Super pets

After the discovery of Bulletdog, aka Greatest Super Pet Ever, I started looking into what other super-hero comic book pets themed after their human companion have been handed down through the ages.

The first thing you will notice is that most of these come from DC Comics, and specifically from Golden Age Superman. Because Golden Age Superman was insane. Based purely on the stories, art, and concepts in those pages, I would guess the total percentage of creators on the book who were doing heavy psychedelic drugs was well over 90%.

For example, you’ve probably all heard of Krypto the Superdog, with his sporty red cape and collar tag (because if he got lost, how would people know he belonged with Superman, other than the flying and the heat vision and the hey hey):

krypto

Krypto is king of the super pets just as Superman is king of the super humans. They are both loyal, dedicated, smart, powerful, and fun to hang out with. I don’t believe Superman can lick himself in embarrassing places, but given his Golden Age powerset and a handy chunk of Kryptonite, I wouldn’t put it past him. Other than that, though, they’re the perfect super companions because they’re so much alike.

However, did you know there was also Streaky the Supercat?

streaky

He’s most closely associated with Supergirl, which is also appropriate, because cats and women both are smarter than men, can get along just fine without men, and for the most part view you as a walking vending machine. Plus, Supergirl turned out to be an alien (I mean, even more alien than a Kryptonian would be), and I think it’s pretty clear that cats are not from this planet either. So that works.

On the other hand, I have no real explanation for Beppo the Super-monkey, a chimpanzee with an apparent fondness for super-powered baby mechanics:

beppo

None of the super pets were as bizarre as Comet the Super-horse, though, because he wasn’t originally a horse (he was a centaur) and he wasn’t originally super. But after he got turned into a horse and got super powers, he and Supergirl had a fling during the times that he got turned into a human temporarily. Like I said, Golden Age Superman and family were insane.

comet

A lot of people think Batman was a nutty comic book before it was an even nuttier television series before it got turned into semi-pornographic homoerotic bat nipples before it got totally cool and radical again. And those people are right. But even at his Golden Age looniest, Batman was more sane than Superman, because he just had Ace the Bat-dog:

ace1

He also didn’t muck about with a fancy cape that, let’s be honest, a dog would just crap on and then eat. He instead went with a tight-looking bat cowl, because the last thing you want is for your dog to be recognized while he’s in his secret identity. Much like his human companion, Ace didn’t have any super powers per se, but he did have a dog collar stuffed with the latest in high-tech canine goodies. I’m kidding, as far as I know he just had a neat mask and a willingness to shack up with underage boys.

But as Bulletdog showed:

bulletman-10-1942-bulletdog1

The Fawcett Publishing Company was not going to be undone by the chumps over at DC. Oh no, they also had a stable of super-powered, spandex-wearing characters themselves that, like the Super Family, had been distended to grotesque proportions (Captain Marvel, Captain Marvel, Jr. who was not actually related to Captain Marvel, Mary Marvel, and Uncle Marvel who had no super powers but pretended that he did). And whenever you’ve got a ridiculous collection like that, you’re practically compelled to have your own super-pets too, which is how we got Hoppy the Marvel Bunny:

hoppy-marvel-bunny

Granted, Hoppy isn’t really a “pet” in that he was a regular citizen of a “funny animal” town, but he’s got the same powers from the same place and the same costume as Captain Marvel, so he qualifies. Plus, come on, “Hoppy the Marvel Bunny”? I’d be arrested if I didn’t include him here.

Finally, no collection of funny super pets would be complete with the following intentional parody from the Marvel Bullpen of the Eighties, a funny and inspirational homage to the Golden Age animal comics mentioned earlier:

392px-spiderham12

If I missed one of your favorite super-pets, be sure to let me know in the comments. I hope you enjoyed this little stroll down Memory Lane!

(“Peter Porker, the Incredible Spider Ham” © Marvel Comics, Inc. The images for Comet, Beppo, Krypto, and Streaky are © DC Comics, Inc. Hoppy the Marvel Bunny and Bulletman are both in the public domain, but were originally published in the 1940’s by Fawcett.)

