Scans of the cards from this series are on the web already, but I have yet to see anyone post a complete set of the stickers that came with them. So here they are, in all their gory glory!
In 2021, I bought a set of these vintage cards on Ebay for about $20. The set included all the cards plus all the stickers, and a few opened but well-preserved wrappers from individual packs. When read in numerical order, the backs of the cards tell the story of how some incompetent scientists screwed up a time-travel experiment and brought an onslaught of rampaging dinosaurs to the present day. Mayhem and carnage ensue, served with a generous helping of humor.
The complete Topps set includes eleven stickers, and the backs of the stickers provide more factual accounts of the dinosaurs than the main narrative. But keep in mind that these “facts” might be outdated, considering they were printed in the late 1980s. Trachodon, for example, is a species of hadrosaur that has fallen out of favor with current paleontologists, and you won’t find any feathers on this tyrannosaur.
But don’t let that stop you from enjoying these vintage beauties. Below is a gallery of my personal scans of the fronts and backs of all eleven stickers from Dinosaurs Attack!
Have you ever wondered who was the artist for the cards and stickers? Wonder no more! The informative excerpt below comes from the second issue of IDW’s five-issue Dinosaurs Attack comic book from 2013. I was shocked to learn that Herb Trimpe penciled the cards and Paul Mavrides co-created the sticker art — and even more surprised that Art Spiegelman was involved in this insanity!
I was chatting with some fellow dinosaur geeks about Age of Reptiles and discovered that artist Ricardo Delgado might be working on a new volume of the series to amaze and astound us. Along the way, I realized I was missing one of the short stories: “The Baby Turtles”. I have now rectified that omission!
Between the epic awesomeness of 2009’s four-issue The Journey and 2015’s stunning Spinosaurus series Ancient Egyptians, Delgado produced two mini-stories that each appear in a different volume of the anthology title Dark Horse Presents.
In 2011, “The Body” appeared in Dark Horse Presents #4 (Volume Two). The story begins with a kill, and its eight pages are essentially a prehistoric nature documentary about what happens to the body of the prey. First, large predators squabble over the meat until they’ve eaten their fill, then smaller scavenging predators arrive, followed by even smaller insects and at last, flowering plants and the elements themselves.
Filled with detail and expressive animals, this wordless poem speaks volumes about both the impermanence and interconnectedness of all life.
In 2014, “The Baby Turtles” appeared in Dark Horse Presents #3 (Volume Three). This story begins not with death but with birth, and the newly hatched sea turtles must make their way from their sandy nests to the ocean where they will spend their lives. A variety of voracious predators await them in the sky, on land, and in the water in a danger-filled expedition that remains largely unchanged for today’s modern sea turtles.
This mini-story is also eight pages long in print, but six of those eight pages are gloriously detailed two-page spreads, each a single image filled with conflict between numerous species.
On a personal note, these pages remind me of what I often drew in elementary school to alleviate the boredom. I spent hours drawing insanely detailed doodles of warfare between different races of aliens with all kinds of weapons, vehicles, and aircraft. I was no Ricardo Delgado by any stretch of the imagination. My aliens would be simple shapes such as triangles with arms and legs, or ovals with multiple appendages like paramecia—just so long as they were easy to draw and easily identifiable as different factions. Every square centimeter of my alien war scenes were covered with detail, slaughter, and simplistic characters who each had their own story in my mind. My mother would sometimes see these pages and really not know what to make of them.
I think Delgado would have understood. I enjoy seeing him take that kind of intensity and deliver it with actual skill and draftsmanship based on extensive research. The detail-rich pages can be daunting to explore, but like some kind of Mesozoic Where’s Waldo, they reveal expressive, individual characters doing unique things within the scenes, all captured in one brief instant of their struggle to survive.
Here’s hoping the rumors about a new, upcoming Age of Reptiles series are true. I’ll buy two copies!
If you’re new to Age of Reptiles and want to get started, I recommend the digital edition of the Age of Reptiles Omnibus for about USD $13. It will be a lot more cost-effective than trying to buy the print versions, and it includes the first, second, and third series.
But nobody does it better than DC Comics’ Main Man: Lobo!
In issue 38 of Lobo’s 65-issue series that began in 1993, the homicidal heathen runs amok in a masterpiece of Mesozoic mayhem. The opening splash page parodies DC’s Kamandi, a Jack Kirby creation about the “last boy on Earth” in a post-apocalyptic dystopia populated by anthropomorphic animals.
But the parodies pile up as different characters arrive on the scene, including cowboys thrilled to be in Ray Harryhausen’s Valley of Gwangi and a bunch of aging 1970s rock stars ready to embark on a “Dinosaurs of Rock” tour.
With a cover date of April 1997, this issue was timed to appear just before the release of Jurassic Park: The Lost World in May, complete with a “Jurassik Pork” action figure of writer Alan “Judge Dredd” Grant. Somehow, this series was published without the “Intended for Mature Readers” warning on the cover, and the creative team pushes that boundary. It substitutes “frag” and “bastich” for more common profanities, creatively poses a butt-naked Lobo to avoid full-frontal nudity, and couches Lobo’s sexual exploits in puns and innuendos.
