Comic comparison


Cadillacs And Dinosaurs began life as Xenozoic Tales, a comic book which began publication in 1987 (though appeared the year before in a comic anthology) and was crafted by Mark Schultz and his wonderful mind. Each issue contains a primary and secondary story, the former focusing on the ongoing adventures of Jack Tenrec, Hannah Dundee and the uprising of Wilhelmina Scharnhorst's corrupt government, while the latter is more a slice of life of the various residents of the post-apocalyptic world (usually drawn by Steve Stiles).

The primary series by Mark Schultz (Xenozoic Tales) ran for fourteen issues from 1987 to 1995 in black and white, while another comic began in 1994 by a different writing crew, published by Topps Comics in colour (as Cadillacs & Dinosaurs), though since the cartoon debuted in 1993, only the first twelve issues of Xenozoic had been released by that point. Just for the sake of trivia, I'll be talking about both of them, even though the cartoon draws no inspiration from the Topps version.


In general, a majority of the characters appear more haggard and older in the comic, but were given more youthful appearances for the cartoon.


from issue 1, Law of the Land

Jack Tenrec comes across as a bit more of a hardass in the comics, and since his status as an outcast in emphasised there, his disregard for the council's ideals are more hard-hitting. He's got a lot more maintenance crew in his garage, not just Kirgo and Mustapha, and they quite often betray him or go against his beliefs, forcing him to lay a bit of smackdown on them... or worse. Cartoon Jack just comes across as mildly grouchy and moderately preachy but an otherwise okay guy.



Although you still don't see much of it, the comic exposits more information on the Wassoon tribe, detailing some elements of their culture that are only hinted to in the cartoon. Hannah's original interest in the City's library, for instance, is because the Wassoons lost all of their documents and have only remembered their culture and technology through passing it down to younger generations and committing it to memory.


We've made a few other assumptions, as well, to avoid confusion whenever possible with the TV cartoon seen by an audience of millions each week.

For instance, Mark's XT had introduced four brothers of the poaching Terhune family -- Wrench, Hammer, Vice, and even one who wasn't given a first name. Each was apparently killed in the episode that introduced him. Yet not only did each possess a fine potential for villainy, but we learned that some of them would appear alive an well on CBS-TV. There would even be toys based on their cartoon versions.

Thus, in Topps Comics’ C&D, though Wrench and No-Name are definitely deceased, brother Hammer survived a bullet to the temple in an early encounter (merely a flesh wound) — and it was easy to assume that Vice hadn't even drowned in "Foul Weather." Since we also wanted a Wrench Terhune in C&D, we considered that first name merely a nickname, which would attach itself to another sibling after his death in XT #1. If our versions of the Brothers Terhune didn’t always match the cartoon or the toys, they would match what Mark had done in XT. I even postulated a Mammy Yokum-like matron of the clan, a small but domineering monster of a woman, to tie it all together.


Kirgo is portrayed as a more older gentleman, with a bushy moustache and sunken eyes. Mustapha remains pretty much the same between the two mediums, though he has more adventures of his own in the comics, including a story where he gets into politics so he can stop Scharnhorst.


There are at least four Terhunes in the comic, and although some distinctive visual traits are shared with them and the cartoon versions, the names are just mixed and matched between them. Although they all die in the original run, two of them (and a new sibling) show up alive in the Topps continuation.

The first of the Terhunes to show up is Wrench (An Archipalego of Stone, issue 1), who appears as part of a gang out to kill Jack. Although the name is mentioned, the name isn't actually assigned to any specific character until his death is mentioned in the Topps Comics - he's the guy who gets his head chewed off by Hermes. This serves as motivation for the rest of his brothers to be such dicks to Jack. Another Wrench appears in the Topps Comics (see below), though he does nothing of worth.

