August 29, 2011
The superheroes of the Marvel comic universe are pretty cool—Iron Man, the Hulk, Wolverine and many others are enduring favorites—but do you know what would make them even more awesome? If they were dinosaurs.
Artist David Resto has mashed up some of the most beloved Marvel comic characters with classic dinosaurs, and the results look like what my dinosaur-loving, comic-collecting 10-year-old self dreamed of. The roguish Gambit as the crested predator Dilophosaurus, Captain America as the shield-headed Triceratops, Daredevil as the horned carnivore Carnotaurus—the amalgamations of pop culture and prehistory Resto has created look worthy of their own one-shot special issue, at least.
I recently asked Resto a few questions about the creation of his dinosaurian superheroes.
Brian Switek: What inspired the creation of superhero dinosaurs?
David Resto: Childhood fascinations, really. Dinosaurs, Superheros… it just made sense for me to get the two together. I was even contemplating doing turtles as superheroes, but somebody got to those way before I did. Ha.
BS: How did you choose which superhero should be represented by which dinosaur? Do the dinosaur choices reflect something about each superhero?
DR: For the first round of dinosaurs, The Avengersaurs, I tried to incorporate the superheros element into these terrible lizards. Iron Brontosaurus was the first and most random. When I doodled him out from the reference, he already looked like he was taking flight from rockets at his feet. This spawned the rest. The bone shield of a Triceratops for the Captain. The primal anger of a Tyrannosaurus rex and his miniature Compsognathus, Bruce Banner, at his feet. Lastly, the almighty Mjolnir at the base of Ankylothaurus‘ tail in the adaptation to Thor. After the first set, I just wanted to incorporate my favorite characters to my equally as favorite superhero. I think Stegolossus could be my absolute favorite one that I’ve drawn up.
BS: I write about this topic so often, I have to ask. I noticed that some of the dinosaurs that should have feathers—like Wolveraptor and Nightcrawlimimus—don’t have any. Are they just hidden under the costumes?
DR: Ah, yes. I’ve caught a lot of slack for the Velociraptor and the use of Brontosaurus. The way I went about it is exactly as I did with my childhood. I grew up with these dinosaurs as I represented them. The Spielberg faux pas of Velociraptor is what’s engrained in popularity nowadays. But then again, just like Wolverine and other comic book character adaptations, there is a lot left to interpretation and sheer fun. I suppose if there’s some sort of dinosaur/political correctness organization, they can persuade me to revise these illustrations to best fit their models.
BS: What references did you use to create the dinosaur images?
DR: All of my dino references were discovered online. Google searches and what not. I have linked to the references on each dinosaur through my Flickr and there are also a couple of screencasts that show my process, from laying out the references of both dinos and superheros, to a minimalist trace and layering of the superhero attire. As for the backgrounds, those are fairly abstract. Watching over the screencasts, one can witness first hand the spontaneity of them.
BS: Finally, are there any more superhero dinosaurs on the way? Or even supervillain dinosaurs?
DR: Well, I didn’t expect the dinosaurs to be as popular as they are. The first month I illustrated the majority of them and burned myself out a bit. Since then, I’ve graduated from college and started working full-time and keeping up on other hobbies that I haven’t been able to get the art flow back. I’d like to go the villain route as every superhero needs its counterpart. For now though, I’m trying to get the business end of these guys together before I take another step. I want these to be in good quality and taste for people around the world to enjoy. I’m in the process of perfecting posters and maybe even T-shirts very soon. So, stay tuned.
More Superhero Dinosaurs can be found at the official website, where posters of each are also available.
Sign up for our free email newsletter and receive the best stories from Smithsonian.com each week.