Jurassic (Ted Rechlin)

Not long after starting Dino Dad Reviews, I began discovering many more authors and artists engaged in creative prehistoric projects than even I’d ever imagined! Upon discovering Ted Rechlin on Twitter, I was immediately intrigued, and knew I’d have to feature his work at some point. I looked up his portfolio at Rextooth Studios and found an entire series of prehistoric graphic novels, ranging in topic from prehistoric sharks to Ice Age mammals. But I found my eye immediately drawn to Jurassic, because how can you beat the Golden Age of dinosaurs? Especially in light of the recent revival of the name “Brontosaurus”, which the book capitalizes on to full effect.

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OMG HYPE!!!

The story opens with a young Brontosaurus and its mother, kicking things off with a bang as the straying youngster finds itself the target of a hungry Allosaurus. The mother intervenes in time to save her young one, but the tone of the story has been set, and we see that this will be no idyllic romp through some prehistoric Eden.

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I’m sure I’m not the only one who will be reminded of the opening scenes of Dinosaur while reading these panels… by which I mean Disney’s Dinosaur… the one from 2000. Lord, what a frustratingly basic and generic movie title.

The pair hardly has a chance to relax after this scare, when a bombastic pair of male Brontosaurs begin a thunderous fight for dominance. In the cacophanous confusion, the baby ends up cut off from its mother, accidentally slipping into a stream and finding itself swept away. (The scene incidentally owes much to the dynamic duo over at Sauropod Vertebra Picture of the Week, and their “BRONTOSMASH!” hypothesis. Essentially, the heavily-reinforced necks of Brontosaurus suggests a possible use as combat weapons, inspiring many awesome illustrations such as the one seen in this very comic book.)

BRONTOSMASH
BRONTOSMASH!

The youngster navigates a dangerous world full of predators and unsympathetic fellow herbivores, before a climactic showdown where the baby finds itself cornered by multiple carnivores. As instinct kicks in, he proves himself against the smaller Ornitholestes, before his worried mother finally finds him again and escorts him away from the larger threats.

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Here’s a photo giving a sense of the size of the physical book for any of those wondering.

 

I rather enjoyed this book. All the dinosaurs look very nice, and the designs are clearly well-researched. The colors of the animals may trend a little too neon at times for some picky readers, though it’s nowhere near as over-the-top flamboyant as say, a Luis V. Rey illustration. I think the vibrant colors really help grab one’s attention, and make for a refreshingly enjoyable flight of speculation compared to some more subdued illustrations.

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Even the Allosaurus gets a nice ending, as in a minor twist we see it bring its kill back to a nest of hungry hatchlings. In a similar message to the recent short film Sharp Teeth, we see that this killer was never a sinister, evil monster after all, but rather itself simply a dutiful mother.

If any of my readers have read Ricardo Delgado’s Age of Reptiles series before, I would say this book gives off a similar vibe, especially compared to some of Delgado’s slightly more subdued later stories. The main difference lies mainly in the storytelling; while Delgado engages in entirely visual storytelling, Rechlin’s stories include a narrator, which allows him to convey some of the actual science behind the fantastic creatures on display. (Incidentally, I considered reviewing Age of Reptiles as well, but I doubt I could come close to Mark Witton’s excellent retrospective of his work, so for now I’ll just direct you there instead if you’re interested in learning more about Delgado’s work.) I would definitely rank Rechlin’s work up there close to Delgado himself, earning Rechlin’s Jurassic the Dino Dad Stomp of Approval!

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