Wouldn’t have happened to “National Geographic” – Chap. 3, Act 2, Strip 15

And here we finally are – with all of the obligatory build-up steps completed our heroes (2nd unit) at last are face-to-face with their first living dinosaur, and event that was practically inevitable from the moment the name of the act was revealed.

But B-movie traditions also determine the specifics of this first encounter: according to convention, the first encounter must always be with a vegetarian, and thus harmless dinosaur, with a stegosaurus being the most common choice. The harmlessness of the dino will typically be pointed out by one of the protagonists. How any animal of dinosaur size, no matter its diet, could ever be considered harmless is beyond me to begin with – whoever it was who came up with that was obviously unaware of the number of people who are killed by hippopotami each year, mostly just for happening to get between a fleeing hippopotamus and the safety of the water. Heck, it doesn’t even take that knowledge to realize that a multi-ton animal never is harmless – it’s enough to have a fat vegetarian step on your foot one day on the subway.

This dinosaur, of course, is no stegosaurus – the scriptwriter decided it would be an iguanodon, mostly because he anticipated that George Geekishwould probably just bluescreen some footage of the iguanans in his terrarium into the scene. Hey, that’s basically what he bought the terrarium for – iguanas make great dinosaurs!
Ah, well, perhaps not great, but…adequate…well, somewhat sub-adequate. But they still rate pretty high thanks to their great bang/buck ratio – the next better effect to create dinosaur footage clocks in at a hundred times more expensive, at the least.
Bonus: a considerable part of the audience will probably not be aware that iguanodon didn’t look like iguanas at all.

In panel four the Professor walks the fine line every B-movie scientist has to walk every know and then – stating that something is unbelievable and sensational in-story while trying not to undermine the audience’s willing suspension of disbelief. As usually happens, he plants his feet down firmly a considerable distance to either side of the line. Statistically, that still means he hit it, though.

And Sir Lostalot finally reveals where this act’s name originates. I admit it was a bit misleading, with the anachronistic fauna and all. It was probably a lot clearer in the first draft, when the act was still called “The City that Newsweek overlooked”.

More on Monday.

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