Cavewoman by Budd Root (1994 onward)

CavewomanMy thoughts

Throw together hungry dinosaurs, excessive gore and a dash of soft-core porn, and the result will be something like Cavewoman.

Cavewoman is a self-published comic by artist Budd Root. The first 12 issues of the series are collected in two volumes, and several individual comics after that.

Meriem Cooper is the title character, a ridiculously proportioned woman with super-strength and who is super tough, meaning she can go one-on-one with dinosaurs and come out without a scratch. (She also is named after one of the producers of the original King Kong, one of several references to the movie throughout the series.) Meriem was stranded in the Late Cretaceous with her scientist grandfather, who was eaten by a T. rex shortly afterward.

She isn’t alone for long, however. The series begins when Meriem’s hometown of Marshville, Oregon, is transported back in time due to a military experiment. It isn’t a happy homecoming, since the townsfolk are soon terrorized by dinosaurs, who dispatch their victims in one grisly scene after another. Cavewoman mainly concerns Marshville’s struggle to survive the prehistoric onslaught, with Meriem serving as its protector.

The series has a large cast of characters, from a King Kong wannabe to a paleontologist clearly modeled after Robert T. Bakker. It’s a black-and-white comic, and very tongue-in-cheek in tone. Is there any other comic that guest stars Abbott and Costello as surgeons?

Cavewoman is an entertaining romp if you don’t take it too seriously. It’s not for everyone. The fixation on gore is a little childish, as is Meriem’s tendency to lose her skimpy reptile-hide bikini. (Some “adult” versions of the comic feature full nudity.) The dialogue and characterization are adequate, only feeling clumsy when Root tries to get serious, such as when Meriem confronts her estranged mother.

The dinosaur illustrations are what stand out about the comic, with Root’s terrible lizards appropriately scaly and menacing. Still, there didn’t seem to be enough predators in the fossil record to satisfy Root’s needs, so he invents a few of his own, from a giant, child-eating frog to creatures that resemble flying velociraptors. This isn’t a comic emphasizing scientific accuracy.

I would recommend Cavewoman to anyone who likes the sillier side of sci-fi. If you enjoy watching Godzilla trample Tokyo, or have logged in frequent flyer miles aboard the Satellite of Love, then this is for you.

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