Saturday, July 9, 2016

How to Handle an Intelligent, Invisible Dinosaur

In the sunlit world of DC Comics’ Silver Age, it wasn’t just superheroes who could repel the alien invasions that seemed to arrive every week or two.
With a little courage, a cool head and a reasonably intelligent layman’s scientific knowledge, about anybody could do it. Think what a reassuring idea that was to a child of the early 1960s.
Let’s say, for example, that you’re a small-town jeweler, and Earth is being invaded by intelligent, invisible dinosaurs…
 “I read The Invisible Dinosaur in its first appearance in Strange Adventures 133 (1961),” noted Pappy’s Golden Age Blogzine. “At the time I didn’t think there was anything unusual about this totally screwball story. Wristwatches that cause vibrations that negate the effects of aliens with whips who control humans. Intelligent dinosaurs, descended from Earth dinosaurs of 175 million years ago, captured for an interplanetary zoo. And said dinosaurs are invisible on Earth. I did not think any of that was extraordinary, nor did I question how something invisible could cast a shadow. My critical thinking skills were yet to develop, I guess.
“In those days I was more interested in looking at the Murphy Anderson art. Murphy was one of my favorite artists from the Julius Schwartz editorial stable. What I see now when I look at this story is another immaculately drawn tale with an absurd plot, rendered completely straight-faced.”
I think the Gardner Fox/John Broome method was to dazzle you with one pseudoscientific and/or scientific and/or frankly fantastic reference after another, all of which only SEEMED to connect plausibly. The stories, of course, came from the covers. The stories were merely a process of trying to justify the covers.
As Philip Rushton observed, “Those intelligent, invisible dinosaurs got everywhere when I was a kid in the 1960s!” Yes, as a child, I too was kind of surrounded by invisible dinosaurs, not to mention superheroes. How nice to find a comic book that reflected my, er, “reality.”

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