The dinos do what they were hired to do.


Original medium: Comic books
Published by: Eternity Comics
First Appeared: 1988
Creators: Tom Mason (writer) and Bryon Carson (artist)
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In the 1980s, the Direct Market in comic book distribution having "lowered the bar" for entry to the comics publishing field, the market was flooded with unexpected comic book concepts like Trollords and Ninja High School — a trend encouraged by the surprise success of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Suddenly comics stores were full of Turtles-inspired comics, not just direct rip-offs like Adolescent Radioactive Black Belt Hamsters and Pre-teen Dirty Gene Kung Fu Kangaroos, but …

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… other bizarre, high-concept series like Fish Police and The Eye of Mongombo. One of the highest and most bizarre was Dinosaurs for Hire.

One of the common elements the Dinos lacked was an origin story. Most such comics spent the bulk of the first issue explaining how the title characters came to be as they were in the series — how the Turtles came to be both ninjas and teenage mutants, for example. But in Dinosaurs for Hire, the mechanism by which long-extinct creatures became available for hire (like Luke Cage, if there's any ambiguity) in the late 20th century wasn't mentioned. In their first issue, published by Eternity Comics (Evil Ernie, The Trouble with Girls) and dated March 1988, they were already in place, and simply went on from there. The first issue was written by Tom Mason (Robotech) and drawn by Bryon Carson (who is best known for this series).

Eternity was one of a small cluster of publishers that included Malibu (Dreadstar), Bravura (Power & Glory), Aircel (Men in Black) and a couple of others.

Despite the fact that personal names were unknown among real-life dinosaurs (since no creature on Earth had yet evolved the power of verbal articulation), these dinosaurs were called Archie, Lorenzo, Reese and Cyrano. Archie was a Tyrannosaurus rex who dressed like a Mafia hit-man, Lorenzo was a triceratops who liked Hawaiian shirts, Reese was a stegosaurus with only one eye, and Cyrano, who wasn't always with them, was a pterodactyl. All carried heavy weaponry to help them accomplish the acts they were hired to do.

They continued being hired for nine issues, the last one dated 1990. By that time, a coalescence of imprints had left them published by the Malibu branch of the company. They were also published in three specials from Malibu, and in several video games. A few years later, Malibu brought them back. This time, they were published for 12 issues, running from February, 1993 to February, 1994.

Dinosaurs for Hire had run their course and were never seen again.


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Text ©2010 Donald D. Markstein. Art © Eternity Comics.