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DC Comics Super Animals
As a comic book geek, superhero fan, and animal lover I wanted to write an article dedicated to the superanimals that have fought alongside our favorite superheroes.
Did some of these characters get a little silly? Yes!
Was respectability lost when some were introduced? Yes!
As children, did we love them? Yes!
Krypto the Superdog
First Appearance: Adventure Comics #210
Krypto the Superdog first appeared in 1955, alongside Superboy. He is arguably the most famous of the super animals. He leapt outside of comics and has made appearances in cartoons, live action television, video games and movies. Krypto has gone through several changes, along with his other DC characters, whenever DC reboots their comic universe.
The first Krypto, who appeared during the Silver Age, was used to test the spaceship that would carry Kal-El to earth. While on earth he was Clark Kent’s companion and given the secret identity of skip. With the powers of a Kryptonian and super canine intelligence, Superboy and Krypto had many adventures together. When it came time for Clark to move to Metropolis and become Superman, Krypto went to “romp in space”. While away from Superman, Krypto would fight for the Legion of Super-Pets and Space Canine Patrol Agents. The Silver Age Krypto would die while saving Superman from the Kryptonite Man in “Superman: Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow” one-shot comic book.
Don’t worry, comic book characters never die. Krypto would go through many incarnations. He has been a normal dog, Superboy’s pet in a different universe, from a false Krypton and for the New 52 DC Universe Krypto was genetically created using some of Kal-El’s DNA. Krypto was trapped in the Phantom Zone in the beginning of the New 52 storyline and has since escaped.
Streaky the Supercat
First Appearance: Action Comics #261
Superboy got a superpowered dog and Supergirl would get a superpowered cat. I know, it screams creativity and breaks all kinds of stereotypes. Streaky was a normal house cat until he came across X-Kryptonite, that Supergirl had been experimenting with, in an attempt to counteract the effects of green kryptonite. After being exposed to X-Kryptonite, he became Streaky The Supercat. With new Kryptonian like powers, he would fight evil with the Legion of Super-Pets. As a superpowered animal, Streaky did not last very long. There would be a superpowered Streaky making a cameo appearance in the bottled city of Kandor and fun callbacks in background pictures, but later versions of Streaky in the stories would be a simple house cat, that had troubles using the litterbox.
First Appearance: Superboy # 76
PETA would not be happy with Jor-El. Beppo was another test subject used by Superman’s kryptonian father. Unlike Krypto, who was forced into a test spaceship, Beppo was a stow away aboard Kal-El’s escape shuttle. He fled the crash scene and went to live in the jungle. When Clark was a toddler Beppo returned to Smallville and caused all sorts of chaos. Since Beppo was a Kryptonian monkey, he had the same powers as Clark. Of course Ma and Pa Kent blamed Clark for Beppo’s actions. When discovering Beppo at the root of the mischief, they began to worry Beppo’s monkey business might expose their extraterrestrial son’s secrets. However, when Beppo was startled by a bunch of fireworks he accidentally set off in the Kent’s garage, he flew off into space. Beppo would be introduced to Krypto and Streaky and become a member of the Legion of Super-Pets, when he crossed paths with Supergirl. Beppo would also be removed from the DC Comic Book Universe, once they decided to clean up some of their more goofy and confusing history. Despite Beppo not fitting into the new DC world, his popularity has allowed him to continually make several cameo appearance and be referenced to on several occasions.
Comet the Super-Horse
Comet has two very unique origins and histories within the DC Universe.
First Appearance: (Biron) Adventure Comics # 293
Biron was a centaur from ancient Greece. A witch attempted to reward Biron for protecting her water source from an evil sorcerer. Unfortunately, the spell backfired and he was turned into a horse instead of a human. To make up for her mistake, the witch gave Biron immortality and superpowers (coincidentally the same powers as Kryptonians, without the kryptonite and red sun downside). The evil sorcerer and his teacher later imprisoned Biron in the constellation Sagittarius but he was set free when supergirl’s shuttle accidentally broke the force field shen she was escaping Krypton and traveling to earth. While working with Supergirl on an alien planet, Biron had another spell cast on him that turned him into a human when a comet passes through whatever solar system he was currently located. As a human, he took on the identity of the rodeo trick rider Bronco Bill Star. Supergirl fell in love, while Biron was in his human form. Please, No Jokes!
