DEVIL DINOSAURMedium: Comic Books
Published by: Marvel Comics
First Appeared: 1978
Creator: Jack Kirby
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When Jack Kirby died, in 1994, a special book was planned as a memorial tribute — one in which hundreds of comics artists would each draw a picture of one of the hundreds of characters Kirby had a
hand in creating. According to project coordinator Mark Evanier, the one more artists requested than any other was not Fighting American, Thor or The Demon. It was Devil Dinosaur. The big red guy may not be as iconic as Captain America, as enduring as The Silver Surfer or as commercially successful as The Fantastic Four — but clearly, he's highly regarded by those who know him.
Devil and his mammal sidekick, Moon-Boy, were introduced in Marvel Comics' Devil Dinosaur #1, dated April, 1978. Moon-Boy was one of the Dawn Men — "New to the world and exceedingly bright," as Kirby described them in that first issue — although he looked like he might still have a little ape in him. Except for their mutual bond, both were loners — Devil because his family was slain by the Killer-Folk, and Moon-Boy because his people threw him out for consorting with Devil. Together, they ranged over a world of predatory reptiles, sub-human beast men, exploding volcanos, and other familiar sights of the pulp magazine and B-movie version of the Prehistoric World — and every adventure was both written and drawn by Kirby, and inked by Mike Royer.
Their sojourn was brief, however, as the comic lasted only nine issues the last was dated December, 1978. And that was the end of Kirby's involvement with Devil Dinosaur and Moon-Boy.
But not the end of the characters. In developments so astounding they could happen only in comic books, Devil and Moon-Boy were transported to the present era, and became active in the mainstream Marvel Universe. First they got involved with The New Mutants, an X-Men spin-off. Then Ghost Rider. In 1997, they were given a giant special, The Devil Dinosaur Spring Fling, in which several writer/artist teams got to handle them. Exact figures are hard to come by, but according to available information, it was the worst-selling Marvel comic of recent memory.
Despite such sales, interest in the characters remains high — among the folks who write and draw Marvel Comics, if not those who read them. In a 1998 adventure with Spider-Man, Devil and Moon-Boy wound up in The Savage Land, where Ka-Zar lives. That seems like a good place for them — handy, so those who want to can stick them into a story; yet stashed in a corner where they won't get in the way of the better-selling characters.