Sunday, February 04, 2007

Zod's Naughty Doggies

If thou are not reading Krypto the Superdog, I call thee "fool".

When I saw my email from Big Monkey about what was coming out this week, I thought, "Gosh, should I really be getting 'Krypto', some goofy comic for little kids?"

Yeah. I actually think "gosh". It's just one of the things that happens to you when you read lots of Golden Age comics.

Well, I enjoy all my comics this week, a lot. But I think I enjoyed Krypto as much as all of them combined. How could this be?

If you read this month's issue (a brilliant riff on Superman II), you'd know.

Remember when I said the evil Kryptonians banished to the Phantom Zone had cats? Well, some of them also had dogs.

This single panel contains more concentrated Evil than the Collected Preacher and more Four-Color Fabulousness than the Complete Works of Jeph Loeb.

Evil Kryptonian dogs. In purple capes. And facial hair. Well, I mean, more facial hair. Now, I would have been content if "Growl", "Snarl" and "Snap" had been their names. Of course, I realize now that that's silly; it's legally impossible to do that, since that's the name of the three gremlins on the box of Earth-3 Rice Krispies. So, in fact, their names are "Dom", "Vilea", and "Tronk", which automatically tells you everything you need to know about them collectively and individually; it's a masterpiece of canine introposition. I'm willing to bet that you, like I, are so immediately swept away by this Silver Age tsunami of a panel that you knew immediately that, rules of pronunciation be damned, that second name is "VILE - UH", not "vill AY uh". Because "VILE-UH" is an evil name.

Naturally, the Science Council turns to Jor-El, because they are established weenies and he's a Man of Scientific Action. That old saying "if your only tool is a hammer, everything looks like a nail" must be Kryptonian, I think, because Jor-El's is -- what else? -- to rocket them into outer space. That's Jor-El's solution to everything. A monkey flings poo at you? Rocket him into outer space! Your kid's dog whizzes on your K-Pod? Rocket him into outer space! Catch Van-Zee leering at Lara behind your back? Rocket him into outer space! For people who never left their own planet, the Kryptonians have an awful lot of rockets lying around.

Can you imagine how annoying it would be to work with Jor-El?
"Okay, everyone, let's figure out how to deal with the opposing lobbyists on the Hill--"
"Rocket them into outer space!'
"Uh, yeah, Jorry, we can't really do that, and Congress would never--"
"Rocket them, too!"
"To say nothing of the press."
"Into outer space! All of them!"
"New rule, Jorry: decaf only."
Anyway, so, Jor-El, who is not only single-minded but condescending, rockets them into outer space with a wicked nasty pun.
"Sirius?" "Completely."

Peter David, eat your heart out. "Sirius/completely" is now my second favorite pun, surpassed only by "Sir, you're back!"/"Yes, she almost broke it!"

Naturally, since it's a Jor-El plan, something goes wrong and the dogs wind up later on Earth. Because Jor-El's the kind of co-worker who, long after he's been retired or fired, is still responsible for messes that pop up on your desk years later.
"What do you mean, only the designer has the access codes? Call him."
"Um... he's in the Phantom Zone and his cell gets no signal there."
"Then wipe the damn thing and reinstall it."
"We need the original crystal memory shard for that."
"Don't tell me: SOMEone rocketed it into outer space..."
"Speaking of which... I think I figured out what happened to the office copy of The Collected Wisdom of the Six Known Galaxies... ."

So the Three Naughty Doggies show up on Earth, like everything else fleeing Krypton; when the heck did when give them TPS?

This is where they discover they have superpowers when on earth. At this point, I'll skip my "how do dogs, who have extremely little exposed skin, soak up solar energy?" lecture, because it's too geeky. But I will admit that my first thought upon seeing this panel was, "Oh, Tronk can't talk, like the big guy in Superman II; huh, I wonder why he can't talk." You know that the tsunami has hit and that you're completely submerged in Silver Age logic when you don't notice you're automatically thinking things like, "I wonder why that dog can't talk."

Now I'll skip the scene where they whup Streaky the Supercat's hinie, mostly because I've already sent that out to be framed. The real action comes when they catch up with Krypto and his family in Tahiti on vacation, where Krypto's human gets his family to safety by convincing them that there's an impending -- wait for it -- tsunami. Ain't that the truth.

