Tag Archives: Mark Schultz

JURASSiC PARK #6: THE LOST WORLDS

By 1993 I’d moved on from comics into the world of computer games magazines, but when I saw that ‘Jurassic Park‘ title with that tagline peering over the other comics on the shelves I was quick to grab it! Previously put off by the movie adaptation, here was the first official continuation of the movie’s storyline. But there was more, beginning with that brill Walter Simonson cover! As I flicked through to get an idea of what it was about I noticed back up strips too. On first sight it felt like the Transformers comic I’d loved so much. I was sold and bought my first comic in over a year.

Of course this wasn’t to remain the official sequel for long. Just a few years later Michael Crichton would release his novel The Lost World and the subsequent film was based upon that. But the American Topps Comics was the first to do so and Dark Horse International published it here in a typical UK comic format, meaning they were chopped up into smaller parts and backed up with other strips following the central theme. To the uninitiated it might sound like this would drag a story out unnecessarily but that couldn’t be farther from the truth.

UK readers were used to monthly stories from across the pond being split up in weekly or fortnightly comics out of necessity. This may have been a monthly but it still felt completely normal, it was just how things worked over here. Also, the Topps stories were split into mini-series with an unspecified gap between each so editor Dick Hansom‘s decision also made sense. If the comic had kept to this format a four-issue mini-series in the States could’ve lasted a full year over here. If the publishers themselves hadn’t gone bankrupt we could’ve had multiple years of Jurassic Park here.

The first thing this issue hits us with isn’t a comic strip but it still takes me right back. I may not have had a Sega Mega-CD (or any wish to own one) but I do remember the onslaught of new gaming consoles at the time, investing in the 3DO myself which I adored. My computer was the Commodore 64 but I loved reading up on the latest tech and the Jurassic Park game for the Mega-CD was completely different than all the others and looked like a proper adventure on the island. The constant hype for all these new machines was so exciting for me back then, like the future was arriving!


“That T-rex saved us from the ‘raptors! By the time we left Jurassic Park, I was almost — hell, I WAS in love with her!”

Dr. Alan Grant

So let’s get started with our three strips. While Dark Horse’s Aliens had various stories within that universe to pull from, joining the eight pages of Aftershocks (our main strip) here is the return of Xenozoic Tales (at ten pages) and new back up Age of Reptiles (at 12 pages). Yes, our main strip is shorter than the others but cliffhangers in all three had to be carefully chosen. With a unique dinosaur theme throughout – movie sequel set in the present, sci-fi action set in the far future and historical adventure set in the actual time of the dinosaurs – I never felt short changed and it never felt like anything other than a proper Jurassic Park title.

The first story begins with a narrative caption simply stating, “Three days later” above the body of a furious Tyrannosaurs rex. Writer Steve Englehart (The Avengers, Doctor Strange and creator of Star-Lord) was given free rein to develop the movie story as he saw fit, picking up the story with Dr Alan Grant and Dr Ellie Satler returning to Isla Nublar to supervise InGen‘s military-style cleanup operation. This already contradicts what came later (Hammond told us in The Lost World they’d been left alone) but let’s go with it as an alternative storyline.

We turn over to this great double-page spread above, narrated by Alan as he watches the ‘rex destroy jeeps, tanks and anything else thrown at her. She’s furious with her prey but Alan’s inner thoughts are ones of love, of being grateful that she saved all their lives. Her very existence in the modern world is a miracle and , just like in the novel and the film, even though he and Ellie are frightened they’re equally in awe of her.

InGen want to regain control, contain the animals and begin scientific experiments on them in an attempt to make back some of the money they’ve lost. They don’t want to reopen the park. A new character called Dr. Fischer is the face of the corporation. He believes Ian Malcolm‘s predictions were coincidence rather than proof of Chaos Theory and he makes it clear he stands for advancing the scientific community, rather than science itself, putting him at odds with Alan.

