Comic books, contrary to popular belief do not ignore science to come up with the fantastic abilities characters have. They extrapolate, exaggerate and play make-believe with science, but this stems from scientific literacy.
This cover by Dustin Weaver to the recent issue of Avengers #12 is a great example. As Laelaps blogger Brian Switek has pointed out, let Jurassic Park 4 go ahead and try to ignore feathered dinosaurs: pop culture is going to keep up with dino science whether that movie franchise does or not.
On his blog, Weaver said,
"So my first thought was, "I'm not drawing a T-Rex or a Triceratops." The T-Rex is so played out at this point, I don't care how loud it appears to be roaring, I'm yawning. So the first thing I did was turn to my good buddy, Ben Bates, and asked him "what's your favorite Dinosaur?" He said a Protoceratops. To which I started to laugh. This is exactly why I'm friends with Bates. He has a natural aversion to the obvious path. I said, "There WILL be a Protoceratops on this Avengers cover." That got me thinking of Dinotopia. My Protoceratops is basically Bix from Dinotopia. And as I was flipping through a Dinotopia book for some inspiration I saw a Therizinosaurus and I thought, "I want to draw that." Throw in a Stegosaurus for good measure and the obligatory Pterodactyls and you've got my Avengers #12 cover."
Weaver's own curiosity and desire to do something different with dinosaurs drove the creative process on the cover. Speaking for myself, I think Weaver has drawn one of my favourite comic covers of all time. I mean, the Avengers + feathered dinosaurs + an homage to James Gurney?? It doesn't get much better than that.
Here's the original black and white image: