Thursday, March 26, 2009

Dinosaurs in Comics: Devil Dinosaur!

Give it up for the giant reptile who, in an age of monsters was the mightiest of them all:


Devil Dinosaur was one of the latter-creations Jack Kirby brought to Marvel, debuting in Devil Dinosaur#1 (1978). Many comic fans have looked down on Devil Dinosaur as being unworthy of Kirby's talent, an embarrassing endpoint to one of the single most influential Marvel creators whose career spanned four decades. However, according some accounts, Devil was developed as a potential animated series for Marvel when DC was investigating an animated program of Kirby's Kamandi series. Taken as a potential Saturday morning kid's program, Devil Dinosaur is pretty awesome!

Accompanying Devil in his adventures was Moon Boy, a shaggy young neanderthal-type. Moon Boy and Devil Dinosaur were each outcasts among their kind (Devil for his red hide, Moon Boy for his intellect) and became like brothers. The series set them up against unusual adversaries, including a giant spider, a giant man and aliens from another planet in a storyline that developed into a retelling of the tale of Adam & Eve. It was similar to ideas Kirby had played with in Eternals about aliens influencing humanity's development, reflecting a 70s interest in throwing 2001: A Space Odyssey, Chariots of the Gods and the Bible into a blender.

Devil Dinosaur's series lasted a mere nine issues, but he's made occasional appearances in the Marvel Universe ever since, including a memorable two-part battle with Godzilla when Marvel held the license. In the 1980s they joined the ranks of the Fallen Angels, a mini-series that started as the adventures of a gang of mutant teens and gradually became a team of just plain odd Marvel characters. Devil Dinosaur attained a one-shot special in 1997, an Annual with Spider-Man 1998 and another one-shot in 2005 where he fought the Hulk.

And where is Devil Dinosaur now? Well, a recent tale in Heroes for Hire separated Devil and Moon Boy when the Heroes kidnapped Moon Boy for SHIELD. This week's one-shot special Avengers: The Initiative Featuring Reptil#1 picks up that dangler. Pick it up and you may learn that...even a jungle lord can cry!

No comments: