Krypto is Superman’s dog in many ways, and in 2006’s Krypto the Super-Dog #1, readers learn the Super-Dog’s disguise is a cute riff on Clark’s!
Comic fans know Krypto as “Superman’s Dog,” and his “disguise” is even more ridiculous than Clark’s! In 2006’s Krypto the Super-Dog #1, the titular hero comes to Earth, bonding with a young boy. The two share many adventures together, and his family is none the wiser that their son’s new dog is actually Superman’s pet, Krypto, thanks to a cute (and clever) riff on a classic Superman trope.
During the Silver Age of Comics, the Superman mythos exploded under the direction of editor Mort Weisinger; creators introduced characters such as Supergirl, the Phantom Zone criminals as well as Krypto the Super-Dog. Krypto had been the infant Kal-El’s pet on Krypton; somehow resembling an Earth dog, Jor-El sent Krypto into space as a test for the drive system that would eventually carry his son to Earth. Like other Kryptonian survivors, Krypto found his way to Earth and became a popular supporting character in his own right. In 2006, Krypto was awarded his own cartoon, airing on the Cartoon Network and DC Comics released a tie-in series that ran for six issues. The first explored Krypto’s origin and flipped the script on a classic Superman trope: his disguise.
The story, titled “Here Comes Krypto,” from Jesse Leon McCann and Min S. Ku., opens with Krypto arriving on Earth, and searching for Kal-El. He befriends a young boy named Kevin who sees Krypto’s red cape and “S”-shield dog tag and immediately connects him with Superman. Kevin brings Krypto home to his family, but takes off the red cape and dog tag to hide the dog’s true identity. In the weeks that follow, Krypto bonds with Kevin and his family and he and Kevin share many adventures together. Eventually, Krypto makes the news, appearing on a live television broadcast. Kevin and Krypto walk in on Kevin’s family watching Krypto on TV; Kevin panics, fearing the secret of his new dog will be exposed. However, his family is none the wiser; Kevin later realizes that by simply removing the red cape and Superman-themed dog tag, his family thinks Krypto is just a normal dog.
Krypto’s “disguise” is a cute riff on Superman’s disguise. In the Superman comics, Superman disguises himself as Clark Kent by simply putting on a pair of glasses. While this may seem impractical, as anyone should be able to (literally) see through the ruse, a simple pair of glasses still manages to fool most of the DC Universe. Over the years, this has become a trope in the Superman comics, and various creators have played around with it and even poked fun at it, much like McCann and Ku do here. Krypto’s disguise involves simply removing his cape and dog-tag, which then allows him to pass as a normal Earth dog; this flips Superman/Clark Kent’s disguise in a cute and clever way. Both are simple tricks and both are highly effective at fooling lots of people.
This story, and the remainder of the series, were set outside the mainstream DC Universe, opting to tie-in to the animated series. Yet Krytpo’s series flipped the script on the Man of Steel’s disguise, making it a cute and wholesome riff on a massive Superman trope.
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