Look Alive, London! Here’s some rare dinosaur invasion art by Don Lawrence

Regular readers of downthetubes will recall we previously covered the short-lived replacement to Look and Learn, Look Alive, highlighting an early appearance of the Alan Grant penned story “The Chronicles of Genghis Grimtoad”, drawn for the title by Angus McBride, not Ian Gibson.

(Gibson would draw an entire adventure published by Marvel UK).

Well, here’s another gem from the title, presumably now owned by Rebellion given the publication date in 1982.

(Comics archivist Steve Holland says the title is not among those owned by Look and Learn Limited).

Dinosaurs invade London by Don Lawrence

This wonderful dinosaur invasion of London art by Don Lawrence – best known for his work on “The Trigan Empire” and Storm – was one of the illustrations for a three-page feature in Look Alive Issue One, written by Gillian Wrobel, who was possibly related to the title’s production editor, Peter Wrobel.

David McDonald of Hibernia Books, publishers of the Fleetway Files and many other great titles devoted to the history of British comics, kindly dug out his copy of the first issue of Look Alive (a title edited by Kevin Gosnell that lasted just five issues), so we’re able to show you the art in context.

Look Alive Issue One - I, Dinosaur by Don Lawrence and Gillian Wrobel

Look Alive Issue One - I, Dinosaur by Don Lawrence and Gillian Wrobel

Look Alive Issue One - I, Dinosaur by Don Lawrence and Gillian Wrobel

“I remember going in to see Kelvin Gosnell with my portfolio touting for work on that title, he showed me this art,” artist John Higgins recalls. “Other than the depression at seeing the competion, to be able to ring an editor and pop in almost on spec was brilliant, and the pleasure of course of seeing such great work, priceless!”

We reported back in February that Book Palace are working on a new Don Lawrence book which will show off even more of his incredible artwork in due course.

During its short run, Look Alive also featured spot illustrations from artists such as John Cooper, Angus McBride, Wilf Hardy and Dave Gibbons.

downthetubes contributor Tymbus is intrigued the pictured that the T Rex is red. “There might have been a view that the animal was red in colour,” he suggests. “I recall that the Aurora T Rex kit was in red plastic,the other dinosaurs in the line were green and grey.

“Of course today the creature is thought to have been covered in feathers!”

Aurora Dinosaur T-Rex Kit
Aurora Dinosaur T-Rex Kit

Aurora Dinosaur Kits

Tymbus notes that in researching the history of the Aurora kits it appears that X-Men artist Dave Cockrum designed the model and cover art for the T Rex, and the design for an unproduced Stegosaurus model. (The moulds are now, apparently, owned by Monogram).

For those of you worried about reptilian interference with your daily commute, downthetubes reader Simon Doyle has kindly checked the Transport for London web site for us and informs us the Number 23 route currently offers a good service, so presumably all dinosaur-related delays have been cleared…

Our thanks to David and others who provided background information of this item during discussion on social media.

Find out more about Look Alive right here on downthetubes

• Check out Hibernia Books at hiberniabook.blogspot.com – the Fleetway Files sold out within two weeks of publication but David tells us a small reprint is in the works and a digital edition is still available

Read our tribute to Don Lawrence, published 2nd January 2004

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John Freeman

The founder of downthetubes, John works as a comics editor, writer, as Creative Consultant on the Dan Dare audio adventures for B7 Media, and on promotional work for the Lakes International Comic Art Festival. Working in British comics publishing for over 30 years, his credits include editor of titles such as Doctor Who Magazine, Star Trek Magazine and Babylon 5 Magazine. He also edited the comics anthology STRIP Magazine and edited several audio comics for ROK Comics. He has also edited several comic collections, including volumes of “Charley’s War and “Dan Dare”. He’s the writer of “Crucible”, a creator-owned project with 2000AD artist Smuzz, published on Tapastic; and “Death Duty” and “Skow Dogs” with Dave Hailwood for digital comic 100% Biodegradable.

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