Friday, January 19, 2007

Rang-A-Tang the Wonder Dog

Much has been documented about Rex the Wonder Dog, but the truth is he can't hold a candle against the Golden Age greatness of an earlier Wonder Dog, Rang-A-Tang.

Rang-A-Tang is better than Rex. Sure, Rex is immortal, fights dinosaurs and kills them with atomic weapons, enjoys fishing and has journeyed to the microverse. But the fact is Rex is kind of full of himself. Being a hyper-intelligent DC Universe dog Rex is just a little too smug and he believes his own press. Every time Rex does some spectacular Silver Age feat he follows it up by exclaiming how awesome he is. If you were going to use a Cape Scale to compare the two canines, then Rex is like Batman and Rang-A-Tang is a real hero like firemen or the police.

Rang-A-Tang is all dog. No special powers, no semi-telepathic thought balloons and no grasping and manipulating items with out opposable thumbs for Rang! If something can't be picked up by clamping down it with his jaws then Rang-A-Tang has no need for it.

In the Blue Ribbon Comics of the 1940s Rang-A-Tang was an abused ex-circus dog who partnered up with Police Detective Hy Speed to solve crimes. They had many adventures together solving murders and kidnappings. Eventually the editorial powers that be decided that Rang-A-Tang the Wonder Dog needed a kid sidekick. Exit an injured Hy Speed and enter, Richy the Amazing Boy. Though their appearances together lasted longer than Rang's partnership with Hy, the kid just wasn't up to taking care of business and the Amazing Boy mostly got himself captured while snooping and Rang had to rescue him. Hy Speed later re-joined Rang but it wasn't the same dynamic with Richy tagging along. Richy the Annoying Boy, more like.

Here is a spy-busting story from Blue Ribbon #4 (June 1940) from early in Rang's career when Hy Speed and Rang-A-Tang were a crime-fighting duo.

Blue Ribbon Comics #4 - Rang-A-Tang
Click the picture for pdf download

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1 comment:

  1. Bah, I say! Bah! Rex has been a cop! And a fireman! And a uranium prospector, photojournalist, movie stunt double, airline detective, sheepdog, bronco-buster, wingwalker, explorer, astronaut, and pretty much anything else you can think of.

    Rex the Wonder Dog: he's not a superhero. He's the embodiment of the Working Man.

    (That said, Rang-a-Tang is pretty dang cool. Thanks for bringing him to my attention!)

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