Even when Lobo gets his hand chopped off, there’s something cartoonish about it all. He can’t really be hurt for too long, and his hand is soon re-attached to his arm without explanation, much in the same way that no matter what horrible fate befell Wile E. Coyote, he always got patched up and came back for more senseless violence.
According to Lobo’s co-creator Keith Giffen, the character was originally intended as a satire of grim-and-gritty, hyper-violent comics. But the satire was so over-the-top that it was hilarious, and the more insane Alan Grant made the character, the more fun it was to read. Devoid of restraints such as ethics and empathy, and physically immune to any long-term consequences of his actions, Lobo is like a heavy metal Bugs Bunny with an attitude problem.
As you might suspect, things in issue 38 don’t end well for the dinosaurs, nor for anyone else who encounters Lobo.
The creative team seems to take just as much childish glee in the wanton destruction as the Main Man himself, and the illustrations are both gorgeous and silly at the same time. I have only read a handful of issues from this series, despite having read many more of the Lobo limited series and one-shots, but they were consistently entertaining, and I’d like to hunt them all down eventually. Just like the dinosaurs.
Collector’s Guide: From Lobo #38; DC Comics, 1997. I don’t believe the issue has been reprinted in any TPBs yet, but you might also enjoy the first Lobo TPB that collects several four-issue series and one-shots, including outrageous work by Alan Grant, Keith Giffen, Simon Bisley, Denys Cowan, and Kevin O’Neill.
Steak is an independently published comic from the UK that explores the personal and political ramifications of traveling back in time to hunt dinosaurs for their meat. Author and educator Will Conway reports that when he started out, he had not heard of the Flesh series from 2000 AD, and that Steak is an entirely different beast. While Flesh sprung from the violent imagination of Pat Mills and focused on brutal chaos in a prehistoric setting, Steak delves into more psychological dimensions of the dino-hunting enterprise. But there’s plenty of Cretaceous carnage, too!
The main character, Benjamin Buckland, comes up with the idea while recovering from a brain injury, and he and his scientific partner Roger Dukowicz conceive the means of time travel after eating “a rare cactus”—presumably peyote. If that sounds like a mentally unhinged way to start a business, then it should come as no surprise that by the second issue, Buckland’s behavior becomes increasingly erratic. It doesn’t help that his more even-keeled partner gets abducted, and a shadowy organization is spying on him.
As a self-proclaimed “zoophage” who gets a thrill from eating exotic animals, Buckland asserts that his main goal is to eat dinosaurs. He pays for his hobby by opening restaurants and doing licensing deals to expand the market for his Mesozoic meat. This leads to hilarious narration about how different dinosaur species taste, several gory yet coldly factual pages about how to butcher them like cattle, and pun-filled products such as “Apattiesaurus” burgers and “Psit-taco-saurus” food trucks. Dukowicz sports T-shirts with dinosaur-themed pop-culture references such as “Iguanodon Corleone”.
But with corporations trying to steal his technology for profit, and militaries trying to obtain it for a pre-emptive advantage in warfare, Buckland is beset from all sides. How it will all play out remains, at the time of this writing, a mystery. Issue number three of this five-issue series is currently in production, so now would be a good time to subscribe and see what happens next.
Marc Olivent’s artwork is a lot of fun, especially in the scenes of dinosaur hunting and how they go horribly wrong. The dinosaurs are impressive and energetic, whether they are chomping someone’s head or stampeding off a cliff. The narrative structure is creative, jumping around a bit in time in the first issue without much guidance as to when things take place other than intentionally vague captions like “Now then” and “Meanwhile”. It works well for a time-travel story, and piecing together the puzzle is part of the pleasure.
Steak considers the ethics of killing animals that died off millions of years ago. Are they endangered species because they are now extinct or, as one character puts it, is it “morally okay” because “They were already dead before they were already dead, I guess?” And when members of a hunting party get killed by dinos, the lawyers struggle with the question of how to handle someone dying millions of years before they were born. But these philosophical conundrums don’t bog down the narrative, which remains fast-paced and lively, and lets you draw your own conclusions.
So far, the series has avoided the complications of potentially altering the future by killing animals in the past, an idea most famously explored in Ray Bradbury’s A Sound of Thunder. But who knows? Maybe we will get there eventually, because Steak is a smart, funny, and exciting romp that serves up a unique and unpredictable take on a classic concept.
Collector’s Guide: You can order print copies at the Steak website, and subscribe to updates about upcoming issues. Currently the first two issues are available for Kindle in the USA and in the UK.
After sharing this image on Reddit in 2022, eleven years after first posting it on this blog, I learned that Rey updated the image due to what we now believe is a historical inaccuracy in portraying Amargasaurus living at the same time as Giganotosaurus. The revision portrays two Mapusauruses chasing a juvenile Argentinosaurus.
