Thundering herds of lizards roam Cretaceous America, and the earth trembles with their passage. Enormous yet graceful meat-eaters shred the still-living meat from the bones of placid plant-eating saurians. Tyrannosaurus rex, the most fearsome carnivore that ever lived, is king. But even T-rex isn’t safe from the greedy eyes and the ravenous appetites of a band of bird-quick Deinonychus. A tale from an age before humans and language, Age of Reptiles: Tribal Warfare is a 128-page epic told entirely in pictures. Ricardo Delgado, production artist for Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, has crafted the finest graphic novel about dinosaurs ever released.
* Blurb from publisher’s web site
Age of Reptiles: Tribal Warfare starts with a pack of Deinonychus (i.e. “raptors”) taking out a sauropod only to have their kill stolen by a T. rex. One of the raptors, in a not-very-wise move, decides to take a swipe at the rex but manages to get himself killed instead. The raptors don’t take too kindly to the murder of one of their own, so they plot revenge, a move that will lead to escalating hostilities between the two tribes of dinosaurs.
As you may have guessed, Age of Reptiles isn’t about scientific accuracy. The dinosaurs don’t talk, there are no speech balloons or narration of any kind, but they are far too smart for real animals and their behavior is anthromorphized to the extreme. The comic is a fantasy about dinosaurs, a fun one at that. The panels are brightly colored and Delgado’s Cretaceous world is appropriately lush, with towering forests and deep blue seas. The dinosaurs themselves are well drawn, although they sport emotive faces and, in one case, a Carnotaurus is given bull-like horns to make it look more devilish.
The story serves as an appropriate vehicle to explore the world of the comic, and there is an interesting twist at the (very) end. The comic was first published in 1993 and features T. rexes and raptors, which I’m sure had nothing to do with the fact the first Jurassic Park film was released that same year. *cough*
- The artist, Richardo Delgado, has worked on several TV and film productions, including The Incredibles and Treasure Planet.
- Age of Reptiles has its own Wikipedia entry.