In issue #92 of BATMAN a German Shepherd called ACE was introduced. He was introduced after Superman's pet pooch KRYTO had appeared for the 1st time earlier that year too. Kryto was an over night success with the fans, so DC comics thought that if the readers loved a SUPER - DOG then a BAT-DOG would work too. However, whilst Kryto was every bit as SUPER as his master, The new BAT-HOUND would be more like a cross between RIN TIN TIN, REBEL and LASSIE. No Super powers, but a clever mutt all the same.
In ACE's 1955 debut, a lost Ace was found by Bruce Wayne and his ward Dick Grayson. Bruce put a notice in the local paper with a picture of the dog in an attempt to find his true owner. When the dog later jumped into the Batmobile as Batman and Robin sped away on a case, Robin had to make their new companion a mask to hide his very distinctive face markings for fear of someone noticing that Batman was patrolling around Gotham with Bruce Wayne’s dog. Along with the mask , BAT-HOUND (Robin's Nickname for the dog) , he had a BAT shaped dog tag on his collar to complete the outfit. But No CAPE !!!
After Ace was returned to his owner, Mr. Wilker, that may have been the end of it. However, fan reaction was strong enough for Ace to return to the Batman line of comics just a few months later. Once again, Ace was working with the caped crusaders on a case.
Ace became a full fledged member of the Batman family a few years later when Mr. Wilker got a new job which required him to travel a great deal. He simply could not look after Ace anymore. Luckily, his pal Bruce Wayne agreed to take on the adorable hound full time. Ace was now a regular in the Bat cave.
|A NEW ADDITION TO THE BAT-CAVE|
When Ace first appeared he was a brown German Shepherd with dark markings, Various artists tended to draw Ace in different ways. While he appeared to be a German Shepard in his debut, that began to change over time. He just became a mutt whose breed was indeterminate. He appeared to be a hound in name only. His colour also could change from Brown to Black, but no one seemed to mind.
|The ever changing face of ACE|
Over time, Ace’s star faded. He began to be used less and less. When he did appear in an adventure, it was only for a few panels. Ace went from being Bat-man's best friend to Bruce Wayne's pet.
However by the early 1960's along with a lot of the BAT-MAN Family, Ace faded from sight. Although Bat-Hound was no more, in the years since Bruce Wayne has had pet dogs, and these have usually all been called ACE, a nod to the original.
Whilst the original ACE never worn a Bat Cape, a version of him wearing a Full cape and cowl in recent years has appeared in cartoon tales (Or is that TAILS !) Here is my modern day version of ACE the Bat-Hound complete with Cape, cowl and Utility Collar.
|SOME FANTASY BAT-HOUNDS|
Next Time its a new partner for Bat-Woman