Several people have speculated that the two leads in the upcoming DC League Super Pets film, Krypto (Dwayne Johnson) and Ace the Bat-Hound (Kevin Hart), were specifically created for the film. They have recently appeared in DC’s Justice League Action or DC Super Hero Girls. Ace the Bat Hound first appeared in Batman #92 in 1955 and quickly became a fan favorite.
Most people will likely be surprised to learn that the two dogs have a long and storied history dating back to the comics’ Golden Age of 1955 when popular tv shows like Lassie and The Adventures of Rin Tin Tin were still popular. While we await Super-Pets, let’s check out these top dogs.
Ace the Bat-Hound
There isn’t quite as much detail in Ace’s biography as there is in Krypto’s, perhaps because the idea of a caped, flying super dog escaping from Krypton and escaping to Earth wouldn’t be as credible as Batman owning a dog. The first appearance of Ace the Bat-Hound appeared in Batman #92 in June 1955, as an engraver’s German Shepherd.
Batman and Robin find Wilker after counterfeiters kidnap him, disoriented and struggling to swim in the river after chasing and fighting the kidnappers. Ace was taken in by the Dynamic Duo, hoping he could lead them to Wilker.
Robin crafted Ace a hooded mask and a bat emblem dog tag, which made him an invaluable asset to the crime-fighting team (An escaped convict cried, ‘Leggo you, you BAT-HOUND! ‘, giving Ace his nickname). Wilker was captured by counterfeiters after Batman and Robin found him.
Ace nudged a window open after Batman made a crude Bat-Signal in the sky, freeing Batman and Robin, and all three took out the villains. After Wilker could not look after Ace, he often loaned him to the Dynamic Duo for help on their adventures. He then left Ace with them permanently after he could no longer care for him.
In addition to the receiver, Ace had a device that allowed him to pull his mask on whenever Bat-Hound was needed. Ace suffers from amnesia in the end, leading Batman to arrange an operation to restore his memory. Authority meets Batwoman and Bat-Mite, who briefly give him Krypto-like powers.
In 1964’s Batman #162, he helped Bat Woman and Robin find the lair of hybrid animal-men, his last appearance in core Batman titles. The ace of Bat Hound didn’t appear again until 1984’s Ambush Bug #3 and 1990’s Animal-Man #25, though he made a special appearance as a guide dog for a blind Native American named Black Wolf in Batman #462. Ace, the Bat-Hound’s last print appearance, appeared in 1993.
It was on television that Ace was reintroduced to the limelight, appearing in Batman Beyond (1999-2001), Krypto the Superdog (2005-2006), Batman: The Brave and the Bold (2008-2011), and most recently in DC Super Hero Girls.
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Krypto the Superdog
Initially, Krypto was intended to appear as a one-off in Adventure Comics #210 in March 1955, months before Ace made his debut. Superboy’s adventures continued with the powerful pup four issues later. Aside from brief absences, Krypto hasn’t spent much time away from the comics, unlike Ace.
It was Krypto, who was originally Kal-El’s dog on Krypton. Krypto was used as a test subject for a prototype rocket used by Jor-El to send Kal-El to Earth, but the missile was knocked off course, and Krypto wouldn’t arrive until years later, when he reunited with Superboy, now a teenager.
In proportion to the capabilities and skills of an Earth dog, the white dog of unspecified pedigree gained the same powers and abilities as his master. There were specific abilities that Superman possessed that were better than Superman’s.
In addition to having super-canine intelligence, Krypto displayed his thoughts using thought balloons. When posing as Kent’s pet dog, ‘Skip,’ Krypto would remove his red cape and gold collar to disguise himself as a crime fighter. The Kents concealed Krypto’s identity by applying a brown dye patch to his back, which he would burn off as needed.
The future will see him wearing a collar with a retractable cape and a dye-applying device that can be activated with a pull cord, which will allow him to change his look whenever he wants to. It was during the 30th century that Krypto was a member of two separate super animal organizations, the Legion of Super Pets, and the Space Canine Patrol Agents.
He was also struck with amnesia in 1974 before his memory was restored in 1975’s Superman #287. Krypto’s final appearance was what happened to the Man of Tomorrow, a 1986 non-canon Superman story. Kryptonite Man’s throat was a bit out by Superman to save his life.
The story of Krypto was reimagined multiple times, just like his owner’s.
Krypto appears in a pocket universe after Crisis on Infinite Earth, where he sacrifices his powers to help Superboy defeat three criminals from the Phantom Zone. A second Krypto appeared in Superboy #74, although he was significantly different: a small, white, ordinary Earth dog.
In the early 2000s Superman storyline “Return to Krypton,” Krypto appeared as a dog created by Brainiac 13 as a trap, which followed Superman to Earth once Brainiac’s trap was defeated.
In the modern Krypto, all the same, abilities are present, but with an average canine intellect, amplifying a normal dog’s actions and inadvertently causing damage.
He’s been through Superman: Birthright, the Sinestro Corps War, The New 52, and DC Rebirth, most recently seen in print as Supergirl’s loyal companion. He also appears in Superman: The Animated Series (1996-2000), Smallville (2001-2011), Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Justice League Action, Titans (2018-), his own series Krypto the Superdog, as well as DC Super Hero Girls with his cohort Ace.