It’s a small slice of action but it’s a great start and thought provoking at the same time.

There’s a hint in here too that the Velociraptors had managed to escape their enclosure earlier than we’d thought, because no eggs were found in there and we knew they were able to breed. This ties in with the book but not the film. In Michael Crichton‘s original story the ‘raptors were able to get in and out of their enclosure at will without the humans noticing. In fact, some had made it on to one of the boats for the mainland, which added more tension to Alan and the kids’ return to the Visitor Centre because they had to warn the boat before it docked. But in the film they clearly didn’t get out.

The art style is a world apart from what we had in the adaptation. Armando Gil (The ‘Nam, Savage Sword of Conan, The Punisher) brings a gritty, mature style to the art. His T-rex certainly looks the part, closely resembling the actual dinosaur and he really captures her size and power. (Also, an uncredited Dell Barras, see next issue’s review.) Alongside Armando comes letterer John Costanza (Green Lantern, Batman, Ronin) and colourist and story editor Renée Witterstaetter (Silver Surfer, The Sensational She-Hulk, Jason Vs. Leatherface) whose subdued colours suit the wonderfully scratchy artwork perfectly. It’s a small slice of action but it’s a great start and thought provoking at the same time. I like InGen’s desperation and the fact Dr. Fischer believes he’s right, that what he’s doing is for the greater good. I hope it develops these threads.

Carrying on the theme of not learning from past mistakes comes the first backup strip, Xenozoic Tales in which our hero Jack Tenrec finds himself at odds with the council and his new friend Hannah Dundee. Both his and Hannah’s tribes want to stop his campaigns against their poaching. But Jack is standing firm, knowing he’s baring witness to humans going back down the very same path that led to the cataclysm in the first place. Creator, writer and artist Mark Schultz has been very clear from the first chapter this is a story about the dangers humans pose to our world.

Benefactor is the seventh story in the series but only our third, something I went into more detail on last time. This could be because only some of the tales had been published in colour by this time, done so here by Christine Courtier. It ends with a cliffhanger for the first time and I remember these strange creatures from later in the run. Hannah has been sent to look for Jack after he’s stormed off. Using her tracking skills, unaware the council man who accompanies her is intending to kill Jack, she catches a glimpse of his Cadillac shining in the hot afternoon sun but gets more than she bargained for as she approaches it. The back-stabbing and the politics, wrapped up in an adventure in a land populated by dinosaurs is unique and really fun to read.

When I scanned over this issue in the newsagent’s my eyes lit up when I saw the final strip. I know it’s a cliché and an exaggeration to say “it took my breath away” but you’ll get my point. Set in the Mesozoic period it follows a pack of Deinonycuses and a T-rex family as they do battle after one steals the meal of the other. Created and intricately drawn by Ricardo Delgado and beautifully coloured by James Sinclair it contains no narrative captions at all. Everything is told solidly in pictures only, without even any lettered sound effects.

Ricardo is an artist working in the movie and television industries, whose credits include everything from The Real Ghostbusters and WALL-E to Jurassic Park III, suitably enough. James’ credits have also included Legends of The Dark Knight, Hellblazer and The Mask comics. Age of Reptiles was Ricardo’s first book in a series and hadn’t been released here yet when it became serialised in the pages of Jurassic Park, where it’s an even better fit than Xenozoic Tales for obvious reasons.

It tells an absorbing story through great art and wonderfully designed characters. The Deinonycuses kick things off by taking down their dinner, a giant Brontosaurus. Originally I thought these were Velociraptors until I read the catch up on the contents page of the next issue, although to be fair they are a very closely related species. I love how each one has particular markings and by paying attention to such things we get to know each one over the next few months. How Ricardo imbued each one with individual personalities through facial expressions and movements is simply genius.

