Review: Devil Dinosaur #1

Devil Dinosaur #1 cover
Cover by Jack Kirby

Devil Dinosaur #1
Published and © by Marvel, April 1978

Title: “Devil Dinosaur and Moon-Boy”
Synopsis: Moon-Boy remembers the fateful night that first brought him and Devil Dinosaur together as brothers.

Writer: Jack Kirby
Penciler: Kirby
Inker: Mike Royer

Review: Decades ago, Devil Dinosaur helped introduce a new generation of comic-book readers to Jack Kirby. This was the legendary artist who co-created much of the Marvel universe? Really? No wonder it took this reviewer so long to warm up to the King’s work. Conceptually, Devil Dinosaur is the weakest of Kirby’s later Marvel books, lacking the larger-than-life imagination that infused so much of his work. The art is also quite dated, though certain pages do bristle with the trademark Kirby power. Not a winner back in 1978, but offers a bit more charm today.

Grade: B-

Second opinion: “In less than a minute, Jack Kirby’s bold layouts convinced me how my 35¢ would be spent that week.” – Gene Kannenberg Jr., Comic Effect #8, Winter 1994 … “3 out of 4 stars.” – Brent Frankenhoff, Comics Buyer’s Guide #1667, July 2010 … “This is the book that will upset everybody. … It will even – this is how silly it is – upset the little kid who moves his lips as he reads it on the john.” – Kim Thompson, The Comics Journal #39, April 1978 … “Trite and simplistic and anyone over the age of nine will get little satisfaction from this comic.” – Steve Whitaker, FantaCo’s Chronicle’s Series Annual #1, 1983 … “This title has all of Jack Kirby’s energy about it and is a hell of a lot of fun, but it’s also a hell of a lot of outrageous silliness.” – Hero Illustrated Special Edition Vol. 4, No. 1, May, 1994 … “One of many titles written and drawn by Jack Kirby – in a hurry, one suspects – where the grandiose concepts and promise of an astounding universe were never fulfilled by the rather clichéd characters that propelled it” – The Slings & Arrows Comic Guide (second edition), 2003

Cool factor: There’s a two-page spread of a dinosaur smackdown is pretty cool. 
Not-so-cool factor: Not as awful as many remember, but certainly not Kirby’s finest hour.

Notable: First appearance of Devil Dinosaur and Moon-Boy.

Character quotable: “Thunder-Horn is too proud to run and too slow-witted to win! This is a sorry day for him!” – Moon-Boy, whose contribution to the book seems to be providing color commentary for dinosaur MMA matches

Editor’s note: This review was originally published by Comics Bronze Age on April 22, 2016.

A two-page splash from Devil Dinosaur #1, drawn by Jack Kirby and Mike Royer.

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