Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Turtles, Meet Dinosaurs; or, The Most Accurate Paleoart in 2014 Comics

As LITC's senior comics correspondent, it pains me to say that 2014 has been a fairly forgettable year for dinosaurs in comics. Devil Dinosaur continues to be inexplicably denied an ongoing series. DC's The War That Time Forgot never quite took off, and Brett Booth is busy drawing cluttered superhero costumes instead of elaborate archosaurs. Even Dynamite's relaunch of Turok, a title that should be a showcase for prehistoric mayhem, is saddled with an artist uninterested in creating animals that are accurate, interesting, or well characterized. (It should be impossible to make anachronistic Crusaders riding raptors boring, but apparently miracles happen. Deadly dull miracles.)

Disgraceful. In general, it was starting to look as if we were going to have to wait for the inevitable tie-in to Jurassic World to get our fix. 

And then this happened. 

That's right. The most accurate and energetic dinosaurs of 2014 are appearing in, of all places, a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles comic. 

Monday, June 23, 2014

Where fibreglass dinosaurs go to die

One further indulgence in the world of ugly life-sized models before our illustration-reviewing service resumes (Asher's got a corker coming up by the look of it, and I'll probably be able to squeeze a VDA out in the near future, too). Earlier in the year, Niroot and I visited Blackgang Chine to gawp at their newly mobile dinosaur collection. While a few of the old stodgy static models do remain, we did wonder - what happened to the rest, not least that most memorable of mascots, The World's Derpiest T. rex?

Well, Arron Swaffar, aka The Nutters Productions, found out...

One would've thought that Blackgang wouldn't miss out on the opportunity to make a crafty few quid by auctioning off bits of their beloved old dinosaurs, but no - here they are, broken up and heaped on a cliff top out of sight of the public. The film doesn't need disconcerting music and echoing voice samples to shock - for any fan of Blackgang and/or ugly '70s dinosaur models, this is heartbreaking stuff.

By the way, there really is an abandoned house in an area owned by the park - long since left behind in the face of unstoppable coastal erosion. And now it's haunted by a caveman family. Brrr...

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Rise of the Robosaurs at Marwell

Marwell Zoo is a marvellous (Marwell-vellous?) wildlife park located in Hampshire, in the south of England. Its vast, open acres are home to perhaps the widest variety of (very happy-looking) exotic ungulates in the UK (and much more besides, of course). For me, at least one visit per year is a must, but this summer the park has also installed sundry robo-saurians about the grounds as part of what it's calling 'Rise of the Dinosaurs'. To quote a famous delivery boy: "Just shut up and take my money!"

Photos mostly by Niroot (marked NP)

Friday, June 13, 2014

Dinosaurs of Brussels

Brussels is an intriguing city - home to the European Parliament, breathtakingly stunning buildings, more recent, butt-ugly buildings, fantastic beer, busy but untalented graffiti artists, and countless gift shops stuffed with tiny statuettes of a young boy taking a leak. It's also home to the Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences*, also known as the Museum of Natural Sciences, and confusingly promoted about town using just the word 'museum' (often, but not always, accompanied by a John Sibbick-aping Iguanodon logo). The RBINS boasts the largest dinosaur gallery in Europe, occupying some 300 square metres. Fortunately for all concerned, it's a completely wonderful piece of work, packed with far, far more than the spiky-thumbed ornithopods you were expecting.

Monday, June 2, 2014

The Unfeathered Bird in the Time of Jersey Boys

Another shamelessly indulgent post which I nevertheless hope is made up for in sheer geekery. On the last day of his visit to London, Chris DiPiazza of Jersey Boys Hunt Dinosaurs met up with Marc and I once again at the Grant Museum of Zoology, where we were also joined by none other than Katrina van Grouw, the brilliant artist and author of The Unfeathered Bird, a book which has not only been mentioned by us many times, but which every reader of this blog should be in possession of by now (and if not, I recommend rectifying the situation post-haste!).

From left: Katrina, Marc, Chris, and me