Spinner Rack: Krypto, the Colossal Superdog! Part Three
Posted: 11/9/2010 by Joanna Sandsmark
In the third and final part of her Krypto series, Joanna revisits what may seem like a simple story of a boy and his dog.
I've finally worked up the nerve to continue the retelling of "The Colossal Superdog!" [Adventure #262, July 1959]. We left off at such a heart-wrenching moment. Superboy is desperately trying to control Krypto, who has grown to enormous size and has a bad case of space rabies — all caused by two fused meteors: one kryptonite, the other with rainbow radiation. After watching Krypto running amok and Superboy's failed attempts to tame him, it was only a matter of time before the army showed up.
They decided to destroy Krypto, but they need Superboy's permission. At first he is completely against it. Krypto is his pet! All he needs is a cure. But there is no cure, so a weeping Superboy agrees. This story may hold the record for the most times Superboy cries in a single issue. I know that each tear was a knife to my heart as a little girl. It was like Romeo and Juliet, only with a giant, rabid dog. Okay, so it wasn't much like Romeo and Juliet, but it was sad! ::choke::
Superboy sends his robots out to search for green kryptonite. Good plan, except Krypto is in the upper atmosphere with an inaccurate replica of the Washington Monument in his mouth. He just swatted the robots into pieces with one swing of his skinny pyramid that looked nothing like the Washington Monument (like how I worked that in? Why, yes, I am still stunned by the ridiculously inaccurate illustration. It's just a darn good thing that my study habits included sources outside the realm of comic books or I would've failed my "famous replicas of world buildings" test).
Superboy remembers that he keeps a gigantic kryptonite meteor at the War Department. (No one remembered this until now? Really?) He brings it to a munitions factory so they can turn it into green K shells.
Meanwhile, Krypto is gnawing on a dinosaur bone, which Superboy steals. He makes the dog chase him through the artillery field (...and suddenly neither Superboy nor Krypto has the bone. That's pretty mean. Lead him to his death without even giving him the bone as he dies?) where the dog is pelted with green K shells. He falls to the ground, which ironically protects him from the shells. He digs himself out, perches on a nearby cliff and lets loose with his mighty heat vision in order to burn the Army camp to cinders.
Superboy puts out the fires and knows it's up to him to do something about the heat rays coming from Krypto's eyes. Although he expects Krypto to attack him, Superboy soon realizes that the space rabies have "reached its critical stage… he's paralyzed!" Stuck in a seated position and pouring out "intense beams of vision" (I didn't make that up – that's how Superboy described it), Krypto's paralyzed body is something Superboy needs to deal with immediately. Quickly, he carries him up to another cliff, the intense beams of vision now pointing harmlessly into the sky. (Hope no planes fly that route.)
Ma and Pa Kent drive up, wondering why Superboy didn't come home. At first I found it strange that they knew just where to find their boy. It's not like it's some familiar spot. Then I realized that they probably drove toward the skyscraper-sized, intense-visioned, paralyzed superdog sitting on top of the cliff with the enormous carved memorial and 12-story-high wreath. That would be a pretty good clue.
At this point, as a kid, I had no idea how this story could possibly be resolved. In my mind, Krypto would be forever stuck on that cliff, paralyzed, crazed from his disease, and tragically immortal. It was such a horrifying fate for Superboy's pet and just the site of that memorial brought me to tears. I had an overwhelming fear of rabies anyway after seeing Old Yeller. So combine that film with this comic and I was a wreck.
So, it seems, was Superboy. He flew off into outer space and sat dejectedly on a meteor. More tears (I'm telling you – this could be the record-breaker for weeping Superboy panels) accompanied his hopeless thoughts. "Medical science can't cure Krypto… ::sob:: ...all methods would fail because he's invulnerable… wonder drugs… surgery...radiation treatments..." It's at this point he gets a revelation. Radiation!
Using "super calculations, the Boy of Steel is able to back-track along the path Krypto followed..." I don't actually know how one can super calculate a path through space when Krypto had been playing leap frog and not making a beeline on some mutually known mission. Then again, I don't have superpowers or a super brain so my pedestrian understanding of the game of leap frog may be limiting my calculating ability.
As Superboy expertly follows the leap frogging trail, he spots the fused meteor and instantly assumes it was the reason for Krypto's disease. Naturally, he decides to give himself a great big dose of the same radiation. My little-kid brain did not understand why Superboy wanted to end up on some other cliff, shooting eye beams into space, but I trusted him to have a trick up his sleeve.
And it was a big one. He landed next to Krypto's little rocky outcrop and didn’t bother with the slow growth his dog went through. Nope, Superboy just instantly becomes the size of the Eiffel Tower. Immediately, he bathes Krypto with X-ray vision, noting that X-rays are used to cure patients in hospitals. "Tense hours pass..." Yikes! He stood there for hours? That's a lot of radiation and Krypto is vulnerable to the powers of other Kryptonians. But finally, he's back to normal size. Purged of his rabies, he's once again the happy little doggie we know and love.
But how will Superboy get cured? His parents wonder that very thing and Superboy just gives a quick goodbye and flies off. Very cavalier of him, I must say. And now Ma Kent is crying! Tears on every page, I tells ya!
Oh, but Superboy had something in mind. He sets up two huge mirrors and uses his own X-rays to cure his space rabies. Soon, he's reunited with his parents and his beloved Krypto. As they wrassle on the rug, Pa can't help but give us a folksy goodbye in his observations of a super boy and his dog.
Wow, I am all wrung out. It's time to put away my childhood copy of this Giant Superboy until the next time I feel like a good cry. All I ask of you is a favor: if you have a dog, give him or her a good pet and a "Who's the best doggie on the planet?" for me, okay? Meanwhile, I'll head back to the stacks to find another nugget of Silver Age treasure.
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.
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