|The high-tech met the prehistoric in Marvel’s Dino-Riders, yet another entry in the dino derby of the late 1980’s (see also Denver the Last Dinosaur, Dink the Little Dinosaur and Dinosaucers). These battle-armored thunder lizards and their futuristic masters formed one-third of the Marvel Action Universe, a 90-minute syndicated package from the well-known comics company.
The Dino-Riders story began on the planet Valoria, whose peaceful residents had developed the ability to communicate telepathically. Valoria was also a planet of unique natural resources, making it a prime target for the Rulons, a reptilian race of conquerors. Before long, the Valorians were overwhelmed by their invaders, but a small group managed to escape into the past by means of a special “S.T.E.P.” machine. Unfortunately, the Rulons followed in their spacecraft, the Dreadlock, carrying their battle to prehistoric Earth.
Now in the past, the Valorians—including leader Questar, Mind-Zei, Serena and Youngstar—used their telepathic “amp” crystals to communicate with the local dinosaurs, making powerful allies with the brontosauruses, stegosauruses, pterodactyls and more. But head Rulon Krulos and his evil associates— Antor, Hammerhead, Rasp and others—had a few mind-controlling tricks up their sleeves as well. Using special “Brain Boxes,” the Rulons forced groups of dinos into battle, including T-rexes, triceratops, pteranodons and ankylosauruses.
Only 12 episodes of Dino-Riders were produced, but the accompanying Tyco toy line was much more popular and prolific. Three separate series of figures were released, including the Commandos, who made a few appearances on the show. New toys continued to be introduced through 1990’s “Ice Age” line, but by that time, their cartoon counterparts could only be found on the video shelves.