hradzka: (rex the wonder dog)
[personal profile] hradzka posting in [community profile] scans_daily
The main thing I've always appreciated about scans_daily, in all its forms, is the boundless sense of discovery. That's true of the larger comics blogosphere, but you never know *what* crazy stuff somebody will post here; if it weren't for s_d 1.0, on LiveJournal, I wouldn't be hunting back issue bins for copies of KNIGHTS OF BROADWAY.

If I made any contribution worth remembering to the original scans_daily, I think the below post, originally made January 12, 2007, was it. Enough to resurrect it! Because scans_daily must honor... Rex, the Wonder Dog.


Your eyes do not deceive you. The dog has a lasso.


Impressed? You ain't seen nothin' yet.

THE ADVENTURES OF REX THE WONDER DOG ran for 46 more or less bimonthly issues between 1952 and 1959. The issues typically consisted of two Rex stories, a single back-up story that rotated briefly before being quickly filled by the adventures of Detective Chimp, and a couple of prose pages about dogs.

The premise was simple: Rex, a decorated military K9, was given to young Danny Dennis by his father, an Army Major, and before long their lives were full of increasingly crazy adventure. In the first issue, Rex's wonder feats were limited to stuff like jumping out of windows or over walls, identifying bad guys -- the usual.

That didn't last. I blame the dinosaur.

In issue # 11, Rex faced off against a Tyrannosaurus. It was a watershed moment for the series. After that, all bets were off. By the time the book ended, Rex was traveling to alien worlds to act as an interplanetary spy and serving as a mount for a tiny human in another dimension's steeplechase. And those weren't the weirdest moments in the series.

Think I'm kidding? Read on.

Apparently, the scent of smoke is especially memorable if you're blind.


In this issue (#13), Major Dennis went missing, so Rex parachuted alone into the jungle, escaped its dangers, found Major Dennis, and rescued him from savages by donning a ceremonial mask and masquerading as one of the savages' pantheon of demons.

I am not making any of this up.

You're impressed, aren't you? Hah! IT GETS BETTER.

He wants her to tie the skis to his feet. I think we're a bit past 'Old Man Johnson fell down the well.'


After the incident with the dinosaur, the writers started to go a little crazy. I think their plan was to find out exactly what the limits of Rex's abilities were by having him do more and more outrageous things and waiting for the inevitable smackdown from editorial.

I also suspect editorial liked to take a lot of three-martini lunches.

This is so beautiful, I have nothing to add.


I mean, a *lot* of three-martini lunches.

Let's see some examples, shall we?


You'd think that Rex reached the apex of his powers when he demonstrated his ability to steer an out-of-control car.

You'd think that, but you'd be wrong.

See what I mean?


By Rex #32, he can drive a speedboat.

Be honest: you thought I was kidding.


I mean, he can DRIVE A SPEEDBOAT. Alone. In a high-speed chase. With somebody shooting at him.

Actually, as Rex's abilities go, this is pretty modest.

This sequence officially scares me.


At this point, you'd think the Dennis family would begin to suspect demonic possession or something. Their dog is capable of fishing with rod and reel, evaluating his catch, removing it from the hook, and throwing it back. With his paws.

But no. They're used to this stuff now.

Lasso, take two.


And his dewclaws apparently function as opposable thumbs.

Notice: he's not using his mouth to throw the lasso any more.

I like Rex's little caninisms. 'Hand-touch' and 'camera-pictures' both kind of remind us, oh, yeah, HE'S NOT HUMAN.


The comic re-used gimmicks a few times. Rex had been a photographer as early as issue #3, but in that issue he had Danny with him and took pictures when Danny told him to.

In this story, from issue 21, he demonstrates an understanding of lighting, shadow, composition, and subject.

Remember: NOBODY THINKS THIS IS BIZARRE.

I love the corresponding head tilts in the second panel.  They're having a conversation walking down the street, and nobody says, 'Hey, buddy, you're talking to a mutt with a camera around his neck.'


See what I'm talking about?

This is why I wish DC/Marvel crossovers weren't limited to the big characters. Can you imagine how J. Jonah Jameson would react to Rex the Wonder Dog?

"PARKER! I always suspected a dog could take better pictures than you! Now I've proved it!"

You feel like you fell down a rabbit hole, don't you?


My favorite Rex stories may be the ones about him working as a photojournalist, simply because they're so surreal. There's no winking, no nudging. Everybody plays it perfectly straight, and Rex is treated as a serious professional. It's like you're reading a comic book about newspapermen, except there's one guy who doesn't talk much and the artist inexplicably keeps drawing him as a dog.

A series catchphrase, BTW. Along with 'the scent of evil!' ...I'm not kidding.


"Rex can do ANYTHING!"

You said it, Danny. You said it.

In all honesty, I love this series. It's one of DC's most fondly-remembered books, and for good reason: it's sheerly delightful, and there's no point at which it stops being fun. How to sum up its appeal? Um, well -- Rex? Could you handle this one?