They begin to feast but are rudely interrupted when a giant T-rex jumps on top of their prize and roars at them to back off. But they aren’t giving up so easily and one leaps in to slice at the bigger beast. The strip was quite gruesome and violent for the time and, while there’s nothing to put off younger readers yet, it will build upon this as the story develops. But it also had its lighter comedic moments, one of my favourites coming up right now. After the smaller dinosaur leaps and slices we turn over to be met with the page on the right below.

This still makes me laugh to this day. As the story develops we’d see an ever-increasing battle of revenge between these characters which would include ferocious fights, some tender moments and one surprisingly heartbreaking scene. Don’t believe me? You’ll just have to wait and see. It’s not an exaggeration to say it’s a thrill to be reading Age of Reptiles again after so long. The collected books go for silly prices online these days so I’m happy to wait and play the slow game with this serialisation. It’s worth the price of admission alone.

To finish off here’s a look at the advertisement on the back cover for the Jurassic Park videogame which was being released on a variety of platforms. It’s the tagline I love the most here. This was around the time Street Fighter II was everywhere (it would even be a comic advertised in these pages soon enough!), making this a brilliant piece of competitive marketing for the time!

I remember playing the Nintendo Game Boy version. Even though it didn’t follow the plot of the film at all and had Alan Grant out in the park collecting all the eggs with a gun, firing tranquillisers at all the dinosaurs as if they were all out to eat him, it was still a really fun game to play. Especially at night when I was meant to be asleep for school the next day, having to play it using that heavy, cumbersome light attachment on the supposedly handheld console.

This was a brilliant start to my Jurassic Park comics journey. Surely here was a title that I could collect without fear of it being prematurely cancelled? How could a comic based on the hottest thing on the planet be anything other than a runaway success for years and years? Well, if the comic had kept to this format and continued until the end of the US strips, those 19 American issues would’ve spanned a whopping 57 British editions over nearly five years! The next one is #7 and its review will be up on the blog on Tuesday 28th December 2021.

JURASSiC PARK #5: RUSHED ‘RAPTORS

It’s time to bring the movie adaptation of Jurassic Park to a close with the last 12 pages of the final chapter, originally part of issue four of Topps Comics‘ mini-series in the States. For UK readers it was split in two, with new backup strip Xenozoic Tales bringing up the rear. However, due to the decision to keep the comic going the back up gets more pages this time around and there’s a simple explanation.

I’m going to assume last month’s issue was originally going to follow the same formula as the ones that came before, with a full chapter of Jurassic Park and a behind-the-scenes feature. In the US it had been decided new adventures would make up another mini-series, but there was going to be a small gap before it went on sale. To plug this in the UK this last chapter was split over two issues and the back up added to fill out the pages. This explains why there were only four parts to the behind-the-scenes series, with none this month (or ever again actually).

The opening chapter of Xenozoic Tales was quite short in length, so more of the Jurassic Park strip was included last time, but Mark Shultz‘s stories were of varying sizes, so working all of this out to spread over the two issues has resulted in 14 pages of the movie adaptation climax and 18 for Jack Tenrec and Hannah Dundee. It makes for a strange balance but that would all be corrected next month. More on this below.

The monthly competition page acts as a kind of editorial this month, hyping the conclusion and the new strips to come. A strange choice of prize though, a graphic novel collection of the strip readers have read in the comic. Elsewhere, the lovely gloss paper of the covers makes these adverts for Dark Horse International‘s other mature titles really pop, especially that Aliens one. The more I see these adverts the more I want to add them to my collection at some point, even though I know they too were cut short.

So on to the end of the comic book adaptation of one of the biggest movies ever made. This month it crams in Dr. Ellie Satler‘s escape from the maintenance shed, the survivors reuniting, the Velociraptors infiltrating the visitor centre, the kitchen scene with the kids, the control room scenes, their escape and the final shock ending.  That’s a lot for writer Walter Simonson and story editor Jim Salicrup to squeeze in and unfortunately just like last month it suffers as a result.