The phrase "This is your hairless one? Perhaps after I've defeated you, I'll make him my pet" is a clever reference to a similar scene in Superman II. It's also extremely useful at the bars and I've already said it three times this weekend.

So, Krypto does his Linda Carter-esque superspin into costume:

If there's anything better than evil Kryptonian superdogs in purple capes and more facial hair it's snarky evil Kryptonian superdogs in purple capes and more facial hair. I didn't get to say, "Special effects and capes; how quaint" this weekend, but I did hear a 6'3" drag queen say it, which was even better.

At this point, we not only get to see that Kryptonian dogs have opposable thumbs (because THAT's how advanced the Kryptonians were), we get to hear one the Greatest Lines of All Time.

"Bow down to me, Pet of Jor-El!" Priceless.

All ends well. Our heroes trick the Three Naughty Dogs of Zod with some kryptonite and then handle them in the only sensible way:

Rocket them in outer space.

BUT WAIT, there's more.

The issue has a back-up story, in which Krypto the Superdog teams up with Ace the Bathound against the Joker's hyenas, Bud & Lou. Why?

Because Batman asked for their help.

Now, THAT is a Batman I can adore.

It's clever, plot-driven story, in which the Joker is trying use his pets to lure Batman out of town, and the dog heroes are trying to make it look as if he has, including lots of scenes where Ace disguises himself as Batman. No, that's not stupid; trust me, it works. I'm completely Sirius.

See for yourself.

No, he's not really driving. But I love that they let you think for a moment that he is.

Ace isn't driving; it's just Krypto the flying dog carrying the Batmobile using his superstrength. Phew! Good; for a moment I thought the writers were asking us to believe the impossible!

Don't dismiss something like Krypto just because it's "written for kids". Some of the best comics were, you know.

So, if thou are not reading Krypto the Superdog, I call thee "fool". And so does this guy:


Allan said...

Wow, Scipio.

You just earned a Canadian comic book store a sale.

Although I better make sure I buy it with some porn so I won't be too embarrassed when I bring it to the counter.

Anthony Strand said...

Yeah, what Allan said. Sounds terrific. I really should be reading this book.

Benari said...

"Don't dismiss something like Krypto just because it's "written for kids". Some of the best comics were, you know."

If only more comic book pros remembered this.

Ally said...

Wow. Thank you for that.

Josh said...

I, like you, did indeed immediately grasp how to say "Vilea." Who knew that I was like you?

ToddE said...

This is even better than the issue of Power Pack and the Avengers where Katie Power and the elderly beat up Taskmaster for insulting a 9 year-old's taste in shoes. I'm going tomorrow morning to pick up a copy.

SallyP said...

Oh my God. Beared, cape-wearing, sarcastic Kryptonian Dogs. That talk.

I feel faint.

K26dp said...

Best thing was the cover, which was emblazened with "HEAL BEFORE DOM!"

I've been buying this for my 3-year old since it came out, and we have a blast reading it. I try to do the voices, but I lost it with the unexpected "Sirius?" "Completely" pun. Poor kid had no idea.

David Lawson said...

Seeing the animated versions of Batman and the Joker associated with Krypto and Ace has caused me to realize something.

Superdog and Bat-Hound are probably members of the Justice League. J'onn and Mr. Terrific have probably sent them on missions too.

I want to read those stories!

Sleestak said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sleestak said...

Heel before Dom?

(Dang! Publish instead of Preview!)

That is awesome.

Harvey Jerkwater said...

An evil dog from outer space. That wears a purple cape. And has super powers. And can talk. And has a beard to signify his evil.

God, I love comics.

(I myself have a beard. Perhaps I myself am the evil counterpart to a person I have not yet met. Sweet. I can't wait to find my "good twin" and ruin his life with an eeeevil plan.)

Dave said...

I have a picture of Krypto the Superdog tattooed on my back.

No. Siriusly. I do.

I just wanted to throw that out there.

Not that anyone asked...

ryan_cf said...

I went out and bought all of the Krypto issues today. Either your argument was incredibly compelling or else I am deep, deep Krypto withdrawal. I leave it to you to make the call.