Cap’n Dinosaur is one of the most fun single issues that Image has ever published. It features a whole host of characters like Cap’n Dinosaur himself, with his Dino Sense, Reptile Brain, and overworked Dino-Crine System; Honey Moon and her lunar based powers; Swami Midnight and his Hypno Disk; Muscle Mary, who gains her powers from mail-order power shakes; and Citizen Sputnik, whose head is literally just Sputnik. If you’re not at least a little bit intrigued by now, you need to relearn how to have fun. Go outside, play with a hula hoop, run through some waves on the beach or something. Lighten up, you crotchety old bastard.
The story begins when a drowned man falls from the sky and splatters on the sidewalk. Cap’n Dinosaur and his sidekick Honey Moon are called from their club house (helpfully labeled on the façade: CLUB HOUSE) to investigate. They follow their lead to Phoney Island, where they discover the Carnevil of Crime, which... Sheer genius. Kek-W, who’s a writer I’m not familiar with but who I might actually be in love with?, and Shaky Kane, whose artwork perfectly compliments this story, are a creative team who manage to combine almost all the things I love into this one comic. There’s some Enter the Dragon, there’re Sea Monkey Worker Drones, there are any number of things ripped straight from the ad section in a 1960s comic book, and just for fun, several different sizes of Frankenstein monsters.
Kane’s artwork is very clean and bright, which suits the mood of the story. It sort of feels like if Chris Ware illustrated a script that Jack Kirby left behind. He puts in a lot of double page spreads, and some of them don’t feel quite necessary, but a lot of them do a lot of great work setting up the world that we’re living in for the duration of this book.
In the tradition of crazed house ads, this book has some of the most bonkers-ass house advertising I’ve ever seen. I can’t even describe what they’re advertising, because I’m not sure I know what it actually is, but the copy is “PART DINOSAUR. PART BUBBLEGUM. TOTALLY CYBERAD!” I legitimately thought it was some next-level, self-referential art from Shaky Kane, so consider my surprise when I followed the provided URL and found a website advertising exactly what I thought I was looking at.
On a related note, I would not recommend taking anything mind-altering while you’re reading this book.
The only thing that didn’t really sit well with me was Honey Moon. Her powers are apparently lunar-based cycles, which increase when the moon is up, which also makes it tough for her to fight a werewolf, but that’s not the point. In a world where women are still struggling to be accepted into the comics community without accusations of fake-geek-girlhood, or threats of violence, is giving the superheroine in your comic powers that are thinly-veiled references to her period a good idea? I leave that up to you, constant reader, but it left a bad taste in my mouth.
Overall, this comic was a hell of a lot of fun. It’s like the advertisements from your favorite book coming to life and fighting the damn commies. It’s delightful. Sit down with it and get ready for action!
Writer: Kek-W Artist: Shaky Kane Publisher: Image Comics Price: $3.99 Release Date: 7/16/14 Format: One-Shot, Print/Digital