Diamond Dogs, by Martha Thomases
Are you reading James Robinson’s Superman? You should be. They’re amazing stories. The Alex Ross covers should be enough to tip you off that you’re in for a treat.
But the best part is that they prominently feature Krypto, the Dog of Steel.
I’ve been a huge fan of Robinson’s writing ever since The Golden Age, with Paul Smith’s gorgeous, evocative art. It made me nostalgic for an era of comics I never read.
Starman knocked me out. I loved it so much that I had someone make a logo for me so I could have a leather jacket like Jack’s, which I still wear all the time (weather permitting), even though there was a ten year stretch when no one knew what it was about. People still ask me if it means I’m an Aquarius. That’s okay. I’m not, but it gives me a chance to talk about how great the comic is.
Robinson’s best trick, I think, is taking a character and giving him or her an interest in something beyond heroics, or relationships or career. Jack Knight loved antiques, especially Hawaiian shirts and Art Deco ties. Those are not things that interest me, but I loved that he loved them. It made him seem more geeky, more human.
Robinson’s Superman doesn’t seem to collect anything. Clark Kent is a young man, in a young marriage. He and Lois love each other, but, even after a few years, they’re still getting used to sharing their lives. When Clark wants to keep his dog in their apartment, they argue about it.
Clark’s dog is no ordinary mutt, but a dog from Krypton. When he chews on the furniture, it’s a disaster. Lois is reasonably worried for her own safety and that of her neighbors.
However, in this case, it’s more than just a fear that her husband’s pet might not be properly housebroken. She’s not worried that she’ll have to scoop up Poops of Steel. Instead, she’s somewhat jealous that the dog shares a relationship with Clark that she can’t and never will.
Superman and Krypto can go into space a play “fetch.” They can explore other worlds together, and fly through clouds.
“But wait,” you say. “Superman can do all those things with his cousin, Supergirl, and Lois doesn’t seem to have a problem with that.”
You’re right, but you’re wrong. Our pets not only love us unconditionally (as do our cousins, or at least mine), but they let us be stupid, funky and animalistic. Dogs, especially, love it when we run around like crazy people and throw things. With dogs, as with babies, we don’t have to make any sense. We just have to be.
Some think that we are divided into dog people and cat people. Dog people, some say, are too insecure to reside with a cat, who may or may not be affectionate. Cat people, on the other hand, are said to be masochists or too lazy to deal with a real pet. I don’t think it’s that simple. I would love to have a dog, but I live in an apartment, and I don’t like little, apartment-ready dogs. Instead I have a cat, and figuring out what she’s thinking is nearly as challenging as deciphering a baby. If I had the space, I’d have both. More mammals in the household is my idea of fun.
(Note: As far as I know, there are no political groups at this time organizing against bi-pet-uals.)
Through the events in the story, Lois comes to accept Krypto’s part in her husband’s life. It’s one of the ways we know the marriage is a good one.
Martha Thomases, Media Goddess of all ComicMix, is thinking that the new Spirit trailer looks much, much better than the earlier one.