|First appearance||Adventure Comics #210 (March 1955)|
|Created by||Otto Binder|
|Place of origin||Krypton|
|Team affiliations||Team Superman|
Space Canine Patrol Agents
Legion of Super-Pets
|Supporting character of||Superboy (Kal-El)|
Superboy (Jon Kent)
|Notable aliases||Supercat; Skip (pre-Crisis); Air Dale (pre-Crisis); Pal|
Krypto, also known as Krypto the Superdog, is a fictional superhero dog appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics, commonly in association with Superman. In most continuities, Krypto is Superman's pet dog, usually depicted as a white dog of a generic pedigree. Krypto is sometimes depicted as resembling a Labrador Retriever, but his specific breed is almost never specified.
Krypto has appeared in numerous cartoon television shows and films. He appeared in his first official live adaptation (excluding Smallville) on the season finale of the Titans television series and is portrayed by a real dog in the second season.
Krypto's first appearance was in a Superboy story in Adventure Comics #210 (March 1955), and was created by writer Otto Binder and artist Curt Swan. Originally intended as a one-off character, the dog attracted positive attention from the audience, and returned four issues later and became a regular member of Superboy's cast.
The original Krypto
On Krypton, parallel evolution led to the emergence of analogous species to Terran cats, simians, birds and dogs, which were domestic companion animals as they were on Earth. 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. Whenever he was on Earth and wanted to appear as an "ordinary" dog, Krypto would simply pull his collar and its attached cape off, pulling it back on when necessary. In one story, he was gifted with a collar which contained a retractable cape within the collar that could be unfurled or hidden by pressing a stud on the collar.
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 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 1974 two-part Green Arrow backup story in Action Comics #440 and 441. His memory was restored in 1975's Superman #287. Asked in a 2006 interview why he "liberated Krypto from the limbo kennel", writer Elliot S. Maggin said, "A man needs a dog. A superman needs a superdog."
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. The villain died but Krypto was irradiated by him and died as well.
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.
The modern Krypto
Pocket universe Krypto
Following the 1985-1986 Crisis on Infinite Earths limited series, Superman's history was extensively rewritten, initially eliminating all other survivors of Krypton in the revised version of his origin, including Krypto, so as to once again make the premise that Superman was truly the "Last Son of Krypton" a valid one.
Eventually Krypto in several forms was reintroduced to the Superman mythos, the first being as essentially an exact copy of the pre-crisis Krypto existing in a pocket universe created by the Time Trapper. In this early Post-Crisis storyline, Superman found himself in this pocket universe in which, similar to the Pre-Crisis Earth Prime of Superboy-Prime, his teenage counterpart was the only superhuman on Earth. Combatting the genocidal forces of the three Phantom Zone criminals, this alternate Superboy had an intelligent Krypto counterpart as well, who heroically sacrificed his powers for his master to provide him with gold kryptonite to defeat his enemy. This was the same pocket reality from which the "Matrix" Supergirl originated.
Krypto and Bibbo
The second modern Krypto was a small white pet dog, rescued, and later named by Bibbo Bibbowski. Originally, Bibbo had wanted to name the dog "Krypton" after Superman's home planet. However, the engraver of the dog tag (knowing that Bibbo had recently won the lottery) intentionally dropped the letter "n" ("Six letters or less for 1 dollar"), so he was trying to extort more money from Bibbo; an angry Bibbo refused to comply and renamed the dog "Krypto." Soon after, the dog found two young children who had been trapped in a bomb shelter for a month following Superman's fight with Doomsday. The children were badly malnourished and dehydrated, but it was learned that they would survive and recover. This gave Superman the idea to explain Clark Kent's long absence by staging a faked rescue from a similar predicament.
Krypto was later acquired by the modern Superboy; however, this version of Krypto was an ordinary Earth dog with no superpowers, and the dog and Kon-El didn't get along. For a time, Krypto's friends were agent Rex Leech, Rex's daughter Roxy, the being from the genetically engineered race at Cadmus called "DNAliens" known as Dubbilex, and TV reporter Tana Moon. Krypto became involved in many of Superboy's adventures. The dog was eventually dropped from the series, remaining in Hawaii when Superboy returned to Project Cadmus. Superboy's friends believed him to be missing and Krypto was left in the care of a neighbor that he liked, a young woman named Hillary. After Superboy #69 of that series, the dog went to live at Cadmus. Krypto, a creature called Grokk the Living Gargoyle, and a DNAlien named Angry Charlie, started an uprising against the Agenda, an evil consortium which was influencing Cadmus at the time. After battling a DNAlien named the Gene-gnome, Krypto was never seen again, his last appearance in Superboy #74.
The dog from Krypton
The third and more familiar version of 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.
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 JLA #87. 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.
