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Comic Book / Age of Reptiles

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Age of Reptiles is a comic series "written" (you'll see why later) and illustrated by Ricardo Delgado, and published by Dark Horse Comics. It follows the lives of dinosaurs in prehistoric times.

The series consists of four miniseries:

  • Tribal Warfare (1993), in which a pack of Deinonychus feud with a group of Tyrannosaurus.
  • The Hunt (1997), following an Allosaurus as it is hunted by a small pack of Ceratosaurus.
  • The Journey (2009-10), following a huge herd of dinosaurs as they migrate to warmer lands.
  • Ancient Egyptians (2015), following a Spinosaurus setting up shop in a swamp oasis.

The strangest aspect of Age of Reptiles is that it uses no sounds. The dinosaurs do not talk, nor are there written sound effects or narration. It stands on the art alone. The Discovery Channel documentary series Dinosaur Revolution was initially intended as a loose adaptation of the series with Ricardo Delgado serving as one of the creative leaders of the animated vignettes.

Not to be confused with the trope Age of Reptiles.

Provides examples of:

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  • Age of Titles: The title of the series.
  • Cool vs. Awesome: Everything is dinosaurs; when anything fights anything it will be awesome.
  • Gorn: The dinosaurs tend to die very messily, and the predators spill tons of blood. In Ancient Egyptians, a group of herbivores get in on the act when they messily stomp a predator to death.
  • Never Smile at a Crocodile: Several of the stories feature crocodilians as another predatory threat in the savage prehistoric world.
  • No Name Given: Subverted, as the major characters in the first two miniseries are named in the prefaces.
  • Oh, Crap!: Various dinosaurs display this when they realized they're about to be attacked or, in one memorable case, swept away in a tsunami wave.
  • Silence Is Golden: All the characters are dinosaurs and other prehistoric animals portrayed in a mostly realistic fashion, so no one talks. There's also no written sound effects or narration at all.
  • Terror-dactyl: The flock of Dsungaripterus that attack that unfortunate ornithocheirid are being unrealistically violent towards it. In addition, all pterosaurs are bipedal, lack sufficient pycnofibres and many of them suffer from the typical Misplaced Wildlife, Mix-and-Match Critters and Anachronism Stew.
  • Xenofiction: It's an anthology series centring around non-anthropomorphic dinosaurs surviving during various periods of the Mesozoic Era. They're portrayed in a semi-realistic fashion without any supporting text, relying on illustration alone.

    Tribal Warfare 
  • All There in the Manual: The names of the characters, including ones that only appear for a single page, are shown in the supplementary pages and don't come up in the story itself (since there's no text at all). Character traits of each individual Deinonychus is also given in more detail.
  • Amazing Technicolor Wildlife: Tribal Warfare gives extremely vibrant colour patterns to the dinosaurs. This is Exaggerated with a herd of Parasaurolophus, which have individually different colours, resulting in a veritable rainbow of neon dinosaurs. Later stories drastically toned down the colour palettes.
  • Anachronism Stew: Tribal Warfare has some species meeting that would have been separated by several million years.
  • Animals Not to Scale:
    • Brachiosaurs are featured whose feet alone are about ten feet long, resulting in an animal which would be at least ten times the size of the largest real sauropods. And from the bones seen in the Elephant Graveyard, it seems this isn't even close to the biggest one!
    • To a lesser extent, the dominant Tyrannosaurus in the same story is stated to be fifty-three feet in length, which is about ten feet longer than the largest known T. rex in reality.
  • Artistic License – Paleontology: No matter how cool it looks, raptors could not eviscerate other dinosaurs with jump kicks.
  • Challenging the Chief: Happens among the Deinonychus pack and the pack leader kills the challenger.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: The small mammal is introduced being chased by the baby Tyrannosaurus but appears in the last frame of the story eating the last surviving Tyrannosaurus egg.
  • Cycle of Revenge: The feud between the group of raptors and tyrannosaurids starts with a Kill Steal by a Tyrannosaurus, then the raptors steal their eggs in revenge, then the Tyrannosaurus kill a bunch of raptors in revenge, rinse and repeat. It ends with all but one Tyrannosaurus dying, who is then confronted by a Chekhov's Gunman.
  • Disproportionate Retribution: The raptors in Tribal Warfare decide that stealing (and presumably eating) all of the eggs belonging to the family of the T. rex that stole their kill is a fair punishment. Naturally, things escalate from there.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: Tribal Warfare is drastically different from the following stories in visuals and tone, playing much looser with scientific accuracy, having far more vivid character designs, slightly more anthropomorphism, and a more cartoony art style.
  • It Can Think: After the Deinonychus pack steals the Tyrannosaurus eggs and leap a gap that the pursuing T. rex can't, there are two panels where they seemed to look back and laugh at the T. rex.
  • It's Personal: The Deinonychus pack has a grudge against the T. rex family for stealing a kill. The grudge also extends the other way when the Deinonychus pack steals all the Tyrannosaurus eggs and kills the baby T. rex.
  • Meek Mesozoic Mammal: A primitive primate-like mammal is a Chekhov's Gunman in the Tyrannosaurus nest. It's easily chased off even by a T. rex baby, but it gets the last laugh in the end. When the last surviving Tyrannosaurus returns to the nest after the Final Battle, he discovers the mammal eating the last egg.
  • Misplaced Wildlife: Many species are present that would never have met each other in real life, owing to barriers of geography or time.
  • Zerg Rush: One of the T. rex falls victim to this in the Final Battle against the Deinonychus pack.

