Superboy #131, July 1966
“The Dog From S.C.P.A.!”
So, Krypto joins… the Space Canine Patrol Agents!
This is one of those marvelously wacky stories that could only have been told during the Silver Age. Alas.
Upset that his master, Superboy—who else?— has gone off to have fun with the Legion of Super-Heroes, Krypto thows a strop and flies off for a romp in space. He soon comes across a strange being that looks like the bastard offspring of a dog and a balloon. We discover that this is in fact Mammoth Mutt, a member of the SCPA: the Space Canine Patrol Agents. Sadly, Mammoth Mutt soon breathes his last when he is punctured by a missile. Determined to avenge the Mutt’s death, Krypto dons Mammoth Mutt’s SCPA collar and heads for a nearby planet.
It turns out that this is a planet where dogs rule. Spying a gang of dirty dog crooks in pursuit of their nefarious deeds, Krypto puts on a spare pair of Clark Kent’s glasses, and leaps into action as secret agent “Air Daile”! Unfortunately, the crooks’ pet “doggysaur” attacks and Krypto is soon flat on his back, helpless.
Thrown in jail Krypto finds himself sharing a cell with the rest of the SCPA: Tail Terrier, who can stretch his tail; Tusky Husky, who has one long tooth; Chameleon Collie, who can morph into different things; Hot Dog, who can heat up like a furnace; Bull Dog, who has the head of a bull (!); and, finally, Paw Pootch, who can mimic a centipede (should such a thing ever be necessary…). They offer a frankly astonished Krypto a stick of gum to eat.
“Gosh! You fellows are as sensational as the Legion of Super-Heroes!” exclaims Krypto—and who could disagree?
Quickly discovering that he has lost his super powers, Krypto suggests that Tail Terrier wraps his tail around Tusky Husky. The rest of the SCPA then yank Tail Terrier’s tail and Tusky becomes like unto a canine drill. Whirling around, his long tooth bores through the floor and into an underground drainpipe! Racing away from their prison, the SCPA fall foul of the dog crooks’ dastardly trap: a pile of bones that no dog can resist! Alarmingly, it seems the bones are filled with explosives, which our ravenous heroes are oblivious to!!
Luckily, Krypto and Chameleon Collie have fallen behind the others and Krypto spots what’s happening. He orders Cham to transform himself into a dinosaur. Suddenly, the SCPA members are distracted by an even more appetising sight than the explosive bone pile: a walking dinosaur skeleton! “We can eat for a week, let’s go!” cries Hot Dog.
It quickly transpires that the dinosaur skeleton is merely the result of Krypto bringing his x-ray vision to bear on the transformed Chameleon Collie, and the SCPA quickly forget their hunger. Phew! They go into action against the dog crooks, expertly displaying their powers in the process. One of the crooks knocks the chewing gum out of Krypto’s mouth, and Krypto notices that it was laced with traces of Kryptonite—thereby explaining his earlier power loss.
The fleeing dog crooks escape to the nearby Fido Fortress where they pull out the heavy weaponry and threaten the SCPA with ray gun death if they approach. A worried Krypto agrees to tow the fortress to another planet away from the SCPA jurisdiction.
As good as his word, the super pooch drags the entire fortress through space to a nearby planet where he bids the celebrating crooks farewell. Their celebrations soon come to an end however when they discover that the planet is run by cats! And not only that, but these super cats have their own SCPA: the Space Cat Patrol Agents! Atomic Tom, Power Puss and Crab Tabby soon make short work of the gang, and Krypto heads for home.
Drawn by George Papp, this inaugural adventure of the Space Canine Patrol Agents is great fun. Realising they were onto a winner, DC soon brought the SCPA back for further outings, beginning with the very next issue.
See more on this frankly mind-boggling group here:
At much the same time that DC introduced the SCPA, across the street Marvel was running the Galactus Trilogy in Fantastic Four. If that doesn’t sum up the differences in approach of the big two, nothing does.
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