Tails of the Super-Pets | Review
Tails of The Super-Pets
Writers: Jerry Siegel, Leo Dorfman, Otto Binder and others
Artists: Curt Swan, Jim Mooney, Sheldon Moldoff and others
DC Comics; $19.99
Krypto the Super-Dog will make his big-screen debut in this summer’s DC League of Super-Pets movie, and DC Comics is ready for any would-be readers who are curious about who exactly the Dog of Steel is and where exactly he first came from. The publisher’s Tails of The Super-Pets collects 180 pages of animal adventures mostly from the Silver Age of comics, including the origins of Superboy’s loyal dog Krytpo and the mischievous Beppo the Super-Monkey, plus Supergirl’s pets, Streaky the Super-Cat and Comet the Super-Horse.
These red-caped pets of Superboy and Supergirl account for much of the page count, in the their individual origin stories and in a few of their adventures as The Legion of Super-Pets, wherein they all operate as a team in the far-flung future alongside—and, in one story, in opposition to—Superboy’s pals, the Legion of Super-Heroes.
There are three curious inclusions of pets from other parts of the DC Universe as well. These are highly welcome but seem to draw the focus away a bit, given the predominance of the Super-Pets throughout the rest of the book.
First, there’s an Ace the Bathound story by Bill Finger and Sheldon Moldoff that tells “The Secret Life of Bat-Hound” and is narrated by Batman’s German Shepherd ally.
Next, Wonder Woman creators William Moulton Marston and H.G. Peter present “Wonder Woman and the Coming of the Kangas,” a typically bananas story from 1947 in which we learn how the Amazons first acquired the giant kangaroo-like animals they ride.
And, finally, Robert Bernstein and Ramona Fradon present “The Ordeal of Aquaman,” in which the Atlantean Ace’s octopus friend Topo saves him from dehydration in an extremely weird way.
DC has tried several different revivals of their various super-pet characters over the years, the biggest and most notable being the Art Baltazar-designed “DC Super-Pets” push that included a series of chapter books and a massive character encyclopedia in 2013.
There are probably other comics that the publisher could have included to make this book a bit more kid-friendly, including pet-focused issues of Baltazar’s own Tiny Titans, for example, or the Super-Pets issue of DC Super Friends, but it works perfectly well as a source for the original stories.
And those comics were, of course, all made for kids, but they were made for kids in the 1950s and 1960s. So how did they age? Well, they’re certainty wordier than most modern comics—for kids or grown-ups—but they’re all imbued with a sense of silliness and an almost dream-like, stream-of-consciousness storytelling.
They also feature artwork from some of the all-time greatest artists who ever put pen to paper for DC Comics so they look great, even if the rather stately style of some of the artists might seem to be a world away from, say, the work of Dav Pillkey and more popular modern kids comics-makers.
But perhaps other collections of more modern comics featuring the Super-Pets and their friends will be coming in the wake of the movie.
Filed under: Reviews
About J. Caleb Mozzocco
J. Caleb Mozzocco is a way-too-busy freelance writer who has written about comics for online and print venues for a rather long time now. He currently contributes to Comic Book Resources' Robot 6 blog and ComicsAlliance, and maintains his own daily-ish blog at EveryDayIsLikeWednesday.blogspot.com. He lives in northeast Ohio, where he works as a circulation clerk at a public library by day.
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