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No one can say Superman doesn't love pets. For decades Superman's
dog Krypto has been a huge part of the Superman mythos.
Krypto's first appearance was in a Superboy story in Adventure
Comics #210 in March 1955. Although Krypto's breed is never
specifically stated in the comic books.
As explained in his first appearance, Krypto was originally the
toddler Kal-El's dog while they were on Krypton. Jor-El, testing
prototypes for the rocket that would eventually send Kal-El to
Earth, decided to use Krypto as a test subject. However, Krypto's
rocket was knocked off-course; the rocket drifted through space for
years until it eventually landed on Earth, where Krypto was reunited
with the now-teenaged superhero, Superboy. Due to the environment
(Earth's yellow sun and lower gravity), Krypto possessed the same
powers and abilities as his master, although his physical abilities
were proportionate to his smaller size and species, similar to an
ordinary dog vs. a human. Certain sensory abilities of Krypto's
(senses of smell and hearing) would be more acute than those of
Superman, just as an ordinary dog's senses would be more acute than
those of an ordinary human. Krypto also had super-canine
intelligence (approximately human level, though with his canine
traits and interests still present); the comics expressed this via
the use of thought balloons indicating what Krypto was thinking.
Krypto was drawn as a white dog of generic pedigree. The early
appearances of the character in the comics usually featured
exaggerated anthropomorphic facial expressions; these were replaced
in later appearances by a more generic canine face. When fighting
crime, Krypto usually wore a gold collar, a miniature facsimile of
the famed Superman-"S" symbol for a dog tag, and a dog-sized version
of Superman's cape.
When not accompanying Superboy/Superman, Krypto spent much of his
time romping through space; while on Earth, however, he stayed with
the Kent family, posing as their pet dog, "Skip". In that identity,
his guardians applied a brown dye patch on his back for a disguise
which Krypto could burn off with his heat vision when he went into
costume; later, the Kents devised a pullcord-activated dye
applicator and other methods which Krypto could use to switch to
"Skip" and back without assistance.
Krypto had the distinction of belonging to not one but two
organizations of super-animals: the 30th century Legion of
Super-Pets, and the Space Canine Patrol Agents. After the 1971
revamp of Superman by editor Julius Schwartz, Krypto made no
appearances for several years. The character returned suffering from
amnesia in a two-part Green Arrow backup story in Action Comics #440
and 441. His memory was restored in Superman #287.
Krypto had his own feature in The Superman Family #182 (March-April
1977) to #192 (November-December 1978) and it was written by Bob
In the final (noncanonical) pre-Crisis Superman story, Alan Moore's
Whatever Happened To The Man of Tomorrow?, Krypto sacrificed his
life to save Superman by biting the throat out of the Kryptonite
Man. In Superboy #126 (Jan 1966) "Krypto's Family Tree", Krypto's
father's name was given as Zypto, his grandfather as Nypto, and his
great-grandfather as Vypto.
Krypto was introduced in the early 2000s Superman comics storyline
Return to Krypton, as a dog from a false, idealized Krypton (that
coincidentally resembled the pre-Crisis Krypton) that was created as
a trap by Brainiac 13. Superman was able to defeat the trap, and
when he returned to Earth, Krypto followed him.
This new version of Krypto has all the physical abilities of his
pre-Crisis predecessor, but with a normal canine intellect. This
initially causes a great deal of trouble for his new master when,
for instance, he would scratch at a door to indicate he wanted to go
out and unintentionally gouged big chunks out of the door with his
super strength, or inflicting grievous bodily harm when combating
villains (since Krypto bites the way a regular canine would, only
without being careful about his super strength). As a result, Krypto
is for some time locked away in the Fortress of Solitude under the
care of one of Superman's robots. This robot is programmed to emit
the scent of the dog's real master. Superman has gone to great
lengths to train the dog, and he now occasionally accompanies the
Man of Steel on missions. Batman never misses an opportunity to poke
fun at Krypto when Batman and Superman don't see eye-to-eye.
Krypto operates on his own for a short period of time, helping out
when disasters rocked the planet because of the plans of the
invading Imperiex. He is shown rescuing endangered people.
In the "Hush" story arc, Batman uses Krypto to sniff out the
whereabouts of Poison Ivy after she uses kryptonite lipstick to gain
control of Superman. It also appears that Krypto has taken a great
liking to Catwoman, much to her immense displeasure.
Krypto is part of the rescue force put together late in the
Superman/Batman storyline "Public Enemies" (#1-6). Thinking Batman
and Superman needed to be rescued from President Lex Luthor, a small
team of superheroes, which includes such heroes as Superboy,
Nightwing, and Robin, invade the White House. Krypto destroys part
of the upper floors while subduing some Secret Service agents.
Krypto has a surprisingly violent reaction to Kara Zor-El when he
first encounters her. The dog happens upon the girl while she was
exploring the Fortress of Solitude and attacks, going so far as to
use his heat vision and other potentially lethal attacks. Batman,
who distrusted Kara at that time, pointed this out as an argument
that Kara might not be who she says she is when he remarks "Doesn't
it bother you at all that the dog hates her?" Superman's response
was "It's his job to protect the fortress while he's here.
Besides...the dog hates everybody."
Some time later, Superman left Krypto in Superboy's care, saying
that Smallville's open spaces were a better place for the dog, and
that Superboy could use a friend (as shown in Teen Titans vol. 3,
#7). Their relationship had a shaky start, not helped by Krypto
getting Superboy in trouble with the superheroine Starfire for
destroying her alien garden.
However, they have slowly developed a close friendship, in which
Krypto willingly does anything he can to protect Conner. One example
of this loyalty was Krypto's quick defense of Conner from an enraged
Superboy-Prime. He bit Superboy-Prime in the shoulder. Although
Krypto was injured with a punch sending him bouncing down the main
street of Smallville, this only strengthened his relationship with
Conner. Unfortunately Superboy perishes in battle while destroying a
multiverse influence tower that Superboy-Prime helped build.
Krypto makes a brief appearance in Justice League of America. The
entity known as Fernus took over the mind and body of Martian
Manhunter. Krypto is telepathically influenced and uses the Atom as
a chew toy. Ray and the League are saved by John Stewart and his
injuries are healed by the Flash.
Later, he is mentally influenced by an alien armada being led by the
space-faring villain Despero. This is seen in Superman/Batman #32
(March 2007). Along with other earth-based heroes influenced by
alien origins, Krypto attacks Superman and Batman after a gathering
in Metropolis. The two titular heroes neutralize the alien threat,
freeing the minds of everyone affected.
The New 52
In the wake of The New 52, Krypto appears as a normal dog with no
powers on Krypton. There is mention of a white dog ghost that is
protecting Clark Kent. In Action Comics #5 (March 2012) during
Krypton's final moments Jor-El tries to save his family by opening a
portal to the Phantom Zone when suddenly the incarcerates try to
escape. Krypto bravely defends the family but is sucked into the
Phantom Zone, while baby Kal-El shows anguish at losing the dog.
The now-grown Superman rediscovers Krypto in Action Comics #13
(December 2012) after being pulled into the Phantom Zone by the
first inhabitant of the prison. At the story's conclusion, Superman
is able to bring Krypto back to Earth, hinting that the dog will
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