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CSBG Archive

365 Reasons to Love Comics #350

The Best of Jack Kirby breaks into Day Seven! “In an age when giants walked the world– HE was the mightiest of all!” Darn tootin’! (Archive!)

12/16/07

350. Devil Dinosaur

Devil Dinosaur 1.jpg

After his ’70s stint at DC, Jack Kirby returned to Marvel, and brought several new titles with him, one of which was Devil Dinosaur. This series is basically the story of a boy and his dog– only the dog is a giant red Tyrannosaurus Rex and the boy is an ape-man named Moon Boy from the dawn of time. Together, they fight to survive in a dangerous world. It’s the best comic about a dinosaur kicking stuff to death ever made.

I’ve only just finished reading my Devil Dinosaur Omnibus (more on that in a bit), and I have to say, this series has immediately become one of my all-time favorite Kirby projects. I had a huge grin on my face the entire time I was reading it. It’s filled with thrilling dino-adventure and huge action in the mighty Kirby manner. He originally created it as a possible springboard for an animated series that was never made, but he certainly turned it into a fantastic comic.

The series only lasted nine issues, but that was plenty of time for Kirby to tell some excellent stories. We learn Devil’s origin: how he was borne through flames, and how he and Moon Boy met and saved each other. We follow them through battles with the savage Killer-Folk and a group of giants. Kirby then goes on to tell a four-part mini-saga that serves as an alternate version of the original Garden of Eden tale and involves space-robots, giant ants, an evil computer “demon tree,” and a primitive ape-lady named Eev. It’s a hell of a tale. Finally, the series wraps up with a brutal story in which Devil is kidnapped by Dino Riders, and a quick jaunt through time which lands Devil in the strange future of 1978.

Devil Dino 2.JPGDevil Dino 3.JPG

At its core, though, the series wasn’t about Devil kicking stuff to death, although that happened an awful lot. It was about the friendship and loyalty between man and beast, and the evolution of mankind– if not in biology, then in spirit. Moon Boy had a great heart to him, and Devil was the cleverest and most insightful dinosaur of them all.

Kirby’s art was furiously gorgeous here. His depictions of of the great lizards– from “Thunderhorns” (Triceratops) to “Plant-Eaters” (Brachiosaurs) to Pterodactyls and more. Kirby’s science wasn’t accurate at all, however, but didn’t need to be– the series existed in some mythological between-time he called the X-Age (later revivals have transplanted Devil and Moon Boy to the Savage Land).

I haven’t talked much about the inking on Kirby’s work for the past few posts, so I’d like to do that now. Mike Royer was Kirby’s inker of choice throughout much of his later career, and he did a fantastic job. Royer transformed Kirby’s pencils into the Kirbiest art I’ve ever seen. Great brushwork and eye-popping blacks. The double-page splash from #4 is one of the most astonishing Kirby/Royer images of all time– that of a giant cosmic dragon beast. You can see it, albeit without color, here.

Devil Dino 4.JPGDevil Dino 5.JPGDevil Dino 6.JPG

As I said above, the complete series is now available in the handsome oversized Omnibus format, with excellent paper and dazzling colors. It even reprints the letters pages and text pieces by Kirby himself! Ignore the less-than-enthusiastic introduction to the volume, and leap into the enthralling stories themselves. This book would make an incredible Christmas present for any six-to-ten-year-old boy you know. At that age, they’re fascinated with dinosaurs and aching with the need to read something. Give ‘em Devil Dinosaur– it’s the perfect thing to hook ‘em on comics. I know the kid in me loved it.

Devil and Moon Boy have reappeared in several places over the years. They’ve even teamed up with Godzilla! Devil also made a hilarious appearance in the pages of Nextwave. Eric Powell drew ‘em fighting the Hulk a couple years ago, and they still pop up here or there. Everybody loves ‘em a little Devil Dinosaur.

