Monday, August 5, 2013

The Short Arm of Facism!

Let's talk about Nazi Dinosaurs.

If we're being honest, it's kind of a weird subject to tackle. It's true that dinosaurs have a tendency to crop up in all kinds of strange places, carrying symbolic baggage that varies from the intuitive to the bizarre. They're symbols of old worlds, forgotten spaces, embodying the horrors of deep time and extinction. Sometimes they're agents of cool. Sometimes they're just animals.

Occasionally, however, it appears that dinosaurs (like other large entities who should know better) get tangled up in fascism. It's a sadly common story. One day you're a normal theropod--and they are always theropods--going about your business, and the next you're dressing in ill-considered regalia and attempting to heil a tiny, screaming little mammalian lunatic. With difficulty, of course, because your wrists don't bend that way.

While dinosaurs are not the only old, outmoded institution to occasionally flirt with fascism (as Prince Harry can attest) they do seem to do it with some regularity. The team behind the recent video game Dino D-Day, not content to simply unleash cloned prehistory upon the freedom loving world, have announced an animated series. One can only imagine what kind of wacky adventures those kraut karnosaurs will get up to.

Some dinosaurs are more committed then others, of course. The poor beast battling Boy King and The Giant doesn't seem entirely interested in the cause, wearing only a giant headband around one thigh. Which does demonstrate a properly fascist lack of imagination.

Nothing brings death to democracy quite like misplaced accessories.

Other dinosaurs are true believers. One such is Tyrannosaurus Reich, a character from DC Comics who wears a full Nazi uniform and speaks only in German. Wikipedia blandly notes that he "...was pulled to earth through a dimensional portal from a dimension inhabited by Nazi dinosaurs," because comics are immune to such petty constraints as taste, logic, or sanity.

Really, this image raises more questions then it answers. How does a dimension of dinosaurs fall under the sway of Nazism, considering the complex factors that lead to the party's eventual takeover of the German state? Did a copy of Mein Kampf, cast adrift through the ether by some mad scientist, strike a random dinosaur like a bolt of evil inspiration? Can dinosaurs read German? What does dinosaurian Nazism entail, exactly? Who made the gun? 

While the conflation of dinosaurs with Nazism is understandable, there are subtle differences. One of them is a savage relic of a different, stupider time, a dead end, a miserable mistake whose last struggling remnants will eventually fixed by the long sweep of history. The other evolved into birds.

But imagine for a moment how comforting that comparison is. What a visceral symbol, locking away the greatest existential threat of the twentieth century within the twisted body of an extinct organism! A plucked extinct organism, at that. While it's possible that these are simply the archosaurian equivalent of skinheads, a more likely explanation presents itself for the lack of feathers. These dinosaurs, like neo-nazi movements of today, are locked in the past. Fossilized. Going nowhere.

After all, you don't see feathered dinosaurs indulging in this lunacy, do you?


  1. The "Danger 5" series features an episode entitled "Lizard - Soldiers from the Third reich", featuring machine-gun dinosaurs

    As for Nazi - birds - The cartoon series “Alfred J. Kwak” (1989-1991) features one plot where the peaceful monarchy of the animal kingdome becomes ruled by the “Crow Party” with appropriately a supreme leader - a crow waering a Hitler beard

    P.S. Tyrannosaurus Reich strangely mentions he comes from the Kaiser-Zeit (OK, it´s a spoof of Kreidezeit), but incorrect kind of government

  2. Historical note: In the last picture T. reich says, he's got a hunch, he's not in the Imperial age anymore. Which was an era in German history that ended just before the rise of nazism when Germany lost WWI.
    So, either DC Comics is confused on german history (surprising, I know), this is a mistranslation of "Reich" (meaning Empire), or this dino nazi world has a very different history to ours, just randomly also having developed nazism. Then again, a company that went on to unwittingly name itself "Detective Comics Comics" is probably just generally confused about the fact things tend to have a history.

    1. According to my awful German skills, in the first one he says, "So where are all these little monkeys coming from?!!?" and in the second one he says, "Flying apes??!! I have a feeling I'm not in [what Thomas said] any more...."

  3. Any chance of less (modern) political sniping on a dinosaur blog?

  4. "After all, you don't see feathered dinosaurs indulging in this lunacy, do you?"

    That depends on whether this counts:


  5. How do you fight Nazi dinosaurs?

  6. After all, you don't see feathered dinosaurs indulging in this lunacy, do you?

    Except for eagles.

  7. there are actually 2 comic series out right now that are mixing dinosaurs and WWII. The better one is called Half Past Danger. It's been fun so far. Major Bummer was a very underrated comic that was cancelled too early. Tyrannosaurus Reich is hilarious.

    1. When Half Past Danger comes out in trade, I'm going to buy it and do a review. I'm looking forward to getting my hands on it.

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