Review: Nick Edward’s “Dinopopolous”

A tale of a boy and his dinosaur – who just happens to have twin-mounted laser cannons – on a quest to foil the Evil League of Lizards.

STORY AND ART BY: Nick Edwards
COVER BY: Nick Edwards
PUBLISHER: Blank Slate Books
COVER PRICE: £5.99 ($8.10 USD)
RELEASE DATE: Oct 26th, 2011

When we first spoke with illustrator Nick Edwards earlier this year he hinted at a one shot book that would be released through indie publisher Blank Slate Books. Fast forward to the present day and that book, entitled Dinopopolous, is set to drop next month right around Halloween- appropriate considering that it’s equal parts adventure, horror and science fiction.

The book starts off by featuring an unnamed Indiana Jones-type getting gunned down by some unseen assailant before introducing us to the main protagonist, Nigel- a 13 year who loves nothing more than reading comics, playing video games and listening to heavy metal music (our kinda strange kid!). Nigel also loves pizza, believes in aliens and solving mysteries alongside his best friend Brian… who just happens to be a dinosaur. Before you can say “Bob’s your uncle” Nigel and Brian are contacted by an eccentric old man by the name of Lancaster Perrifold who gives them a mission to track down the “Miracle Bird of Ndundoo,” a magical artifact buried deep inside the Earth. The duo are then given an equally mysterious relic, which they take no time in accidentally smashing open, and are off to save the world!

Although the entire book moves at this pace Edwards still manages to find enough time to give Nigel and Brian just the right amount of characterization to keep you invested in their wild, underworld adventure. Likewise the book’s main villain, Lord Julian (leader of the Evil League of Lizards) is given his moments such as slapping one of his anthropomorphic lizard subordinates before promptly instructing him to “grow a pair, jump down that hole and kill a 13-yr old.” Now that’s cold-blooded.

Of course, it’s all done in a family-friendly Adventure Time sort of way that could be enjoyed by both kids and adults equally. The detail Edwards employs in the art department, however, are nothing short of stunning and despite the book being done entirely in black and white you get the sense that no stone was left un-crosshatched. This is particularly impressive as the book reaches its last act, in which Nigel and Brian go “metaphysical” to discover the true secret of the Miracle Bird.

Overall Dinopopolous is a great one shot that lends itself well to even more adventures, something I hope we’ll see from Edwards in the future. The price is a little steep for a black and white book, but considering that each pre-ordered issue comes signed by the artist along with a doodle or two the cost could be justified. Either way I’m excited to see more books like this from Edwards down the road, proving here that he can both write and illustrate a funny, heartwarming tale about a boy and his dinosaur saving the world from evil lizard men.

Written by Rondal

Rondal is the Editor-in-Chief of Strange Kids Club and a creative instigator who tackles each day with Red Bull-induced enthusiasm and a mind for adventure. Rondal has written for other sites including Rue Morgue, Fuel Your Illustration and Bloodsprayer. His obsession with horror movies, 80s animation and action figures is considered unhealthy by medical professionals.

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