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Dog Man is go!
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Dog Man is a series of "Graphic Novellas" created by Dav Pilkey, creator of Captain Underpants (and in-universe, by George and Harold, who are now in fifth grade as of A Tale of Two Kitties). The backstory goes like this: There are 2 cops. There is Officer Knight, who is very strong, but not very smart, and Greg the dog, who is smart, but has a weak body. However, one day, Petey the Cat plants a bomb, and the heroes have to defuse it. However, they cut the wrong wire and the bomb explodes. As Greg's body and Knight's head are dying, the doctors sew Greg's head onto Knight's body. And thus, a new crime-fighting hero is born!

The books to date are:

  1. Dog Man (2016)
  2. Dog Man Unleashed (2016)
  3. Dog Man: A Tale of Two Kitties (2017)
  4. Dog Man and Cat Kid (2017)
  5. Dog Man: Lord of the Fleas (2018)
  6. Dog Man: Brawl of the Wild (2018)
  7. Dog Man: For Whom the Ball Rolls (2019)
  8. Dog Man: Fetch-22 (2019; upcoming)
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Tropes are go!note 

  • An Aesop: In Book Em, Dog Man, the moral is that reading makes you smart.
  • Animesque: The Dog Man books are definitely Anime-inspired, especially noticeable when Dog's face is seen in profile, sometimes his mouth isn't visible.
  • Art Evolution: An In-Universe example, no less. While George and Harold's spelling and artwork starts out about on par with what we've seen them do back in Captain Underpants, there's a slight bump in quality starting in A Tale of Two Kitties; George's handwriting has become a bit better and has fewer (if any) mistakes while Harold's artwork has begun to noticeably improve. By Dog Man and Cat Kid, their skills have taken a significant hike in quality, with cleaner lettering and artwork that's beginning to look on par with Pilkey's regular artwork.
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  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Philly the Cheese Steak mascot, once he's brought to life with the Living Spray. His mechanical double in Dog Man and Cat Kid also counts.
  • Back from the Dead: Early into A Tale of Two Kitties, Flippy, through a combination of being rebuilt with cybernetic enhancements and a good hose-down of Living Spray, is resurrected after previously freezing to death and failing to possess The Chief in Dog Man Unleashed.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: The Mayor, as revealed in the second chapter of Dog Man.
  • Brains and Brawn: Before they were combined to become Dog Man, Greg the dog was the Brains, and Officer Knight the Brawn.
  • Buddy Cop Show: Probably one of the only instances where the buddy cops are combined into one cop.
  • The Butler Did It: In Dog Man Unleashed, Flippy is revealed to be behind robbing a pet store of all its treasure chests.
  • Call-Forward: In Dog Man and Cat Kid, Dog Man creates a superhero identity for himself called the Bark Knight. In Captain Underpants and the Sensational Saga of Sir Stinks-a-Lot, a future Dog Man comic that George and Harold read featured Dog Man as the Bark Knight.
  • Canines Primary, Felines Secondary: Lil' Petey, a.k.a. Cat Kid becomes the sidekick to Dog Man.
  • Cannot Tell a Joke: Throughout Lord of the Fleas, Li'l Petey repeatedly tries to tell Knock Knock Jokes, but instead of setting up a pun, he just looks for something random and says it pooped on the reciprocator of the joke. In the book's epilogue, he writes a book called "Li'l Petey's 1000 Greatest Knock-Knock Jokes about Poop".
  • Cardboard Prison:
    • Petey constantly is able to get out of prison just as often as he gets into prison. This is even Lampshaded by the mayor concerning the incompetency of the police by bringing up an article stating Petey has actually gotten out of cat prison eight times.
    • In Lord of the Fleas, Dr. Katz (actually Piggy in disguise) notes that Petey has been locked up seven times and escaped six times. Petey responds, "Yeah, well--- it's been a busy week!"
  • Cats Are Mean: Petey. Lil' Petey is a complete aversion, as his kindness usually ends up saving the day.
  • Cessation of Existence: Flippy gets hit with this after Dog Man (unintentionally) prevents him from possessing anybody before his soul's time is up. He gets better.
  • Child Prodigy: As a clone of Petey, Lil' Petey shares his massive intellect, capable of putting 80-HD back together and installing different parts in him without altering his core functions, among other feats.