    The Hunt 
  • Artistic License – Paleontology: The Ceratosaurus' chameleon-like camouflaging is purely speculative.
  • Chameleon Camouflage: The Ceratosaurus are depicted with this ability, although it doesn't render them truly invisible. It's a bit of a departure from the otherwise mostly grounded approach to the setting.
  • Cycle of Revenge: Intentionally Defied by Santo - upon seeing the mate and offspring of the final Ceratosaurus that killed his mother, he chooses to leave them be to avoid suffering the same fate he inflicted upon his mother's killers.
  • It's Personal: The Allosaurus has a grudge against the Ceratosaurus pack for killing his mother. When the Allosaurus kills the Ceratosaurus pack leader, it's revealed the Ceratosaurus had a mate and offspring, who just witnessed the Allosaurus kill their mate/father.
  • Super-Persistent Predator: The Ceratosaurus pack has apparently been hunting the Allosaurus for so long he grew up from a chick into an adult. It eventually proves to be their downfall as he gradually turns the tables on them.
  • You Killed My Father: The main Allosaurus attacks the Ceratosaurus pack because they killed his mother. At the very end, when he kills the last Ceratosaurus by feeding it to a pod of plesiosaurs, it turns out that the Ceratosaurus was a father.....and that his mate and children just watched the Allosaurus kill him. He chooses to spare them to prevent the same fate from befalling him.

    The Journey 
  • Fantastic Fauna Counterpart: The dinosaurs are given colour patterns strongly based on some modern animal (mostly African species). The hadrosaurs are coloured like zebras, the ornithomimids like ostriches, the ankylosaurs like rhinos, the titanosaurs like giraffes, the pachycephalosaurs(?) like Thomson's gazelles, the Triceratops like hippos, the dromaeosaurs like jackals, and the mosasaurs like orcas, among others.
  • The Migration: The story centres around one of these, following a huge, multi-species herd of dinosaurs on an annual trek south for the winter.
  • Monster Is a Mommy: The Tyrannosaurus is introduced savagely attacking a baby Triceratops, but we soon see that she has babies of her own.
  • Shown Their Work: The Tylosaurus has a forked tongue, which real life mosasaurs most likely had due to being related to varanids and snakes, and in some panels it can also be seen with palatal teeth.
  • Villainous Rescue: Just as the baby Alamosaurus is about to be eaten by a mosasaur, the female Tyrannosaurus attacks it. Downplayed, though, because the rex's offspring are also in the line of fire when the mosasaur attacks.
  • Zerg Rush: This is how raptors are portrayed hunting, as dozens of them simply rush the herd at once, bringing down some animals through sheer numbers, even if several of them end up killed in the process. They even manage to bring down a full-grown Alamosaurus, although at least one gets crushed under it.

    Ancient Egyptians 
  • Animals Not to Scale: The tusked crocodilians are stated to be Araripesuchus, which would make them several times larger than the real animal, which reached up to six feet in length (while these seem to be closer to six metres).
  • Artistic License – Paleontology: The supplementary commentary identifies the aquatic crocodilians in the story as Estemmenosuchus... which is a horned synapsid that lived during the Palaeozoic Era and completely unrelated to crocodilians.
  • It's Personal:
    • The female Spinosaurus struggles to forgive the male when he kills her babies from a previous mate.
    • While they already have a hatred of predators, the alpha male Paralititan has a grudge against the male Spinosaurus for injuring his foot and the Carcharodontosaurus for killing one of his babies.
  • Punny Title: "Ancient Egyptians" refers not to the inhabitants of ancient Kemet, but the Spinosaurus and other dinosaurs who lived there a hundred million years earlier.
  • Shown Their Work: When the male Spinosaurus encounters the previous chicks of the female, he immediately kills them, as this is what a male trying to bring a female to season in real life would do.
  • Too Dumb to Live: One of the Carcharodontosaurus pack that attacked the Paralititan herd and made off with some of their babies later try to sneak past the herd by walking right next to them with a baby Paralititan's corpse in its mouth. The herd proceeds to surround the Carcharodontosaurus and gruesomely stomp on it until its head and body have ''footprints'' in them... although it doesn't die until awhile after they stop stomping it.