Like the trailer for the Disney film “Dinosaur” many years ago, the essence of life lived without words is an interesting correlation. With “Cretaceous” [Tadd Galusha/Oni Press/160pgs], it is done in graphic novel form to ample effect showing the texture of elation, family, loss, death and rebirth in a way through the plight of these animals. Granted, most of what is shown is inherently Darwinian, only the most adept survive. The T-Rex of course builds this course but one definitely sees the animal thinking even if it is base. It wants to figure out what it wants to eat next. It fights a triceratops or a similar animal but its path in a little more dyametric. In one of the most telling images, it returns to a killing hold where it lays itself down where many of its brethren returned to. There are of course different breeds and the whole structure of the bird influence in modern science balances with old school views of what text books taught maybe 30 years ago. The artist and author does use different location spaces, specifically beaches and water to mix up the visuals a little bit as well as the interaction in jungles which seems to be adjacent to the more raptor type landscape. Many of the places we see in usual representations are of savannahs or deserts or plains per se (or perhaps a volcanic region as that is more dramatic) but it is these subtle differences as well as the inherent behavior that is drawn out over the journey that works. It is not so much a story as it is a “week in the life of” and this probably continued for millions of years unabated which is pretty unbelievable but never the less probably a truism. “Cretaceous” is a fun and yet telling vision of that kind of life the way it would have been told…with only natural sounds to fill the air.
By Tim Wassberg