Real Name: Unrevealed

Identity/Class: Extraterrestrial (race unrevealed)

Occupation: Diplomat

Group Membership: None

Affiliations: Its superiors

Enemies: None

Known Relatives: None

Aliases: "Unidentified flying object" (as called by a military official)

Base of Operations: Its home planet; temporarily mobile in space; temporarily in an unidentified American city

First Appearance: Strange Tales I#101/2 (October, 1962)

Powers/Abilities: A sentient mechanical being, the "Impossible Spaceship" could travel through space at faster-than-light speeds. It could communicate with others telepathically, but only with beings who were "intellectually mature enough" to receive its thoughts.

Height: 20' (by approximation)
Weight: 40 tons (by approximation)
Eyes: Inapplicable
Hair: Inapplicable

(Strange Tales I#101/2 (fb) - BTS) - From an alien world populated by "living machines," one of the inhabitants made a voyage through space on a mission to establish contact with Earthlings.

(Strange Tales I#101/2) - First detected by military radar, the "spaceship" flew over Earth and descended to the street of an American city. As civilians and the military surrounded it, the gigantic "spaceship" sat silently and opened a portal in its hull (Unbeknownst to the humans, the alien also began to attempt to communicate with them telepathically). Tense minutes passed by as the crowd of onlookers waited for aliens to come out, yet none emerged. The tension mounted as more time passed, and finally a trio of soldiers went to the open doorway and climbed aboard to make an inspection. The three soldiers searched the interior, but could find no one inside; it was determined that the "spaceship" contained no pilot or crew, and there was no indication that it ever had one.

   Later, a team of scientists went aboard to investigate; they theorized the "spaceship" was a drone, operated from its home-world by remote control. They found that the "spaceship" wasn't atomic-powered, but its energy source was far superior to anything Earthlings knew. The scientists disembarked and discussed their findings outside, but questions remained as to what purpose the "spaceship" was sent to Earth, and why the aliens themselves didn't come.

   Suddenly (after the alien determined that it was unable to communicate with the Earthlings), the doorway closed and the empty "spaceship" ascended into the sky. As the "spaceship" left Earth, the crowd could only wonder who had sent it--perhaps someday the aliens themselves would come to Earth, and then humanity would learn what the entire mysterious visitation had been about. But the consensus was reached that it wasn't a total loss, because it was proof that there were other living creatures in the universe besides Earthlings, and judging by the "spaceship" they built, the aliens were far more advanced than mankind.

   Meanwhile, the alien traveled through space and returned to its home-world, where it landed before its superiors and informed them of the results of its mission. The "spaceship" reported that Earthlings were not yet intellectually mature enough to establish contact with--although it had attempted to telepathically communicate with them, the "spaceship" found that humans had a mental block which prevented them from accepting its messages. When questioned by its superiors as to what that mental obstacle was, the "spaceship" replied that humans had the inability to imagine life-forms which were different than their own, and they had simply refused to accept the fact that a mechanical creation could be alive--the Earthlings had expected another type of biological entity, instead of realizing that the "spaceship" itself was the alien visitor.

Comments: Created by Stan Lee (writer) and Don Heck (artist).

This alien was never referred to by any particular name, so I just identified it by this 5-page story's title: The Impossible Spaceship!

This story was in the same issue as the first solo Human Torch story, so it's possible that it took place in the early days of the modern Marvel Universe (That unidentified blond-haired scientist in the center of the group sort of has a resemblance to Henry Pym).

With its sleek triangular shape and the dome on top, the configuration of this alien reminds me of the spacecraft Spindrift that would later be seen on the TV-series Land of the Giants.

This same basic plot/surprise-ending had been used previously in a few other stories (see Clam, "Flying Saucer," and "Martian Flying Saucer").

Profile by Ron Fredricks.

The "Impossible Spaceship" has no known connections to:

Unidentified soldiers

A trio of American soldiers, they were the first to climb aboard the "spaceship".

After searching the interior, they found no pilot or crew; they never realized that the "spaceship" itself was a sentient mechanical being.

--Strange Tales I#101/2

Unidentified group of scientists

At least five individuals, they went aboard to investigate the "spaceship" after a trio of soldiers found no pilot or crew.

After studying the empty interior, the scientists theorized the "spaceship" was only a remote controlled drone operated from another planet. They determined that the "spaceship" wasn't atomic-powered, and that its source of energy was far more advanced than anything mankind knew.

They never realized that the "spaceship" itself was a sentient mechanical being.

--Strange Tales I#101/2

"Impossible Spaceship's" home planet

An unidentified world "countless light-years away" from Earth, it was populated by a race of intelligent sentient machines.  On its surface, the planet had a city of ultra-modern structures and buildings.

--Strange Tales I#101/2

"Impossible Spaceship's" superiors

The rulers of a planet of sentient machines, the "spaceship" telepathically reported to them about its failed mission to establish contact with Earthlings.

--Strange Tales I#101/2

images: (without ads)
Strange Tales I#101/2, p1, pan1 (Main Image - "Impossible Spaceship" (front view) flying through space)
Strange Tales I#101/2, p2, pan3 ("Impossible Spaceship" (bottom view) preparing to land on city street)
Strange Tales I#101/2, p4, pan5 ("Impossible Spaceship" (top view) lifting off from city street)
Strange Tales I#101/2, p3, pan4 (trio of soldiers about to enter "Impossible Spaceship")
Strange Tales I#101/2, p3, pan8 (two soldiers find no pilot or crew inside "Impossible Spaceship")
Strange Tales I#101/2, p4, pan2 (scientists studying interior of "Impossible Spaceship")
Strange Tales I#101/2, p5, pan2 ("Impossible Spaceship" (rear view) returning to its home-world)
Strange Tales I#101/2, p5, pan3 (city on "Impossible Spaceshp's" home planet, as "Impossible Spaceship" telepathically makes its report to its superiors)
Strange Tales I#101/2,
p5, pan5 ("Impossible Spaceship" (center) telepathically reports to its superiors)

Strange Tales I#101/2 (October, 1962) - Stan Lee (plot), Larry Lieber (script), Don Heck (pencils and inks), Stan Goldberg (colors), Terry Szenics (letters), Stan Lee (editor)

Last updated: 02/03/18

Any Additions/Corrections? please let me know.

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