Devil Dino 7.JPGDevil Dino 8.JPG

Hey, maybe they should fulfill the original plan and make a Devil Dinosaur cartoon. I’d watch it. Also, Mr. Quesada, if you’re listening? I’ve got this awesome “Devil Dinosaur: Agent of SHIELD” pitch I think you might like.

Devil Dinosaur is all above the interweb. Gorilla Daze provides an issue-by-issue review of the series here. Loads of lovely images there. The Marvel Masterworks website also provides synopses, high-quality images, and letters pages from the Omnibus. And you can read more about Devil and Moon Boy at Toonopedia.

12 Comments

Dude, you were not lying about that splash page! Fancy hell, that is immaculate!

I seem to remember a Jack Kirby series based on a Stanley Kubrick film called “2001: A Space Odyssey”, and at the end of it, changed into another series called “Machine Man” that we all know and love as Aaron Stack.

“Death to the fleshy ones!!!”

Of course, we can’t forget the unforgettable “Silver Star” and “Captain Victory and the Galactus Rangers”.

:-)

Devil Dinosaur is probably my favorite Kirby title. I read once that sometime in the past decade or so, someone was trying to put together a Kirby tribute book that would have a bunch of current comic artists and writers do their takes on various Kirby creations. Apparantly Devil Dinosaur was by far the one that most people wanted to do. There’s just something you’ve got to love about a cave-boy and a giant red dinosaur stomping on things.

Devil is one of my favourite Kirby’s characters. Two things:

-DD an Moonboy come from an Earth parallel to Marvel’s main 616 continuity. They were sent to live at the Savage Land in a nineties Spider-man annual/special (useless bit of knowledge, I know).

-Please don’t read the current Heroes for Hire issues. The ones just before the World War Hulk crossover. What they do to DD an MB there hurts. A lot. Ouch.

Oh, and a third one:

-DD an MB have a Heroclix miniature!

When did Powell draw the Hulk?

BDaly said: When did Powell draw the Hulk?

About a year or two ago, in a Marvel Monster: Devil Dinosaur special:

http://www.milehighcomics.com/firstlook/100505/mm1cvr.html

Didn’t Devile Dinosaur and Moon Boy also appeared in Marvel 8 issues limited series FALLEN ANGELS (1987)? I don’t have the issues under hand right now but if they weren’t in the limited series, I distinctively remember seeing Colleen Doran’s pencils (in Marvel Age?) from the aborted 2nd limited series and they included MB and DD.

I love almost everything Kirby ever did, but I think his 70′s return at Marvel might be my favorite period. Probably because that’s the first time I bought Kirby originals issues on the racks as they were coming out:

2001 A SPACE ODYSSEY (stories that were a bit too weird to fully comprehend as a kid but Kirby’s art and concept facinated me!),

MACHINE MAN (isn’t it cool that when Kirby left, Diko was the one to replace and they each did exactly half the series length?),

CAPTAIN AMERICA (The only title Kirby drew in the Golden Age, the Silver Age and the Bronze Age!),

BLACK PANTHER (probably the weirdest series of all! Solomon’s Frog, the Yeti and Samurais in Afrixa!),

ETERNALS (maybe his best series of the 70′s! as mythical and cosmic as the NEW GODS but maybe less personnal),

and which brings us to DEVIL DINOSAUR: the most fun series he did at Marvel! I really have a soft spot for this series. The only Kirby series I like even more was his KAMANDI at DC. Pure fun and fantasy, cool monsters, action packed issues that kept your attention and left you wanted for more. Kirby at his most entertaining!

Kirbydotter:

Yep, Moon Boy and Devil Dinosaur appeared in Fallen Angels (my memory is hazy, but I don’t think they appeared until issue #2 or #3). Kerry Gammill and Joe Stanton penciled different issues of the series. I don’t know about a Colleen Doran series, though.

That splash page is FUCKINGAWESOME.

[...] Now, yes, Kamandi preceded Devil Dinosaur, but I couldn’t resist having the Last Boy be the Last Kirby entry. [...]

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