How Krypto Made History!
One of the rules of time travel in DC's Silver Age was
that you can't change history, and yet many times it seemed
that history would not have occurred as we know it without
the interference of a time-traveling DC character. And in
the case of "How Krypto Made History," an Otto
Binder/George Papp tale from Superboy #75
(Sept 1959), that character was a dog.
It all begins innocently enough, as Superboy and Krypto
engage in fun and games on a bright day in idyllic Smallville...
Superboy zooms into space, but Krypto tags him and dives
into the ocean to elude his master. Superboy tags him and
burrows into the sea floor, taking the chase underground.
Krypto gives pursuit, but loses interest in the game when
he discovers a huge dinosaur bone. Taking it to dry land,
he bites the bone, only to spit it out in disgust.
"Haha!" laughs Superboy, "You see, Krypto,
fossil bones that are buried underground a long time become
petrified...or turned to stone! Fresh bones only existed
long ago, in the Age of the Dinosaurs!"
With that, Superboy throws the bone over the horizon to
start a game of "fetch," but Krypto has already
started spinning at super-speed into the past, after those
fresh dino bones.
You know what? This is really cute. Sure it's ridiculous
to think dinosaurs could have lived in 1927, but hey he's
a dog! Those little signs with the year on them are probably
hard to make out at faster-than-light speed, and even if
Krypto could see them, he couldn't read them, right? (Incidentally,
who put them there? The Department of Time Transportation?).
Besides, by 1927, Zsa Zsa Gabor had already
been around for ten years, so it kind of was the Age of
Dinosaurs, in a way.
Krypto thinks he's lucked out on his first try, as he lands
in a forest full of dinosaurs and giant bones. Unfortunately,
as he bites into one he finds it's made of plaster, as are
the "dinosaurs," in reality just sculptures at
a tourist attraction.
Not far away, baseball legend Babe Ruth
has just hit the record-breaking 60th home run of the season,
but as it flies toward the stands, history is threatened
as a pigeon unwittingly flits into the ball's path. Luckily,
Krypto draws the bird out of harm's way in his super-speed
This raises a number of questions, however. First, why
did Krypto travel to the middle of that "nearby"
ball field before beginning his time-traveling spin, rather
than simply doing it from the dinosaur sculpture park? Second,
why does the suction of his spin draw the bird off-course,
but not the ball? And third, why does he say "Oops"?
Does this mean saving birds from almost certain death is
the last thing he'd ever do on purpose? What's he got against
birds, anyway? Oh, and do pigeons really say "Awwk"?
Ruth's record saved, Krypto goes back even further in time
to find himself in the pitch black of a cold night. Spotting
large shapes in the distance, he uses his heat vision to
"sting" the objects, figuring if they move, they
may be dinosaurs. Instead, he learns they're only chunks
of ice on a river. Disappointed, he moves on, never realizing
he's just cleared the way for George Washington
and his troops to cross the Delaware.
Then things start getting really wacky. Journeying further
back in time, Krypto arrives in Holland just as Dutch crews
are working desperately to reinforce the dykes that will
save their land from devastating floods. Krypto notices
his tail is muddy and sticks it in a hole in the dyke to
wash it clean (?). A dutch boy notices this and when Krypto
flies off, the lad puts his finger in, saving Holland and
securing his place in the history books (even if Binder
never actually mentions him by name...usually we know him
as Hans Brinker).
Next Krypto moves from the "probably fictional"
to the "definitely so" when he arrives in Sherwood
Forest, unwittingly saving Robin Hood from
assassination when he catches an arrow in his mouth in what
he thinks is a game of fetch. Then it's on to the age of
Okay, I'm willing to forgive the lack of history knowledge,
but how stupid does this dog have to be to think a guy in
armor is really a dinosaur? Anyway, just for fun, Krypto
loosens Excalibur when the knight's not looking, and the
lucky fellow -- who we learn is yes, Arthur -- is able to
pluck it from the stone (being sure to throw in an "Odd's
Bodkins!" for good measure).
Finally, Krypto arrives in the real Age of the Dinosaurs;
the year 100,000,000 BC. He's just about to dig into a juicy
dino skeleton when Superboy shows up to spoil his fun, dragging
him back to the present for "an important event."
It turns out Smallville is holding a celebration in Krypto's
honor, commemorating the first anniversary of his arrival
on Earth (you know those Smallville folk...any excuse for
a day off of work). The mayor presents Krypto with a trophy
in the shape of golden bone, but he's unimpressed ("Shucks!
I can't eat that!").
As consolation, Superboy takes Krypto to the Arctic, where
he's spotted the bones of an extinct mammoth frozen in a
glacier. "They won't be petrified!" They use their
heat vision to melt the ice, but before Krypto can dig in,
Uhm...yeah. Bet they both felt stupid when the "greatest
archeological find of the century" never made the papers,
and "Professor Van Wyck" was revealed as an escaped
mental patient, hiding from police in the Arctic in a fort
made of bones.
Back home again, Krypto has to settle for a bowl of "Bow
Wow Dog Biscuits." Sad-faced, he mopes that his whole
adventure was just "a wild goose chase," but we
know better. Krypto has saved history. Or made it; it's
never quite clear.
Not much to say about this one, except that it's fun, and
also that -- if you take this sort of thing seriously --
it offers evidence that the separation of Earth-1 history
from our own occurred a long time before Kal-El's ship landed
near the Kent farm. Just as Superman is a fictional character
on our world but a real one on Earth-1, so it appears to
have been with many literary characters, here including
Robin Hood and King Arthur, but elsewhere the Three
Musketeers, Sherlock Holmes and others. There's
probably the potential for a whole post on that subject,
but it'll have to wait for another day.