More than ten years after the last miniseries, Ricardo Delgado returns to his Eisner Award-winning "Age of Reptiles" in November with "The Journey." Published by Dark Horse, the four-issue series will be an entirely "silent" story set during the dinosaurs' reign over the Earth. CBR News caught up with Delgado to discuss the series and the art of telling a story using only visuals.
Though early "Age of Reptiles" series were met with acclaim and enthusiasm, Delgado sees them as imperfect. "I really felt like the first two series are pretty naÃ¯ve in terms of where I was in my career, and I had new stories to tell," Delgado told CBR. "I wanted to better express my growth as an artist and tell more complex stories. The first two series are just dinosaurs running around and fighting and all that -- there's plenty of that in these four issues, but I wanted more of a complex and interesting story that kids and adults could read."
As the title suggests, "Age of Reptiles: The Journey" is a story of migration. "The season's changing, and that affects the animals and the ecology around them," Delgado said. "So they, en masse, get up as a species and move from one place in the world to another. I thought it would be interesting to follow that journey and to see how all these different species of dinosaurs would be affected by this journey."
Delgado, who also worked as an artist on Pixar's "Wall-E" -- another largely silent story -- said he enjoys the challenge of conveying complex events without dialogue or narration. "What appeals to me about both ['Age of Reptiles' and 'Wall-E'] is that they force you to be a better editor in terms of your storytelling. There has to be complete clarity," he said. "You sit down and decide to tell a story in this fashion, you want the audience to read a lot underneath the surface. In the case of 'Wall-E,' there's a lot going on beneath a seemingly simple story. That's my hope for 'Age of Reptiles,' as well. It looks very, very simple and straightforward but if you look close there's a lot going on underneath the surface."
As to whether it's difficult to pull readers in without dire exposition and crashing sound effects, Delgado trusts his audience to use their own imaginations. "I think the audience fills in the sounds the animals make when they read the comic. I know when I was a kid, and I grew up on Marvel comics, I filled in the blanks of the explosions and the crashing buildings, and whatnot," he said. "It's not difficult to make that leap."
His own style, Delgado said, is inspired by the simple yet precise work of artists like Moebius. "And I have a lot of dinosaur books at home," he added. "But to me, it was more interesting to me to tell these stories in a way people can relate to. People can relate to getting up and moving, you know?"
Delgado said that, above all, he hopes "Age of Reptiles: The Journey" will be a comic book for families. "When I was younger, I saw a lot of kids reading comics, and I don't really see that anymore. Matter of fact, when I go to the comic book store I rarely see kids these days," Delgado said. "I wanted a comic that the whole family could read."