  • Clones Are People, Too: Petey eventually decides this by letting Lil' Petey stay with Dog Man so he can live his own life at the end of A Tale of Two Kitties. Not that this stops him from trying to sway him back to his side in the next book...
  • Corrupt Bureaucrat: The mayor, who planned on taking over the city with a robotic police chief.
  • Demonic Possession: Flippy attempts this with The Chief when faced with certain death atop a snow-covered mountain. Unfortunately for him, he suffers a Cessation of Existence thanks to Dog Man confusing his soul for a ball.
  • Early Installment Weirdness:
    • The first book in the series boasts only four chapters, compared to triple that number in later installments. It's also the only book in the series to tell stories in an anthology; later books would tell one long continuous story. The first two books also featured earlier issues of Dog Man that George and Harold created; Book 'Em, Dog Man is featured as its own self-contained chapter in Dog Man while the other, Dog Man and the Wrath of Petey is featured as a bonus chapter in Dog Man Unleashed; this appears to have been abandoned from A Tale of Two Kitties onward.
    • The first two books are the only books without George and Harold talking about being in the fifth grade and boasting about their (non-existent) maturity.
  • Emergency Transformation: Dog Man was created when a police dog named Greg and a policeman named Officer Knight got into an accident that left Greg's body dying and Knight's head dying, leading to the dog's head being attached to the man's body.
  • Exact Words: When Sarah the reporter comes by to adopt Zuzu, the pet store employee states the cost to take her is one hundred dollars, plus tacks. Sarah then proceeds to pay in both one hundred dollars...and literal thumb tacks.
  • Furry Reminder: Even though he has a human's body, Dog Man despite being more intelligent than a normal dog, is still, well, a dog. So he acts exactly like a dog.
  • Heel–Face Turn: Lord of the Fleas kicks off Petey's attempts at redemption and leaving his life of villainy behind.
  • Heroic Canines, Villainous Felines: Dog Man is the main hero and Petey is the mean cat. Averted with Lil' Petey/Cat Kid (see in Cats Are Mean above).
  • Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: The living weenies in Dog Man and Mecha-Weenies in Dog Man and Cat Kid are...not very effective at causing chaos, but they sure act like they are.
  • Intellectual Animal: Petey is a straight example. Greg the dog, before he became half of Dog Man, was also this, despite not being able to talk. Flippy also becomes one thanks to the Supa Brain Dots Chief gets for his birthday, and Lil' Petey, being a clone of Petey, is yet another example of this. The latest ones as of Lord of the Fleas are Piggy the pig, Bub the crocodile, and Crunky the ape.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: The Chief. Despite being very short-tempered and easily annoyed by Dog Man's antics, he still clearly loves him.
    • Petey started to show shades of this in A Tale of Two Kitties, after Lil’ Petey came along. Much like the Chief with Dog Man, Petey was initially annoyed by his little clone, but soon grew to care about him in the following books, cultivating in him becoming a full-fledged Papa Wolf in Lord of the Fleas.
  • Later Installment Weirdness: Unlike earlier books, which tend to end with George and Harold announcing their next book and characters questioning the phrase "Dog Man is go!", Brawl of the Wild ending with a two-page post-script tying up loose ends, presented as a news article on a tablet. There is an announcement for the next book, For Whom the Ball Rolls but the actual title is blocked by the tablet users hands.
  • Long List: In Dog Man and Cat Kid, Petey describes himself as "a filthy, rotten, low-down, good-for-nothin', deplorable, contemptible, despicable, loathsome, detestable..." One Beat Panel later, he runs off, looks up a thesaurus, and resumes, "...ignominious SUPERVILLAIN".
  • Mix-and-Match Critter: Dog Man, who has a dog's head and a human's body. According to his origin story, he was created when a policeman and his dog got in an accident that left the policeman's head and dog's body dying, resulting in the doctors getting the idea to sew the dog's head onto the policeman's body.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Petey says this (minus the "my god" part) after his initial abandonment of Lil' Petey.
  • Non-Indicative Name:
    • A Tale of Two Kitties. Only one of the characters this refers to is a kitten; Petey is a full-grown cat.
    • Likewise, the Fuzzy Little Evil Animal Squad from Lord of the Fleas, who are not all fuzzy and/or little.
      Bub: We should come up with a better name!
      Crunky: Yeah!
      Piggy: IT'S TOO LATE! I ALREADY ORDERED COFFEE MUGS AND MOUSE PADS!!!
  • Non-Standard Character Design: Claymation Philly from Brawl of the Wild is a version of Philly the Cheese Steak depicted as a photographed clay model.
  • Not His Sled: The first book's first chapter, "A Hero Is Unleashed", is a remake of The Adventures of Dog Man, the original Dog Man story from Captain Underpants and the Terrifying Return of Tippy Tinkletrousers. In the original story, Petey's vacuum robot is defeated by its power cord reaching its limit and getting unplugged. In the remade story, the vacuum now runs on an endless power supply, and it's only defeated when Dog Man tricks it into sucking up the ocean, filling up its expansive bag until Petey accidentally bursts it with his claws.
  • Painting the Medium: There are fake teachers notes included in the first book, including the teacher stating that Harold needs therapy for being creative.
  • Papa Wolf: Dog Man when it comes to Lil’ Petey. Petey also becomes this in Lord of the Fleas.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Petey's initial disguise in Dog Man and Cat Kid is actually an aversion. For what it's worth, Petey's old lady disguise is actually pretty top-notch, to the point that you'd almost never notice it was actually him. The only people who seem to catch on are Lil' Petey (who almost immediately recognizes him just from a glance), Zuzu (by way of taking one sniff of Petey and knowing something's off) and 80-HD (who helpfully alerts Dog Man to his presence once Lil' Petey repairs him). The only hint the reader gets that something's off with Lil' Petey's babysitter is the name Petey gives this persona: "Ms. Suspicionflame".
  • Poorly Disguised Pilot: The first book was intended to be the fourth in the "Graphic Novels by George and Harold" series (under the name The Adventures of Dog Man, as stated in book-ending pre-release ads), which caused it to be delayed (Dav presumably wanted it to be out by the time the last Captain Underpants book was released). The book contains a few self-contained comics, rather than a graphic novel.
  • Robot Buddy: 80-HD, a robot created by Petey in A Tale of Two Kitties, serves as one of these to Lil' Petey.
  • Show Within a Show: It's a series created by George and Harold. Interestingly, the cover (pictured above) credits Dav Pilkey as the writer instead of George and Harold like Diaper Baby or Ook and Gluk.
  • Shout-Out: As George and Harold read classic literature, they incorporate more shout-outs to them in their work.
  • Signs of Disrepair: In Dog Man and Cat Kid, Petey walks up to a "Samuel Hamilton's Gassy Behemoth Studios" sign and rearranges the letters to show his motto to Lil' Petey: "Thoughtless mayhem is best." Afterwards, Lil' Petey refuses to drop YoLay Caprese down from a tall height, leading Petey to repeatedly scream at him, "THOU SHALT!" Then Dog Man (who is having trouble driving the Dog Mobile) crashes through the sign, and what's left forms what becomes Lil' Petey's own personal motto: "Thou mayest."
  • Stylistic Suck: This is George and Harold we're talking about here; they practically run on it. That being said, the series gradually begins to lose this as it goes on. See Art Evolution.
  • Technology Marches On: In-Universe example: When Flippy is fighting Flat Petey, he throws obsolete goods, including a fax machine, a phone booth, a VCR, and an Apple Watch.
  • Toilet Humor: It wouldn't be a Dav Pilkey work without it.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Everyone becomes this in Book Em', Dog Man after Petey removes all of the words in every book in the world, save for the books that Petey kept to himself.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Bones for Dog Man.
  • Wham Line: After quite a few books of Petey repeatedly denying that his clone is his son, Lord of the Fleas gives us this;
  • We Can Rebuild Him: How Dog Man was created. Flippy too, as a cyborg.
  • We Can Rule Together: In Lord of the Fleas, Piggy attempts this with Petey, and Petey actually considers it... that is, until Piggy insults Lil’ Petey, leading to the above mentioned Wham Line.

"Hooray for Dog Man!"

Alternative Title(s): Dog Man

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