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COMIX-VAULT: STEPHEN BISSETTE'S TYRANT

A Prehistoric Tale

By Sincerely RobPublished 2 months ago Updated 2 months ago 2 min read
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Stephen R Bissette is an American comic book artist who provided the phenomenal art for Alan Moore's Swamp Thing run in the 80's, among many other great works.

Turns out the guy was a huge Paleo-head, and because I am as well, I just had to check out his passion project TYRANT. Not only was he the artist, but the writer as well as the editor. It was published under Spiderbaby Grafix.

Made during the mid 90's, dinosaur mania was at an all time high, riding off the heels of Jurassic Park. While most of it is quite charming, a lot of media depicts dinosaurs with out of date reconstructions. On top of this, dinosaurs were almost always painted as bloodthirsty monsters. (Even to this day.) Sure, some of them may be big and scary, but they were still just beautiful animals who ruled long before us.

Thankfully, Stephen Bissette's TYRANT is a thoughtful and honest approach to the genre.

The first issue opens with a beautiful narration of the prehistoric world. The serenity of the scene is swiftly cut as the neighboring dinosaurs are spooked by an unsettling call. Acting on pure instinct, the animals heed and move from their grazing fields, as it only becomes louder and louder.

We learn that this call is not some sort of monster, but rather a mother T-Rex diligently watching over her batch of eggs, protecting them from the dangerous primal land.

The artwork is gorgeous. I love how gritty the details can look in black n white, like an old EC comic. The way the scenes transition is so smooth and effortless, like a camera panning.

The writing is also great, really poetic. It's like a classic nature doc, which unlocked a core memory of mine as a child watching Walking With Dinosaurs on VHS for the first time.

Issue #3 is about the gestation of the baby T-rex inside of the egg, and it is visually my favorite part of the story. This is really where Bissette flexes his science smarts.

While all of this is happening, a nearby Oviraptor is stalking the nest in hopes of snagging a meal. Safe to say, it does not end well for it.

Unfortunately the comic very short lived, ending on Issue #4. From what I read, Bissette had a 2 year plan, following the entire life on this newborn T-Rex which the series is named after. On the plus side, it did get a nomination for the "Best New Series" Eisner Award in 1995.

For what it is, the comic is a fantastic showcase of the artist abilities to craft a simple story into a grand epic. For hardcore fans of paleontology/dinosaurs, it may not be 100% accurate, but nonetheless it's a breath of fresh air to view these creatures as majestic animals of nature instead of cold blooded killing machines. If you want more of that, I highly recommend the docuseries streaming on Apple TV "Prehistoric Planet", narrated by none other than David Attenborough!

If you can get your hands on these four issues of TYRANT, then I say go for it!

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About the Creator

Sincerely Rob

Escaping to the past with dark visions of the future while stuck in the present

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