With the sad passing of Leonard Nimoy, I thought I might collect and share some weird literary history. See, this here happened back before Star Trek experienced its recent resurgence in popularity, before Neil Gaiman was openly recognized as the brilliant writer he really isn’t, before geek culture was cool and then cliché and then whiny. These days were known as the 90’s, and aside from Bill Clinton’s NATO bombing of a couple of hospitals in Kosovo (“dual-use” targets), it was a pretty good time.
Back in those days, Leonard Nimoy and Neil Gaiman contributed to Tekno Comix, a comic book publisher that was devoted to Anti-Dinosaur rhetorical exercises. Seriously, 30% of their titles were about how bad it would be if Dinosaurs [fill in the blank]. And that was because Leonard Nimoy, Neil Gaiman and Isaac Asimov were way ahead of their time and knew that some day we would have to deal with political questions of Dinosaur Readiness as a society. (Neil Gaiman promptly stopped being ahead of his time after the 90’s, but whatever.) The two titles best titles were Nimoy’s PriMortals and Gaiman’s Teknophage.
Yes, I had these as a child. Yes, they probably contributed to my dinosaur hating world view. Thank god, right?
PriMortals was Nimoy’s concept. So you got these aliens, right? And they make first contact with humanity, and the lead alien is like–
“Listen, we actually run around granting sentience to randos every now and again. Sometimes we invent people, sometimes we fuck up real bad. You guys seem… eh, but remember how I was saying we fuck up sometimes? Yeah, dinosaurs.”
So you have this giant superpowered dinosaur with genius intelligence running around breaking chains on all the comics covers while humanity is still trying to figure out wtf just happened.
Nimoy allegedly talked through the premise with Asimov, which sort of blows my mind. I mean, if Roddenberry had still been alive, he would have recorded that chat and made Loulie Jean Norman sing the remix. How awesome would that have been? It would have been like–
Nimoy: “The aliens have experimented on dinosaurs in visits previous. Now one of the dinosaurs is upset about that. Its emotions are… mad.”
Asimov: “Oh! Make it a moral conundrum! Oh man! Make it SO CHALLENGING ETHICALLY!”
Nimoy: “And then that would be challenging ethically for the humans. Their emotions would be… sad… happy… mad.”
Asimov: “WHAT COULD YOU EVEN ETHICALLY THINK WITH IMMORTAL INTELLIGENCE?!?!?!?!”
Nomoy: “The alien’s facial structure would be angular.”
Norman: “wooooOOOOOOOO AHHAHAHAHAHAHAHHHHHH!”
Yes. That would have been how it would have happened. Anyhoo. The moral of the story was that you probably shouldn’t give infinite intelligence to dinosaurs. I took this lesson to heart.
Neil Gaiman’s Teknophage… you’re going to think I’m making this up. First, because it sounds exactly like Conservative Dinosaur Readiness Movement propaganda. Secondly, because you will have a hard time imagining Neil Gaiman writing something other than goth nostalgia. Teknophage was about a Tyrannosaurus who is literally the capitalist plutocratic overlord of a planet. He is a businessman Tyrannosaurus. He rules with teeth and the almighty dollar. Look, he even wears a little suit.
When someone pissed him off, Henry (the dinosaur businessman is named Henry) would swallow them whole and partially digest them for a few hours. Then he would spit them back up and they’d be all gooey and acid burned. It was totally metal.
Somehow this comic company didn’t particularly succeed; Tekno only lasted about two years. Leonard Nimoy’s characters fared the best, getting a tie-in novel and a bitchin’ interactive CD-ROM. But I know what you’re wondering.
Was there a crossover battle between Nimoy’s alien and Henry?
OF COURSE THERE WAS.
God save you, 1996. Anyone who can send me a scan of the inside of PriMortals #15, I will post the battle on here.
Thanks for reading. If you enjoyed today’s entry, subscribe or whatever. Also, you can send me a letter. I am a little backed up right now but I do read all the mail I get. Do you need a pint glass? How come no one else remembers the Kosovo missions? The hospital bombing was on friggin’ TV and everything.