Hammer Terhune (issue 2, Mammoth Pitfall!) has a vendetta against Tenrec for killing his brother in the previous issue. Attempting to hold him hostage long enough to be taught how to drive a Cadillac, Hannah ends up shooting him through the head. Although this appearance as a fat bastard was recreated exactly for an enemy in the arcade game, cartoon Hammer only borrows the haircut.


from Topps Comics issue 1, Blood and Bones (right)

Another Terhune shows up in the story Intrusion (issue 6), breaking into Tenrec's garage to avenge his brothers' deaths. He too gets snuffed by accidentally boiling himself alive with Jack's furnace. Although this Terhune goes unnamed and isn't even seen by Jack, his appearance was adapted for the cartoon Wrench, featuring the same distinctive headband and vest.

Vice Terhune appears in the sidestory Foul Weather (issue 8) and is closer to what cartoon Hammer's appearance is based off. He appears with his girlfriend Mikla (no similarity to the cartoon version) and gets into a scuffle with Jack before being swept away by a storm. He reappears in the Topps comic continuation, though.


Professor Fessenden (left) doesn't make many appearances in the comic, but he leaves a mighty impact. Although no more than a mildly kooky scientist in the cartoon, in the comics he's an out-and-out freak; his attempt at creating a concoction to make people more adaptable to the swamp environment (Death Rattle issue 8, Xenozoic!) just results in them all turning into hideous brain-eyeball monstrosities, and his first appearance ends with him undergoing the same procedure and sludging away. That story is expanded upon in the Topps continuation (Topps issue 1 - 3, Blood and Bone) and involves Fessenden's daughter returning to the swamp in search of her father, and all the brain things start possessing skeletons. His cartoon character model, on the other hand, appears to be based off Dr. Bulger (right) from The Growing Pool in issue 7.


Wilhelmina Scharnhorst appears briefly in History Lesson (issue 4) as the leader of the moles (the cartoon never implies she's a mole, but I guess it never outright states she's a regular human either), but doesn't have major input to the story until an appearance in the sidestory of issue 9. I'll let her introductory panel speak for itself. It's hard to accurately judge the changes since the comic book details her quick rise into power and the wave of changes she makes, in contrast to the cartoon where she's there from the start and the attitudes are already in place. She's still a bit of a power hungry fiend either way, though, but has a mole militia backing her up in the comics.



Captain Noc's name is spelt Nock in the comics. There's otherwise no differences between the two versions.


Ferris appears in the issue 4 story History Lesson, but he and the moles have no distinct physical characteristics, besides slightly more prominent ears if you want to get really, really nitpicky.


The Grith are presented in a much more primal manner in the comics, most notably in their ape-like movements. Hobb looks no different from the others of his kind and communicates via Scrabble tiles - he has no means of direct vocal communication, the psychic link nonsense is just a cartoon conception.


A few of the cartoon storylines are based off plots from the comics, though some connections are looser than others. Most of the stories in Xenozoic Tales are only around twelve pages long, so quite often the cartoon only uses the basic premise or dumps an extra plot in to stretch it out to twenty two minutes.


Rogue shares a title with a story from issue 2, though rather than a shivat attacking settlements, it's attacked a mine, and is merely because someone shot it in the eye on a previous encounter.


Wild Child is a loose adaptation of Foundling, a story from Xenozoic Tales issue 6, where a child is abducted from its mother by a pack of hyenas and tracked by Hannah, who discovers it's been raised by the Grith. The whole communicating-with-slithers aspect is absent, thus meaning the poacher element is gone. The mother was probably removed from the cartoon story as it'd likely be too depressing for a kids' show when the child has a human family it can no longer see.


Elements from the story Last Link in the Chain (issue 9) are used in the episodes Pursuit and Duel; the former has Jack and Hannah trekking the wilderness with no equipment while fearing they're being followed, and have a run-in with a cutter followed by spending the night in a tree branch, which is taken straight from the story. The latter makes use of the continual sabotage of his tools and machinery, though in the comic it's never actually said who was responsible, as far as I'm aware. 


The episode Departure is an adaptation of the short story The Opportunists from the very first issue, and involves Hannah introducing a swarm of zeke into the City in the Sea as a warning system for thresher attacks. The cartoon has the basic elements, but largely focuses around the brand new subplot of Jack and Hannah meeting the crazy tank dude. Scharnhorst is absent from the comic version and it is entirely Nock who does the chastising.