16 June 2007

The Friends and Foes of Batman - Ace: The Bat-Hound

Ace the Bat-Hound was the costume wearing canine crime-fighting partner of Batman and Robin during the 1950s and 1960s. Ace's creation was likely inspired by the success of Krypto's debut (Superman's canine partner) and by German Shepherd Dogs from detective films and serials, such as Rin Tin Tin and Ace the Wonder Dog. Ace has appeared in the animated shows Batman Beyond and Krypto the Superdog.

Ace was a German Shepherd Dog originally owned by an engraver named John Wilker. He was found by Batman and Robin after his master was kidnapped by a gang of counterfeiters. Batman used Ace to try to locate Wilker. Because he had already placed a large number of "lost dog" announcements for Ace in his civilian identity of Bruce Wayne, he was concerned that anyone recognizing Ace (who had a prominent star-shaped marking on his forehead) might make the connection between Bruce Wayne and Batman. To forestall that problem, he hastily improvised a hood-like mask for the dog that incorporated the bat emblem as a dog tag dangling from Ace's collar. Ace was subsequently christened "The Bat-Hound" by a criminal he helped Batman to apprehend.

Wilker later took a new job that made it difficult for him to take care of Ace, so he left the dog to Bruce Wayne. Wilker was never aware that Ace was the Bat-Hound or that Bruce Wayne was Batman.

Ace disappeared from the Batman comics in the 1960's but a modern-day version of Ace was reintroduced in Batman1991. This new version originally belonged to a Native American shaman and had a distinctive bat-shaped patch on his shoulder. He didn't wear a mask, nor was he referred to as Bat-Hound. The dog at times helped Batman on cases, but eventually disappeared.

Friend and Foe Profiles:

Ra's al Ghul
Talia al Ghul
Baby Doll
Bat-Hound (Ace)

The Dark Knight returns in 398 days!

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