Here at Mars Will Send No More, one of our favorite things is traveling time to hunt dinosaurs. We just can’t get enough of prehistoric poaching, saurian slaughter, terrorizing pterosaurs, and wrestling a ramphoryncus. We relish riding rexes, accosting ankylosaurs, and disturbing the dimetrodons. It’s just what we do.
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.