Krypto, also known as Krypto the Superdog, is a fictional character. He is Superman's pet dog in the various Superman comic books published by DC Comics. Krypto's first appearance was in a Superboy story in Adventure Comics #210 in March 1955.
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 (vs. 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.
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.
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.
Eventually, however, 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. This was the same pocket reality from which the "Matrix" Supergirl originated.
Krypto was later acquired by the modern Superboy, Kon-El; 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. 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 was in Superboy #74.
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. 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."
In the Batman: Hush story arc, Batman uses Krypto to sniff out the whereabouts of Poison Ivy after she uses kryptonite lipstick to gain control of Superman. Krypto is affectionate towards Catwoman, much to her disdain.
Krypto operates on his own for a short period of time, helping out when disasters rocked the planet because of the plans of the invading Imperiex. He is shown rescuing endangered people.
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 superhero 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, 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 multi-verse influence tower that Superboy-Prime helped built.
Krypto makes a brief appearance in Justice League of America. The entity known as Fernus has taken 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.Action Comics #850 presents the latest revision of Superman's origin, containing many subtle retcons to Superman: Birthright, the last 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 essentially brings the modern Krypto almost identically in line with the original Silver Age version and by implication possibly removes the entire Return to Krypton storyline from continuity.
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 (Superman himself having been without his 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 cares 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. Krypto attacks Prime with feral rage, 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 Bibowski, Atlas laments that he has not faced a worthy opponent. Just then, Krypto emerges vowing to "hurt this one" because he "loves man" (Superman)
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, Mr. Mxyzptlk, Streaky the Supercat and one toy which resembled Krypto.
Krypto appeared as a simple puppy on Krypton in the first episode of the 1990s Superman: The Animated Series, in the episode "The Last Son of Krypton: Part 1" although he is not named.
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.
Also of note, 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". The animated series Legion of Superheroes has featured creatures with the same design as Bizarro's Krypto, though they are larger.
In April 2005, Cartoon Network debuted Krypto in his own series, Krypto the Superdog, teaming him 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 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 Ignatius, a pet Green iguana of Superman foe Lex Luthor. This version of Krypto shares the origin of the first 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. Krypto used to be a beloved dog, and Superman's best friend. 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 he realized how they had bonded already.
Shelby also appeared as Clark Kent's farm dog in the four-part comic Superman For All Seasons. This name was used because Superman For All Seasons's artist Tim Sale has a dog named Shelby. In the film "Superman returns, Clarke refers to Martha's dog as "Shelby".
A dog nearly identical in appearance to the standard version of Krypto appeared in the Legion of Super Heroes 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 (and a cat, clearly intended as a reference to Streaky the Super-Cat) also receive superpowers.