For those who hate words but love dinosaurs, there is Richard Delgado’s Age Of Reptiles. Beautifully drawn, and highly detailed, this comic is a true testament to the storytelling ability of sequential art. Delgado, using scientifically accurate depictions of dinosaurs, wordlessly crafts compelling narratives that many writers could never hope to achieve. His artwork alone speaks for itself, and each panel could be blown up and hung on a wall. Every panel is so deeply detailed, it is a true joy to examine every tiny bit of fauna and creature that he so masterfully creates. Delgado cites western and samurai films as his influence for this particular entry in his Age of Reptiles series, and pits the protagonist, a spinosaurus, against all odds. The spinosaurus is a loner, seeking only survival, but he finds more than he gambled for in the jungles of ancient Egypt (yes, it wasn’t always desert). Seeking only sustenance and shelter, the spinosaurus finds himself in the middle of a violent feud between some large herbivores (some type of sauropod) and a pack of allosaurus. In a brutal but failed attack on the herd, one allosaurus finds himself separated from his pack, and in a violent act of revenge the bull sauropod stomps him to death. Yes, Delgado has kind of created a gang war between dinosaur species, and it’s pretty damn cool. The dynamic between the two gangs escalates when the allosaurus steal and devour the sauropods’ babies (so brutal). Ultimately our drifter spinosaurus finds himself in the middle of all this, while just trying to make it by. It gets pretty crazy, and is especially remarkable for a comic that is entirely wordless.
The main takeaway from this comic is the fact that it proves how effective comics can be in terms of storytelling. Delgado is an auteur, and in fine form, in his own prehistoric element. The entire book plays out almost like an animated short, and honestly would work as such. Panel to panel the dinosaurs jump across the page, painting a picture of a strange world with even stranger creatures. As a kid I used to love looking at dinosaur books, to see how the illustrator would fill in the skeletons of long-dead reptiles with color and life. Delgado certainly takes some liberty and allows his imagination to fill in the blanks, but dinosaur illustrations have always been a canvas for the artist in a way.
Delgado, combining elements of westerns, samurai films, and action movies with dinosaurs, wrapped up in a wordless comic, it’s just crazy enough to work. There’s a lot to love here, from the art, to the story, this is a comic that anyone can pick up and become engrossed in immediately, plus it only takes about half an hour to read. If you’re looking for bloody dinosaur action, look no further than Delgado’s Age of Reptiles.
Age Of Reptiles: Ancient Egyptians Writer/Artist: Ricardo Delgado Publisher: Dark Horse Comics Price: $14.99 Release Date: 1/6/16 Format: TPB; Print/Digital