A few may view Krypto and Ace the Bat-Hound (Dwayne Johnson and Kevin Hart), two of the main characters in DC League of Super-Pets, may be considered by as characters explicitly created for the movie rather than starring in it. Several people have heard of them due primarily to their appearances in DC’s Justice League Action and DC Super Hero Girls. The truth, however, is that most of those who have never heard of these two dogs may be surprised that they have a long history which began at the tail-end of comic books’ Golden Age in 1955, when series such as Lassie and Rin Tin Tin enjoyed popularity on television, at a time when comic books were at the peak of their popularity. Let’s look at these top dogs while we wait for Super-Pets’ arrival.
Ace The Bat Hound
The biography of Ace is more profound than that of Krypto, probably because the idea of a caped, flying super dog who escaped from Krypton and ended up on Earth seems more plausible than Batman owning a dog in the first place. Ace the Bat-Hound made his debut on the pages of Batman #92 in June 1955.
Ace was originally an engraver’s German Shepherd named John Wilker, originally the owner of Ace. Batman and Robin were tasked with finding Wilker after he had been kidnapped by counterfeiters, disoriented and unable to swim in the river. They followed and fought the kidnappers after he had been abducted.
In an attempt to find Wilker, Ace was taken in by the Dynamic Duo, who hoped he could lead them in the right direction. During this time, Robin crafted a hood-like mask for Ace and a dog tag that displayed a bat emblem in the middle of it. Ace became an indispensable asset to the team (an escaped convict they caught cried: ‘Leggo you – you BAT-HOUND!’, giving Ace his name in true 1950s fashion).
Robin and Batman were able to track down Wilker, but the counterfeiters managed to capture them, holding them hostage. In the end, Batman made a crude Bat-Signal in the sky that allowed Ace to get to the villain’s lair, where he nudged a window open, freed Batman and Robin, and they all moved on to take out the bad guys.
Ace becomes a part-time crime fighter when Batman equips him with a tiny receiver that sends a signal whenever Bat-Hound is needed and a device that allows him to pull on his mask, so he is now a full-time crime fighter. After that, Ace would go on to suffer from amnesia (which prompted Batman to arrange for an operation that could restore Ace’s memory somehow) and meet Batwoman and Bat-Mite, who briefly gave Ace superpowers similar to those of Krypto.
He made his last appearance in a core Bat title in 1964’s Batman #162, where he assisted Batwoman and Robin in tracking down the lair where hybrid animal-men were hiding out. The character Ace was not seen a second time until 1984’s Ambush Bug #3 and 1990’s Animal-Man #25, though a New Earth version appeared in Batman #462, where he was introduced to the blind Native American named Black Wolf and eventually settled in with Batman. There would be one more appearance of Ace the Bat-Hound in print before the year 1993 came to an end.
Ace was once again able to make an appearance on television through his roles in Batman Beyond (1999-2001), Krypto the Superdog (2005-2006), Batman: The Brave and the Bold (2008-2011), and last but not least DC Super Hero Girls, in which he played a newly created character.
Krypto the Superdog
There was originally going to be a one-off appearance of Krypto in May 1955 Adventure Comics #210, only months before the debut of Ace, when he was supposed to appear for the first time in print. As a result of his popularity, the puppy returned to the adventures of Superboy four issues later as a regular along with the boy. Aside from a brief interlude when he was absent from the comic books, Krypto has only had a significant time away from the comic books.
During the testing of rockets to send Kal-El to Earth, Krypto was used as one of the prototypes during the testing of rockets to send Kal-El to Earth. The missile was knocked off course, and Krypto would not arrive on Earth until years later when he was reunited with the now 17-year-old Superboy. There was once a dog on Krypton named Krypto owned by Kal-El. As a result of the White Dog of unspecified pedigree gaining the same powers and abilities as his master, this was proportional to how a human would acquire a dog’s strengths and skills if he were an Earth dog.
In some instances, Superman’s abilities, such as smell and hearing, were better than his own. Krypto’s creators also used thought balloons to depict Krypto’s thoughts and demonstrate his super-canine intelligence. When Krypto was posing as the Kent family’s pet dog, Skip, he wore a gold collar, a Superman ‘S’ symbol on his dog tag, and a red cape. This cape he would remove when posing as Skip, Kent’s dog. To keep Krypto’s secret identity, the Kents would apply a brown dye patch to his back.
This would burn off when necessary to hide his identity. His collar would determine his final appearance with a retractable cape attached to it and a pull cord-activated dye applicator that would allow him to change his appearance without assistance. A member of both a super-animal organization and a super-hero organization, Krypto was a member of the 30th-century Legion of Super-Pets and the Space Canine Patrol Agents. Like Ace, he was struck down with amnesia in 1974 but was restored to memory by Superman #287 in 1975.
This version of Krypto made his last appearance in the 1986 non-canon Superman story Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow, published in 1987. Krypto made his final appearance by biting off the throat of the Kryptonite Man to save Superman’s life. However, one cannot keep a loyal dog down, and Krypto’s story had to be reimagined repeatedly, just like his owner’s. Following Crisis on Infinite piles of earth, Krypto emerges in a pocket universe, the pet of an alternate version of Superboy.
As part of the limited series, he would sacrifice his powers to help Superboy defeat three criminals from the Phantom Zone. Fortunately, Superboy acquired another Krypto significantly different from the first: a small, white, ordinary Earth dog who eventually fell into Superboy’s hands before his last appearance in Superboy #74. During the early 2000s, Krypto made his debut in the Superman storyline “Return to Krypton” as a dog created by Brainiac 13 as a trap.
He followed Superman to Earth once Brainiac 13 had defeated his surprise and returned to Krypton. In the modern day, Krypto has the same powers but with the addition of canine intelligence. This amplifies what a dog typically does, resulting in the dog causing damage inadvertently. Since Superman: Birthright, he has been through the Sinestro Corps War, The New 52, and DC Rebirth, but his most recent appearance was as the loyal companion of Supergirl in her time of need.
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