Welcome to the D-List: Cosmo the Spacedog

As long as heroes and villains have fought across the pages of comic books, fictional dogs have lent a helping paw; Ace the Bat-Hound, Krypto the Superdog, and Lockjaw have all existed for decades. Alas, humans and humanoid characters enjoy preferential treatment in comics over their puppy partners. However, I discovered a very powerful dog in the comics nearly a decade ago and he certainly deserves more recognition than he’s received over the years.

Cosmo the Spacedog may not seem like much more than a golden retriever/Labrador mix in a spacesuit, but this heroic hound is proof that even telepathic, telekinetic dogs can be a man’s best friend. Hot diggity dog, it’s time to welcome Cosmo the Spacedog to the D-List.

Cosmo is two stereotypes in one puppy package! (Art by Wellington Alves)
Cosmo is two stereotypes in one puppy package! (Art by Wellington Alves)

Cosmo was created by Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning, and Wellington Alves, in Nova vol. 4 #8 in 2008. The titular hero was exploring the edges of the universe when he stumbled upon the giant, floating, severed head of a Celestial. Nova decided to enter, and he discovered a dog in a spacesuit who communicated via telepathy. Cosmo informed Richard that the Celestial head was actually a space colony named Knowhere, and Cosmo was its chief of security. The Spacedog was apparently an experiment of the Soviet space program from the early 60s, but was lost in orbit (in space, no one can hear you bark). While Cosmo was shown briefly in battle during his initial appearances, he was mostly relegated to inactive roles (Marvel really put him in the doghouse).

I understand that, as Knowhere’s security chief, unless storylines focused solely on the space station, it was difficult to grant Cosmo a starring role in a comic (he was never top dog). Furthermore, the majority of Cosmo’s appearances took place throughout the Guardians of the Galaxy comic, and Cosmo was not an official member of that team. Unfortunately, when the Guardians were forced to battle Magus, the evil version of Adam Warlock, Cosmo was one of the casualties of said battle (it’s truly a dog-eat-dog world).

But he was such a good boy! Cosmo barely had a chance to show off the extent of his powers or actively participate in large battles, so it was upsetting to believe that he was dead not long after his first appearance. While it seemed that characters such as Gamora, Phyla-Vell, and Major Victory also died during the fight against Magus, I just hoped that Marvel didn’t actually put this dog down. 

Thankfully, Cosmo and the Guardians were alive, but imprisoned and under surveillance by some of Magus’s cronies. However, Phyla-Vell broke herself free and released her friends in time to fight incoming guards. Cosmo telekinetically shielded his teammates and telepathically knocked many of the guards unconscious. Later, Cosmo assisted the Guardians when they fought evil, Cancer-verse versions of the Avengers. Cosmo killed the evil Hulk by telepathically causing him to have a stroke. Cosmo even made fun of Thanos when Death rejected his affection (Cosmo knows Thanos’ bark is worse than his bite). What a badass son of a bitch.

Fine, but I better get a treat. (Art by Paul Pelletier)
Fine, but I better get a treat. (Art by Paul Pelletier)

Anyone courageous enough to make fun of Thanos and powerful enough to kill the Hulk is certainly a perfect choice for security chief of…well, anywhere I suppose (Cosmo is definitely the pick of the litter). It was exciting to watch Cosmo assist the Guardians, but it was unfortunately short-lived. After the situation with Thanos and the Cancer-verse, Cosmo was back to infrequent appearances. Cosmo recently enlisted help to protect Knowhere, and the team dubbed themselves the “Knowhere Corps.”

Cosmo did reveal the reason for his decision to stay out of galactic conflicts – if he gets involved, he’ll put Knowhere’s security at risk (and totally screw the pooch). While that is a plausible explanation, it doesn’t lessen the fact that the Spacedog is grossly underused. The idea of a heroic, telepathic dog is just so outlandishly humorous, that was likely the only reason he was created. However, Cosmo is so extraordinarily unique and powerful that he demands more attention. It is a shame that, even if he prefers to stay out of most galactic matters, he is not featured in a greater capacity. Cosmo is truly a special dog, and should be treated as such.

Cosmo running with the big dogs (Art by Brad Walker)
Cosmo running with the big dogs (Art by Brad Walker)

Cosmo has appeared in both the Guardians of the Galaxy and Ultimate Spider-Man cartoons, in the Disney Infinity: Marvel Super Heroes and Marvel: Avengers Alliance games, has had figures modeled after him from Funko, Dorbz, and Hasbro, had a cameo in two scenes of the Guardians of the Galaxy film, and his picture was shown in the sequel. Clearly, people love this dog, but I believe that he deserves a larger presence in the comics.

A solo series featuring Cosmo’s adventures both on and off Knowhere would have enormous potential. Since his teammates from the Knowhere Corps. could act as security for the space station, Cosmo should be able to strike out on his own, or team up with cosmically powerful heroes (teach this old dog some new tricks, Marvel). While it is unfortunate that Cosmo isn’t utilized more often, there is always the chance that a writer may pitch story ideas featuring him in the future. I hope someone does, so Marvel can stop barking up the wrong tree and properly give this dog his day. 

Jonathan Robert

Jonathan loves comic books and he loves coffee. Jonathan’s mother gave him his first taste of coffee at the tender age of 3 and it was love at first sip. He now needs to wheel around an IV drip of caffeine at all times or else he turns into a dark, monstrous creature that feeds on despair and makes babies cry. The local village-folk have kept him locked away ever since the “decaf catastrophe of ‘06.” When allowed out of his dungeon, he writes various articles for Geekade, including the monthly column, “Welcome to the D-List,” and records the "Mutant Musings" podcast with his geek-tastic girlfriend, Patti.

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