Ace the Bat-Hound
Ace the Bat-Hound (circa 2019).png
Ace the Bat-Hound as he appeared in Detective Comics #1000 (March 2019), art by Tony S. Daniel.
Publication information
PublisherDC Comics
First appearanceBatman #92 (June 1955)
Created by
In-story information
SpeciesCanis familiaris (domestic dog)
Place of originEarth
Team affiliationsJustice League
Supporting character of
Abilities
  • Agility

Ace the Bat-Hound is a fictional superhero dog appearing in American comic books published by DC Comics. He is commonly featured as the canine crime-fighting partner of Batman.

Kevin Hart will voice the character in the animated film DC League of Super-Pets, scheduled for release in the United States on July 29, 2022.[1]

Publication history

Ace the Bat-Hound's first appearance in Batman #92 (July 1955), art by Win Mortimer and Ira Schnapp.
Ace the Bat-Hound's first appearance in Batman #92 (July 1955), art by Win Mortimer and Ira Schnapp.

Ace debuted in Batman #92 (July 1955) and was created by writer Bill Finger and artist Sheldon Moldoff.[2] Ace's introduction followed on Krypto the Superdog's debut in Adventure Comics #210 (March 1955),[3] and by German Shepherd Dogs from detective films and serials, such as Rin Tin Tin and Ace the Wonder Dog.

Ace, along with Batwoman, Batgirl and Bat-Mite, retired from the comic in 1964, when editor Julius Schwartz instituted a "New Look" Batman that shed some of the sillier elements in the series.[4]

Fictional character biography

Pre-Crisis

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.[5] 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.[6] Ace was subsequently christened the Bat-Hound by a criminal that the dog helped Batman to apprehend.[7]

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.[8] Wilker was never aware that Ace was the Bat-Hound or that Bruce Wayne was Batman.

An early case involved Ace tracking down a mentally unhinged ancient weapons expert who was using his own weapons to commit crimes.[9] At one point, Ace acquired superpowers thanks to Bat-Mite, but this was short-lived.[10] He did have his own training. For example; his specialized radio collar, when activated, told him to don his own mask (via a hands-free device) and track down Batman and Robin.[11] Ace was used less and less over time, and for various reasons. When Bruce was overcome with night terrors, Robin suggested that Ace sleep beside him.[12]

Ace disappeared from the Batman comics after Julius Schwartz took over as editor in 1964. His last appearance was a cameo in a story where Batman had lost his fighting spirit.[13]

Post-Crisis

Batman #462 by Alan Grant and Norm Breyfogle. A homicide leads Batman to San Francisco, Ruby Valley, and the first appearance of the post-Crisis Ace.
Batman #462 by Alan Grant and Norm Breyfogle. A homicide leads Batman to San Francisco, Ruby Valley, and the first appearance of the post-Crisis Ace.

A version of Ace is seen in the cosmic realm of Limbo when the hero Animal Man takes a trip through it.[14]

A post-Crisis version of Ace was reintroduced in Batman #462 (June 1991) by Alan Grant and Norm Breyfogle, although he has been rarely seen in recent years. This version was originally a guide dog belonging to a blind Native American named Black Wolf, who called him "Dog". The dog assisted Batman in fighting criminals from Black Wolf's tribe. Following Black Wolf's death, Batman adopted Dog, renaming him Ace.

He did not wear a mask, nor was he ever referred to as Bat-Hound, and has the appearance of an English Mastiff with a bat-shaped dark patch on his flank. Ace has at times helped Batman on cases[15] and is depicted to be very affectionate towards his owner and vice versa.

After Batman is disabled by the villain Bane, Azrael takes over the identity and ejects Ace, Nightwing, Robin and Harold Allnut from the Batcaves. Harold, a trusted confidante of Batman, takes in Ace; they live in a part of the caverns that Azrael is unfamiliar with.[16] To keep busy, Ace enjoys playing with a robotic mouse built by Harold.[17]

Ace disappeared without explanation after the events of the No Man's Land storyline in the late 1990s. He cameos in Ambush Bug: Year None.

A traditional Ace was seen in Final Crisis: Superman Beyond 3D. He is in Limbo with other "forgotten characters", such as Gunfire, Geist, Hardhat of the Demolition Team and Merryman of the Inferior Five. Merryman explains that everyone is here where no stories exist, because nobody is writing about them. Despite this, Superman and his allies work to rescue all the residents of Limbo, who then assist in the battle against the cosmic threat of Mandrakk.[18]

The original Ace appeared in a flashback scene in Batman Inc. #4, thus making the current canon status of the Post-Crisis Ace unclear. In this story, Ace is trying to play with Robin, who is fuming over Kathy Kane, a.k.a. Batwoman, and her influence on Batman.[19]

The New 52

In Batman and Robin Vol. 1: Born to Kill, as part of The New 52 (a 2011 reboot of the DC Comics universe), Bruce is seen purchasing a black Great Dane from a kennel. He later gives this dog to his son, Damian, who names him Titus. Damian rejects the dog at first, but eventually bonds with him.[20] Writer Peter Tomasi revealed that he thought about naming Damian's dog Ace, but "it was best not to drop [Ace] in at this point in the New 52".[21]

