Fire & Water #169 – Whatever Happened To…? Star Hawkins/Rex The Wonder Dog

Shag & Rob present the next installments of "Whatever Happened To...?" We love these back-up strips from DC COMICS PRESENTS! This time we're covering adventures from DCCP #33 & 35, featuring Star Hawkins (also featuring Automan) and Rex The Wonder Dog (also featuring Detective Chimp)!

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Opening theme, "That Time is Now," by Michael Kohler. Closing music by Daniel Adams and Ashton Burge of The Bad Mamma Jammas!

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27 responses to “Fire & Water #169 – Whatever Happened To…? Star Hawkins/Rex The Wonder Dog

  1. Star Hawkins is like Bruce Willis’s character from Last Boy Scout.

    You guys should have gotten Chris Bird from MightyGodKing as a guest for the Rex story, his site ( has the Rex vs. Crocodile as the header.
    Rob’s Bobo-speak reveals he watched Battle of the Planets as a kid.
    Rex booted Alan Scott out of Green Lantern, that’s how awesome he is.

    1. Who didn’t watch Battle of the Planets, as a kid? if you didn’t, you have my deepest sympathies.

      Also, the theme song? Like I said on the recent Super Mates episode, Hoyt Curtain+Awesome music!

  2. This is what I’m talking about! Bo and Luke back after giving Coy and Vance the boot!

    I quite enjoy these Whatever Happened To shows. Maybe you can do one on your heads of hair.

  3. Another fun episode guys! Here are just a couple of footnotes:

    1. Star Hawkins & Ilda were see to good effect again in the 1990 miniseries Twilight by Howard Chaykin & JLGL. It’s a much more adult story featuring a number of DC’s classic space heroes, such as Tommy Tomorrow, Space Cabbie, Space Ranger, the Star Rovers, & Manhunter 2070.

    2. Somewhere along the way it was revealed that Rex, the Wonder Dog was brother to Pooch from the Losers.

    3. For more upcoming canine hijinks check out Scooby Doo Team-Up #18 (on sale 9/28/16) where Scooby meets up with Krypto, Ace the Bat-Hound, Wonder Dog (Superfriends), G’Nort, & the Space Canine Patrol Agency!

  4. It’s Ill-da. She’s obviously inspired by Mike Hammer’s secretary Velda.

    Love me some Rex the Wonder Dog and Detective Chimp. I first saw both in a 100-pg issue of DC’s Tarzan. The Rex story had him fighting a crocodile, which is referenced here. DC seriously needs to get on a Rex and Detective Chimp animated series (solo or as a duo).

    I would second Rob’s theory about Gil Kane wanting to do this. It had to make a nice change of pace from what he had been doing for a long time.

  5. I was always interested in the classic DC space characters, but never really read much of them. I remember being excited in the early 90’s when a new mini series was announced that brought them all together: TWILIGHT by Howard Chaykin. Updated, sleazed up, de-charmed. I hated that book. Only comic I ever returned to the store.

  6. Everyone is talking Twilight and so I’ll jump in too. I am a big fan of Chaykin so I very much liked Twilight. It helped that I didn’t have much history with these silly 50s characters so seeing them completely grimy was fine. I was younger then too, so ready to accept a deconstruction (or some might say destruction) of these properties. The whole thing is drenched in sleaze, fascism, religion, and talking cats … in other words, a Chaykin comic.

    I am pretty sure that Shag has been promising to read this miniseries for 2 years running.

    But to be more on topic, I bought the Rex issue off the rack back in the day. I loved DCCP. I loved teamups with weirder characters and ManBat fit the bill. When I read the Rex story as a kid, I hated it for the insanity it was. A thinking dog and chimp drinking the fountain of youth and becoming astronauts. Come on … get serious.

    When I reread this story recently, I almost wept with joy. Just great great stuff. Indeed, as Bob Haney as DCCP ever got. How odd that old man Anj can appreciate the sweet craziness more than grade school Anj. Thanks for covering!

    1. Anj is correct. I’ve been promising to read TWILIGHT for a couple years now. Sadly, it even sat on my night stand for about a month. Didn’t get read, and now sits right next to my desk. You’d think I’d just pick the darn thing up and read it! However, every time I think about it, I’m afraid it will suck the joy out of me. 🙁

  7. These stories sounded like they were so much fun. Goofy but fun. This is further proof that my love for DC goes so deep that none of what Shag and Rob talked about sounded all that strange or off putting.

    Great episode, guys. Thanks for the fun.

  8. One thing about the author. His name tripped a memory and I dug out my copy of THE GOLDEN AGE OF COMIC BOOK FANDOM by Bill Schelly and in the back of that book there was a section on a Comics Fandom Reunion with a bunch of pictures of people like Roy Thomas and Jerry Bails (and Jerry Ordway as well, which was cool to see) and there was a Mike Tiefenbacher as well. I don’t have the book with me at the moment but I will do my best to try and remember to dig it out when I get home tonight. He also wrote the Whatever Happened to Prince Ra-Man and the Whatever Happened to Johnny Thunder stories and will write the Whatever Happened to Rip Hunter. He has a few credits in DC’s New Talent Showcase as well.

    And now you know.