From the mouths...er, thought balloons of dogs.


Atta boy, Rex. Atta boy.

Date: 2009-11-20 11:54 pm (UTC)
ninjapeps: (Harry wink)
From: [personal profile] ninjapeps
of course no one finds it weird. it's Rex the Wonder Dog. he's the standard by which awesomeness is measured.

Date: 2009-11-21 12:27 am (UTC)
icon_uk: (Default)
From: [personal profile] icon_uk
One of my earliest comic memories was reading old Superboy Annuals, which had Rex the Wonder Dog backupstrips. Great stuff!

Mod Note

Date: 2009-11-21 12:28 am (UTC)
angelophile: (Molly - Mod Hat)
From: [personal profile] angelophile
Sorry to be a killjoy, but the posting rules state that pre-cut preview images should be no larger than 400 x 300 pixels and the preview image you're using is some way over that. Please reduce the size or put it behind the cut. Thanks!

Date: 2009-11-21 12:53 am (UTC)
lamashtar: Shun the nonbelievers! Shun-na! (Default)
From: [personal profile] lamashtar
But will the world of photojournalism corrupt Rex? When he swam out to the excursion boat, did he callously photograph drowning people? When he was headlined as the 'heroic crimecatching dog' featuring his own photographs, had he crossed the line to staging sensational news to bask in his own glory?

Date: 2009-11-21 01:41 am (UTC)
sandoz_iscariot: A young man looks thoughtful, his chin resting on his hand. (X-Men: Hope You Survive the Experience)
From: [personal profile] sandoz_iscariot
This is delightful. Are there any reprints?

Date: 2009-11-21 01:56 am (UTC)
tavella: (Default)
From: [personal profile] tavella
But you left out the best part about Rex vs. Tyrannosaurus Rex! The part where he killed it with an a nuclear bomb, that is.

I think that was a separate post, back in the sd1.0 days.

Date: 2009-11-21 02:17 am (UTC)
joysweeper: (Thoughtful Thrawn)
From: [personal profile] joysweeper
Oh, I remember this post.

Clearly, Rex is magic. His origin story was a parody of Captain America's, but he was thinking in complete English sentences and understanding everything people said even before he was injected with the serum.

Date: 2009-11-21 03:13 pm (UTC)
icon_uk: (Default)
From: [personal profile] icon_uk
His origin story was a retcon through, he was just a super-smart dog prior to that.

Date: 2009-11-21 02:40 am (UTC)
fierysea: Hammerhead ready for dinner (shark)
From: [personal profile] fierysea
Please sir, can I have some more?

Date: 2009-11-21 02:50 am (UTC)
rani: (Default)
From: [personal profile] rani
They really need to bring Rex back as an all-ages title. (Confession - this post made me tear up. Dogs are the best people.)

Date: 2009-11-21 03:02 am (UTC)
blakeyrat: (Default)
From: [personal profile] blakeyrat
All of these panels are too exciting for me! I think it's the way that the comic is written! Maybe if someone invented the period, they could use that instead of the exclamation mark and I'd feel better! Even the thought bubbles are exclaimed!

Date: 2009-11-21 03:15 pm (UTC)
icon_uk: (Default)
From: [personal profile] icon_uk
In this era, they couldn't guarantee that something as small as a period would reproduce on the printed page, so exclamations were the next best thing.

Date: 2009-11-21 05:29 am (UTC)
leikomgwtfbbq: (Default)
From: [personal profile] leikomgwtfbbq
Hell yeah! I love Rex. He's even cooler than Krypto. Yeah, Krypto's got superpowers, but Rex is awesomer because he's the Badass Normal dog. :D

Date: 2009-11-21 11:34 am (UTC)
bluepard: Jaime threatening to have sex with the Reach's family. (Blue Beetle III - Sex with your family)
From: [personal profile] bluepard
That crossover is a good idea. Rex takes Peter's job, which makes Peter bitter ... until Rex and Spider-man join up to fight crime! Then he really begins to appreciate Rex.

And at the end, Rex quits because JJJ pays him in kibble.

Date: 2009-11-22 03:13 am (UTC)
freddylloyd: (laughing)
From: [personal profile] freddylloyd
Rex just lucked out that the newspaper needed black and white pictures. If he'd needed to take color photos, then he would have been in trouble.

Date: 2009-11-24 05:10 pm (UTC)
parusmajor: (Default)
From: [personal profile] parusmajor
I remember this post! :) And some other Rex posts too. In fact, I saved them on my computer back then. Nice to see Rex back in action on S_D 3.0, he's a badass!

I just recently saw some "Brave and the bold" cartoon episodes and I was really amused to see Ace the Bat-Hound. Ace managed to fight a fricking tiger there! I wanna see Ace and Rex meet each other, have a typical superhero fight-over-a-misunderstanding, and then team up to do awesome things.

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