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  • Man’s Best Friend in Comics

    Greetings from the Odinson,

    Man’s Best Friend has a place in comics.  Throughout human history, the dog has performed many roles.  Mankind has used the canine for hunting, herding, and protection, but most importantly, as a companion…a buddy…a pal.  Police dogs, also known as K-9s, help law officers track down illegal drugs and take down criminals.  Yes, in life, dogs serve many different purposes.  And the same can be said for dogs in comic books. 

    Odie provides the perfect foil for everyone’s favorite fat-cat and all around troublemaker GarfieldTop Dog is a super intelligent canine that can speak to humans.  No matter what manner of trouble Groo the Wanderer seems to get them into or what dangers they seem to always stumble upon, Rufferto is completely loyal, oft times to his detriment, to his master.  At the opposite end of the spectrum, dogs like Astro and Marmaduke, though not maliciously, always seem to get their masters into trouble.  The Tramp is a happy-go-lucky bad boy from the wrong side of the tracks that catches the eye of Lady.  But no dog seems to have more success with the ladies than Droopy, despite his “droopy” appearance.  Dogs like Huckleberry Hound just seem to never catch a break, and poor Pluto never seems to win.  

    For years Lassie set the standard by which all other canines should follow.  Lassie was brave, loyal, and smart as a whip.  Every time Timmy got stuck in that well, Lassie knew exactly what to do.  All kidding aside, Lassie was a hero many times over, whether it was leading the police to the bank robbers’ hideout or pulling a child from the bone-chilling clutches of a frozen pond.  You could say that Lassie is the Superman (or Wonder Woman rather) of the dog genre.  All other dogs before and after Lassie will be measured against the standard of excellence this dog has set. 

    Many dogs have taken Lassie’s example to heart and become stalwart defenders of truth and justice.  Hong Kong Phooey, the number one super guy, is a masked crime fighter with sweet kung fu moves and reflexes that make him faster than the human eye.  Yankee Poodle, along side Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew, defend Earth-C from the evil machinations of the Time Keeper, Wuz-Wolf, and the monstrous FrogzillaWonder Dog, alongside his faithful companions Wendy and Marvin, help the Super Friends defend justice around the world.  And Krypto is a canine from planet Krypton who is empowered by Earth’s yellow sun and has super abilities on par with the Man of Steel.

    Then, of course, you’ve got your bad boys of the genre.  The Beagle Boys are a gang of professional criminals that are always trying to break into Uncle Scrooge’s vault and steal his number one dime.  Brian is the talking dog on the animated show The Family Guy who just so happens to be an alcoholic.  Terror is an unscrupulous bulldog, trained by The Boys to do all sorts of heinous things to the hated super heroes of his world.  And Bigby Wolf, or as most people know him, the Big Bad Wolf, for hundreds of years bedeviled everyone from Little Red Riding Hood to the Three Little Pigs.  As gruff as his namesake, Bigby serves as sheriff for Fabletown, a secret place where all the magical characters and creatures of myth and legend reside.

    Here is a list of the Odinson’s Top 5 Dogs in Comic Books:

    5) Lockjaw – This monstrous 1,200 lb. bulldog is the loyal companion of the Royal Family of the Inhumans, a race of super humans that reside in the Blue Area on the moon.  Using the cosmic tuning fork lodged on his forehead, Lockjaw can teleport himself and those around him great distances through space and time, even between worlds.  A born leader, Lockjaw, when the human heroes just seem to not be able to get the job done, assembles the Pet Avengers, a team of animal heroes including Zabu (Ka-Zar’s saber-toothed tiger), Red Wing (the Falcon’s bird companion), Lockheed (Kitty Pryde’s dragon), Ms. Lion (the loyal dog of Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends), and Thor Frog (a miniature powerhouse with the might of a thunder god). 

    4) Dynomutt – This bionic pooch is the loyal companion of the world renowned super hero the Blue Falcon.  Much like Inspector Gadget, Dynomutt’s entire body has been altered by science to be able to adapt to any situation.  His limbs can extend and stretch to great lengths.  And from screwdrivers to helicopter blades to flamethrowers, his insides seem to be able to produce any gadget to meet the challenge of any situation.  Though Dynomutt’s whimsical attitude and absentmindedness often trips up Blue Falcon, he seems to always come through for the hero in the end.    

    3) Snoopy – Look up the word cool in the dictionary and you will find a picture of Snoopy.  Nobody rocks a pair of sunglasses like Joe Cool.  Nothing seems to bother this guy.  Not the self-involved droning of Charlie Brown, not even a rainy day can get him down.  Sometimes this funny little canine becomes the World War I fighter pilot Flying Ace and takes on the most feared enemy plane in the skies – the infamous Red Baron.  Most of the time, Snoopy would be content to just simply nap on top of his little dog house.  Snoopy’s best friend is the lovable little yellow bird Woodstock.  Together Snoopy and Woodstock can accomplish anything and no matter what the world may through their way, in the end, they always seem to come out on top.  

    2) Underdog – Whenever the villainous scientist Simon Bar Sinister or the criminal Riff Raff threaten the city, mild-mannered Shoeshine turns into the mighty Underdog.  With the speed of lightning and the power of thunder, Underdog always triumphs over evil.  This super dog has powers and abilities on par with Superman.  Underdog is more powerful than a locomotive, he can fly at super speed, and he has Atomic Vision.  So whenever Sweet Polly Purebred finds herself in trouble just remember… “There’s no need to fear!  Underdog is here!”

    1) Scooby-Doo – Scooby Doo is a lovable Great Dane with an insatiable appetite for food, an infectious laugh, and a knack for solving mysteries.  Together with his best friend Shaggy, the handsome Fred, brainy Velma, and the beautiful Daphne, Scooby Doo drives across America in the Mystery Machine and solves mysteries.  Though most definitely not fearless, give him a Scooby Snack and Scooby Doo will face any obstacle.  Whether facing down The Creeper, the Wax Phantom, the Ghost of Captain Cutler or Red Beard the Pirate, Scooby and his gang of ghost hunters always seem to be able to solve the mystery.  Though from time to time Scooby and his gang come face-to-face with real creatures of the night, luckily for Scooby, most of the ghosts and goblins he crosses paths with turn out to be just disgruntled ex-employees or crooked businessmen in rubber mask.  Criminals always out to make a quick buck or put a competitor out of business.  And they would have gotten away with it too if it hadn’t of been for those meddling kids – the Scooby Gang.   

    Whether as a lovable romantic (Huckleberry Hound), a troublemaker (Marmaduke), a stalwart super hero (Underdog), a master sleuth (Scooby Doo), or a loyal friend (Rufferto), Man’s Best Friend will most definitely always have a place in comics.

    This is Odinson bidding thee farewell

    1 comment so far:

    #1) Phil - 9:01 AM, Jul 27, 2011

    Mike,

    Loved the Dog article but you left out the most awesome dogs Rex the Wonder Dog and Ace the Bathound.

    Phil

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