One year later
Action Comics #850 presents the latest revision of Superman's origin, containing many subtle retcons to Superman: Birthright, the latest major revision of Superman's continuity. The current version indicates that Krypto was indeed the El family dog from the real Krypton (as in the Silver Age), showing an identical white dog present at Kal-El's birth. Although Action #850 does not deal with the specifics of how this dog was sent to Earth or when he arrived (Krypto is not clearly shown in any of the brief scenes of Clark's childhood), subsequent issues of the Superman title have contained references to Krypto being around when he was "young". Both inclusions retconned the origin of the current Krypto hailing from an ersatz Krypton and debuting during Superman's adulthood.
Some time later, a back-up feature in Action Comics Annual #11, written by Geoff Johns, finally clarified the details of the "New Earth" origin of Krypto: "The Kryptonian canine of the House of El, Krypto was sent in a small prototype rocket created by Jor-El. Lost for years, Krypto was eventually found and rescued by Clark when he was a boy." This retcon brings the modern Krypto almost identically in line with the original Silver Age version.
Krypto goes missing for over a year following the death of his previous owner Conner Kent, but Superman is unable to devote much time to search for him, having himself been without powers for much of that time. Krypto responds to the call from Jimmy Olsen's makeshift signal watch and makes his return. Krypto is quick to defend Jimmy who along with Superman fall under attack, and is badly injured as a result. Jimmy takes Krypto back to his apartment, and nurses the injured dog back to health. Superman later decides to let Krypto stay with Jimmy when he realizes that Krypto has always preferred the company of younger people, such as himself as a child and Kon-El. Jimmy gives Krypto the secret identity of "Pal", a play on the old Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen title.
During the Green Lantern storyline Sinestro Corps War, Robin enlists Krypto's aid in battling against Superboy-Prime, who has returned to Earth as part of the Sinestro Corps. Under Robin's command, Krypto attacks Prime with feral rage damaging Prime's armor, but is unfortunately beaten aside, although he buys the heroes enough time for Superman, Power Girl, and Supergirl to join the fight.
During Superman's battle with the villain Atlas, and after Atlas incapacitates such heroes as Steel and Bibbo Bibbowski, Atlas laments that he has not faced a worthy opponent. Just then, Krypto emerges vowing to "hurt this one" because he "loves man" (Superman). Krypto proves to be more than a match for Atlas, revealing Atlas' magical nature to Superman. This is the first and only story to show exactly what Krypto 'thinks', and although it's translated for readers, Krypto 'speaks' in a simplistic manner with broken English, rarely using pronouns. This story also focuses on how Superman has taught Krypto to be much calmer and well-behaved; Superman reassures Lois that Krypto loves her as well. Following the death of Pa Kent and Brainiac's attack on the family farm, Krypto arrives on the front step of the Kent Farm, to protect Martha Kent and provide companionship. A clone of Krypto made by Cadmus made an appearance in Power Girl.
Geoff Johns detailed Krypto's role in Adventure Comics. The character appears alongside the resurrected Conner Kent as his companion and sidekick, with a much more amicable relationship than before Connor's death.
Krypto is instrumental in helping Connor Kent escape the effects of a Black Lantern power ring. He later participates in the final battle against the Black Lantern Corps. The canine is again seen living calmly on the Kent farm, sitting next to Martha.
The New 52
In September 2011, The New 52 rebooted DC's continuity. In this new timeline, 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 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. With Krypto in critical condition, Superman rushes to the observation deck, exposing Krypto to the sun's radiation. Krypto is then healed at an accelerated rate and is comforted by him. The rapid healing reveals that the dog has developed superpowers just as Kal-El, Kon-El and Kara Zor-El have.
In Superboy #24, Krypto is shown battling polar bears in the Arctic before deciding to join Superboy and Doctor Psycho in battling H.I.V.E. Superboy is knocked out by the Psycho-Pirate, with Krypto by his side.
Later, the threat of Warworld looms high above the Earth. Batman and Superman are blackmailed into recruiting members of their 'clan' and Krypto shows up. He is shown whining after the mention of Superboy, who is suspected of being dead. Krypto assists Superman and Supergirl in fighting various groups of Warworld challengers, as a delaying tactic to save Earth from destruction. Thanks to the secretive efforts of Steel and Batgirl, no innocents are hurt.
Superman becomes sick and voluntarily imprisons himself. Batman recruits Krypto on a mission to the Phantom Zone in an attempt to find a cure; instead they find something extremely dangerous.
In DC Rebirth, Superman's previous history prior to The New 52 is restored. Krypto is seen in the DC Rebirth continuity, as the family dog of Superman, Lois and their son Jon. His collar is made out of the belt of an old Superman uniform from the Fortress of Solitude, as a present from Jon.
Krypto is later seen as a loyal companion to Supergirl.
