SCIENCE GOES WILD PART 16 - HONG KONG PHOOEY/ BOLT/ KRYPTO
By Alex Wiggan (and Ryan the work experience lad)
Greetings and welcome to the sixteenth (and final) epic chapter of The Science Of Superheroes: Science Goes Wild! This week you join us as we’re stood outside the Great Salford Car Wash waiting for the Comicsmobile to be given the once over. Well I say the Comicsmobile, it’s actually Ryan’s Nissan Micra that we’re using for the time being. Anyway, for our final chapter we’re looking at dogs and more specifically hounds of the super variety! This week we’ve got Disney’s Bolt, DC’s Krypto and Hanna-Barbera’s number one super guy, Hong Kong Phooey. It’s our last chapter, so I hope that you’ve made it all the way through in one piece!
Here we go!
SO... WHO ARE HONG KONG PHOOEY, BOLT AND KRYPTO?
Hong Kong Phooey is the animated superhero (and #1 super guy) who first appeared in 1974 in the TV show of the same name from animation legends Hanna-Barbera (or William and Joseph to their friends). Bolt is the Disney super dog who first appeared in the 2008 movie (also titled Bolt); and Krypto is the ultimate super dog (he’s the pet of Superman don’t ya know) who first appeared in 1955, in the pages of DC Comics’ Adventure Comics. Krypto was created by Otto Binder and Curt Swan.
ARE THEY ALL DOGS?
Yes, they are all dogs; however whereas Bolt and Krypto look like your regular household pet pooches (well more or less), Hong Kong Phooey is more humanoid and works as a janitor at the local police station. Heck, he even has a pet cat called Spot!
SO IF HONG KONG PHOOEY IS MORE HUMANOID, DOES THAT MEAN HE’S THE ONLY DOG WHO CAN TALK?
Nope. Hong Kong Phooey may be able to talk, but Bolt can too! Krypto only growls, but when he appeared on his own animated TV show (yep, he had his own series) he was able to speak as well.
OH RIGHT. SO TELL ME ALL ABOUT DOGS!
Domestic dogs, or Canis lupus familiaris if you prefer, are from the Canidae family of the order Carnivora and are most commonly known to humans as ‘man’s best friend’. The name Canis lupus familiaris means ‘dog – wolf – of a household’ and is a term used for both wild and domestic dogs; although we’re looking at domestic dogs today. There are an estimated 400 million dogs worldwide (approximately 100 million less dogs than there are cats) and they vary in shape, size and colour, mostly depending upon what breed they are. The differences in a dog’s breed also can determine what job a dog does.
JOB? WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?!
Depending upon the breed, a dog can perform many important tasks for us humans. Some dogs are trained by the police to help them catch criminals and sniff out crime; some are used for hunting; whilst others assist partially sighted people or those with no vision at all.
OH, I UNDERSTAND NOW. FOR A MINUTE I THOUGHT YOU WERE TRYING TO TELL ME THAT THERE ARE MILLIONS OF DOGS OUT THERE ‘SIGNING ON’ AND LOOKING FOR WORK! PLEASE CONTINUE.
You worry me Ryan. You really do.
Anyway... as mentioned, dogs can be given different jobs depending upon their breed, as certain breeds of dog are better suited to different tasks. In general, dogs are very clever and this is partly why we humans love having them around as companions. In fact nowadays you’ll often find that dogs have a very prominent place in the household and are considered another member of the family instead of just a pet; oh and it’s believed that there are also health benefits to owning a dog too. Apart from the obvious fact that regularly taking a dog for a walk is a great form of exercise, studies have shown that dog owners can display happier attitudes... although if you happen to hate dogs then owing one probably won’t make you happier.
SO WOULD DOGS MAKE GOOD SUPERHEROES?
Yes, in many respects dogs would make for good superheroes! As mentioned, humans and dogs get on quite well and they’re known for being great protectors. In Greek mythology three-headed dog Cerberus was the guardian of Hades and in many other myths and legends (including Welsh, Norse, Persian and Philippine mythology) dogs have proved that they are strong and loyal animals. Dogs also have great senses, including brilliant hearing and an amazing sense of smell. In terms of a dog’s hearing, not only can they hear better than us humans, but they can also pinpoint the source of the sound far faster than we can! As for a dog’s sense of smell, it is also far superior to a humans and this is due to them having between 125 and 220 million smell-sensitive receptors which pick up smells far more accurately than we ever could. They even use their wet noses to work out where the smell has come from, by determining what direction the wind is blowing in! If these senses were amped up to super heroic proportions they would make for fantastic superpowers! Sure they wouldn't have martial arts skills like Hong Kong Phooey and they wouldn't be able to shoot heat vision like Krypto, but they'd still have damn good abilities!
I FEEL AT THIS POINT I SHOULD ASK... ARE THERE ANY REASONS WHY DOGS WOULDN'T MAKE GOOD SUPERHEROES?
Well, take Bolt for instance; he didn't have any actual superpowers, yet he proved he was more than superheroic when it really mattered. In fact that's one of the great things about dogs; they're pretty brave and don't need super-abilities to make a difference (they're kind of like Batman)! However, dogs share a lot of similarities with us, which mean they also share a number of our illnesses and ailments, including epilepsy, diabetes, cancer and arthritis. These things could obviously cause a problem for a dog suffering from one of them, but like with us humans there are a number of ways to combat these things so that they don’t control their lives. There are however a few things that could be deadly to them, in the same way that kryptonite is deadly to Krypto! Chocolate, onion, garlic, nuts and a few other sources of food can be poisonous to dogs and if a dog eats too much of something that’s poisonous then it can be fatal.
SO IF DOGS AVOID CERTAIN FOODS AND THEY MANAGE TO WORK AROUND ANY AILMENTS, WOULD THEY MAKE GREAT SUPERHEROES?
Yes! Yes, they would. Dogs are great! Stick a cape on them, give them a flashy superhero name and ladies and gentlemen we have our animal superheroes!