Panels From Beyond the Grave #8

DEVIL DINOSAUR (#7, October 1978)

This is the most obscure comic book that I've covered for this column. In researching Devil Dinosaur, I realized that it might be a valuable title. I didn't know that I owned anything this rare. Of course, my copy is tattered and discolored, so I won't be retreating to a sunny retirement community in Florida anytime soon. Etiolated pages be damned! At least I can say that I have read the seventh issue of a nine-issue series that never caught on with the public. Wait, why would I want to say that? No one flipped through this comic in 1978, much less 2011. I digress...it's about a jacked T-Rex, so it's cool by default.

Actually, I'm surprised that Devil Dinosaur wasn't a hit. It was tailor-made for little boys who watched Saturday morning cartoons and played with action figures. Basically, it was tailor-made for little boys period. The premise dealt with a genetically-altered, yet kid-friendly dinosaur who kicked ass in a parallel universe. Ol' Devil (his skin is firetruck red as a result of something fire-related...the backstory is vague) befriended a primitive troglodyte named Moon Boy. Together, they accosted a variety of miscreants throughout this comic's abbreviated run. In this particular adventure, everyone's favorite Satanic carnivore crosses paths with a "demon tree," a chunk of spaceship debris with a mind of its own.

Think Demon Seed, only without the attempted rape. The writing is barebones, but I enjoyed the hell out of Devil Dinosaur. Each page gushes with color. The fact that the sky alternates between blue and orange matters none. If I had discovered this title as a wee freak, I would have been obsessed with it. I suspect that tales of prehistoric sci-fi fantasy were no match for the superhero craze of the 70's. In a twist of cruel irony, Devil Dinosaur was created by Jack Kirby, one of the men responsible for said superhero craze. He helped usher in dozens of Marvel mainstays. Personally, I don't "get" X-Men, but that's an article for another day

If you see an issue of Devil Dinosaur hiding in a crate at a flea market, don't hesitate to snatch it up. It will appeal to any geek with a taste for brainless entertainment. Devil himself made sporadic appearances after the cancellation of his original series. Apparently, he teamed up with Godzilla in 1979. Could that be foreshadowing? Well, yes and no. I don't have access to that epic encounter, but I will be tackling a Godzilla comic soon. I might as well. I own more Godzilla comic books than I do Godzilla movies. Go figure.

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