As I read through this encyclopedia again in January 2022, I noticed some other pieces of outdated information. The big one is basically the entire chapter dedicated to the mystery of how and when the dinos went extinct (except for birds). Since the book was published in 2003, we’ve gained a damn good concept of what really happened, and where, and why. I’ve read a ton of articles on it, since extinction is a pet topic of mine, but the good folks at Kurzgesagt have made an excellent, concise video on the topic
The second and more minor point that stood out to me was the discussion about how Coelophysis was believed to be cannibalistic because one of its skeletons was found with what appeared to be the skeletons of two baby Coelophysises in its stomach. This find has since been re-examined, and the “babies” were determined to be another, smaller species of dino. I only realized this recently while reading about the discoveries of paleontologist and author Dr. Edwin Colbert.
But it just goes to show that our exploration and understanding of the lives and times of dinosaurs continue to expand and improve. Who knows what we will discover next, or what we now believe to be likely will turn out to be a misunderstanding? The history of dinosaur discovery is one of constant growth and change, where we must always be open to questioning and refining old dogmas in the light of new facts and better understanding.
Collector’s Guide: Visit Luis V. Rey’s blog to explore more of his stunning artwork, and his books on Amazon. January 2022 saw the release of a new 64-page book with his illustrations: Dinosaurs of Africa, in paperback and Kindle. I got my used copy of Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs for $8 at a book store, but you can still find this glorious oversized hardcover on Amazon for $15 to $35.
The Dominion graphic novel takes place prior to the recent Godzilla Vs. Kong movie, and it earns a place in my pantheon of all-time favorite Godzilla stories for not only leaving out all the stupid human stuff, but for its poetic treatment of the radioactive reptile, and for its ass-kicking artwork by Drew Edward Johnson, with colors by Allen Passalaqua.
The author, Greg Keyes, wrote the novelizations for the two most recent Godzilla movies. He’s also written novels based on Pacific Rim, Star Wars, Planet of the Apes, Avengers, and other licensed properties. His written versions of Godzilla movies have received mixed reviews on Amazon: People either love them or hate them, without much middle ground.
But if you use Amazon’s “Look Inside” feature to read the prologue of Godzilla: King of the Monsters, then you’ll get a sense of the prose treatment Keyes uses to describe Godzilla. Dominion is like that gorgeous prologue sustained for an entire book.
Keyes tells a relatable tale of the monster’s search for a new home. Godzilla wants a place to settle down, somewhere he can chill out while rejuvenating his body and mind. But everywhere he goes, creepy weirdos get all up in his business. Flesh-eating vermin invade his old pad. He goes hungry for far too long. Despite winning his battles, he might be doomed to never know peace.
Keyes offers an unusual take on my favorite city-stomping hell-beast. In Dominion, Godzilla is more than a mindless force of destruction. He is in tune with the Earth and is a protector of the planet he calls home, waging war on other kaiju who would ignite global catastrophe by munching on nukes or destroying the ecological balance in the settings they invade.
Dominion paints an oddly heroic portrait that lends more depth to Godzilla than you might be accustomed to, but don’t expect Godzilla to be some peaceful, Earth-loving hippie. The monster’s battles in service of the big, ecological picture also wreak total havoc on ships, surfers, and off-shore drilling stations. Eco-sensitive Godzilla is the poster child for “collateral damage”.
As for the artwork, I absolutely love it. It looks a bit better in the digital version than the paperback, because many of the underwater pages are so dark that it helps to have your device backlighting them. And some of the glorious two-page panel layouts lose parts of images in the “gutter” of the paperback, while you can easily appreciate the entire page in digital format.
Although Dominion is a serious treatment of the king of monsters, the creators can’t resist sneaking in at least one comedic sound effect: HHGGIMPAAAK! I didn’t get the joke until my second read.
At times a thoughtful meditation on the monster and his life, Dominion still has plenty of awesomely rendered kaiju battles, explosions, and the larger-than-life chaos we expect from Godzilla. My favorite line? “They thought they could challenge him. They were wrong.”
In 2016, IDW answered my long-unheard prayers for a Godzilla story that cut out all the stupid human parts, made my favorite radioactive lizard the main character, and gave him the task for which he above all other creatures is best-suited: destroying the ever-loving shit out of everything in his path! The five issues of Godzilla in Hell are my favorite Godzilla story so far, beating the original 1970s Marvel stories I loved as a kid and topping the monumental, manga-style Dark Horse mini-series from 1988. Let’s take a look inside.
The first issue begins with Godzilla falling through a hole into the wastelands of Hell. It offers zero explanation about how or why this fate befell our hero, and that is a solid artistic choice. You are either all-aboard with this insane premise or not, and no amount of pseudoscience, mysticism, or tedious exposition will sway your opinion. So, why bother?
Each issue has its own creative team with its own visual style, and issue #2 is the only one that has narrative captions. Otherwise, the series has little use for text beyond monstrous screaming. I get the impression that each team received minimal instructions, something along the lines of “Godzilla encounters various horrors and monsters on his way to the end of the issue, where he will descend into the next level of Hell.” The plot is as simple and direct as Godzilla himself, who meets each foe head-on with primal ferocity and unbridled rage.