Powers, abilities, and equipment
In his original Pre-Crisis incarnation, Krypto possessed the same powers and abilities as an adult Kryptonian, although his physical abilities were proportionate to his smaller size and species. Certain sensory abilities of Krypto's (senses of smell and hearing) were more acute than those of Superman, just as an ordinary dog's senses would be more acute than those of a normal human. He 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.
In his current incarnation, Krypto's abilities are essentially identical; however, he possesses normal canine intelligence, though as shown in the storyline with Atlas, Krypto does seem to have a general understanding of speech, and can take initiatives of his own, such as vowing to protect Metropolis from Atlas because of his knowledge of the fact that Superman himself protects and cares for the city, as well as vowing to hurt Atlas for hurting Superman.
- In the Elseworlds story JLA: The Nail Krypto is an early product of an experiment in splicing Kryptonian DNA to Earth creatures. He has a huge distended eye and pseudopods emerging from his back, creating a resemblance to Starro.
- In DC One Million, Krypto is a clone of the original and leader of the Legion of Executive Familiars in the 251st century. His Kryptonian powers have been increased to the ninth power.
- A superpowered Krypto with a canine temperament appeared in All-Star Superman #6.
- Krypto can be seen briefly in the DC Elseworlds story Superman: Red Son in the Fortress of Solitude.
- Krypto appears in a limited series based on Krypto the Superdog as well as an issue of Superman Adventures.
- Krypto appears in DC Super Friends #14 as a member of the animal-inspired team called in to save the day when all humans on Earth are immobilized.
- The Silver Age Krypto is one of the "ghosts" in the empty "Planet Krypton" restaurant in The Kingdom: Planet Krypton #1.
- A robot named Krypto, similar to Kelex, appears in the Elseworld story Superman: Last Son of Earth.
- In the Flashpoint universe, Krypto's skeletal remains are seen in a government underground bunkers, labeled as Subject 2. In a flashback, Subject 2 is shown with young Kal-El, but is separated after Kal fails to appease the government. Later, Sam Lane tours Lionel Luthor and his son, Lex, to see a captive Krypto. Neil Sinclair gives Subject 2 energy to break free and attack, in a rage killing guards and attacking Lex. Subject 2 is killed by soldiers with a Kryptonite gun.
- In Injustice: Gods Among Us prequel comic, Krypto is featured in chapter fourteen of Year Three, as part of Superman's visions of what his life could have been like.
- Krypto appears in Tiny Titans and Superman Family Adventures by Art Baltazar and Franco Aureliani. Though his earlier appearances in Tiny Titans have him designed as a puppy, he appears older, taller, and with developed eyes in later issues and in Superman Family Adventures.
In other media
- Krypto's first appearance outside the world of comics was as a companion of Superboy in The Adventures of Superboy, an occasional segment on the 1966 television cartoon The New Adventures of Superman.
- DC Animated Universe
- One scene of the Batman: The Animated Series episode "Deep Freeze" had a group of robotic toys which all resembled classic comic book characters; these included Bat-Mite, Mister Mxyzptlk, Streaky the Supercat, and Krypto.
- Krypto appeared as a simple puppy on Krypton in the first episode of the 1990s Superman: The Animated Series, "The Last Son of Krypton: Part 1", although he is not named. In the episode "Bizarro's World", Bizarro enters the Fortress of Solitude and releases a number of alien animals kept there, including a violent reptilian creature which Bizarro considers to be his "Krypto" (Bizarro Krypto), and both became fond of each other.
- In the Justice League Unlimited episode "For the Man Who Has Everything", Krypto appears in Superman's dream as a pet of imagined son Van-El. Because the dream is set on Krypton, Krypto is depicted as having no powers or costume, but he otherwise looks similar to most versions of the character.
- In April 2005, Cartoon Network debuted Krypto in his own series Krypto the Superdog, with Krypto voiced by Samuel Vincent. The series sees him team with fellow animal superheroes Streaky the Supercat, the Dog Star Patrol, and Ace the Bat-Hound. In this series, Krypto lives with a young boy named Kevin in a Metropolis suburb, and fights crime against various foes, including a space cyborg feline named Mechanikat and his feline agents (including his sidekick, the evil genius alien kitten Snooky Wookums), the Joker's pet hyenas Bud and Lou, the Penguin's trained birds (Artie the Puffin, Griff the Vulture, Waddles the Penguin), Catwoman's cat Isis, and Lex Luthor's pet green iguana Ignatius. This version of Krypto shares the origin of the original comic book version of Krypto, having been launched by Jor-El from Krypton in a similar turn of events, but he did not arrive till after Superman was already grown. Otherwise, the show is an original interpretation created just for this series, and is not based on any of the previous comic book versions. A noticeable change from the original is that this Krypto can talk, as can all of his other animal friends and enemies, and can be understood by his boy caretaker, Kevin, through the use of an ear-implanted translator. In this continuity, Superman knows full well about Krypto's existence but he decided that it was best the dog stay with Kevin, especially after realizing the existing bond between the two.
