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Captain Raptor and the Moon Mystery
by Kevin O'Malley
But really, mostly by Patrick O'Brien, Illustrator
Walker, 2005


Dinosaurs... in spaceships!!!!

Yeah, that's pretty much it. Captain Raptor is a pulp hero of the old school. His adventures go 1. jump into his spaceship, 2. almost die three or four times, but survive through pluck and unlikely circumstance, 3. save the planet. The dialog is intentionally crap, the plot is intentionally worse, but the retro is pretty dang nifty.

The Captain Raptor series is are dieselpunk graphic novels for children (mostly). Despite having an 'author', these are works of illustration, with dinos in medieval armor flying in 1950s era spaceships to fight giant moon-octopuses in style. The text mocks dramatic TV voice overs or comic book text boxes, with enough purple prose to bump this up to a 3.9 grade level, but this is an aesthetic matter, not an indication of actual content.

O'Brien has done a lot of illustration for non-fiction works on zoological pre-history, and his technical experience in charismatic megafauna shows. The art is done in watercolor and gouache on paper, and looks like something Isaac Asimov's Science Fiction Magazine would not have been able to afford for cover art. The illustrations are not as sharp and clean as, e.g. Dinotopia, but are more striking, more balanced, and more expressive. Also, with guns and spaceships.

In general, I wouldn't recommend this to anyone who does not like dinosaurs in jetpacks, but if you do -- well, this is the best art involving dinosaurs in jetpacks I've yet come across. The textboxes are pretty much filler, but if you have a young child this makes a pretty decent read-aloud. And if this is your sort of thing, make sure to check out Captain Raptor's next adventure, Captain Raptor and the Space Pirates.

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