This is what Godzilla is all about to me. He’s a force of nature like a waterfall or a late-period John Coltrane improvisation. It never occurs to him to slow down, run away, or give up. And when he meets, in the third issue, a weird entity that attempts to convince him to join the forces of peace and submit to its will, Godzilla ain’t tryna to hear any of that bullshit. Peace is for beings of lesser fury.
Godzilla’s path, as he demonstrates with unrivaled brutality, is one of pure destruction. In some ways, his portrayal in this series reminds me of the unstoppable Itto Ogami in Lone Wolf and Cub. No matter what you throw at him, he’s on a mission of annihilation. Skreeeonnnnnkk!
Along the way, Godzilla murders every freakish monstrosity and classic kaiju Hell can throw at him. Yet his triumphs are short-lived. He is doomed at the end of each issue to go to another hellish level, like Dante’s Inferno but with way more ass-kicking.
In the final issue, the king of all monsters is eaten alive and completely destroyed by a swarm of flying scumbags who are little more than mouths and wings and hate. I won’t spoil the ending for you, but it is a pitch-perfect finale that expresses Godzilla’s true essence in a way no movie or comic book ever has, before or since. If you want the best Godzilla story ever, then the solution is simple: Go to Hell!
Collectors’ Guide: It’s hard to find the original single issues in print or TPB, but this five-issue series was collected along with two other mini-series in Godzilla: Unnatural Disasters, which is easy to find for about $20 on Amazon in TPB format or Kindle/Comixology format, and also at MyComicShop in TPB format.
The Cretaceous graphic novel is the most recent addition to my collection of pure dinosaur comics, and it is non-stop awesome. Like Ricardo Delgado’s Age of Reptiles series, it is a wordless dino adventure, though Tadd Galusha does drop in the occasional text-based sound effect or growl. Cretaceous delivers a wildlife documentary from hell, with nearly every page being full of brutally violent dinosaur fights and dinos eating other dinos. This tale of carnage and mayhem is not a cute book for toddlers!
If you’re like me, you wish that Godzilla movies and comics would just get rid of all the stupid human parts and show more monster battles. Galusha—who worked on some Godzilla comics for IDW—must feel the same way, because Cretaceous is all killer and no filler. Early on, I wondered if the book even had a plot, or if it was just an endless stream of savagery, with different dinos weaving in and out of each other’s lives on the way to their doom.
Although that’s a fairly accurate statement about Cretaceous, a plot does emerge. The protagonist is an adult male Tyrannosaurus Rex, a fearsome monster who, in the first scene, attacks a herd of Parasaurolophus and slaughters one of them. He carries the fresh corpse back to his home, where the meat feeds his juveniles first and then his wife. The mother Rex waits patiently while the children feed, and this detail of her characterization takes us on the first step down the path of learning to love these murderous beasts. Yes, they are killers, but within their family unit is affection, devotion, and tenderness.
But not even these rulers of prehistory can escape the eat-and-be-eaten web of life, especially when smaller predators have developed the skill to hunt in packs and accomplish what a lone individual cannot. Tragedy befalls the Rex family, and the remainder of the book resembles an old-fashioned revenge tale. A classic Western, almost.
The daddy Rex hunts his enemies and searches for his surviving child. The perpetual horror he encounters earns him our sympathy, and his mastery of unarmed combat earns him our respect. Step-by-step, as we follow him through the forest primeval and other resplendent landscapes brought to life by Galusha’s pen and colors, we learn to love this monster.
The environment is so much a part of the action that it’s practically a character itself. Galusha doesn’t just draw pretty backgrounds. The earth, the trees, the fog, the ocean—they are all more than mere settings. They are both friends and foes to the dinosaurs, often at the same time. Plus, their visual splendor is a counterpoint to the sheer terror that drives Cretaceous. And is that any different from our real lives? We are fragile creatures, even the toughest of us, inhabiting a beautiful universe where life often feels like a relentless string of one ugly event after another.
Yet life goes on, and though we know exactly how all our stories will end, we persist. By boiling down the dinosaurs’ lives into their most primal aspects, Cretaceous seems to comment on our human lives. Galusha presents an unflinchingly brutal vision of life and death, a narrative of ceaseless struggle illuminated occasionally by the moments of hope, triumph, and even love that keep us going—despite knowing all too well the cards are stacked against us. We come to love the monstrous Rex, because the monster is us, and everything around us. His quest is ours.
Cretaceous blew my mind and earned a spot among my all-time favorite dinosaur comics, a pantheon which includes Ricardo Delgado’s Age of Reptiles, Steve Bissette’s Tyrant, and Jim Lawson’s Paleo and Loner.
Today’s entry in the Indie Box is one I have never owned nor even seen in the flesh. But with insane, sci-fidinosaur art from Steve “Tyrant” Bissette and Peter “Ninja Turtles” Laird, who could resist? These pages come from the Mirage Mini Comics Boxed Set, a treasure so long out-of-print that I don’t mind if you post a link to buy it in the comments!
