In Batman #1 in the New 52, we see a giant animatronic dinosaur kept in the Batcave as a trophy. The T. rex is a reminder from an early adventure on Dinosaur Island (Batman #35, from June 1946). In that story, Murray Wilson Hart, a wealthy industrialist creates an amusement park named Dinosaur Island, filled with robot replicas of dinosaurs and robotic cavemen, but a criminal takes control of the mechanical dinosaurs and attacks Batman and Robin. Eventually, the dynamic duo defeat the criminal and Batman take the T. rex as a souvenier.
A second and definitive version of Dinosaur Island appeared in the Spring 1960 issue of Star-Spangled War Stories #90. Based on The Land That Time Forgot by Edgar Rice Burroughs, the saga follows a group of American soldiers, stranded on an uncharted island during the Pacific War which they discover is populated by dinosaurs. The original novel was set on World War I and is a reminder of Jules Verne’s novel Journey to the Center of the Earth, and Arthur Conan Doyle’ s The Lost World.
Almost three decades before Verne’s Journey to the Center of the Earth, Rodolphe Töpffer (1799- 1846) published a peculiar geological tale. Töpffer was a Swiss author considered the first comics artist. In Journey to the Center of the Earth (1864), Jules Verne incorporated the knowledge of the time. Verne was inspired by Charles Lyell’s Geological Evidences of the Antiquity of Man and Lyell’s earlier ground-breaking work Principles of Geology.
Arthur Conan Doyle began to write The Lost World in 1911. One year later it was published in book form by Hoddar and Stoughton. By that time he already was one of the most popular author around the globe, thanks to his most iconic creation, Sherlock Holmes. Probably, one of the most influential works in Doyle’s novel was “Extinct Animals” by Ray Lankester, Director of the Natural History Museum. The Lost World has much in common with Journey to the Centre of the Earth, and has contributed significantly to the fascination with dinosaurs and pterodactyls. Even more, the first full-length science fiction film was based on Conan Doyle’s novel.
Conan Doyle, A. 1912. The Lost World. Hodder & Stoughton, London.
Verne, J. G. 1864. Voyage au centre de la Terre. Pierre Jules Hetzel, Paris.
Edgar Rice Burroughs, The Land That Time Forgot, Blue Book Magazine, 1918
Batman #35, DC Comics, 1946
Star-Spangled War Stories #90, DC Comics, 1960