Know Thy History: Rex the Wonder Dog
I mentioned in a previous Know Thy History that Green Lantern’s canine pal, Streak the Wonder Dog, was a precursor to the more popular Rex The Wonder Dog. Then it dawned on me … is it possible that some of my readers don’t know who Rex is? He hasn’t been in comics for a good long while, after all. What you ask, makes him so gosh darned wonderful?
Rex the Wonder Dog had his own comic book that ran from 1952 to 1959. He was created by Robert Kanigher (who had previously written Wonder Woman) and Alex Toth (who created the Super Friends, Birdman, and Space Ghost cartoons). His adventures were written and drawn by a number of creators, including comic legend Gil Kane (co-creator of the Hal Jordan Green Lantern). Quite the pedigree, Rex!
Rex is a white German Shepherd. He spent his earlier years in the Army K-9 Corps alongside his brother, Pooch. Much like fellow WWII vet Steve Rogers, Rex was given an injection of super soldier serum to boost his strength, speed, stamina, and intelligence. Pooch didn’t receive the super soldier treatment, but did faithfully serve his country. He was wounded several times and eventually reached the rank of Sergeant. Fun fact: there are at least nearly a dozen dogs who are also ranked officers currently serving in the US Armed Forces.
Rex fought in the Italian campaign and earned a Silver Star after saving a camp of POWs. Then he went on to fight in the Pacific Theatre in Japan and Korea. After the war, he got adopted by his handler, Major Dennis, and, like all vets he had to get used to the civilian life.
In Rex’s case, that meant being TOTALLY AWESOME.
Here is a list of things Rex the Wonder Dog can do that you cannot:
Save pretty ladies in peril.
Save a basket of kittens from a burning fire / be an honorary fire chief.
Ride a horse.
Ride a dolphin.
Drive a car … WITHOUT OPPOSABLE THUMBS.
Handle a lasso.
Be an ethical fisherman.
I think you get the idea. And we’re only scratching the surface here. Apparently, Rex has also been in outer space to mediate some problems with aliens, too. After all that Rex has done, is it any mystery that they call him a Wonder Dog?