Inside the indie comics box today, it’s Teknophage: a walking, talking, totally evil dinosaur who rules a world much like ours, only infinitely more terrible. Teknophage feeds on souls, which he extracts from helpless humans in the horrifying vats of his mobile city. He cruises his planet spreading misery every where he goes. Many have tried to overthrow him, only to have their souls ripped from their tortured bodies and consumed.
Rick Veitch created this evil bastard reptile for Tekno Comix, a Neil Gaiman venture. With artist Bryan Talbot, Veitch blends horror, science fiction, and a cynically hilarious social satire to make Teknophage a story you will never forget — assuming you survive!
Here is a preview of the pages where Teknophage recounts his earliest days as just another evil telepathic dinosaur, and how he discovered the multi-dimensional technology that made him master of the planet.
Collector’s Guide: From Teknophage #4-5; Tekno Comix, 1995.
This month, my mom and sister took me to the Tellus Science Museum in Georgia, and I was spoiled with an afternoon of prehistoric life and outer space! The museum lobby showcases a huge apatosaurus skeleton, and my sister snapped a photo for me to share with all the dino geeks who frequent this blog.
The camera on my phone isn’t as nice as hers, but I snapped a few pics, too. Here is the apatosaur’s head in a position where he might be eating a planet.
The planets in the pic appear over the entrance to the planetarium where we enjoyed a presentation about how Earth was formed. This was fortuitous timing, because the film showed something I was reading about that very day: how an ancient proto-planet named Theia crashed into an early version of Earth, a cataclysmic collision that enlarged Earth and resulted in the formation of our Moon, our tilted axis of rotation, and eventually our ocean tides.
The film presented this event as a known fact, but it’s a hypothesis that best explains how things got the way they are now. The Theia hypothesis is explored in more detail in the book I took on my trip, an amazing and often poetic exploration of geology, chemistry, and cosmic history that begins with examining a single pebble found on a Welsh beach.
The Planet in a Pebble: A Journey into Earth’s Deep History by Jan Zalasiewicz is a bit wordy at times, being written by a lecturing professor. What it lacks in concision, it makes up for in its flowing language that links many scientific disciplines to each other and gives insights into how big-picture events like the origin of Earth relate to small-picture events at the atomic level, all to create the rocks we sometimes ignore beneath our feet but which, upon examination, reveal so much about our world.
The prehistoric exhibit at Tellus Science Museum showcases specimens found in Georgia, and it features some fossils visitors are invited to touch (including Megalodon teeth and Triceratops poop). The Appalachiosaurus pictured below was new to me.
This fearsome beast shares exhibit space with a pair of Dromeosaurs whose informational plaque needs a bit of an update. The plaque mentions feathers and the relation of dinos to modern birds as a kind of hypothesis, but these things are now known with about as much certainty as we can get. After all, we’ve found the feathers, and paleo-artist William Stout was among the first to depict them in his mural paintings for the San Diego Natural History Museum. You can read more about that in Prehistoric Life Murals by William Stout, which includes amazing reproductions of his paintings in a glorious hardcover volume.
These are just a few of the wonders in the prehistoric life exhibit. And I didn’t even photograph any of the awesome space exploration stuff. Tellus Science Museum has a bunch of other exhibits, too. I didn’t see them all, but I loved what I saw. If you go, you might call ahead to find out the showtimes in the planetarium, because several shows play at different times throughout the day. The Birth of Planet Earth is well worth seeing, and I’d have liked to see the other features if we had more time.
On your way out, you can visit the gift shop and get a cuddly ammonite and a few of his stuffed trilobite friends!
If you can’t make it to Georgia any time soon, Amazon also carries critters from this plush toy line called Paleozoic Pals.
The Return to New York story in the original TMNT series #19–21 is even better than I remember. I think I was in turtle overload when I read it years ago, and I’d forgotten much of it. Visually, it’s one of the greatest TMNT stories of all time, with stunningly detailed artwork, creative layouts, extensively choreographed fight scenes, and incredible double-splash pages.
The black & white artwork creatively uses both black and white ink in addition to detailed screentone shading (sometimes called by the brand name Zip-A-Tone). The result is some of my favorite artwork in any TMNT story, and it’s a joy to watch the Turtles hack and slash their way through sewers full of enemies while their new Triceraton friend destroys everything in sight with his blaster.
But I was in for a shock when I read issue #6. It wasn’t just the wraparound cover that’s even more awesome than I remember. It wasn’t just the visual splendor of Turtles and Triceratons in combat. No, the shock was the discovery of just how many ideas I apparently stole from this single issue for my fiction series, The Adventures of Meteor Mags and Patches.
Issue #6 has asteroids, dinosaur-type aliens in a combat ring fighting to the death, a ruling body referred to only as the High Council, silly satire, aliens who dislike mammals (“Shut your face, you puny piece of mammal droppings!”), heroes who insult the dino-aliens (“Where I come from, bozos like you know their place — in museums, displayed as skeletons of long-dead ancient freaks!”), fight scenes that last for several pages with scant dialogue, and a shoot-out while attempting to board a spaceship. Somehow, this mid-1980s masterpiece burrowed so deeply into my brain that I was unconsciously drawing on it for inspiration decades later.
