Science Comics: Dinosaurs: Fossils and Feathers
Writer MK Reed and artist Joe Flood previously worked together on The Cute Girl Network, and here, they present not so much an explanation of dinosaurs but the history of paleontology. Unfortunately, I already read that comic (Bone Sharps, Cowboys, and Thunder Lizards, which is cited in the bibliography). I misunderstood what this comic would be, and as a result, my reading experience was adversely affected, because I kept expecting the content to go a different way.
Don’t get me wrong, a comic about how scientific discovery works and how theories change over time would be a great thing, but here, the lizards and the studies keep getting mixed up together, without enough room to explain anything clearly. I found the book drier and more jumpy than I wanted it to be, possibly because there’s just too much material to cover. For example, the life of Mary Anning, who found tons of fossils, could have been a comic in itself instead of six pages. The same goes for Franz Nopcsa, a lord and spy and apparently the first paleobiologist, who gets two pages for all that.
There are good bits of information here, like how fossilization works and the history of plate tectonics and a brief explanation of carbon dating. There are also a bunch of guy scientists, who don’t get enough room to be distinguishable easily, while I wanted more pictures of big lizards, since I didn’t get a good handle on which dinosaurs were which either. (Which is realistic — near the end, the authors note there could be anywhere from 800-1300 species, as revisions are frequently made.) There’s a lot more history, a lot less animal study than one might think here. And this book needs its own annotation guide!
Flood’s drawings are impressive, though, conveying the scope of these beasts according to the latest information, particularly when it comes to the section on how they probably evolved into birds. Speaking of up-to-date content, my favorite page was the one at the back about whether there was such a thing as a brontosaurus. I don’t envy the authors, since there was a lot of material to cover here, but I can’t say they were entirely successful at organizing and presenting it.
Science Comics: Dinosaurs: Fossils and Feathers can be preordered from your local comic shop with Diamond code MAR16 1494. There’s also a hardcover edition (MAR16 1495). (The publisher provided an advance digital review copy.)