Jack Kirby is one of the most celebrated comic book artists of the superhero genre. His creations are recognizable worldwide, and even if he didn’t get sufficient recognition in life, he certainly has gained some in death.
I mean, they used some of his artwork in the scheme that was at the center of the movie Argo.
But some of his stuff is a bit more forgotten. Among the lesser-known such characters is Moon Boy.
What was the deal with Moon Boy? I mean that question on so many levels.
On the most literal hand, Moon Boy was a hairy ape-man type of person who rode around with his constant companion Devil Dinosaur, a bright red T-Rex, and they had adventures. That’s about as simple a premise as you can get.
On the other hand, Kirby had a habit of creating “boy” heroes, like Kamandi, the Last Boy on Earth, or the Newsboy Legion. This is once again an age-old reflection of early comic creators wanting to create characters that the youthful, mostly male reading audience could potentially identify with. Some of these ideas worked out OK, others were outright horrifying when you looked at them a certain way. Why so many creators thought various heroic characters under the age of 18 would take code names pointing out their juvenile status I can’t begin to guess, but it happened all the same.
But Moon-Boy had another problem. His initial adventures from Kirby had the caveman of a younger age, a member of the “Small Folk” tribe, see members of the “Killer Folk” tribe attacking a female dinosaur with three young offspring. Moon-Boy swung into action, too late to save the mother and two of the babies, but the third was set loose in a fire and only turned a bright red color. Naming his new companion “Devil” due to his coloration, Moon-Boy and Devil Dinosaur became constant friends and companions doing whatever it is that a hairy kid riding a dinosaur in a vaguely prehistoric setting could do. At some point, they even fought Godzilla.
But here’s a question: where was this stuff set? Because, unlike what The Flintstones would have you believe, dinosaurs and humans never really co-existed outside of a creationist museum. Were Moon-Boy and Devil Dinosaur rocking in the prehistoric past? At least one Marvel timeline, the world of the Earth X series, would say yes and Moon Boy was a distant ancestor of Wolverine. But that mini-series had a pet theory for where everything came from and tries to oversimplify, oh, everything to force it to fit into the pet theory.
Case in point: Earth X stated Wolverine was not a mutant. No, instead he was a descendant of the few proto-humans (including Moon Boy) the Celestials didn’t alter, so he was what humans were supposed to be and not the sickly-by-comparison things that they were.
That actually sounds like a better deal for all involved than the Nextwave timeline, where Devil Dinosaur could talk and was the secret leader of two terrorist organizations. He hated humans so badly, and apparently he ate Moon Boy at some point in the past.
But what about the main Moon Boy and Devil Dinosaur? Well, they were from a parallel Earth or something and eventually made it to Marvel’s main timeline where they mostly resided in the Savage Land, that part of Antarctica where dinosaurs still roamed. Sometimes they’d venture out, sometimes they’d be kidnapped.
Then, more recently, Marvel launched a new series titled Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur. Well, Moon Boy didn’t have a sex change. Instead, a new character nicknamed Moon Girl became the new companion for Devil Dinosaur after a few of those lousy Killer Folk beat Moon Boy to death.
Moon Boy and Devil Dinosaur do still appear in various Marvel media, but let’s face it: these guys are supremely silly at best.