The Future of Devil Dinosaur?

By | Friday, December 20, 2019 Leave a Comment
First, a little back story...

In 1972, model kit manufacturer Aurora hired comic artist Dave Cockrum to design some of their "Prehistoric Scenes" models. His first one was a Tyrannosaurs Rex, which he colored bright red -- the parts for the model itself were molded in red plastic as well. Aurora then hired comic luminary Joe Kubert to draw one of the ads that ran in various comics a couple years later; despite their licensing Tarzan to help promote it, a bright red T-Rex was the center of attention.
Aurora ad by Joe Kubert
While we don't have any direct evidence that Jack Kirby used this as the basis (intentionally or not) for Devil Dinosaur, the timing seems too coincidental to be happenstance.

(A more detailed version of the above can be found in my "Incidental Iconography" column from Jack Kirby Collector #70.)

Regardless of which artists were looking at which drawings, though, all three were basically drawing a bright red version of what science told us a T-Rex looked like. But our understanding of dinosaurs has changed a bit since the 1970s. One of the significant revelations is that many dinosaurs had feathers; we actually have fossils that show some species this way.

There's still some debate, I believe, on the T-Rex specifically but I believe the prevailing thinking is that T-Rex likely did have some "proto-feathers" on the top of its head and possibly down part of its back. These proto-feathers wouldn't look like feathers as we generally think of them today, though, and they certainly wouldn't be useful for flight. They'd be more akin to the downy feathers of young chicks, almost a kind of soft fuzz. What this means, then, is that the popular conception of what a Tyrannosaurus looks like -- what's used in pretty much every dinosaur-related movie and TV show -- isn't accurate. This would include any T-Rex that shows up in comic books, including Devil Dinosaur.

Should Marvel then consider re-designing Devil Dinosaur to better reflect what T-Rexes looked like? With proto-feathers on top of its head?

I say "yes." Primarily because I want to see the NextWave version of Devil Dinosaur with a Donald Trump/so-bad-it-looks-like-a-wig hair style! Come on! Tell me you don't want to see that, too! Someone talk to the folks at Marvel about this!
Devil Dinosaur in NextWave
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