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Cadillacs and Dinosaurs: The Multimedia Franchise That Time Forgot

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The artwork from 'Cadillacs and Dinosaurs'
Admit it: this is the coolest thing you’ve ever seen
Photo: Tom Simposn via CC

Have you ever encountered two disparate things that, despite all logic, somehow seem to work together? Two objects or ideas that are awesome on their own, yet are capable of joining into one epic something that’s greater than the sum of its parts? Perhaps not since chocolate was combined with peanut butter has this concept been better realized than with the epic multimedia franchise Cadillacs and Dinosaurs. And yes, this is absolutely a real thing.

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Remembering ‘Cadillacs and Dinosaurs’

Cadillacs and Dinosaurs began its life in 1987 under an entirely different name. That year, comic book writer Mark Schultz released the first epic issue of his latest creation: Xenozoic Tales. The comic was an exercise in pulpy genius: In the near future, human civilization has all but been wiped out by an environmental apocalypse. The remnants of mankind have moved underground, and live in giant cities that are protected from the destroyed surface. When the first explorers emerge 500 years later, they’re shocked to discover that prehistoric creatures have reclaimed the earth. Dinosaurs roam free and have no reservations about adding humans to their collective menu.

As mankind struggles to live in this new “Xenozoic” era, we follow the exploits of two human characters: Jack and Hannah. Of the two, Hannah easily has the most interesting occupation: she’s a mechanic who repairs ancient Cadillacs and retrofits them to run on dinosaur poop instead of gasoline. If that’s not the most amazing sentence you’ve read all day, I’d be truly shocked.

Each issue of the comic tells the ongoing tale of Jack, Hannah, Jack’s pet Allosaurus, and Hannah’s dino-poo Cadillacs as they navigate a world gone mad. And somehow, it all works amazingly well.

A multimedia franchise

The comic was published intermittently between 1987 and 1996. During that time, it evolved into a beloved franchise that even saw the likes of Marvel reprint older issues. This is where the Cadillacs and Dinosaurs title comes from; it was the name Marvel gave to the reprints. Naturally, Cadillac itself is a partial rights owner of the name.

Despite its sporadic publication history, Cadillacs and Dinosaurs would spawn a series of comic spinoffs, a merchandise line, a video game, and even a 1993 Saturday-morning cartoon series.

Unfortunately, the comic series ended during the middle of an ongoing story arc in 1997. Mass interest in the franchise fizzled out, and although the comics and the show retain a strong cult following today, not nearly enough people are aware that something called Cadillacs and Dinosaurs is a thing.

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Did you know that this series existed? Is the idea of a Cadillac fueled by dino dookie the single greatest thing you’ve ever heard? Let us know in the comments below.