Thursday, January 20, 2011

Jack Kirby's Devil Dinosaur

Publication History

The only comic book series to feature Devil Dinosaur was short lived, lasting only nine months (April – December 1978). The original Devil Dinosaur series chronicled Devil and Moon-Boy's adventures in their home, "Dinosaur World". After the cancellation of Devil Dinosaur, the character’s appearances were relegated to one-shot comics, cameos, and supporting roles in other series.

Devil Dinosaur and Moon-Boy were the brainchild of artist Jack Kirby who scripted and penciled all nine issues of the first series. Devil Dinosaur was created during Kirby's third stint at Marvel (1975–1978) with the original series being produced with hopes of being picked up as an animated series.[1] Perhaps not coincidentally, seventeen years earlier Kirby had penciled Amazing Adventures #3 (August 1961) in which a time-traveling couple encounter a red Tyrannosaurus Rex similar in appearance to Devil Dinosaur.

In Devil Dinosaur #1, Kirby states in the "Dinosaur Dispatches" letters column (see image) that the original intent was for Moon-Boy and Devil to be an early human and dinosaur from Earth's past. Kirby writes: "After all, just where the Dinosaur met his end, and when Man first stood reasonably erect, is still shrouded in mystery." Writers subsequent to Kirby have approached the character’s origin in various ways. Some have followed Kirby’s lead and portrayed the character as being from the prehistoric past of the main Marvel continuity (sometimes referred to as “Earth-616”), while others have depicted Devil as hailing from either an alien planet or a planet located in an alternate reality. Marvel’s most recent publications list Devil’s home of origin as "Dinosaur World (Earth-78411)", a primitive Earth-like planet existing in one of the many alternate universes contained within the Marvel Multiverse.

The first appearance of Devil Dinosaur after the cancellation of the original series in 1978 was in Marvel's Godzilla comic book series of 1979.[3] The character was not to be referenced again in a Marvel comic until 1986 when the Thing of the Fantastic Four travels to a Pacific island where "Devil Dinosaur: The Movie" is being produced. During the Thing's visit, Godzilla appears. After battling and destroying a robot Devil Dinosaur used in the film, Godzilla disappears once again into the ocean. Devil Dinosaur himself does not actually appear in the 1986 story, but beginning with the Fallen Angels limited series of 1987 the character has continued to make appearances in Marvel publications at sporadic intervals.

The young Devil Dinosaur was nearly burned to death by a tribe of Killer-Folk, hostile beings native to his planet, but was rescued by Moon-Boy, a young member of a rival tribe, the Small-Folk. Exposure to the Killer-Folk's fire activated a mutation in the dinosaur which gave him powers greater than others of his species and turned his skin from olive green to flame red. Devil Dinosaur is fiercely loyal to his constant companion Moon-Boy and seems more intelligent than the average dinosaur (as they are portrayed in the comic). Devil encounters extraterrestrials and is briefly transported to Earth via magic before returning to his home world.

Later, Godzilla rampages through the Marvel Universe (Earth-616). In an attempt to stop the monster, S.H.I.E.L.D. shrinks Godzilla with Pym Particles and attempts to teleport him via a time machine to the prehistoric past. However, Godzilla's radiation apparently distorts the time machine so that he is transported to the alternate universe of Dinosaur World instead. While there, he briefly unites with Moon-Boy and Devil against a common foe before being pulled back to the main Marvel continuity.

Member of the Fallen Angels

After Ariel, an extraterrestrial mutant with teleportation powers, teleports the Fallen Angels to Dinosaur World, the group convinces Devil and Moon-Boy to join their team and return with them to Earth-616. During his time with the Fallen Angels, Devil Dinosaur kills "Don", the super-intelligent mutant lobster on the team by accidentally stepping on him. Devil and Moon-Boy return to their own universe when the Fallen Angels eventually disband.

Dinosaur World again

After their stint with the Fallen Angels, the duo's time back on Dinosaur World is interrupted numerous times by events occurring in the main Marvel continuity. During a conflict between Slapstick and his time manipulating foe, Doctor Yesterday, Devil and Moon-Boy are briefly teleported to Earth-616. In the midst of a tussle between Technet and Lockheed inside Excalibur's lighthouse, Devil is once again briefly transported to Earth-616. Young Celestials transport the Hulk back in time to combat Devil. A renegade Skrull flees to Devil's planet and uses his shape shifting abilities to impersonate the late leader of the Killer-Folk, Seven Scars.

Stranded on Earth 616 in modern times

Some time later, the sorceress Jennifer Kale, in an attempt to return Howard the Duck to his homeworld, inadvertently teleports Devil Dinosaur and Moon-Boy into her New York apartment. The disoriented dinosaur rampages through the city before being subdued by Ghost Rider.[13] Stranded in modern day Earth-616 after their teleportation there by Kale, the pair is hypnotized into joining the Circus of Crime. After being rescued by Spider-Man, Devil and Moon-Boy are relocated to the Savage Land.

The Heroes For Hire mercenaries go on a mission to retrieve Moon-Boy from the Savage Land and encounter Devil Dinosaur in the process. Devil is found fiercely guarding a nest containing a clutch of eggs that apparently he himself has laid and the dinosaur abandons Moon-Boy to ensure their safety. The discrepancy between this development and his previously presumed male sex is noted by the mercenaries, who can only speculate as to the cause of the change. After returning to the U.S. the Heroes for Hire disband and group member Paladin leaves alone with Moon-Boy to collect the reward from the S.H.I.E.L.D. scientists who hired the mercenaries.

Moon-Boy would remain under the custody of S.H.I.E.L.D. for some time, which drove Devil Dinosaur into a sort of saurian depression. Refusing to eat, or defend himself, he was in danger of dying. However, Stegron, the dinosaur man, became worried about the survival of the Devil-Beast due to it being the last known of its species. Leaving the Savage Land without the permission of Ka-Zar and building an army of reanimated dinosaurs, Stegron marched across the U.S. attacking S.H.I.E.L.D. base after base, until he was eventually stopped by the Fifty State Initiative. However, the group discovered the motive behind Stegron's plan, and though he was arrested all the same, the Initiative recruit Reptil, smuggled Moon-Boy back to the Savage Land, where he was reunited with his companion.

Later when the Roxxon Energy Corporation attempts to extract vibranium from the Savage Land, the inhabitants of the Savage Land including Ka-Zar, Devil Dinosaur and Moon-Boy enter into battle to save their home.

Eventually Devil meets the Pet Avengers, when they are accidentally transported to his world. Out of shock and anger, Devil attacks the group, but eventually the group of animalian avengers manage to return to their own world.

Devil has been scattered across the timeline due to the tampering of numerous individuals. First the mercenary Deadpool accidentally transported Devil out of his home timeline and left him and Moon Boy stranded in the Ice Age.[volume & issue needed] Later due to the actions of future terrorist Kang the Conquerer, Devil was transported back to modern times with warrior Killraven.

Powers and abilities

Devil Dinosaur is a gigantic reptile, with the instinctive savagery of a carnivore, and possesses superhuman strength and durability. He possesses above normal intelligence, on a par with humans

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