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Krypto the Superdog, Vol. 1: Cosmic Canine

Warner Bros. // Unrated // June 20, 2006
List Price: $14.98 [Buy now and save at Amazon]

Review by David Cornelius | posted June 2, 2006 | E-mail the Author
It's a risky proposition: take one of the most embarrassing characters in comic book history, and give him his own cartoon series. But you know what? In its own way, "Krypto the Superdog" actually works.

For those of you unfamiliar with Krypto, he's the mutt from Krypton who was added to the 1950s "Superboy" comic book series, this in an era where every superhero had a ridiculously large extended superfamily. The dog, although unable to speak, was highly intelligent and had all of Superboy's powers. When DC Comics revamped its major characters' histories in the 1980s, Krypto fell by the wayside, a decision mourned by very few comics fans.

Krypto would not remain a remnant of sillier days, however; DC would attempt to revive the character several times over the following decades, including a storyline in recent years that had this space pooch living in the Fortress of Solitude. Whatever keeps Superman from having another mullet, I suppose.

Anyway, I will admit that my stern anti-Krypto feelings got me to grumbling and shaking my head in shame when my daughter and I stumbled upon "Krypto the Superdog" last year. The series, produced for Cartoon Network, was an all-new animated take on the character, with new sidekicks (including a comic relief supercat), a new human pal (a friendly but lonely boy named Kevin), and a kid-friendly combination of fluffy adventure and dopey comedy that, when mixed with a lame theme song and the notion that Krypto can talk, got me to worrying. So many good characters in the DC Universe for Warner Brothers to use, and they decide to go with this? A dog from the 50s that nobody really liked?

My daughter, loving dogs and cartoons and superheroes as she does, took to liking the show quite a bit, meaning I've since had many opportunities to reevaluate my position. As it turns out, "Krypto" is slickly made, beautifully animated, and understands its intended audience. It doesn't have the generational crossover appeal that the studio's other DC-based series have, but it doesn't want any. This is a series content with being for little kids and nobody else, and on those terms, it's a success.

In fact, it's a little smarter than I originally credited it as being. Later episodes seem to poke fun of the whole dog-sidekick premise, giving us Batman's old pooch Ace the Bat-Hound and making him so intensely serious that the whole thing becomes ridiculous - in a good way. Then there's the Dog Star Patrol, a team of supermutts whose headquarters is a space station shaped like a fire hydrant, ha ha. A recurring villain is a cat named Snooky Wookums, a kitty that sends up exaggerated cartoon cuteness by sounding adorable but behaving so evilly. Who knew this show could be clever? Credit goes to the Warner Animation team, among them Paul Dini and Alan Burnett, who used to work on the "Batman" cartoon series and now allow themselves to tackle pure kiddie fare.

Pure kiddie fare it is. Episodes are quick, full of breezy humor, cute animals, and minimal danger. (One plotline, for example, involves a caterpillar who's zapped with a growth machine and gets chased by a hungry iguana belonging to Lex Luthor.) The animation, meanwhile, is bright and lively, using bold outlines and basic designs that give the show an appealing cartoony look.

So while I can't watch more than a few episodes in a row (the cuteness becomes overwhelming in large doses), I can say that it's a fairly solid children's show. My daughter goes nuts every time it's on, so they've obviously done something right.


Warner Brothers has collected the first five episodes of the series onto their first DVD release, "Krypto the Superdog: Cosmic Canine." Considering each episode runs just over ten minutes (two episodes plus a load of commercials make up a full show), we're only getting around 54 minutes of programming here. At least Warner could have tossed in a sixth episode, giving us the equivalent of three full shows.

The episodes included on this disc are: "Krypto's Scrypto Part 1," "Krypto's Scrypto Part 2," "Super Flea," "A Bug's Strife," and "Meet the Dog Stars."


The best thing about this series is its bold, slick animation, and this DVD delivers. Colors pop as the bold design makes for a visual treat. Presented in the show's original broadcast (1.33:1) format.


There's nothing fancy about the Dolby 2.0 stereo soundtrack, although it's nice and lively. French and Spanish stereo dubs are offered, as are optional French and Spanish subtitles.


"Intro To Krypto" is a quickie (just over one minute) promotional piece introducing viewers to the cartoon cast. Oddly, it's in a letterbox widescreen format, cropping the full frame image of the show, perhaps to add a "cinema" effect.

"Krypto's Hideaway" is an all-new rundown that goes a little more in-depth with the series' characters. At just under five minutes, it's only intended to introduce kids to the show, but with a little more information (and a little more involvement) than the previous feature.

"A Hero Like No Other" is a pretty nifty promo highlighting all of Warner's various Superman DVD releases; attached at its end is the teaser trailer for "Superman Returns."

Final Thoughts

While I've turned my disapproval of the show into a minor liking, I can't find any enthusiasm for this disc. These are pretty skimpy offerings all around, with no quality extras to make up for the disappointing running time of the program. Parents unwilling to wait for the eventual full season collection (oh, how Warner loves to double dip) will have their impatience eased by the low price tag, but you'll be better off if you just Rent It. The frequent airings on Cartoon Network will be enough to make up for not owning this disc.

Note: The running time of this feature is mislabeled on the DVD cover. The box claims it to be 110 minutes, but it is in fact only 54 minutes.
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