Super Dinosaur Central
Sometimes you are in the right place at the right time and you get to feel special. Like in high school, when I was the only kid in my group of friends with UPN so I got to see Star Trek Voyager episodes four days early, or in college when I got a press pass to Phantom Menace and got to see the (at the time) most hyped movie of all time a week early. I was swimming in geek cred.
There sometimes you are in such a specifically right place at weirdly specific right times, you feel a bit lonely and almost like the universe is being manipulated for your benefit. A real Berenstain Bears situation.
My Berenstain situation is Super Dinosaur.
I came across a copy of Super Dinosaur volume 1 by chance. It was on a lending shelf in the back of The 4Th Wall, Blind Ferret’s old comic shop. It struck me as a mainstream version of Hauke Scheer’s Mechawhales, of which I am a big fan, so I took a closer look.
Co-creators Robert Kirkman and Jason Howard‽ Why was the creator of Invincible and Walking Dead writing a kid’s book about a dinosaur in a mech suit? Ends up, because he and Jason Howard wanted to work on a kid’s book.
Jason Howard called me because his son was asking him to draw stuff. He came up with this super dinosaur by putting the words “super” and “dinosaur” together, and it was a funny, cool thing. Then I drew a T-Rex with a cape, because it was catchy. I couldn’t get the title out of my head. Over the next four hours or something, I came up with the idea of a T-Rex with these giant mechanical arms that he controls with these joysticks. I called Jason up and said, “Man, I think there’s something to this Super Dinosaur thing.”Robert Kirkman
I bought a copy of volume 1, read it, and liked it. It was added to my living room bookshelf, where I keep the comics I hope people see and have questions about. Time passed and Super Dinosaur stayed a fun comic that I remembered fondly.
Then, I’m flipping the channels at my in-laws and I see a familiar title, with a familiar visual. Super Dinosaur. The Animated Series. At a glance, it was a faithful adaptation of the comic. After research, it was executive produced by Kirkman, who announced it at San Diego Comic-Con in 2018. It debuted later that year… in Canada. And only Canada. That explains why no one is talking about it, I thought. I just lucked out and lived in the country it aired it, and just happened to be familiar with the series and a fan.
Jump to a few months ago: Blind Ferret moved offices. We are now within walking distance of Toys R Us (again, because Canada, where Toys R Us never left), but no longer have an office gym. So, I start taking walks at lunch. On nice days, Toys R Us is a fun destination. I’ll walk to it, take a lap around the main aisle, zig zag through the action figures, then head back to the office. A few weeks ago, I pass an endcap that’s been reset.
How? HOW‽ How is there a line of fun, striking Super Dinosaur action figures? Toys are expensive to make. If this was one Super Dinosaur figure, that’d be hard to believe. But this was a full line-up, including the human side-kick Derek Dynamo, villain Max Maximus, even evil minion Dreadasaurus! And Scuba and Arctic alternate costumes for SD. Plus standard suit Super Dinosaur in two different scales, in case you want to have him team up with your Marvel Legends instead of your Ninja Turtles, I guess.
Even stranger, I live near a Toys R Us and I’ve been to it several times since finding the Super Dinosaur endcap at the other TRU. No Super Dinosaur figures anywhere.
The odds are good that I could have gone my whole life without ever hearing about Super Dinosaur, and yet I just happen to keep stumbling across this almost unknown character that super suits my tastes. It’s even bigger than I thought! In researching this blog post, I came across an app game called Kickin’ Tail that’s a fun, light, good-looking game. It’s frankly addictive.
Well I may be in the eye of the Super Dinosaur storm, but good news to anyone interested: Super Dinosaur is now on Amazon Prime! It only hit about a month ago, so don’t feel bad that you’ve missed it. Frankly, you shouldn’t feel bad for missing it unless the universe is going far out of its way to have your path cross Super Dinosaur in all its forms.
Speaking of Dinosaurs
Super Dinosaur isn’t the only T-Rex to be merchandised. There’s one other:
If you, like apparently everyone who isn’t me, don’t have Super Dinosaur in your area, the obvious alternative is buying Least I Could Do: The Card Game, a game about going to bars with friends and competing for hook-ups, as well as Sloppy Seconds, an expansion that adds Misc hook-ups like a T-Rex whose arms are too short for self-gratification.