Case in point is the famous kitchen scene with Tim and Lex sneaking about and eventually getting one over on the ‘raptors. Tense in the movie, here it doesn’t make an awful lot of sense. For a start the shadow signalling danger is barely noticeable and the reflective surface of the kitchen appliances Lex used in her terrifying encounter in the movie seems to be floating in mid-air!

At least the kids get a few pages for their scene, the rest really are cut down to their bare bones. The idea behind each one is there and is solid, the main imagery is perfectly captured and the big scare moments are all present and correct. But with all the trims it rushes from one of these moments to the next every few panels, meaning their impact is diminished.

So ends the movie adaptation. But hang on, where’s Ray?

At least the dinosaurs themselves look good as you’ll see below, with penciller Gil Kane‘s and inker George Perez‘s Tyrannosaurus Rex and those ‘raptors looking suitably powerful in their final confrontation, which thankfully is given a bit more room to breathe. Not too sure about the green blood though. You’d have to ask colourist Tom Smith about that one. The random letter jumbles making up the noises of these animals are just plain bizarre, but at least John Workman‘s unique style of breaking the panels still looks the part.

This dramatic angle of the Tyrannosaurus rex is so good it’s used twice over the double-page spread, but they both look so good we’ll forgive the repeating. There’s a lot of powerful red, at least giving the impression of a gory fight to the death despite that sanitised blood colour. But still, somehow it works and it’s the powerful, dramatic scene that’s been missing from so much of these two issues. I particularly like the fact the iconic ‘When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth’ banner from the film is worked in as a caption.

“And behind them, receding into the distance Jurassic Park and the past are swallowed up in the gathering dark. The End.” 

So ends the movie adaptation. But hang on, look at that final panel above. Where’s Ray? Yes, in the film he was killed in the maintenance shed off camera and Ellie discovered his severed arm when she went to reinstate the power grid. But last month Ellie volunteered first in a major change from the film. This meant Ray was still alive in the control room and yet here he’s nowhere to be seen. It seems the one black character has been completely forgotten about. It’s clear this final chapter was rushed with it’s art not being as detailed or polished and with huge chunks missing to get to the finish line in the page count, but still, just forgetting about a character is a massive oversight!

It’s such a shame it had to end this way because the first three chapters were so good that’s it’s more disappointment than anything else I’m feeling right now.

With no written feature to break up the strips this time we head straight from a natural island off the coast of Costa Rica to a manmade island group off the coast of North America for this month’s Xenozoic Tales: Mammoth Pitfall, written and drawn by Mark Schultz, coloured for a Marvel US reprint by Denise Prowell.

The story comes from the second issue of creator Mark Shultz‘s original series, but three stories which took place between last month’s introduction and this one have been skipped. That unfortunately means character development is going to be pretty spotty. For example, last month Jack and Hannah had just met, but here he’s trusting her in her attempts to capture a mammoth for domestication and she knows enough about him to know when he’s in trouble. It’s a shame we can’t appreciate their developing friendship properly but then again it’s only thanks to Jurassic Park we got to read them at all.

Jack knows nature has certain rules and understands a mammoth will always be a dangerous animal to humans. It should be respected and left alone. However, the reason the attempt fails is because of interference from another human who sabotages their attempt and sets Hannah up for a nasty death squish. After a very lucky escape she hides in the boot of Jack’s prized Cadillac. She later pops out and saves him from the man threatening to kill him if he doesn’t teach him the most prized skill of the time: how to drive!


Sometimes it seems nature bends the rules.

Mark Shultz, Xenozoic Tales

It’s all great fun and the wordplay between Jack and Hannah is natural and funny. Trapped inside his garage by the angry beast the action is put on hold and it’s testament to Mark’s writing how equally compelling these simple character scenes can be. The script is full of interesting contradictions too. The juxtaposition between the dinosaurs and the cars is effortlessly presented, Hannah seeks action while Jack wants the easy life, and Jack the environmentalist and animal lover has dedicated his life to restoring the very machines responsible for the great cataclysm. (Although he has converted them to run on dino guano.)

