Age of Reptiles: The Journey #1


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Age of Reptiles: The Journey #1


  • Words: Ricardo Delgado
  • Art: Ricardo Delgado
  • Colors: Jim Campbell
  • Publisher: Dark Horse Comics
  • Price: $3.50
  • Release Date: Nov 4, 2009

Taking a break from storyboarding for Hollywood, Delgado returns to his Eisner Award winning tale of the dinosaurs.

This is a striking book. From its cover that, along with the interior art, recalls Geoff Darrow and museum bookstore kid’s books at the same time to its wordless yet meaty narrative, this book sets itself apart from the rest of the white noise clogging the shelves at your local comic store.

Delgado hits the reader with an emotional, touching and dramatic story. What is most impressive is the pantomime. It is a hard thing to pull off and something that is seen more rarely in this world of super-decompressed serial narratives. When combined with needless splash pages and the attention deficient youth of today, comics seem to have lost some of their allure to youngsters. However, Delgado is not afraid to challenge them. He knows that to create an effective all ages title, it is important to communicate with the audience not to merely communicate at them.

That is why the depth of emotion is so impressive here. In quick succession, he lays out the diversity of life in the period of the book. From rich fauna, to vast rock formations, from flying lizards to insects and lizards that resemble those of this era, there is a cornucopia of characters for him to chose from.

Here, he follows a herd of some of the less fearsome dinosaurs as they migrate. There is no real reason given for the migration, but there is the sense that something is afoot. It could be any myriad of things that has this grouping of different large herds moving as one. Most likely, the tyrannosaur that follows the group has something to do with it. While not being graphic in his violence, Delgado lays out the very real threat of the era and creates exciting action sequences.

There is also the lovingness he handles the family units in the herds with. There is a sense that there is true affection here. Despite a cutesy circle of life intro, you get a sense of the amount of work it takes to keep the herd together and it is obvious how important the creatures are to each other as a result.

There is also the cinematic approach Delgado gives his panels. He has a definite handle on how to handle action as well as warmth and emotional content. His work in Hollywood is understandable given the talent shown here.

There is also a nice editorial column in the back where the artist talks about his affection and respect for the films of Ray Harryhausen. I have often talked about my affinity for well conceived and informative back matter. This essay is on a whole other level though. With his talk of what appeals to younger readers and his love for one of Harryhausen’s films, he transforms the story into more. There is one film in particular that he cites as inspiration, The Valley of the Gwangi. Evidently, this film is a typical western that happens to feature dinosaurs and as I read the essay, I realized how the comic worked like a western with the T-Rex as the villain, the triceratops as the lawmen and the rest of the herd as the townspeople being terrorized. It has shades of High Noon or Seven Samurai and as such has a more archetypal story grounding it.

Age of Reptiles is a rich and dynamic comic. Its story's rich details and narrative make it a true stand out in the shelves today.

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