Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Yeah, well, in real life the Supercat WOULD take over the world in a heartbeat.

We've looked at Krypto and Beppo, the two super-pets who came from Krypton. These were two of the four super-powered animals that would form the Legion of Super-Pets.

The other two are from Earth. One of them was a cat named Streaky, adopted by Linda Lee (aka Supergirl) when she was still living at the Midville orphanage.

In Actions Comics #261 (February 1960), Supergirl was experimenting on a small chunk of green kryptonite, hoping to find a protection against its radiation. Her experiment failed and the Green K was transformed into an isotope called X-Kryptonite.

Supergirl, in a move that would have really ticked off the Environmental Protection Agency (had the EPA existed in 1960), casually tosses the X-Kryptonite into the nearby woods. Later, Streaky runs across it and its radiation temporarily gives the feline Kryptonian superpowers.

In that first story, he brings milk to homeless cats, drives off a mean dog and saves some baby chickens from an eagle. (Though that last one seems a bit unfair to the eagle. Is interfering with the food chain something superpowered pets are supposed to do?)

Anyway, as even cat owners would readily admit, if a cat got superpowers, he'd take over the world and make everyone else wait on him hand-and-foot. Heck, many cats seem to have that power naturally. But Streaky has an unusually strong moral center. Every once in awhile, he'll expose himself to the X-Kryptonite, gaining superpowers just long enough to help Supergirl out of a jam.

Now I will admit up front that I'm not a cat guy. For me, a superpowered dog is awesome--a superpowered cat is... well, not awesome. Because dogs are more awesome than cats.

But I will also admit that we needed a superpowered cat. Because it was adding yet another animal with superpowers to the DC Universe that allowed for the creation of a truly awesome superhero group.

Streaky meets Krypto in Action Comics #277 (June 1961). At first Streaky is jealous of the dog and the two have a series of contests to decide who's the better pet. But they eventually become friends. This forms the core of the Legion of Super-Pets.

We get our first glimpse at this group in Adventure Comics #293 (February 1962). In this delightlful Superboy-era tale written by Jerry Siegel, the villains are the four disembodied brains called the Brain Globes of Rambat. And, in my opinion, the name "Brain Globes of Rambat" is by itself reason enough to rate
this story as Brilliant.

Rambat has blown up and the last surviving Brain Globes need a new home. So they plan to steal Earth and bring it to orbit around their purple sun. But first, they have to get rid of Superboy, the only being powerful enough to stop them.

When they fail to fully mind-control the Boy of Steel, they instead jump into the future and gain control over three members of the Legion of Super-Heroes. These three then ambush Superboy and infect him with a lethal dose of Green K radiation.  The Brain Globes then drop their control of the Legionnaires, knowing their mental powers will keep them safe while they hijack the Earth.

But the Legionnaires notice that the Brain Globes run away from Krypto and deduce that the villains can't control super-animals. So they  zip into the future to recruit Beppo, Streaky and Comet the Superhorse. The inaugural battle for the Legion of Super-Pets involve the animals pretty much curb-stomping the Brain

It's a great story. All the silliness in it is played straight, with a lot of details added that show Siegel and Mort Weisinger always remained true to the "reality" of this universe. And it works, resulting in a tale that is 100% pure fun. Heck, it involves disembodied brains fighting super-powered animals. It can't help but be fun!

But waitaminute? Did I just mention a superhorse? Yes, this story is the first appearance of Comet, with a caption hinting that his origin will be revealed soon. And it would be a little bit later in 1962. I originally intended to discuss Comet and Streaky together in the same post, but I'll talk about the horse next time. His origin is so bizarre it clearly deserves its own post.


  1. this is a great story, and a great post. I missed Krypto and Streaky, after they were retconned out of existence during the damned Crisis.

    and having an orange Streaky cat in my family, you are so correct about them taking over the world if they had super powers.

    looking forward to reading about Comet. not a fan of monkeys at all, so I don't miss Beppo.

    btw, I love dogs, but cats rule, dogs drool. ;)

  2. David, have you read Robert E Howard's "The Beast from the Abyss" about cats?

  3. I just did. he's a little harsh, but pretty accurate.


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