Curious to see what all the fuss is about with these ancient contraptions Hannah convinces Jack to take her for a ride, then to chase a storm back to the city. They discover the dead body of the mammoth she tried to capture, clearly the victim of a predator outside the garage. Jack is furious. “He should never have died here.” It’s great to see these characters learning about each other. Again, it pains me we’re not seeing it all.

The storm chase naturally ends in disaster. They crash, the Cadillac becoming a write-off in a sodden ditch. Tenrec carries an unconscious Hannah through the driving wind and rain until he bumps into a sheltered building of some sort that he wasn’t previously aware of. With no time to question its sudden existence he places Hannah inside and tries to wait out the storm. Flood waters rush them and by morning the storm has revealed the shelter that saved their lives.

With this the story comes full circle. The mammoth that Hannah was so certain could help them rebuild their world has in the end saved their lives, by losing its own, because of her. It’s thought provoking and rather sad and I felt genuinely sorry for the mammoth in the end, and thought less of us as a species. Which I think was the whole point. It’s a very different strip, but it works perfectly as a back up in this comic. After all, both strips are about the interaction between dinosaurs and humans and what happens when we try to force our dominance on animals we were never meant to meet.

With this we reach the end of another issue and the back page has me very excited. Using a one-colour version of the cover to my very first issue, the announcement I’ve been waiting all these months for is finally here.

If I’d been collecting these issues in 1993 then I’m sure I’d have been hugely excited by this! Who wouldn’t have been? Even now I’m hyped. Discovering #6 on the shelves with the promise of new adventures inside was thrilling and this promo is bringing back all of those feelings again. The mention of the third strip and even the competition headline are bringing a big goofy smile to my face because I remember both so distinctly. It’s quite extraordinary.

As is normally the case with all of these real time read throughs I will have to practice will power, but this is going to be harder than most. I’ll do it though, I’ll wait for the correct date, no matter how impatiently. That date will be Tuesday 30th November 2021, so join me then as we embark once more to Isla Nublar for the original, forgotten sequel to Jurassic Park.

JURASSiC PARK #4: BACK UP SYSTEMS

With issue four the UK version of Jurassic Park was evolving. In the midst of all the hype surrounding the film, Dark Horse International’s monthly was proving a hit. As such, changes were afoot over the next few issues to bring it more in line with the company’s other comics, and to ensure it would be around for a long time to come after proving itself with its initial editions.

The front page doesn’t reuse one of the American covers, instead recolouring a panel from the strip inside (and I love the font they’ve used). The reason was simple. Despite #3‘s checklist stating this would be the final chapter of the adaptation it’s being split in two, so the original cover was being kept in reserve for the following month. This split made way for Xenozoic Tales, the first back up strip which I’ll get to later. This was a familiar concept across British action adventure comics (in everything from Transformers to The Punisher) but Jurassic would go even further as you’ll see in #6.

The sequence in the tree with Tim trapped in the Explorer has been completely excised!

Check out this month’s comics checklist and you might get an idea of what’s to come, but for now we’ll concentrate on the issue at hand, which begins with a competition for The Making of Jurassic Park. I actually bought this book at the time and it was a heavy tome, full of details on the making of the film and stands up today as one of the very best of its kind for any movie. You’ll also see an advert for Manga Mania, which fed off the new craze to hit these shores. Ultimately it’d also be a very important title for Jurassic Park fans. But that’s a story for another time.

Our freshly chopped final chapter is still a lengthy 16 pages so regular readers wouldn’t have felt short changed, at least with the page count. Unfortunately, the actual strip itself is another thing. Yes, this is the first time in the comic’s young life when I’ve been left disappointed.

