What 12 year old boy doesn’t love dinosaurs? I know I did, constantly drawing them, making scenes with the few plastic reptiles I was fortunate enough to own, and checking out book after dinosaur book at the local library. My love of dinosaurs was solidified when I first read Ray Bradbury’s “A Sound of Thunder.” And though I was over 30 when in 1988 the Dinosaurs Attack cards were released, as soon as I laid eyes on these masterpieces of mayhem the twelve year old inner me was bursting with excitement. Inspired by the Mars Attacks cards that I originally missed out on (although I had picked up a handful here and there) these full color gore graphics were a hoot. How could you not love “Homeroom Horror” or “Crushing a Canine”? Of course “Comics Con Catastrophe” took top billing; most of my fan boy obsessions rolled into one! Painted by Earl Norem, who had already established himself as one of the most successful magazine and paperback cover artists of his day, Dinosaur Attack were an instant hit.
Twenty five years later IDW Publishing, which seems to relish in feeding our pop culture appetites, has released the first issue of what promises to be a five part mini-series that will almost certainly be collected into a single edition. But why wait? Written and created by Gary Gerani and drawn by comics’ legend Herb Trimpe (wonderfully inked by George Freeman) the first issue has arrived. Even better it has a cover and new paintings, deftly inserted into the continuity, by Norem himself.
Like most first issues much of the exposition is given over to setting up the premise: Brilliant young scientist Elias Thorne has created a “timescan bath” that enables us to look far into the past. His discovery might well revolutionize our understanding of history but not everyone, particularly his former wife Professor Helen Chambers-herself no slouch in the intellect department-is so willing to go along. There are serious ethical issues involved, which serves to increase the ongoing tension between the two. That and it seems Thorne is going slightly mad, his mind being slowly possessed by a still unseen but no doubt evil entity. Gerani’s story unfolds at a steady pace-although it tends to be a bit heavy on dialogue-and the team of Trimpe and Freeman worked beautiful together. There are a few too many “talking head” shots but I suspect once the action really heats up that will change. Nowhere is it stated that this pair will do subsequent issues but here’s hoping. All in all Dinosaurs Attack is off to a fine start, and I eagerly look forward to the remainder of the run. So does the twelve year old now residing inside my aged 57 self!