I wasn’t planning on picking up the original ten issues of the series, but after reading #6, I want to read the whole storyline again!
T. Rex Generations stars four young rexes we meet under the watchful eyes of their parents as they hatch from eggs. In their youth, the rexes learn to survive, scavenge, and hunt. They meet a beautifully illustrated assortment of cretaceous creatures they must battle or escape. Author and artist Ted Rechlin creates even more dramatic page and panel layouts than in his 2017 brontosaurus book, which makes for great fight scenes. And in a world of monsters just as fierce as they are, not every rex will survive.
This book will delight dinosaur enthusiasts and comic book fans, and though it has a lot of physical conflict, it isn’t graphic or gory. Adults and kids can enjoy this all-ages action-packed story together.
My dislikes are mostly minor details: seeing the same double-splash page of empty landscape repeated where more story pages would be welcome; anachronistic phrases such as “so the siblings ease off the gas” that seem out of place millions of years before cars; and a couple spots of clunky exposition such as saying “as was previously noted…” when repeating something from a few pages prior.
My only major concern: why do the young rexes not get named until the final page? Characters we care about in a story usually get identified by name right away, and the parent rexes are identified just after the babies hatch. It isn’t clear why the younger rexes don’t get names until late in their adolescence, unless we see their climactic edmontosaurus kill as a rite of passage into adulthood. But even though a caption describes that as a “first kill”, it seems more likely that a predatory reptile who has been larger than a pickup truck for years has killed more than a few things. After a wild romp in the cretaceous, the last page left me with more confusion than conclusion.
None of that stopped me from enjoying this adventurous addition to my library of dinosaur books and comics. T. Rex Generations is a fun read and a joy to look at. The full-page and two-page illustrations of the rexes and dakotaraptor, edmontosaurus, and ankylosaurus would make great prints or posters.
Today’s images come to us courtesy of reader Edward Dietrich, who recently discovered a 2012 post with my scans of a 1960s booklet, Sinclair and the Exciting World of Dinosaurs. Another reader had informed me that the artist was Matthew Kalmenoff, and Ed added that Kalmenoff did the full-color paintings on the stamps in a book I loved when I was a kid: The Golden Stamp Book of Animals of the Past.
The cover, featured above, has art by Charles McVicker. Ed sent the following scans of Matthew Kalmenoff’s paintings for us all to enjoy. He included notes about different versions of this book, of which there were many!
Though the blog Love in the Time of Chasmosaurs has scans of some pages from a 1950s version of this book, the art was apparently recycled into many editions. Ed says he’s owned a third printing from 1968 (priced at 59¢), plus an eleventh printing from 1975 and an eighteenth printing from 1980 (both priced at 89¢).
Most of Ed’s scans are not from the stamp book edition, but a 1961 version called Dinosaurs and Other Prehistoric Animals Trading Cards, and branded “Golden Funtime Trading Cards”. Instead of printing the artwork on sheets of lickable stamps to affix to the pages, this version presented the images on heavy cardstock and had oversized pages. This version only had 45 paintings, compared to the 48 in the stamp books, so Ed thoughtfully scanned the remaining stamps from the other editions.
Some updates to the captions happened between the 1950s stamp book version and this 1960s trading card version. For example, the Protoceratops is clearly labeled as such in Ed’s scans, but was labeled “horn-faced dinosaur” in the 1950s version. Also, the Ichthyosaur is named in this edition, where it was labeled “fish-like reptile” in the 1950s book. “Winged reptile” got updated to Rhamphoryncus. Other captions changed, too, but why should I ruin all the fun of letting you find them?
If you’re like me, you now want wall-sized prints of several of these gorgeous (if somewhat scientifically outdated) paintings. If you’re willing to settle for something smaller, I’ve seen some of them on Amazon repackaged into a 1988 book called Ready to Frame Dinosaur Paintings. I hope Kalmenoff got paid well for this artwork, considering how many times it was repurposed into different publications over the years.
If you’re digging these paintings and want to see more of Matthew Kalmenoff’s vintage artwork, cruise back to the original post that started all this madness, because I updated it with more images and links. I was excited to learn about this connection to one of my childhood treasures via total strangers’ commenting on a post about a book I randomly found on eBay. Talk about going full circle!
A big “thank you” goes out to Ed for taking the time to scan and share these images! This blog would be nothing without the people who have dropped by over the years to share my enthusiasm about dinosaurs, prehistoric animals, comic books, poetry, and mutant brains from outer space. Happy New Yearto you, and may your dreams be filled with prehistoric mammals!
The next three images are the ones from the stamp books that did not appear in the 1961 trading cards version.
If I ever get around to recording another album of guitar instrumentals, it’s going to be called “Skull of the Uinta Beast”. Hell yeah!
Here are two images of the cover from the 1961 trading cards version!
I began reading dinosaur books in the late 1970s, and back then, we had a dinosaur called Brontosaurus: the iconic Thunder Lizard! But the beast I grew up with would be revealed, in my adulthood, to be a complete fraud. Brontosaurus was nothing more than a hoax perpetuated with the bones of the real animal: Apatosaurus.