Last month the Tyrannosaurus rex attack was brilliantly handled with plenty of building tension and atmosphere so I was looking forward to seeing how the final act would begin. The opening is great, with Mrs Rex towering above Dr. Alan Grant and Lex, both trying to keep completely still.

It’s all going so well until those final couple of panels. The sequence in the tree with Tim trapped in the Explorer has been completely excised! So it plummets to the ground instead and then he’s just unbelievably pulled out and off they go. Alan even has a map at hand to make their trip back to the Visitor’s Centre quicker, which is a rather cheeky shortcut. In previous issues scenes had been moved about, moments edited, others added to, all in order to properly adapt the film to the comic page and I’ve been really positive about it. But all throughout this issue huge swathes of story are just missing or reduced to a shadow of their former selves.

Case in point is the fatal encounter between Denis Nedry and the Dilophosaurus. The movie scene included plenty of misdirection and humour, putting the audience at ease before the shock, and that wouldn’t have been easy to translate here but they could have tried. Instead this very famous scene only gets two pages. It’s a very basic sequence now; the dinosaur may as well be a lion. Denis gets attacked as soon as he steps out of the vehicle, he jumps back in and we actually see the Dilophosaurus jump in after him (ruining the final moments of the original) and… well, that’s it.

This truncating happens to basically every major moment, whether it’s the nighttime meeting with the Brachiosaurs, rescuing Dr. Ian Malcolm after the T-rex attack, even the electric fence scene (as you’ll see below) and Robert Muldoon‘s stalking of a Velociraptor. Each are reduced to fit on a page or two and basically follow a set pattern of only showing the first and last moments of the scene and erasing everything else, including almost all the humour.


“Think they’ll have that on the tour?”

Dr. Ian Malcolm

Right back at the beginning of this adaptation I stated how I didn’t usually like comic versions of films and this was the reason why. But up to this point Jurassic Park had been the exception to the rule, with a proper restructuring of the film to suit the format and it was working a treat as a comic in its own right. Maybe if they’d had five chapters instead of four (in the original US comic) it would’ve worked out differently, but then again maybe the pacing could’ve been plotted out better by writer Walter Simonson and story editor Jim Salicrup. Yes, having all the dino action in the final chapter would, in theory, make for a big climax but there’s just too much of it to fit in.

The result is a clichéd comics adaptation where it feels more like a way for people to reminisce about the movie they saw in the cinema months previous, rather than working as a good comic book. If I sound overly critical it’s only because the team had been doing such an amazing job so far, even adding in extra dialogue from either the original novel or earlier drafts of the script. So it’s more disappointment than simple negativity.

Don’t get me wrong, there are still things to enjoy here. It’s all on a lovely high quality gloss paper stock this month, some of the best lines from the film are still intact and the art in the first eight or so pages is top notch. However, in the second half even legendary artists Gil Kane‘s pencils and George Perez‘s inks start to feel a little rushed and Tom Smith‘s colours feel unfinished and flat, leading me to believe they were working very close to the deadline of getting the original US series out in time for the movie.

The chapter is cut off with a superb cliffhanger though. The view of a Velociraptor‘s feet as it chases Dr. Ellie Sattler is just as unnerving as it was in the film. It’s a shame then the terrifying Velociraptors, when viewed in full, are reduced to looking like miniature T-rexes. Below is this final scene with its positives and negatives, alongside that fence scene with the dramatic resuscitation of Tim also taken out.

I also noticed Ray didn’t volunteer to go to the maintenance shed as he did in the original story, where he met his grisly end. Instead Muldoon and Ellie head off while Ray looks on silently. This means he’s still alive, a big departure from the film. It’ll be interesting to see how that effects the rest of the story next month.

For now, the sun sets on the adaptation as we move on to something else entirely

With 16 pages to the main strip I assume there’ll be roughly 12 or 13 next month unless the final chapter was given a few more pages in the original American Topps Comics publication. Either way there’s a lot of the film left to cover in half a chapter. The kids and Alan are still out in the park which means their return, the kitchen scenes, the chaos of the Velociraptors in the Visitor’s Centre and the climax are all to come.