DC Rebirth

In DC Rebirth, a different Ace was introduced in Batman vol. 3 Annual #1, in which he is depicted as a former guard dog of the Joker who fought Batman until Joker left him and the other dogs without food in a ditch to fight amongst themselves. The dogs had card symbols on them, and the brown dog with an ace on it killed the others. He was sent to the Gotham Pound, and Alfred adopted him two days later. In order to facilitate this, Alfred actually purchases the Gotham Pound, turning it into the Martha and Thomas Wayne Humane Society. Alfred spends the next couple of months training the dog despite Bruce's objections, as he thinks Ace's wounds from the Joker's actions cannot be healed. Despite this, Alfred manages to properly train him in time for Christmas, and Bruce starts bonding with the dog after getting injured during one of his night shifts. He gets Ace a bat-mask for Christmas and calls him a "Bat Hound". Though the Gotham Pound owner described Ace as a female, Bruce and Alfred have called Ace a him, leaving the gender ambiguous.[22]

Ace is seen later, playing with visitors. He again obeys Alfred without question.[23]

Titus is seen as a pet living in Wayne Manor. It alerts Alfred of Duke Thomas's sneaking out.[24] Titus and Ace are later shown sleeping in twin baskets, confirming that both dogs now exist in the same continuity.[25] Ace is seen following Bruce Wayne around the manor after he has a difficult night out.[26]

Much like the TV show Batman Beyond, a Great Dane named Ace is shown to have been owned by Bruce in his old age.[27]

Other versions

In Mark Waid's and Alex Ross's Kingdom Come miniseries, Ace is portrayed as the giant winged steed of the Fourth World Batwoman. Ace is also mentioned in Howard Chaykin's Elseworlds crossover Batman/Houdini: The Devil's Workshop. During a seance attended by Bruce Wayne and mystic debunker Harry Houdini, Ace was referred to as Bruce Wayne's childhood pet. In the Elseworlds Frankenstein pastiche Batman: Castle of the Bat, Dr. Bruce Wayne tests his theories by creating a literal Bat-Hound: a dog with some of the attributes of a bat. A version of Ace appears in multiple issues of Tiny Titans, a comic created for younger readers. Ace appears in the alternate universe 'Unkillables' storyline, assisting Jason Todd.[28]

Pre-Crisis, Superman's Batman-like identity of Nightwing included a Kandorian counterpart to Ace the Bat-Hound, a telepathic dog named "Nighthound".[29]

In other media

Television

Film

Video games

Web series

Books

References

  1. ^ Hipes, Patrick (May 22, 2019). "Warner Bros' 'DC Super Pets' Animated Movie Moves To 2022". Deadline.
  2. ^ Ace the Bat-Hound at the Grand Comics Database
  3. ^ Irvine, Alex (2010). "1950s". In Dolan, Hannah (ed.). DC Comics Year By Year A Visual Chronicle. Dorling Kindersley. p. 77. ISBN 978-0-7566-6742-9. Once Superman had a dog, Batman got one too, in "Ace, the Bat-Hound!" In the story by writer Bill Finger and artist Sheldon Moldoff, Batman and Robin found a German Shepherd called Ace.
  4. ^ Wells, John (2015). American Comic Book Chronicles: 1960-64. TwoMorrows Publishing. pp. 167–169. ISBN 978-1605490458.
  5. ^ Rovin, Jeff (1991). The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Cartoon Animals. Prentice Hall Press. p. 3. ISBN 0-13-275561-0. Retrieved March 31, 2020.
  6. ^ Schelly, William (2013). American Comic Book Chronicles: The 1950s. TwoMorrows Publishing. pp. 120, 124. ISBN 9781605490540.
  7. ^ Fleisher, Michael L. (1976). The Encyclopedia of Comic Book Heroes, Volume 1: Batman. Macmillan Publishing Co. pp. 1–3. ISBN 0-02-538700-6. Retrieved March 29, 2020.
  8. ^ Shutt, Craig (1994). Baby Boomer Comics: The Wild, Wacky, Wonderful Comic Books of the 1960s!. Krause Publications. p. 98. ISBN 0-87349-668-X.
  9. ^ Batman #130 (March 1960)
  10. ^ Batman #158 (September 1963)
  11. ^ Daniels, Les (2004). Batman: The Complete History. Chronicle Books. p. 86. ISBN 0-81184-232-0.
  12. ^ Batman #156 (1963)
  13. ^ Batman #162 (1964)
  14. ^ Animal Man #25 (July 1990)
  15. ^ Batman #471 (November 1991)
  16. ^ Batman #500 (October 1993)
  17. ^ Greenberger, Robert (2008). The Essential Batman Encyclopedia. Random House Digital, Inc. p. 4. ISBN 9780345501066.
  18. ^ Final Crisis: Superman Beyond 3D #1-2 (October–November 2008)
  19. ^ Batman Inc. #4 (October 2012)
  20. ^ Batman and Robin vol. 2 #2
  21. ^ "Peter Tomasi on Batman and Robin". January 20, 2012.
  22. ^ Batman vol. 3 Annual #1 (January 2017)
  23. ^ Batman vol. 3 #33 (December 2017)
  24. ^ All-Star Batman #7 (April 2017)
  25. ^ Super-Sons Annual #1 (January 2018)
  26. ^ Detective Comics #1015 (2019)
  27. ^ Batman Beyond: Rebirth #1
  28. ^ DCeased: Unkillables #1 (2020)
  29. ^ World's Finest #143 (August 1964)
  30. ^ Battaglia, Carmen (April 23, 2013). "Dogs, Hollywood, and the Entertainment Industry". The Canine Chronicle.
  31. ^ Ross, Alex (2003). The DC Comics Art of Alex Ross. Pantheon Books. ISBN 978-0375422409.