Andrew Jones/Andrea Martine
First Appearance: (Andrew Jones/Andrea Martinez) Supergirl #14
Although Biron was erased from the DC Universe history like many of his fellow Super-Pets, Comet was brought back into existence in 1997. This Comet had the power of flight, freezing and project the feeling of love into others. The jockey Andrew Jones was trampled by horses and then saved by an organization known as Stable. Using horse DNA, they created a man/horse hybrid. Andrew was able to escape from Stable and work as a superhero on his own. He was soon killed in action, when trying to save Andrea Martinez from an avalanche. Andrea was going through emotional problems when she and Andrew were killed in the avalanche. She had recently come out about her sexuality and was rejected by her parents. Upon Andrew and Andrea’s death, they were merged together and became the Earth Angel of Love. This new Comet had ice wings, subzero eye blasts and resembled a three fingered centaur. Comet also had the ability to transform between a male centaur and the female human form of Andrea Martinez. Like the original Comet, Supergirl and Comet were in love (this time with a little psychic love blast from Comet) but when Supergirl discovered Comet was also a woman she left him. Andrea Martinez’s bisexuality and physically switching between a male and woman has opened up a lot of discussions.
Ace the Bat-Hound
First Appearance: Batman #92
Much like Batman and Robin, Ace had no superpowers. He was a normal dog, doing extraordinary deeds. He was created in response to the success of Krypto and modeled after the German Shepards Rin Tin Tin and Ace the Wonder Dog. Bruce Wayne found Wilker's dog and needed his help, as Batman, to find where kidnappers were hiding Wilker. To hide a star shaped mark on Ace’s forehead that could be used to link Batman and Bruce Wayne, Ace was given a black hood and Bat collar. When Wilker moved for a new job, Bruce Wayne took Ace into his family. In the Pre-Crisis world, Ace had a major role in helping Batman and Robin stop crime in Gotham City. Batman had a signalling device placed in Ace’s hood, so he could call him in emergencies. Much like Lassie, Ace was able to bark at people and alert them that Batman was in trouble and stuck in a well, maybe not a well but you get the point. The Bat-Hound was personally responsible for saving the Dynamic Duo on more than one occasion by fetching things before they could explode, knocking down trees, or simply chasing criminals away (Standard K-9 Abilities).
After cleaning up the DC Comic Book Universe, Ace would make appearances as different breeds and not be referred to as the Bat-Hound. Rather than dressing him up in a Bat costume and performing ridiculous tasks, Ace would be a loyal companion and assist Batman in a more believable manner. Dogs have been helpful to police officers, search and rescue crews, medical patience, and a variety of other tasks to help us humans. There is no reason a dog can’t assist a masked crime fighter.
Green Lantern Corps
What is better than an animal becoming a Superhero? An entire planet, whose inhabitants resemble cartoonish woodland creatures. Green Lantern Corps Space Section 1014 has just such a planet. On the planet Hl'ven, these creatures have put on the ring to protect their homeworld and the universe from the forces of darkness.
First Appearance: Green Lantern #203
When Dr. Ub’x and his army of Crabsters attacked the H'lvenites’ homeworld, the Green Lantern B’rr attempted to repel their invasion. Sadly, our racoon hero did not last very long. He was killed in the defense of his home planet quickly after he was introduced and did not have time to choose a successor. Despite his short run, he was still able to inspire Ch’p, who was chosen by the Guardians of the Universe to be his replacement. During the Blackest Night storyline, B’rr was brought back to life with his other Fallen Lanterns.
First Appearance: Green Lantern # 148
Ch’p was a chipmunk/squirrel of Hl'ven and leader of the rebellion against Dr. Ub’x. When B’rr was killed trying to defend their homeworld, the Guardians of the Universe personally visited Ch’p while he was imprisoned by Dr. Ub’x and bestowed the ring upon him. Ch’p would defend space section 1014 but would be called away on larger missions that required the combined might of several Lanterns. After Crisis on Infinite Earths, Ch’p and the other Lanterns were aware of the previous universe that existed but he could not cope with the new reality on his home planet, where his girlfriend was now married to his best friend. He transferred to Earth and suffered severe depression. He was eventually killed, after being hit by a yellow truck, and was resurrected during the Blackest Night.
Legion of Super-Pets
First Appearance: Adventure Comics # 293
When four Brain Globes from Rambat are threatening Earth, the Legion of Superheros are powerless to stop it, because they are vulnerable to the Brain Globes’ mental control. The Legion enlist the aid of Krypto, Streaky, Comet and Beppo, forming the Legion of Super-Pets. These animals were immune to the mental influences of the Brain Globes and were able to save the day. The Legion of Super-Pets became a separate branch of the the Legion of Superheroes and later would be joined by Chameleon Boy’s pet, Proty II. However, because Proty II is an alien species and does not resemble an earth animal, he will no longer be discussed in this article. The team did not survive the transition into the Post Crisis DC Universe.
The DC Super Friends comic is not part of the main DC Universe, but issue #14 would have a group of Super Pets were called into action when the Super Friends and all humans were frozen by Kanjar Ro. This Super-Pet team included the original members Krypto, Streaky and Beppo but would also include Ace the Bat-Hound, Topo (Aquaman’s pet Octopus), Jumpa the Amazonian Kangaroo, and the Green Lantern Ch’p. Not to be left out of the group, Flash got a pet turtle and called it Whatzit.