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 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?
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:
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.
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:
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:
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:
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:
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.)