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Image: Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers
Marvel Comics
In the fourth issue of Marvel Comics’ “Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers,” presidential pooch Bo (center) joins super-bulldog Lockjaw and his all-animal team to help save the universe.
By
TODAY contributor
updated 5/28/2009 8:37:39 PM ET 2009-05-29T00:37:39

They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. But since presidential pooch Bo Obama is only a pup, he’s still able to pull off a coup or two — like helping save the universe, for instance.

The real-life flesh-and-fur Bo’s skills run more toward waking the nation’s chief executive at inconveniently wee hours of the morning and attacking people’s shoes. But in the idealized world of comic books, Bo is, well, a superhero. Specifically, he plays a key role in issue 4 of “Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers,” a Marvel comic starring a team of super-powered beasties.

“I had just scripted the first issue when the news came out about the Obamas getting a dog,” explained the epic’s writer, Chris Eliopoulos. “It seemed so appropriate that we jumped on the bandwagon.”

Of course, it didn’t hurt that an issue of Marvel’s “Amazing Spider-Man” featuring a guest appearance by a certain commander in chief had just sold more than half a million copies. “The Obama cover did well, so it just seemed natural,” Eliopoulos admitted.

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In the outlandish world of Marvel Comics, Lockjaw is a massive, super-powered bulldog with the ability to teleport anywhere in the universe. The heroic hound enlists a team of other superhuman — er, superanimal — characters to round up the Infinity Gems, alien artifacts so powerful they make nuclear missiles looks like wet firecrackers.

“The final gem is on Bo Obama’s collar, a gift from a foreign head of state,” Eliopoulos revealed. Thus the Pet Avengers “not only have to save the universe, they have to save the pet.”

The pet project had a personal dimension for Eliopoulos — his sons were still mourning the recent death of the family dog. “They’re twin 9-year-olds, and they didn’t understand,” he said. “Everything I write, I write to impress them.”

But isn’t it hard to write a comic where the main characters are all critters? Not at all, Eliopoulos said: “They’re good characters. After the first page, you sort of forget they’re animals.”

Besides, he added, "Every pet owner puts in words for what his pet is thinking.”

“Lockjaw and the Pet Avengers” No. 4 will be on sale in comics shops starting Aug. 12.

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