I’ll still hold out hope things can be turned around because so far it feels like spending 90 minutes being completely engrossed in a film only for its ending to let you down. Which of course is not what happened with Jurassic Park! For now, the sun sets on the adaptation as we move on to something else entirely.

In the early days of Marvel UK‘s Transformers its back up strips were in some way related to the robotic theme, such as Machine Man or Iron Man. It wasn’t long before it instead became a way of bringing some of Marvel’s other US characters to these shores for the first time, but Jurassic Park kept its strips dinosaur-themed, much to the delight of teenage me. The second back up would appear in my first issue (#6) but here readers were introduced to Mark Shultz‘s Xenozoic Tales.

Later adapted into a cartoon TV series called ‘Cadillacs & Dinosaurs‘ it was an independent, alternative title Mark wrote and drew himself, running for 14 issues irregularly released between 1987 and 1996. Most of the strips were printed in black and white but Jurassic Park brought in artists to colour them exclusively for UK readers, this first one coloured by Ray Fehrenbach. This complete story was the first one written by Mark and what an introduction to something brand new this first page was.

Set in the 26th century, global warming has resulted in sea levels across the globe forcing humans to initially build underground. After 600 years they’ve reemerged to find their cities flooded, technology virtually non-existent and strangest of all the world is populated by dinosaurs once more. Anyone capable of mechanical work is seen as invaluable and this is where Jack Tenrec comes in, a car mechanic with a penchant for Cadillacs. Thanks to these skills he acts as an unofficial head of security and advisor to his tribe’s leaders and lives on an outcrop (formerly high hills) not far across the water from An Archipelago of Stone, the home of the tribe and in reality the remains of New York City.

I love that first page, cleverly written from the point of view of a Pterodactyl. In the story a neighbouring tribe’s ambassador, Hannah Dundee arrives at the City in the Sea and a team of poachers who had previously stolen from her Wassoon Tribe want her dead before they’re found out. It’s up to Jack and his men to stop them. All the way through this strip, knowing he’s about to get in way over his head, Tenrec keeps telling his men to send someone called Hermes to help. Then, just as it seems he’s doomed a surprise arrival bursts in. That’s Hermes!

Well I certainly didn’t expect that. Hermes the Allosaurus disposes of the villain, munching on his head and throwing him out the window, before Tenrec thanks him, revealing who this is. That doesn’t mean he’s a pet of course and the usually cool and collected Jack knows it.

It’s brilliant stuff. Original, fun and surprising, introducing the main protagonists, the unique setting and the cast of regular and semi-regular guest characters, all in 12 pages while maintaining an interesting story and racking up tension is rather a phenomenal feat. No wonder Xenozoic Tales is so highly regarded even to this day. It may at first seem like a strange choice for Jurassic Park’s back up but it works perfectly and as a teen I remember being engrossed with the slowly developing back story that would become more apparent in later issues. (Sadly, Hermes never reappeared.)

In between the two strips is this month’s look into the making of the movie, covering the famous disaster that hit Hawaii and the relief efforts the producers helped coordinate, plus the building of sets and the end of principal photography. At the very end of the feature is the teeny tiny box with the date of the next issue including a little tease that things were afoot for the future of the comic.

Thankfully they didn’t say “great news for all readers” or we’d have got the wrong idea. With these couple of pages, a long main strip and a back up it really does feel more like the kinds of UK comics we were accustomed to at the time. I may have enjoyed the extras more than the adaptation this month but I know from memory that what’s to come from Jurassic Park made this one of my very favourite comics growing up. So stay tuned for some terrific stuff from Isla Nublar, as well as from the far future and soon the distant past too!

The fifth issue and the conclusion of the movie storyline will be stomping its way on to the blog on Tuesday 26th October 2021.