Devil Dinosaur is my favorite Jack Kirby creation. Sure, you can have your Silver Surfer, or your Orion, or your Captain America…but for me, I’ll always stand with the big red T-Rex!
Plus, his very existence allowed for amazing images like this…
It looks like Marvel holds the character in equally high-esteem, because he’s coming back in a new series by co-writers Amy Reeder and Brandon Montclare and artist Natacha Bustos. The twist this time? Instead of being paired with his long-time partner Moon Boy, he’ll now be joined by the teen-aged Lunella Lafayette.
How did this series, Moon Girl And Devil Dinosaur find its genesis? Editor Emily Shaw spoke with Entertainment Weekly about why Marvel is looking revamp this lesser-known property:
(Editor) Mark (Paniccia) and I were talking about how whenever people come in with young kids, or even just for Mark’s own kids, we don’t have that many publications that we can give to people that have that broad reach. Generally, we’re skewing a little bit older with a lot of our titles and we wanted to create something that adults and kids could really love, like a Pixar feel. That’s where the tone jumped off for us.
She discussed further about just why Reeder and Montclare’s pitch worked:
What really attracted Mark and I to the original Moon Girl pitch was how Amy and Brendan came to this world. The character lives in this world where people don’t really get her…that her brain just works a little differently than all of the other kids her age really resonated with us, and that idea of feeling sort of isolated and on your own during that very early time of life we thought was really compelling, and could really resonate with a lot of readers. That’s what really gave the story its heart at the beginning.
Reeder, in the conception of Moon Girl, compares her to a more capable version of another famous icon:
I think even immediately, when Mark was talking bout the possibility of a Moon Girl, in my head I had a character that I thought, ‘I would really like to draw something…(like a) female Inspector Gadget — only this time, she also knows what she’s doing.’ Moon Girl is definitely a type of personality that I had in my mind for a long time, that hopefully people can identify with in different aspects. We all feel isolated or left out at times. So it’s been a joy to try to create something like this.
Another change for the new series is that instead of being an alternate world where cavemen and dinosaurs live side-by-side, it will take place in modern times, in the world we live in. Montclare, for his part, can’t wait to dig into the situations that will lead towards:
What’s really cool is to be able to put a Tyrannosaurus Rex in modern day New York City and also juxtapose with a little girl. You’re going to have a 30-foot dinosaur interacting with a three-and-a-half tall girl…I can’t think of any other book that’s kind of like that, where you have these kind of crazy things that are going to be very different to work on. But if everyone can pull it off, it’s going to be a unique type of storytelling.
Though Moon Boy will appear in the comic, the creators say, along with flashbacks to the dinosaur world.
What’s most exciting about Moon Girl & Devil Dinosaur, beyond the creation of another all-ages title where we have such a dearth of them, is the introduction of a new diverse lead. Particularly given some of the concerns that were expressed recently regarding the publisher’s dedication to that subject, this is a step in the right direction. The addition of another female voice to Marvel’s creative roster is also very welcome news. Bustos spoke to EW on this topic:
…it’s great to be a part of the creation of something which can mean something special to so many people,” she said. “I myself have come up against this dilemma (I’m half Afro-Brazilian and half Chilean besides being Spanish) of finding few or no cultural references, especially in Spain, a country where there is isn’t any community comparable to the African American community in the states. You end up ironing out your differences and you need to work hard on this aspect to be able to continue maturing as a person…For decades now, we have seen more independent publishers taking a gamble on diversification, but always within the underground scene. It’s really important that the mainstream throws up new references like these and it’s an honor to be a part of that change that Marvel is bringing to the comic book creative landscape. A greater number of readers are looking for characters they can identify with, and above all, with the aim that any reader, whatever their background or lifestyle, is capable of transcending their own identities to see themselves in a mirror of entertainment for 20 or 30 minutes without any difference.
Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur debuts in November.
Entertainment Editor for The Beat covering film, television and the occasional comic book. His work can also be found at GeekRex.com and can be heard on the GeekRex podcast. Also, your go-to Grant Morrison/Love & Rockets/Hellboy/Legion of Super-Heroes expert.