With more than 70 years now of superheros, aliens, and anything else imaginable pushing the envelope of comic book creativity we can’t forget the role that animals have played it in. Whether they’re a pet, their own character, or a metaphor; logical or ridiculous, animals have impacted comics and superheros more than is sometimes realized and so in honor of some of the most memorable, bad ass, or best here is our Top 10 DC Comics Animals.
WHY: When you talk about some of the best DC Comics animals Comet has to make the list. Not because he’s hardcore. Not because he looks awesome. Not because he won some big battle or has a large reputation within the stories. Comet is on the list because there may not be any more ridiculous comic book animal ever created. Originally Comet is Supergirl’s horse (Why does Supergirl need a horse again?) who used to be a Greek centaur that was mistakenly turned into a horse. To make up for it he was given a ton of powers and every time a comet passes through the same solar system he’s in he turns human for awhile. So guess what? He turns human in front of Supergirl, adopts the name “Bronco”, and they fall in love. Then he turns back into a horse and Supergirl decides to keep him around and saddle him up whenever she doesn’t feel like floating. He was later rebooted to be a half-horse half-human creature who was Supergirls bi-sexual stand-up comic friend and could shape-shift from man to woman. What started out as “Hey, Supergirl should have a horse” turned into that.
Wiki link: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comet_%28DC_Comics%29
WHY: Aquaman is no newbie to pun and ridicule, and despite the loyal fans or creators that have tried to legitimize him (some actually doing a good job) he’ll always have a certain amount of history that keeps him grounded for many in camp and corniness; thusly let me introduce you to Topo, Aquaman’s pet Octopus. Don’t roll your eyes just yet though, Topo wasn’t your average cephalopod. He was trained by Green Arrow in archery, can play 8 instruments at once, and has humanlike intelligence. Now, why an underwater anything would need to shoot arrows or play instruments is beyond me but if I saw an Octopus actually doing them, it would be quite the site.
Wiki link: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Topo_%28DC_Comics%29
WHY: Although technically not an animal but an insect who’s technically not an insect but an alien Bzzd is close enough to the animal category to make the list and certainly hardcore enough to hang with the some of the best and most classic. Not only was Bzzd himself more than effective in battle but he helps represent and prove just how creative yet grounded comics can get. Always taken seriously and never underestimated amongst his peers Bzzd was as true of a Green Lantern as you can get. The contrast of him having a planet for a partner (Mogo) and even leading an army of Green Lanterns to defend him his more than a lot of other comic book animals can say for themselves.
#7. Detective Chimp
WHY: Any animal who swaps theories with Batman via chat, is granted the Helmet of Fate, a member of Mensa, and loves a good cigar is cool enough to make the list. And his recent putting together of the Shadowpact team helped him save all of magic (not a bad note on the resume). Probably the greatest things about Detective Chimp though is that he makes for a fun read. Detective Chimp isn’t treated or acts like a chimp but as smart Sherlock-Holmes-wannabe-detective. Which is better than watching him eat bananas and finding bugs in his teammates back hair.
Wiki link: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Detective_Chimp
WHY: How could you make a list like this and NOT include Bubastis? She was the Boba Fett of Watchmen; the mystery surrounding her made her remain memorable in a story where she was barely featured. Watchmen is arguably one of the greatest comic book’s of all time and one of it’s most iconic images is Ozymandias and his genetically-enhanced companion lurking around his Antartic retreat watching televisions and planning out his utopia. Bubastis never plays a large role and only lives within the short amount of pages of Watchmen’s story (and now in the few scenes in the movie) but is easily one of the most remembered animals in DC Comics.
Wiki link: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Characters_of_Watchmen
#5. Mister Tawky Tawny
WHY: First, look at that picture and tell me this guy isn’t worthy. In his most recent appearance Mister Tawky Tawny put on an ass kicking clinic that ended with a dead Kalibak (you know, Darksieds son). A member of the Marvel Family he’s got a history that goes back to the 1940’s. Whether he’s the Golden Age tiger-who-wants-to-be-human or the current doll-turned-sapient-tiger Mister Tawky Tawny plays a significant role in DC Comics and has survived the test of time. His current whereabouts are unknown after his appearance in Final Crisis but with Grant Morrison in the drivers seat at DC you can bet there is more tiger goodness on the horizon.
Wiki link: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marvel_Family
WHY: Two words; Batman’s Dog. The original “Bat-Hound” started out as the masked crime fighting assistance to Batman and Robin (yup, he wore a mask), ended up being seen sparingly post-crisis, and eventually was lost in the shuffle of other forgotten about characters only seen here and there. He makes this list though for his role in the Batman Beyond animated series where he played more than just a gimmicky role. Anyone familiar with the series knows just how often he contributed and in a time where Bruce was too old to zip around skyscrapers and Alfred was long gone Ace filled the “batman family” hole and at times was representative of Bruce’s old Batman spirit or the help he had from all his friends that had moved on. He saved Terry McGinnis’s life on several occasions and could always be found at Bruce’s side. Superhero pets are as gimmicky as it gets but Ace was the first animal that I actually bought into.
Wiki link: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ace_the_Bat-Hound
#3. Gorilla Grodd
WHY: No gorilla in all of science fiction may be as persistent and smart as Gorilla Grodd. This isn’t your typical over-sized silver back roaming around not knowing any better; Grodd is arguably one of the smartest, most violent, and respected villains in DC Comics and has outlasted The Flash for almost 50 years now. Reputable villains such as Vandal Savage and Lex Luthor have sought him out and he’s been on several of the more infamous teams like the Secret Society of Super Villains and the Injustice League. IGN.com even ranked him the 35th best comic book villain of all. [IGN] Grodd accomplishes what very few animal-based characters can, he makes you forget he’s an animal. His lust for power and destruction outperform his monkey features or tendencies and more often than not he’s a natural fit when placed right next to some of the DC’s greats. No monkeying around here (sorry…had to say it).
Wiki link: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gorilla_Grodd
WHY: Krypto the dog is THE definitive superhero animal. He doesn’t have any telekinetic powers, no history of being human at one time or any weird past lives, he’s man’s best friend…just Super. He defends Superman in combat and lays next to him during those long summer sunsets when Clark is taking a day off in Smallville. And it’s this simple nature that makes Krypto the greatest. He’s a Superdog; and it’s as simple as that. You’ll never see him speaking to anyone and he never turns human or anything like that. He’s the equivalent to a firefighter or policeman’s dog. He’s cute, protective, and a great companion to the Superman family. In a genre that has mind controlling gorillas, ring-powered bees, and once-human-and-in-love horses it’s nice to have Krypto show up and be a normal dog…just Super.
Wiki link: en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Krypto
WHY: Although not written as a character Bats play a much larger and subliminal role than you may think. Consider how different the DC Universe would be had it been a vulture, owl, or raven that haunted Bruce Wayne? Batman’s influence has stretched past just being a character in the DCU and in stories where he isn’t even largely included the imagery or presence of Bats can set the mood. Characters like Robin, Nightwing, and Catwomen can still largely be represented by some kind of Bat-imagery, without their characters directly being related. After all these years Bats have slowly become an elemental part of the DC Universe and represent far more than one single character. In the DC Universe Bats represent motifs such as mystery, fear, shadows, night, scary, smart, and dark…how many characters could fit under that umbrella?
By no means does just 10 cover all the DC animals; there’s Streaky the cat, Beppo the monkey, the dolphins that Aquaman always ride when he pokes his head out of the water, and many many others but out of all of them these are some just some out favorites, our Top 10 DC Comics Animals.
Still want more?