- The Smallville television series featured the character in the episode titled "Krypto" during its fourth season. Although in this version, Krypto's powers seem to be limited to strength, developed as a product of experiments with kryptonite at Luther Corp, and are temporary. The dog is found by a teenage Lois Lane and brought to the Kent farm. In the final scene when the Kent family and Lois are deciding on a name, Lois drapes a red towel around the dog after giving it a bath, which mimics a cape. Clark considers naming him "Krypto". When Lex asks the meaning behind the name, Clark says that it's because of his cryptic origins. Lois dislikes the name, telling him, "You can call your next dog Krypto." He eventually names the dog Shelby after one of Martha's old dogs. Clark feels that it was a better name over Lois' choice: "Clarky."
- The animated series Legion of Super-Heroes has featured creatures with the same design as Bizarro's Krypto, though they are larger. A dog nearly identical in appearance to the standard version of Krypto appeared in the episode "Message in a Bottle," in the shrunken city of Kandor. He licks Superman's head to wake him up after he's been knocked out by Imperiex. When Brainiac 5 turns Kandor's sun from red to yellow, energizing the city's Krypton-descended inhabitants, this dog also receives superpowers.
- Krypto appears in the Batman: The Brave and the Bold episode "Battle of the Superheroes!". When Superman is turned evil by the Red Kryptonite necklace that was unknowingly given to Lois Lane by Lex Luthor, Krypto teams up with Batman to hold off Superman until the effects of the Red Kryptonite wore off.
- In the animated series Young Justice episode "Alpha Male" Superboy adopts a genetically altered white wolf. Kid Flash suggests naming the animal "Krypto", to which Miss Martian replies the name is already taken. Superboy decides to name him Wolf instead. In later episodes, Wolf is shown to have many similarities to Krypto, such as super strength and his partnership with Superboy.
- Krypto appears in the "DC Super-Pets" sketch of DC Nation Shorts, voiced by David Kaye.
- Krypto first appears in the Justice League Action episode "Best Day Ever", voiced by Jason J. Lewis. He later appears in episode "Unleashed", thwarting Red Lantern's Dex-Starr with help from Streaky the Supercat.
- Krypto appears in the DC Universe series Titans, portrayed by dog actors Wrigley, Digby, and Lacey. He is first depicted as a captive test subject for Cadmus Laboratories, stuck in a Kryptonite-powered cage. After being rescued by Conner, he accompanies him throughout the second season.
- Krypto appears in the DC Super Hero Girls episode "#BeastsInShow", with his vocal effects performed by Dee Bradley Baker. He is the pet of Kara Danvers and has powers similar to hers; in addition, his urine can corrode metal.
- Krypto has a short appearance in the 2010 film Superman/Batman: Apocalypse. In the film Krypto reacts violently to the sudden appearance of Kara Zor-El in the Fortress of Solitude. Before he can do any real damage to her, Superman stops him and tells him to let her be. Batman, who is also present, sides with Krypto's actions, telling Superman that he trusts the dog's instincts.
- Krypto has a brief cameo in Teen Titans Go! To the Movies. He appears as one of the many superheroes that got their own movie.
- Krypto appears in DC Universe Online. In the hero and villain campaigns, Krypto helps the players on either campaign fight Brainiac's forces when they invade the Fortress of Solitude.
- Krypto was mentioned on Lego Batman 2: DC Super Heroes.
- Krypto appears as a playable character in Lego Batman 3: Beyond Gotham.
- Krypto appears as a playable character in Infinite Crisis, voiced by Frederick Theodore Posenor III. He was made a purchasable character in the free-to-play game on March 26, 2015.
- Krypto was originally set to appear as a playable character in Injustice 2, but was cut from the game for unknown reasons. Although he didn't appear in the storyline, Krypto is mentioned in pre-battle dialogue with Bizarro and Darkseid.
- Krypto appears as a playable character in Lego DC Super Villains.
- Krypto appears in DC Super Hero Girls.
- In 2011, Capstone Publishers began publishing a series of DC Super-Pets books illustrated by Art Baltazar. Streaky stars in Pooches of Power written by Sarah Stephens and drawn by Baltazar.
Starwinds Howl. A 14,500 word novelette Krypto origin story, written lovingly by long time Superman comic book writer Elliott S. Maggin. PDF download available for free on Mr. Maggin's website at https://www.maggin.com/Lancer/StarwindsHowl.pdf. The story diverges a bit from the traditional Silver Age version of Krypto's origin, but winds up pretty much in the same place. A fun blend of science fiction and superhero story telling in its own right.
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