Wednesday, September 26, 2012
JOR-EL WAS A MEAN DADDY!
Well, he wasn’t really. Desperate to complete the escape rocket before Krypton explodes, he needs a live subject to test a prototype. Baby Kal-el’s puppy Krypto was the only animal available. So I guess we have to cut him a break, but isn’t that image of Kal-el sobbing when his puppy is taken away downright heartbreaking?
Anyway, in Adventure Comics #210 (March 1955),Krypto’s rocket is knocked into deep space by a meteor and eventually ends up on Earth. (In fact, he lands near Smallville. What are the odds of that happening?)
Krypto’s grown into a full-sized dog by then, but (despite a measure of super-intelligence) his dog-like tendencies are soon causing Superboy no end of trouble.
That pretty much defines the story—Krypto causes trouble and Superboy has to fix things. Otto Binder was the perfect writer for this—his quirky sense of humor is what makes this story work.
It ends with Krypto flying off into space to romp around the “backyard” of the universe.
But the idea of a super-powered dog will turn out to be too cool to ignore. Krypto will show up on Earth again from time to time, becoming a founding member of the Legion of Super Pets and often flying through the time barrier to spend time in the 30th Century.
I don’t care how silly it is—Krypto is a fantastic idea and one of my favorite additions to Superman’s mythology. I know the Super Pets tip the Suspension of Disbelief scales for some readers, but I just love the idea. Who wouldn’t want a loyal dog with heat vision? Okay, yes, his tendency to rip planes out of the air when he’s feeling playful could be construed as a serious problem, but any pet owner knows you have to take the occasional bad with the good if you own a pet that loves you.