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I think it is a graphic novel, but I can't remember.

Earth makes contact with space-faring travelers, and they are dinosaur-ish creatures. The first contact is peaceful and benevolent until they discover what we use for fuel.

Then war breaks out and humans need to fight back a technological superior adversary.

Maybe there were superheroes in the mix. I don't remember.

  • If I'm not mistaken that's your first story-ID question, so just in case you don't know of it, check out the handy story-ID guide to see if that triggers anything more to edit in :) – Jenayah Feb 13 at 17:16
  • The Homecoming by Barry Longyear springs to mind, but it's a novel, and I don't think there's a fossil fuel scene. – FuzzyBoots Feb 13 at 17:21
  • @FuzzyBoots It does have illustrations though. – TheLethalCarrot Feb 13 at 17:30
  • A few problems with the premise. 1) I believe most fossil fuels come from prehistoric plant life and not dinosaurs. 2) Unless the dinosaur-like aliens are descended from Earth dinosaurs they would be as unrelated Earth dinosaurs as they are to Earth humans. 3) If they are advanced enough to have interstellar travel the aliens would have fusion power generators and they would probably start to share that technology before finding out about fossil fuels. 4) Do the aliens have a taboo about desecrating the remains of those dead for tens or hundreds of millions of years? – M. A. Golding Feb 13 at 18:24
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    @M.A.Golding : 1) this is Science Fiction & Fantasy SE not Worldbuilding SE. 2) the OP is asking for story identification of an extant work, the OP is not asking for a critique of the plausibility of said work : you may have mistaken which SE you're in? – Pelinore Feb 13 at 18:38
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The Homecoming (1989) by Barry B. Longyear

This review on Goodreads mentions most of the elements you mention:

  • "I think it is a graphic novel" - It has illustrations.

  • "Earth makes contact with space-faring travelers, and they are dinosaur-ish creatures" - Check.

  • "The first contact is peaceful" - Whilst I can't find explicit proof of this it appears to be the case.

  • "Then war breaks out and humans need to fight back a technological superior adversary." - There is a war and the dinosaurs (Nitolans) are a technological superior.

  • "Maybe there were superheroes in the mix." - The review mentions the possibility of telekinesis so could be where this is coming from.

It was hard to believe that Barry Longyear, the author of “Infinity Hold” and “Sea of Glass”, both of which I LOVE (love love), penned this banal, super-white-bread tale of dinosaurs arriving in their spaceships to reclaim the Earth they left so long ago. It read like the script of one of those cheesy ‘Amazing Stories’ or ‘Outer Limits’ television shows from the 80s. The illustrations were pretty awful, too. The dinosaurs looked like creepy anorexic chickens and the human protagonist was a strange boxy capsule with legs. Don’t get me started on the two-dimensional, clichéd, 80s characters. Of course the humans win, despite the Nitolan’s overwhelming superior technology (or telekinesis, I couldn’t really understand), because the dinosaurs don’t understand humor… Wait, What?

The generous white borders around the text, the illustrations, and blank pages still barely make this story long enough to be a book. Rightfully, it belongs in an anthology. A really dated anthology that no one will ever read again and ends up gathering dust on a shelf in Goodwill. Seriously Longyear, did you really write this?

The only thing I can't track down a reference to is the part about what we use for fuel but this matches enough already that it is worth mentioning.

The Homecoming front cover

  • "It read like the script of one of those cheesy ‘Amazing Stories’ or ‘Outer Limits’ television shows from the 80s" that's the reviewer you're quoting right? hardly surprising as the literary equivalent of those shows is after all pretty much where he cut his teeth & learned his craft, so the reviewers surprise is.. um.. surprising :) – Pelinore Feb 15 at 2:41

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