Spinner Rack: Krypto, the Colossal Superdog! Part Two
Posted: 10/5/2010 by Joanna Sandsmark
In this second of a three-part series, Joanna revisits what may seem like a simple story of a boy and his dog.
Last month I began the astounding story known as "The Colossal Superdog!" Adventure #262, July 1959. Because of two fused meteors (kryptonite plus a weird rainbow radiation rock), Krypto has come down with a nasty case of space rabies. Not only is he a mad, snarling menace, he's also grown to the size of a horse. All caught up? Then let's get back to the story.
Having failed to find the Scarlet Gang (has he tried Miss Pittypat's house?) Superboy comes home to the site of Krypto breaking through the roof of Ma and Pa Kents' house. In our "how big is he?" word balloon, he is now the size of a dinosaur. I love how they keep telling us his size in case the illustrations of a giant, growing Krypto aren't giving us enough clues.
Superboy's first thought is how lucky they are that, because it's dark out, no one saw Krypto leave. Kal-El's next job is fixing the roof. He lets Krypto fly around unobserved while he gets his tools and a store of roof tiles (why do they have them on hand?) so he can begin repairs. Wonder if the neighbors puzzled over why the Kents were doing carpentry in the middle of the night? As a night owl myself, I guarantee that everyone heard the hammering — it's way too quiet at night not to hear construction sounds!
Meanwhile, I wonder what Krypto is doing up in the sky without any supervision? Oh, no! Krypto is chasing a blimp that's painted like a giant sausage! Why on Earth is there an advertising blimp flying around in the dead of night? Who are they advertising to? Nocturnal roof carpenters? Giant alien dogs? Well, the latter is who found them. Krypto takes a big bite out of the Not-A-Snausage and is left unsatisfied. (It probably gave him gas. Ba dump dum.) Superboy saves the people in the gondola and then goes to discipline Krypto.
Think that'll work? Puny Superboy and giant Krypto, who is now so big they've stopped comparing him to other big things? A very rabid-looking Krypto immediately snaps Superboy into his mighty Kryptonian jaws and clamps his mouth shut. Is this the end of Superboy? Is it merely a rumor that he grows up into Superman? Help! What's going on in Krypto's mouth? Luckily, Krypto doesn't chew or swallow, he just lets Superboy hang out in there. Krypto must be very sick because that is not normal dog behavior.
Although Superboy doesn't mention the overwhelming dog breath, he does find himself wanting freedom. He runs his "super-hard finger" (does he really think things like that? I don't think, "I shall now chew this food with my teeth, covered in white, shiny, super-hard enamel." I just chew the food. Superboy likes the word "super" just a little too much, methinks) along Krypto's super-hard teeth, making a super-loud rattle, much like a normal stick along a normal fence, only super-ed up. Krypto opens his mouth, but continues to growl.
A sobbing Superboy says, "I'm not his master anymore! ::choke::… I've lost my super-pet!" Oh, man, that killed me as a little girl. That horrible moment of realization that his little beloved Krypto has been replaced with a mountainous, growling, crazed menace. ::choke:: It gets me even now!
Superboy races home and notices Krypto's discarded cape and collar. A new plan! Superboy will make a brand new, giant-sized cape and collar to remind Krypto of who he is. Ma Kent immediately donates her spare drapes. (Let's hope the Scarlet Gang doesn't find out Krypto is dressed in the drapes. Okay, fine, I'll stop the "Gone With the Wind" jokes.)
Superboy uses a needle the size of a sword to sew the drapes into a cape. 1) Good thing Ma Kent had drapes the exact color of Krypto's old cape and 2) why does Superboy have to use such a huge needle? It's so unwieldy. Despite its epee-like quality, the needle does get the job done. Superboy races up to Krypto and slips on the collar and cape. "Now, does this remind you that your master also wears a cape? Will you obey me now?"
The answer is a big "no," as Krypto bucks to get Superboy off his neck. Instead of leaving, Superboy decides to ride his pet to "tame him." In response, Krypto flies to the bottom of the ocean, then soars through an asteroid field in space, and finally runs down a mountain and stops dead. The latter unseats Superboy, who finally realizes that "he's too big and super-strong for me to subdue!"
Time out for Superboy as he runs home and cries on his bed (another panel that broke my little girl heart), while Ma and Pa try to comfort him. Make that Ma tries to comfort. Pa just tells him not to take it so hard because everything could be fine in the morning.
Pa is spectacularly wrong. The next day, Krypto is at it again, this time destroying all the boating and swimming fun at Smallville Lake. And now comes one of the more ridiculous illustrations I've seen. Superboy flies to the "Replicas of Famous World Structures" at the boardwalk. There are already so many things wrong with that sentence, I'm just gonna move on. He grabs a skinny pyramid to play a game with Krypto. Hmm, I wonder as I look at the illustration. What is that skinny pyramid supposed to be? According to Superboy, it's a replica of the Washington Monument! No, that is not the Washington Monument. Note that the real monument is a tall, thin, square-sided building with a small pyramid at the very top. This thing is a pyramid from the ground up. In short, it's a major FAIL on George Papp's part. What was he thinking? Didn't he have any reference books? Weren't there any photos of the Washington Monument back in the 50s? And yes, I realize that if you stand at the base of the monument, it sorta resembles the skinny pyramid, but c'mon, every school kid knows what it really looks like!
Superboy takes the skinny pyramid and throws it into orbit for Krypto to chase. The orbit has Krypto a little flummoxed as to how to judge his speed, and that gives Superboy some time to clean up the lake and then talk to the army.
The army? Uh-oh. What are they up to? Superboy is crying again! The army wants to… they want Superboy to… oh, this is too horrible to consider! I need a little time. Come back next month for the thrilling conclusion while I try desperately to stop crying long enough to finish the tale of Krypto, The Colossal Superdog!
Joanna Sandsmark — A former writer for DC Comics and TV's Weird Science, Joanna Sandsmark is also the author of The Wisdom of Yo Meow Ma, A Girl's Best Friend, 10 Spiritual Lessons You Can Learn from Your Cat, 10 Spiritual Lessons You Can Learn from Your Dog, and Explore Your Destiny with Runes. If you'd like to learn more, including a detailed bio and more information about Joanna's books, please visit her website.
This is a guest article. The thoughts and opinions in this piece are those of their author and are not necessarily the thoughts of the Certified Collectibles Group.