery died when the Chin Chillars dropped him from a great height, and the money that had been retrieved was burned up in a high speed dive to the Earth.
The Apparatus also attempted to employ Space Coupe technology in an effort to illegally exploit the Moon's natural resources, but these efforts were foiled.
Following the death of Moon Maid, the Moon Governor severed all ties with Earth. Diet Smith retired all Moon-based technology, as well as Space Coupes, publicly claiming that their use of magnetism had a harmful affect on human beings. Smith later confided to Tracy that this claim was exaggerated.
The Space Coupe inspired a ride at the Land O' Plenty theme park designed by B.O. Plenty.
The Return of the Space Coupe
During the investigation into the mysterious "new" Moon Maid, Smith used a Space Coupe to transport Dick Tracy and Honeymoon to Moon Valley. This was the first time a Space Coupe had been used in many years.
Years later, operatives of the Black Hearts gang twice attempted to steal another Space Coupe from Diet Smith Industries. Both attempts were stopped, with Diet ultimately sending the final remaining Space Coupe on a one-way trip to Jupiter, with Dr. Tim Sail, Dr. Zy Ghote, and Flash Munro inside. This did not seem to be Smith's intention, as he was apparently unaware that the Coupe was occupied at the time.
After this, Diet vowed to destroy all moon technology, bringing an apparent end to the Space Coupe. However, the Moon People presumably still have their own fleet of Coupes, so the possibility remains that the Space Coupe could return again.
Appearances in Other Media
Archie's TV Funnies
The Space Coupe was featured in an episode of the 1971 animated series Archie's TV Funnies. The Space Coupe was hijacked by Purdy Fallar.
The Space Coupe was depicted very similarly to its depiction in the comic strip, with minor alterations. Many episodes of the cartoon included fantastical elements and devices (ray guns, etc.), making the Space Coupe less unique.
- The Space Coupe was said to be constructed at a cost of 30 million dollars.
- The original Space Coupe was said to be approximately 94 feet long.
- Several different models of Space Coupes were eventually produced, with differing configurations and abilities. One model (The Magnet-100) could comfortably transport up to 100 people.
- At least one Space Coupe was named after Sparkle Plenty.
- A toy model of the Space Coupe was produced by Aurora, and later re-issued by Polar Lights. The base for the model featured miniature figurines of Dick Tracy, Diet Smith, Junior Tracy and Moon Maid.