22 Responses to Super pets

  1. If you are going to include Spider-Ham, you also need to include Captain Carrot and his Amazing Zoo Crew.

  2. You missed the incomparable Captain Carrot…oh, I see Hammerknight already mentioned them. Their crossover with the JLA (Just’a Lotta Animals) was spectacular. Here’s another vote for them…

  3. My thing with Captain Carrot is that he’s not themed with an existing human hero, you know? And he’s not really a pet, he’s a standalone guy. Spider-Ham was just a fun throw-in, but if we were doing a “animal parody” kind of list the entire Zoo Crew would definitely be there, I thought they were a hoot.

  4. @Jeff: I thought DC owned the rights to Bulletman, as well as all of the other Fawcett characters.

  5. According to Wikipedia:

    Bulletman and Bulletgirl were Fawcett Comics’ second most popular characters after Captain Marvel and the Marvel Family. They were acquired by DC Comics along with the rest of the Fawcett comics stable of characters in 1972. However, the characters lapsed into public domain prior to the said acquisition, which would later allow AC Comics to reprint their Golden Age adventures.

  6. @the good Mr. Hebert: Thanks for clearing that up.

  7. Oh my…

    And just as you have Justice League, you have the Legion of Super-pets (no, I’m not making this up) starring all-mighty members including Krypto and Streaky.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legion_of_Super-Pets

  8. I once tied a bandanna around my cat’s neck so it looked like a cape. She gave me the pissed-off look of her life, it was like she hissed with her eyes. So, yeah, super-cats? I’m not buying it.

    But I have to wonder: Did supermen evolve from supermonkeys?

  9. spider pig spider pig friendly neighborhood spider pig…

  10. sorry spider “ham”

  11. Beppo, the Super-Monkey? Why stop there? I’m surprised they didn’t try Quacko, the Super-Duck. :)

  12. I just love that spider-ham’s snout has little “eyes”…. though Homer’s spider-pig is still better….

    Spider-pig, Spider-pig,
    Does whatever a Spider-pig does….
    :D

  13. Marvel should do super pets. But they did do marvel apes where all the heroes are typs of apes.

  14. Along with Hoppy there is Tawky Tawny, perhaps the most amazing superhero ever because he is both tiger and superhero!

  15. what no Lockjaw. Or redwing the falcon. I always liked Lockheed the dragon. Some of these might not be superpets, but they were pets. Kirby the coyote, aunt mays dog Ms. Lion, Agatha Harkness cat, Ebony, The Original Ghost Rider’s horse Banshee, The Black Knight has the winged horse Arogorn, Quincy Harker German Shepherd Saint, Devil Dinosaur. Or is Moonboy the pet? Red Wolfs wolf, Lobo. Kazar has that big toothed cat Zabu, Doctor Mid-Nite owl Hooty.
    And the dumbest pet/something was Kevin, the sentient cheese from spiderman.

    I’m going to bed now, my brain is smoking.

  16. William A. Peterson

    Please! Lockheed is not Kitty’s pet, Kitty is Lockheed’s pet!
    {He’s an Alien Prince, you know…}

  17. Tristan, look up the Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers. It’s probably not bad, if you like that sort of thing. I annoy too easily at anything over a cute factor of two or higher to be an unbiased judge.

  18. You forgot the other member of the Legion of Super-Pets, Proty (and Proty II): Chameleon Boy’s lovable shape-shifting amoeboid blob-thing who seemed to be every bit as powerful as Chameleon Boy himself.

  19. You can always trust DC to come up with an idea like the Super Horse.

  20. Guys, if they weren’t themed after their human companion as I said in the post, they didn’t qualify for my list (meaning, almost all of the Legion of Super-Pets, the Pet Avengers, Lockjaw, etc.). You are welcome to bring up inclusions for a more expansive list of super-animals in general, but I was going for animals who were named after their human super-counterpart and were dressed as them in some way, since this blog is mostly about costumes. And mocking things.

  21. Not that it matters, but wouldn’t the Wonder Twins monkey, Gleek, count?

    http://members.shaw.ca/gorillagallery/myweb2/gleek2.jpg

  22. Well, he’s not “Wonder Gleek”, which was the main criteria, and I think the Wonder Twins themselves only BARELY count as “super”, but he’s close :-)