Just like my generation needed to reconceive of dinosaurs as having feathers, lifting their tails instead of dragging them, and living as endothermic animals instead of exothermic reptiles, my generation accepted the disappearance of our beloved Brontosaurus.
But it seems we were wrong about being wrong. Recent examinations of the fossil record have shown both Brontosaurus and Apatosaurus were real animals: structurally similar, but differentiated by their skin. The Thunder Lizard has returned!
Author and artist Ted Rechlin couldn’t be happier about it. His graphic novel Jurassic puts Brontosaurus back in the spotlight. When a baby Brontosaur is separated from his mother, he gets swept up in a journey through the perilous landscape of a forgotten North America, encountering all sorts of species of dinosaurs Rechlin renders in gorgeously colored illustrations. Through the young Bronto’s eyes, readers take a tour that is both educational and exciting.
Despite a few violent dinosaur fights, Jurassic keeps the gore to a minimum, focusing instead on the drama. Rechlin doesn’t try for the existential terror of Jim Lawson’s Paleo andLoner, nor the biological brutality of Ricardo Delgado’s Age of Reptiles. But like those comics, Jurassic tells a thrilling story about animals in the natural world.
Just between you and me, the Brontosaurs may have been the main characters, but they were not the superstars of the story. That honor belongs to the incredibly awesome Allosaurus who rages through this book, a massive female fighting machine storming the countryside with a pack of smaller Allosaurs at her side. Rechlin renders her with savage, majestic beauty, and she totally steals the show.
Rechlin doesn’t get heavy-handed with his natural philosophy, but the final scene with the big female Allosaurus puts the entire story in a different light. Throughout the book, you sympathize with the baby Bronto’s separation from his mother, and you hope he will be okay. The female Allosaur and other carnivorous creatures are threats to our main character. But at the end of the day, the murderous Allosaurus is shown to be an attentive mother whose primary concern is feeding and caring for her own babies.
The interdependent struggle of all animals to survive, eat, and rear their young is a tale that echoes Jack London’s Call of the Wild and White Fang, and it’s a consistent theme in dinosaur comic books. Eat or be eaten. The triumph of Jurassic is how subtly Rechlin handles this theme and communicates it without getting excessively graphic.
Brontosaurus, Allosaurus, and many more dinos also appear in Rechlin’s coloring book Dinosaurs Live! This innovative work combines drawings of dinosaur skeletons, educational and entertaining captions like a comic book, and full-page spreads of the dinosaurs in all their fleshy and feathery glory.
Rechlin isn’t afraid to convey science in casual, conversational language that uses humor to memorable effect. You will learn from his coloring book, but you will laugh, too. Like Jay Hosler’s Clan Apis, which teaches about honeybees, Rechlin’s coloring book is strong on biology without being a stuffy textbook.
No, I can’t bring myself to color these beautiful pages. I would feel like I was defacing a black-and-white dinosaur comic book such as Epic’s Dinosaurs: An IllustratedGuide by Charles Yates, orTyrant by Steve Bissette. I might need a second copy so I can color the pages guilt-free!
Also on my wish list is Rechlin’s other full-color dinosaur graphic novel, Tyrannosaurus Rex.
Below is a list of where you can buy these books on Amazon, and with links to purchase directly from FarCountry Press, the distributor who kindly sent us review copies and images. FarCountry has many animal, nature, and history books, and other exquisitely drawn coloring books featuring flora and fauna of national parks.
Tomb of the Triceratops takes you on a dinosaur dig where researchers and a group of young students uncover a realm where dinosaurs are still alive. The boys selected to go on this archaeological expedition risk their lives to free a triceratops from the clutches of its brutal, otherworldly tormentors.
And that’s just the beginning.
Author Michael Ajax seasons the story with plenty of dino facts that will surely please any dino-maniac. Between the action scenes, the characters are just as likely to discuss the biology of a Stygimoloch as they are their interpersonal conflicts. The people in this story are passionate about dinosaurs, and that makes it especially fun for those of us who share that enthusiasm.
Though action-packed, Tomb of the Triceratops keeps its language and violence in the “family-friendly” range. Even as an adult reader, I was pulled into the nightmarish struggle of the captive triceratops, but the level of detail and word choice did not venture into overly graphic territory. If you thought Jurassic Park and Rex Riders were fun, this is a good addition to your bookshelf.
The boy heroes of the story casually banter with each other, keep secrets from the adults, and have an unforgettable adventure in this first novel by Michael Ajax. Discover the mysteries inside the Tomb of the Triceratops in paperback or for just 99 cents in Kindle.
Gilberton published The World Around Us #15: Prehistoric Animals in 1959 as part of its Classics Illustrated line. World Around Us is a must-have for any collector of dinosaur comics. Despite the way current advances in understanding dinosaur anatomy have made much of this book obsolete from a scientific perspective, it has a quaint historic charm and many stunningly rendered pages. It features uncredited artwork by Sam Glanzman and Al Williamson, according to Steve Bissette’s essay on PalaeoBlog. While dinosaurs take up much of the book, it also features prehistoric mammals, the origin of the planet Earth, and biographies of important biologists and paleontologists.
