It’s time we explored the various Lost Worlds held within the weirdness of comic books. Today on our Lost World World Tour, we’ll be dropped into Dinosaur Island, the resident Lost World of DC Comics that was created by Robert Kanigher in 1968’s classic comic The War That Time Forgot. However, the Dinosaur Island that I know and love was most famously revisited in Darwyn Cooke’s excellent 2005 miniseries New Frontier.
Dinosaur Island seems like a rather run of the mill Lost World — if such a thing is possible. It’s an island located in the Pacific and packed with dinosaurs. This is the DC universe, where dinosaurs, robots, and an entire civilization of super-advanced gorillas live together, so it’s probably not that particularly odd. But Dinosaur Island is unique because of its non-dinosaur visitors. Wild West dandy gambler Bat Lash, the WWI German Flying Ace Hans Von Hammer and some others visited it in the 1920s in the Guns of the Dragon miniseries by Tim Truman (which seems awesome but has never been collected and I’ve never read). Then, in Kanigher’s War That Time Forgot series, a bunch of US Marines visited Dinosaur Island. They even brought a military robot named GI Robot with them. That kind of wildness seems like it would only happen in a comic book. Episodes of Batman: Brave and the Bold have also featured Dinosaur Island, one of which involves Gorilla Grodd and the aforementioned super-advanced gorillas. I’m pretty sure that story sells itself.
Darwyn Cooke’s New Frontier puts DC characters in a historical setting — the 1940s to early 1960s. It’s kind of like The Right Stuff but with superheroes and it’s pretty good. New Frontier starts with the Losers — an elite military team — arriving on Dinosaur Island for a mission. They bump into the dinosaurs and are taken down and defeated one by one. Dinosaur Island turns out to have some hidden agendas of its own. I don’t want to spoil too much, but the Island becomes a threat that all the DC superheroes have to come together to face in the series’ crazy conclusion.
The last of the Losers goes out like a hero, clutching a grenade in each hand and leaping into the open mouth of a tyrannosaur. If you can think of a better way to die, please let me know.