Ruff, ruff, and away! That’s what you’ll hear whenever it’s time for Superdog, aka Krypto, to save the day. Volume 1 of Krypto the Superdog introduces us to a little white puppy in a rocket, taking a day trip from the planet Kryton and looking forward to joining his friend Kal-El when he returns. Flash forward many years: Krypto emerges from his sleeping pod, a full-grown dog stepping out onto Earth, the familiar “S” emblem of Krypton on his collar. Krypto discovers that on Earth he can fly, and when he sees a young boy being bullied, he rescues him. From then on he and the boy Kevin are best buddies. When Kevin and Krypto hear about a ship full of zoo animals being in danger, Krypto flies off to the rescue and is instantly dubbed Superdog by the news media. Superman gets wind of the dog’s heroism and happily reunites with his old pal, but he asks Kevin if he’d be kind enough to watch over Krypto while he’s off saving the world. The second story features a Super Pet team-up when Krypto and supercat Streaky travel to Gotham to help Ace the Bathound thwart an evil plan put into place by the Joker’s Hyenas. Though these characters aren’t introduced or their backgrounds explained, most readers who are at all familiar with the DC universe will catch on pretty quickly—and even if they don’t, the fast-paced action that fills each page will draw them in. Krypto’s heroics, Streaky’s comical asides, and Ace’s Batman-like stoicism add to the fun.
This hardbound comic series is a spinoff from the popular Cartoon Network series that ran from 2005-2006. Though it lacks the cute, bubbly zing of Art Balthazar’s DC Super Pets books, it fills the needs of younger readers who can’t quite handle the longer text of that series. The drawings have lots of kid appeal and are done in a classic Saturday morning cartoon style filled with bright colors and simple graphical elements. Panels are easy to follow in standard layouts, and each page is filled with action, visual humor, and sound effects. Though slightly pricey for the number of pages, the hardcover and seemingly secure binding should ensure a long library shelf life through what is sure to be multiple checkouts.
One picky note: although the comic does succeed on its own, the addition of simple back matter seems to aim at making this series educational, with somewhat questionable results. There are a few cheesy “Superdog Jokes,” a rather random glossary with seven of the more difficult terms from the stories, and a double-page spread of “Visual Prompts and Questions.” This last feature seems meant to inspire critical thinking, but it would better serve the reader if answers were provided. For example, the first question refers to a panel on page 8 in which a key pops out of Krypto’s “S” collar emblem and Kevin catches it. On my first reading, I wondered about this key and waited for its purpose to be revealed, but it never was. I thought it was a continuity glitch until I saw it again in these questions and realized it’s a riddle for readers to solve. However, I couldn’t figure it out! Kevin holds the key up to his ear—does it allow him to understand Krypto? No, he understands the dog before he gets the key. Does the key let Kevin pilot Krypto’s rocket? Nope, couldn’t find any evidence of it there either. Let’s hope it doesn’t frustrate the target audience as much as it did this adult reader.
Krypto the Superdog: Here Comes Krypto, Volume 1
by Jesse Leon McCann
Art by Min. S. Ku, Jeff Albrecht, Dave Tanguay
Capstone Press, 2014
Publisher Age Rating: 6-9