Some team-ups prove to be more epic than others, but the one at the heart of MOON GIRL AND DEVIL DINOSAUR easily measures up to some of the biggest around. Written by Amy Reeder and Brandon Montclare with art by Natacha Bustos, the December-debuting series features the time-lost Jack Kirby T-Rex meeting up with a new character by the name of Lunella Lafayette.
Some might think that the appearance of a gigantic red dinosaur ranks pretty high on Lunella’s list of problems, but she finds herself dealing with an even bigger discovery: she’s an Inhuman. Wanting nothing to do with all that business, she uses her super intellect to figure out ways of avoiding her abilities.
Bustos revels the opportunity to develop a brand new character in the Marvel Universe while also teaming her up with a classic from the company’s long history. The artist runs through the process of designing Lunella, bringing Devil Dinosaur into modern times, and working with Reeder and Montclare.
Marvel.com: What was your initial reaction to hearing about this new concept of a genius young woman hanging out with Devil Dinosaur in modern times?
Natacha Bustos: I was thrilled to have the opportunity to be involved in this project. I fell in love with the concept straight away, for so many reasons: Amy’s designs, Jack Kirby’s Devil Dinosaur, and the creation of a new super hero in the Marvel Universe, especially one like Lunella Lafayette. It’s an honor. Apart from the fact that she is a black female kid—a huge step towards real diversity in mainstream comics, which Ms. Marvel has been carrying the banner for—she’s a nerdy girl with a reddish T-rex friend in Brooklyn and she’s got Inhuman genes! So many things could happen. It’s exciting.
Marvel.com: Did you go back to the Jack Kirby issues of the original series for reference? Were there certain elements you wanted to bring into the present?
Natacha Bustos: Although I’ve seen much of Kirby’s concept and comic work before, I had only read some issues of DEVIL DINOSAUR before I got the entire compilation a few months ago.
It’s so amazing, so unbelievable to think that I now have the right to draw all the Kirby’s dots I want without fear of complaints! Ah but I do intend to have a little of Kirby’s presence in these comics as an homage. Of course not in my drawing style, since it’s obviously quite different, but I plan to add a few little Easter eggs here and there.
Marvel.com: What was the process like for coming up with Lunella Lafayette’s look?
Natacha Bustos: I used Amy’s designs as references. They were great. I have loved Amy’s work for years. She’s very creative and talented in relation to concept designs. And, because of that talent, the character of Lunella came to me as a very solid idea that I just had to bring to life. That challenge was accomplished also with the help of a fantastic personality that I felt I could connect with. It was a really enjoyable process.
Lunella’s look says a lot about who she is. Her usual costume is cargo short pants and random nerdy t-shirts, and she always takes a fantastic backpack full of gadgets and tools with her everywhere. So when you look at her for the first time you realize that she is no ordinary girl: she’s an adventurer, and an explorer who likes to dabble in science!
The final piece of her look was her hair. Amy thought that it would be cool to play with her hairstyle throughout, and I agreed. On the promotional images we can see her with her classic ponytail, but in her adventures she might have two ponytails or maybe wear her hair down.
Marvel.com: We know that Lunella has the Inhuman gene, but doesn’t want anything to do with it. Still, have you been able to have some fun designing her Inhuman abilities visually?
Natacha Bustos: We haven’t reached that stage yet but I really want to work on this.
Marvel.com: The stars of this comic are about as different as can be. How do you communicate the fact that they’re comfortable with one another once that’s the case in the story?
Natacha Bustos: Kids have a natural instinct to communicate with every single piece of life and have a powerful imagination, which I think is fabulous. So, relatively speaking, it’s not that surprising to discover that Lunella can communicate with a T-Rex!
The Devil Dinosaur character himself is not a dangerous animal that we imagine a T-Rex to be. Everything he does, he does for a reason and as we have learned through Kirby’s comics, he is capable of seeing the good in people and behaving in the same manner, thanks to his friendship with Moon Boy. On this “new” world where he lands, we will watch him try to do the same with Lunella, to find a new friend in her.
Artistically speaking, it’s a lot of fun to work on their relationship. DD can’t talk and has tiny arms, so he finds it hard work to make himself understood. The result is his behavior will sometimes be annoying for Lunella and for other people. I work on his physical expressiveness especially in his eyes [because] that’s where his thoughts are revealed and thus [where he can] be understood. But good friendships don’t happen all of sudden. They develop, little by little. I look forward to being a part of their unique relationship.
To see the very first stages of this budding friendship check out MOON GIRL AND DEVIL DINOSAUR #1 this December from Amy Reeder, Brandon Montclare, and Natacha Bustos.