This isn’t the first time Flesh appears this blog, so let’s keep it brief and look at some awesome dinosaur art! We got our copy at MyComicShop but you can also find it on Amazon. You can see more pages in our Flesh Archives. Okay? Wow, what a beautiful volume this is. Check it out!
Alright, so it’s not really random. Being random is just cool these days, and you know we try very, very hard to fit in and be normal.
We sacrificed a Bandai Godzilla figure to the gods of shipping this week, part of our project to preserve our glorious eBay Top Rated Seller Status. Hey, we had to go through hell to earn it, so why not try to meet the minimum sales goals one more year? Why not stuff the radioactive lizard overlord right into the sacred eBay fires? Godzilla always rises again from the monstrous depths that spawned him (or her, as the case may be.) GOJIRA! It turned out to be a good move. Gojira sold in 48 hours, edging us ever closer to our 100th sale in 12 months.
Kingfisher Dinosaur Encyclopedia brings readers up to date on many current developments in dino science. Lavishly filled with photographs and paintings, and easily-read charts, it is a visual feast worthy of a hungry Allosaurus.
One of the best features: a focus on certain regions of dino discoveries. You will visit specific digs, sites in England, Portugal, and China, that yielded new discoveries in the last 10 to 20 years and pushed dino science forward. Many books lack this regional organization, making this one special. You get a picture of each unique biome certain dinos inhabited, where some books simply list dinos alphabetically or historically. The grouping also gives the writers a chance to share about current leaders in the field in these countries.
Kingfisher breaks up its pages into small blocks of text that the reader can take one at a time, or in chunks. Like any Megalosaurus could tell you, it’s easier to digest things when you break them into smaller peices first! This makes the book entertaining and light, but by no means insubstantial. A reader can simply enjoy highlights, or dig deeper.
From the 2000 specimens of a single Cretaceous bird unearthed in China, to the confident resolution of an old myth about Oviraptors, to the solid presentation of the meteorite impact site, Kingfisher gives new dino fans a great introduction, and updates us old dino fans about several solved mysteries.
Criticisms? Calling the book an Encyclopedia may be stretching it. It is not an exhaustive tome of the history of paleontology, or dino physiology, or even a complete list of all known species. I have several “encyclopedias” and scientific texts that are more intensive. They’re also a lot harder to read! So, although I wouldn’t call it an encyclopedia, it’s a worthy and exciting book.
The one missing bone in this skeleton is a pronunication key. Dino books lately have thrown this idea away, and Kingfisher’s isn’t the only culprit. Some help pronouncing the latest Chinese dinos would really help us read this out loud!
Glad to have this on my shelf with the other great dino books. Recommended for all ages, young and old.
Since we posted Our Top Ten Favorite Single Issues in October 2011, our fan-blogging obsessions brought many more printed treasures to our attention. One by one, we added them to Mars Will Send No More until today’s post can link you to every one of them for in-depth exploration.
Qualifications for inclusion on the Ten More list are simple: The issue cannot be from a series already covered in our original Top Ten, and it must be brain-stunningly awesome. Six of them are black-and-white books, and we had only read three of them before we started this site in 2011. Allow us to present, in no particular order, Ten More of Our All-Time Favorite Single Issues. Click their titles to learn more about each one!
But what about…? Several noteworthy series have not made it into our Top 20 single issues. This includes works like DMZ, Clan Apis, Frank, 100 Bullets, and Sin City, where the entire series as a work of art outweighs any single issue. We might rectify this with future lists!
Some time ago, I posted an ad for World of Dinosaurs from issue #46 of The Brave & the Bold. I went looking for the book after finding that ad, and got an affordable hardcover copy. Author Edwin H. Colbert, a respected paleontologist who among other things discovered a group of more than a dozen complete Coelophysis skeletons in 1947, would no doubt want to update some of the science in World of Dinosaurs these days—from the swamp-dwelling sauropods dragging their tails, to the extinction theories. But I always get a kick out of the art in vintage dinosaur books, and George Geygan’s painterly approach is no exception.
Collector’s Guide: From World of Dinosaurs by Dr. Edwin H. Colbert and George Geygan; Home Library Press, 1961. If it is out of stock, try the 1977 edition publsihed as The Dinosaur World.
Danger in Dinosaur Valley portrays the intelligence and adaptability of a child who teaches his parents some important life skills. A young diplodocus observes a World Series baseball game when time travelers come to visit, and he uses baseball to save his family.
As with many older dinosaur books, Danger in Dinosaur valley gets some things wrong: pterodactyls are not birds, television signals do not travel across time with their televisions, and brutal hand-to-hand combat is not always the best option. But the story works in its own cute way, and this vintage dinosaur book entranced us many times as young Martians. Treat yourself and your dino-loving kids to this entertaining tale by Joan Lowery Nixon, with artwork by Marc Simont!
Collector’s Guide: From Danger in Dinosaur Valley; G.P. Putnam & Sons, 1978. Note: most existing copies of this out-of-print children’s book are ex-library copies.