  9. Top show, first off, congrats to Rob for finally getting us that Brennert book. And speaking of Alan, he’s also a friend of Mike Tiefenbacher… when you were trying to track him down, maybe you misspelled his name? He’s on Facebook and has just had a birthday, hearing about this show would likely have him chuffed to bits!

    I also have Twilight, finally bought it on eBay last year. I shall read it after Shagg.

    As regards Joe’s comment up top about Rex booting Alan Scott out of Green Lantern, that wasn’t Rex, it was Streak the Wonder Dog. And while he did take over the covers (weirdly, Alex Toth’s covers to #34 and #36 are bonkers similar, with Streak leaping in front of the moon), and a story and feature page inside, the GL strips remained. I wouldn’t be surprised, though, if his popularity in the late Forties led DC to create Rex the Wonder Dog in 1952.

    The big question this episode left me with – why might ‘Ilda’ be pronounced as if it began with a ‘A’?

    1. I just saw this comment after my comment below. Seeing Streak the Wonder Dog as a member of the Justice Society would be cool.

  10. I actually enjoyed TWILIGHT myself, both for the art by José Luis García-López (praised be his name) and the richly complex — albeit dark and “sleazy” –story by Howard Chaykin. While I did enjoy the series for what it was, I did, however, also not care for the “modernization” of these futuristic Silver Age characters I had enjoyed reading about in my youth. So I simply view this story as taking place in a parallel universe (even though in the recent post-Crisis era, this series may not have been intentionally viewed as an alternate reality as per the “Justice League: Gods and Monsters” series — at least at the time)…

    And if Shag thought Ilda seemed like a “sex-bot” in this DCCP back-up…

  11. You know, that comment clarifying that Rex the Wonder Dog wasn’t the same Wonder Dog as seen on “Super Friends” sent me on a mental tangent that had Rex as a member of the JLA. It was such a good tangent that I had to rewind the episode because I was in a happy fanfic place for such a long time that I missed what came next.

  12. Since Rob has the ability to compel DC to collect material created by people interviewed on the Fire and Water Podcast, can you please schedule interviews with Tim Truman (re: Hawkman), Gerard Jones (re: Mosaic, El Diablo), Gray Morrow (re: everything), Dan Mishkin (re: Wonder Woman, Amethyst), and Gerry Conway (re: Batman)?

    1. Sadly, Gray Morrow passed away a few years ago. Wish they would have reprinted his stuff while he was still alive. He had medical bills, towards the end, and could have used the money. I bought a color Black Terror piece that he did, on eBay, that turned out to be part of a series of favorite characters he did, that he then had to sell off to help cover the bills. I can’t recall who the seller was.

      1. Would be interesting to have that collected – they would probably have to collect the 4 issues from Green Lantern that led up to it – 22 issues in total, would mean a 3 issue TPB if it comes out.

        1. I would be great if DC had enough confidence that it would sell to collect the four-issue lead up and the series in one big omnibus-style hardcover. Frankly, though, I would be astonished if they took that chance.

          1. 2 trades including the lead arc is my prediction. DC are doing very well with 80’s collections lately, IMO because they became the last refuge for long term DC fans who became disillusioned with the New 52.

  13. That stinger with Rob doing monkey-talk should be the end of every episode. The F&W Network’s “Sit Ubu sit. Good boy”.

    All this talk about Twilight. A sleazy adult story from Howard Chaykin? You must be joshin’!

    I somehow missed the issue with Star Hawkins, and I REALLY wanted that issue as a kid, just based on the cover image from a house ad or a Daily Planet page or something. The Star Hawkins story sounds fun, but I’m even more disturbed by Ilda’s sexualized nature now, since her head looks like Stewie Griffin. Brrr!!!

    I do have the Man-Bat issue with the Rex story. Good goofy fun. I’m surprised they didn’t work Alan Scott’s dog Streak into the story (he’s the one that kicked Alan out of the GL title, and then some of the same creators like Alex Toth came up with Rex). Whatever happened to him?

    I’m surprised Rob didn’t take the opportunity to mention Rex’s proto-memebership in the JLA from JLA #144, the “Super-Secret Origin of the Almost Justice League Minus One” or whatever it’s called. Rex was hanging right in there with DC’s big guns!

    Great fun show guys. Glad to see the restraining orders have lapsed!


  14. Very good show Shagg and Rob – was enjoyable to hear you discuss these two stories.

    Star Hawkins and Ilda turned up in the New 52 in the Keith Giffen’s series Threshold, which brought a lot of the DC space characters together, including a version of Tommy Tomorrow, Stealth, Blue Beetle, Vril Dox II and L.E.G.I.O.N., Lady Styx and a version of Captain Carrot that owed a lot to Rocket Racoon. It was an enjoyable enough 8 issue series, with a “Running Man” theme. Star Hawkins had his own 3 issue back up near the end of that series, which dovetailed back into the main story. Think Ilda look more humanoid in that series.

    I do remember seeing Rex turn up in later series in the 1990s – he was in the GL/Flash crossover involving Gorrilla Grodd and Hector Hammond, which was early enough in Mark Waid’s run. He also turned up in the Shadowpact run as well, which was no surprise given Detective Chimp’s role in same.

    Look forward to more of these issues in a future episode.

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