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Considering the worldwide popularity of Superman, it's no surprise that Jimmy Olson, Lois Lane, and Supergirl have all been the stars of their own comic book series at different times. It is, however, surprising that Superman's pet dog, Krypto, hasn't seen more solo adventures in his time. Kids love dogs. Kids love Superman. So a series about Superman's dog would be doubly loved by kids, right? I'm pretty sure that's what I learned in calculus. With the success of the animated "Krypto" series on Cartoon Network, it seems only natural for DC Comics to produce a comic book companion series, and yesterday fans were able to check out the first issue of the six-part "Krypto The Superdog" mini-series. CBR News spoke with series writer Jesse Leon McCann about the Dog Of Steel and explained that his entry into the world of Krypto wasn't quite your usual story.
"Last October, I went to a meeting of the DC comics RRP program in Montreal. The RRP is a focus group of comic store retailers that DC comics brings together for a retreat-type meeting every year or two," he said. "My wife Nancy McCann, owner of Comics Unlimited, has been a member of the group since it's inception. She asked me to go with her, as the meetings are always interesting and Montreal is one of her favorite cities. We were at a meeting being lead by Paul Levitz, when Fran from Acme Comics in Iowa suggested that a Krypto comic based on the current show would be a good seller in her shop. After a show of hands, Paul decided that they should publish a Krypto series. My wife and I were sitting in the front row of the meeting, so when I said aloud 'I could write that' Paul heard me. He said that would be great and that he would contact my editor. By the time we returned home from Montreal I had a message from my editor asking for story ideas. I never expected to get work in such an unorthodox way, but I'm thrilled it worked out."
For most readers, you're probably familiar with the very basic elements of Krypto and his universe. You know he's a Kryptonian dog with super powers and if that's all you know, you'll still love "Krypto." As fans of the television show have discovered, there's a lot more to his universe than you might imagine, which will enrich your reading experience. "Krypto is the Last Pup of Krypton, who was actually Kal-El's pet there," explained the scribe. "Krypto left before Kal-El did. However, he arrived many years after Superman, and was almost all grown-up when he reached Earth. Since Superman is so busy, he has asked a human boy, Kevin, to help raise Krypto, so Krypto lives with Kevin and his family. Krypto's high-tech rocket is buried in the backyard, and from there Krypto fights evildoers and rescues the innocent. The first issue features the origin of Krypto as told on the show. The rest are original stories that feature Krypto The Superdog, Kevin, Ace The Bathound, Streaky the Supercat, and the Dog Star Patrol. Some of the villains are Mechanikat, Snooky Wookums, Catwoman's cat Isis, The Joker's Hyenas, the Penguin's pet penguin Waddles, and Lex Luther's iguana Ignatius. Other DC heroes and villains such as Batman, Superman, Flash and the Joker make cameo appearances in the series. The stories are fun adventures, usually set in motion by crimes committed by villainous pets. The settings are varied, and include such places as Metropolis, Tahiti, Eastern Connecticut, Gotham City and The Fortress of Solitude."
With names such as "Streaky The Supercat," you just know that kids are going to love the book, but that doesn't mean McCann is making the book a kids-only affair. As films such as "Shrek" or "The Lion King" have shown, you can tell all ages stories that an entire family can enjoy, which is exactly the scribe's goal. "While the Krypto stories are written mainly for kids, they will also appeal to many adults--for example, my 79-year-old dad loved it, and he hardly reads any of my stuff," revealed McCann. "The length of the stories is tailored to kids, who tend to like short stories that they can read repeatedly. I skewed it older than the show, to 8-11 years, because the younger fans of the show, say 5-6, are more likely to have the comic read to them. I did include material that I think older fans will appreciate."
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The "done-in-one" nature of the books were mandated by editorial, but it doesn't mean that interested readers won't see any overlapping story threads. I'm considering a sequel in issue six to a story that's in issue two called, 'Crisis of Infinite Kryptos,'" said McCann.
With covers by Scott Jeralds, the "Krypto" cartoon's director, and the inclusion of characters created in the series, such as Kevin, it's obvious that the comic book shares a lot with the show. That said, McCann has been given a lot of creative leeway and said, "I am free to tell stories as I see fit, as long as I stay true to the characters. I have been given the freedom to use whatever DCU characters I want, and to create new characters as needed."
The artists on the book, Min Ku, Jeff Albrecht, and Dave Tanguay, have drawn praise from fans who loved their work in the first issue of "Krypto The Superdog" (on stands now!), but McCann maybe their biggest fan. "I'm thrilled with the work these guys have been putting out. Min does an exceptional job of drawing exactly what I see in my head when I'm writing--and he's fast, too."
If you're fast, and help to keep the sales on "Krypto The Superdog" nice and high, McCann would be happy to bring you a sequel series. "If this series does well, I am hopeful that DC will want me to write more issues," he admitted. "I would love it to be an ongoing series. There is plenty of material to work with. I believe DC will be making a trade of this six issue series, perhaps in digest format. If they want to do them in six issue series, I'm up for writing those as well."