Marvel Comics to Revive Star Comics' Top Dog – Is It All About The Trademarks?

Long before Marvel Comics published Squirrel Girl, Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur and other comic books which, according to some people, shouldn't be published as they sell better in venues other than comic book stores, Marvel published Star Comics. A line of young reader comics, the aim was to revitalise the newsstand, as Marvel's traditional superhero comics were being created to appeal more to the direct market of comic stores. A collection of licensed and original titles, from Strawberry Shortcake to Planet Terry, the line has seen new attention of late after the appearance of Peter Porker, the Spectacular Spider-Ham in Spider-Man: Into The Spiderverse. And the realisation that there are a few Marvel-owned characters who have 't been published in a few decades and have trademarks which may be vulnerable to other publishers swooping in. As a result, in 2020, Marvel Comics will be publishing a collection of their Top Dog comic books.

Top Dog, created by Lennie Herman and Warren Kremer, is an intelligent, talking dog who befriends a human child named Joey Jordan. Top Dog goes on to live with Joey, who promises not to expose the fact that Top Dog can speak. The duo go on to have adventures involving spies, criminals and mad scientists, after it is revealed that Top Dog was formerly "Mr. X", a government agent who was valued for his intelligence, but had to disguise his canine nature with a cover ID and a full-body cloak. Amongst these adventures were several crossovers with other Star Comic characters such as Heathcliff and Royal Roy. One story even seemingly involved a Spider-Man team-up. Although it was actually an actor in a Spider-Man suit, the real Peter Parker does make an appearance. The series ran for fourteen issues after which, the character continued to make appearances in Heathcliff comic books in both crossovers and backup stories.

Here's the listing.

Star Comics: Top Dog – The Complete Collection Paperback  June 2, 2020

By Warren Kremer, John Romita, Lennie Herman, Sid Jacobson, Dave Manak and George Caragonne. Discover the secret life of Top Dog, the world's smartest, funniest – and talking-est – dog! That's right, Top Dog can talk…but don't tell anyone! One of the biggest names in Marvel's 1980s Star Comics imprint, Top Dog and his best pal, Joey Jordan, shared hair-raising and hilarious adventures together – and now you can relive them all! When Mervin Megabucks, the richest, meanest kid in town, discovers what Top Dog is capable of, he sets out to dognap him! Our clever canine is accused of being a foreign spy and put behind bars – but what is the truth about Top Dog's past, and what will that mean for his and Joey's future? Featuring King Invisible, Frank 'n' Stein, Royal Roy, Dirty Dog – and would you believe, the Amazing Spider-Man?! COLLECTING: TOP DOG (1985) 1-14

Could this be the precursor to new Top Dog comics from Marvel? A revival of the rest of the Star Comics line (those that Marvel own?)After all, those trademarks won't revive themselves…

Marvel Comics to Revive Star Comics' Top Dog - Is It All About The Trademarks?


About Rich Johnston

Head writer and founder of Bleeding Cool. The longest-serving digital news reporter in the world. Living in London, father of two. Political cartoonist.

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