Creepy Creatures – Love within the Time of Chasmosaurs


For many people, an curiosity in dinosaurs goes hand in hand with a common fascination with all issues monstrous. This affiliation of imagined creatures with the actual monsters of the previous is such a robust one which many books targeted on the previous can’t assist however spend a little bit of time on the latter. Creepy Creatures, revealed in 1982, is one such ebook. Written and illustrated solely by Dan Nevins, this ebook profiles a menagerie of creatures hailing from literature, movie, mythology, folklore, and prehistory. Nevins has a singularly easy type with a whole lot of character. The just about childlike art work struck a chord with me as a preschooler and my very own artwork from the time borrowed rather a lot from his type.

A cartoonish grey T.rex pinning a generic dinosaur with its foot

It’s clear that Nevins was extra keen on depicting prehistoric creatures as a type of monster, largely influenced by widespread media of the time, than any kind of high-fidelity reconstruction of an extinct animal! This T.rex isn’t a transparent copy of one other artist’s work however the affect of traditional dinosaur movies is clear. Simply check out these three fingers, the generalized reptilian face lined with zig-zag spiky enamel, the scowling expression, plus a protecting of what appears to be like to be toad pores and skin! Nevins’ T.rex is a rampaging terror the place predatory energy is emphasised above all else, and woe betide any nondescript noodle-necked dinosaur in its path. Regardless of being fully completely different anatomically, I can’t assist however consider the equally unusual T.rex-victim George Solonevich painted for Dinosaurs and Extra Dinosaurs.

A cartoony Diplodocus with red speckles and snake-like fangs.

That is ostensibly a Diplodocus however it appears to be like extra like a python that swallowed a bear. When you requested a baby to attract you a sauropod however described it within the easiest phrases (“an enormous four-legged reptile with a protracted neck and tail”) you’d find yourself with one thing rather a lot like this. It’s a disgrace that there are solely a handful of dinosaurs on this ebook, I can solely think about how an Ankylosaurus or Deinonychus on this type would possibly look! Take a second to pity the poor Squonk, who’s so ashamed of its ugliness that it dissolves from its personal tears of sorrow. Relatable.

A spread with cartoony depictions of a Triceratops, Loch Ness Monster, and Abominable Snowman

This Triceratops is clearly primarily based on considered one of Charles Knight’s traditional depictions of the species, however with an enthralling protecting of splotchy dots and the paw-like palms and ft that characterize all of Nevins’ dinosaurs. The nasal horn is kind of the place it ought to be, however the forehead horns are rising from the frill in a traditional inventive blunder. Nonetheless, it’s an outline of Triceratops loaded with character. I wish to suppose he’d converse within the voice of Brian Blessed!

Nessie, in accordance with the textual content, is perhaps correctly recognized as “the Plesiosaur, a dinosaur that lived 200 million years in the past.” The much less mentioned about that the higher. She’s sporting a noticed disguise that jogs my memory a bit of a sea turtle’s shell however moreso of tons of of staring eyes. Her little fanged face is positively cute. The bagpipe-playing rider doesn’t appear to be bothering her, in reality, she appears fairly pleased about the entire scenario. Not the Abominable Snowman, although, who’s famously averse to all woodwind devices.

Cartoonish depictions of an ichthyosaur, Stegosaurus, and Dr. Jekyll

Our ultimate non-avian dinosaur is a surprisingly energetic trying Stegosaurus for a ebook so filled with dumpy cold-blooded lizards. Of explicit notice are the (kind of) appropriately staggered plates, correct variety of thagomizer spikes, and hilarious little expression. It’s simply pleased to be right here! Sadly the little blurb about it repeats the traditional two-brains fable however so do tons of of different books.

The ichthyosaur is sporting a trendy serrated back-ridge that I can’t say I’ve ever seen in one other depiction, and people ferocious crimson eyes are eye-catching! An orca-like colouration is as near a conventional alternative as doable, however it’s effectively executed right here and makes good sense. Aside from the upcoming mammoth, it is perhaps the animal that appears closest to our fashionable concepts of life look.

A cartoony Pteranodon soaring behind the head of a red-nosed warlock with a black hat.

That’s a fairly good Pteranodon for the an inexpensive youngsters ebook from the early 80s! The wings even sport the appropriate association of fingers and the crest is in correct proportion with the beak, absolutely that bodes effectively for the textual content!

Oh no.

Finest we simply transfer on.

A cartoony depiction of a woolly mammoth with a white wolf clinging to the top of its head.

Just a few prehistoric mammals are additionally well-known sufficient to characteristic. I don’t imply to maintain making enjoyable of the textual content however 40 ft tall!? I can’t think about how you find yourself making a mistake that large. Regardless of that, it’s a extremely cute depiction of everybody’s favorite fossil proboscidean. I believe we’re meant to interpret the wolf as being tossed by the mammoth, however I’ve all the time seen it as a wolf desperately clinging to the highest of its head in some kind of horrendously botched predation try.

A cartoonish drawing of Smilodon

The Smilodon is fairly cute too, nearly Flintstones-ian! It’s uncommon to see a noticed saber-tooth, particularly at a time the place they have been nearly all the time given the very same sample as a lion. Smilodon lived ten million years in the past, certain, why not.

And with that, we’ve reached the top of the prehistoric creatures. However there’s all the time room for a sure quasi-dinosaurian supermonster everyone knows and love! Sure, that’s proper, it’s…

A cartoonish depiction of Godzilla and a Leprechaun

Godzilla, proudly displaying his capability to spit radioactive flames that look suspiciously like plastic ribbons. Funnily sufficient, this Godzilla has rather a lot in widespread with the well-known Heisei-era look that wouldn’t be created for just a few years after this ebook was revealed. As a child I traced the T.rex above and put it facet by facet with Godzilla to see all of the similarities. I felt like I’d cracked some kind of secret code in regards to the origin of Godzilla! Being a dignified weblog, I gained’t touch upon the Leprechaun past acknowledgement that it’s there.

Sadly, that’s about all of the blog-appropriate content material I can scrape out of this enjoyable little ebook. If anybody desires to see among the non-palaeontology themed creatures inside let me know over on Twitter and I’ll be pleased to share some extra!

Coming quickly: the long-awaited continuation of the Zoobooks article!



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