Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Terrible '90s Dromaeosaur Face-Off: THE FINAL

So it's come to this. Let's get on with it, shall we?

In the blue corner: the much loved Neil Lloyd Deinonychus-mummy (or "mutant '80s allosaur") from The Humongous Book of Dinosaurs and the Dinosaurs! magazine series. Perhaps the most remarkable feat achieved by this turd-brown shrivelled aberration in the tournament was seeing off an adorable, orange-hued lookalike in the semi-finals. It's almost certainly down to fond memories of the aforementioned magazine series and, in particular, just how hit-and-miss its illustrations could be.

In the red corner: the croco-Velociraptor from those Dinosaurier trading cards that David discovered. The lively pose and haphazardly assembled body parts have made this Frankenstein's monster of dromaeosaurs a popular contender. But will it be able to hold its own against the powerful nostalgic pull of the prune-o-nychus?

It's all down to you, o readers! Let voting commence! The winner will be announced on the first of November (although Halloween would probably be more appropriate), and I'll make sure I'm suitably inebriated before writing it in order to ensure a fitting send-off for the winning piece of lamentable palaeoart. Hurrah!


  1. I vote for the Lloyd. Who could resist those charming looks? The bottom one is clearly an anthropomorphic alligator and therefore disqualified!

  2. This one is no contest. I'm voting for the geriatric deinonychus uptop. It looks like something out of Silent Hill.

    Hmmm...a Silent Hill spinoff taking place in prehistoric times could be interesting, come to think of it...

  3. This is really tough. My criteria for these is generally to ask myself "how easy is it to figure out what the illustrator was thinking?" It's a wash with these two.

    Both have bunny hands. Neither has a trace of feathers. Both heads are sort of like the dino they're supposed to represent. The sickle-claw is better represented in pruney, though that foot on the viewer's right is questionable. This is almost a coin flip.

    In the end, pruney is just a tiny bit more baffling to me... so I'm going with the blue corner.

  4. Pruney in the Blue Corner by far. It's the derpy face and the deformed left foot that seal the deal for me.

  5. Gotta go Pruney too (blue corner). Nostalgia wins out.

  6. I´m going with Blue too, much more charismatic (I remember far worse deinonychosaurs from said book btw).

  7. I'm not sure what I'm voting for. The best or worst...

    The trading card one isn't actually all that terrible considering the era it was made in. He gets the head anatomy somewhat correct, and all the other bits and pieces are there. They just aren't measured or propotioned...

    The top one is kind of horrific. It looks to me like a really badly done rehash of the Deinoychus from David Norman's 1988 Dinosaur Encyclopedia (don't have my copy here in Hong Kong, and I can't remember the artist's name)

    So if this is a vote for the better the bottom trading card. If it is a vote for the worst the top one wins hands down.

    Not sure I like this format of picking on individual pieces of art though. Especially old ones. As a palaeo-artist it makes me uneasy that we are looking down our noses at people in the past because they lacked the knowledge we have now.

    Yes I know these aren't scientific illustrations, and the top one is probably a delibrate ripping off of someone else's piece. Still up until JP I'd say this was the accepted standard of palaeo-art, and we shouldn't be judging from our spoiled position in the golden age of palaeontology.

    For example I get the impression the bottom guy did some homework on that piece. Yes he made a lot of mistakes, but I can see the Velociraptor in that (especially in pre JP thinking).

    I'd be more interested in meme tracking. Finding how ideas in palaeo-art start off innocently, but spiral out of control in kids and popular dinosaur books as artist after artist repeat (and mutate) an idea Sadly all my old childhood Dinosaur books are back in Canada...

  8. Croco-raptor in the red corner for me. Long may he reign!

  9. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lfkWoaQmpoQ&feature=related

    The Mummy in the Blue corner. Everyone knows the only thing that can beat the mummy is a scorpion king. Or Brendan Fraser.

  10. Blue corner! Besides the nostalgic feeling that... ergh... thing brings it's wrong in so many aspects and I'm not talking about its anatomical marvelous left foot. (its tail is like in a whole different dimension too than the rest of the body)

    The croco-raptor is actually something I could see people ordering in a restaurant "six legs of those in the back, please". While the D. mummy would just invoke disgusting feelings in people.

  11. Red corner wins. I appreciate the artistic license - the 'sickle' claw looks to be on the third toe. Also, it's chasing a small animal (Charlie Knight would be proud!)

  12. @Traumador: It's not about picking the 'best' or 'worst' - it's about picking your favourite based on whatever criteria you like. Although if you need a nudge, make it the worst.

    Also, I'm quite aware that picking on old palaeoart from the lofty position of the 21st century is extremely unfair. But I'm just a bastard.

  13. @Traumador: For what it's worth, I'm exactly of your position regarding ridiculing anyone's artistic efforts, especially older ones; though I think the spirit of this is very much a light-hearted one and not intended as attacks on the artists themselves. I think if even I have been persuaded to take part in it, that might be saying something. :D

    On which note, I realise I hadn't made a decision yet. Blue it is.

  14. Niroot said something that I should have - it is intended to be light-hearted. I'm well aware of the benefits of hindsight, but also aware that it's fun to have a giggle (with apologies to the artists involved).

    In any case, if you feel that one of the contenders isn't worthy of being dubbed 'terrible', then vote for the one that is!

  15. Gotta vote Croco Raptor and his knobbely feet!

  16. How about a toy/model face off next time?! You know there's plenty to choose from ;)

    I work as a preschool teacher and found this beauty in another group's classroom recently. I just had to share with someone - and my co-workers and family are not exactly people who would enjoy a discussion on dinosaur anatomy (one of them for instance is quite convinced mammoths were dinosaurs...). So I thought this might be a good place... It is indeed a velociraptor - the name is written on its stomach. Although I kind of like to think they took all dinosaurs they could think of and just combined them into one super-dino. My favourite part is the smiling beak.
    (Sorry about the poor quality - taken with my phone)

    1. I'd certainly be in favour of a dinosaur toy face-off. May we appeal to our beloved authors to sanction such a thing?


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