Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Snowy with a Chance of Dinosaurs

Cover art by George Wilson

The logic of the lost valley in which Turok and Andar were trapped was that warm, moist air was trapped inside it, keeping the tropical conditions necessary for prehistoric life to survive. I'm pretty sure that doesn't make real-life sense in several ways, but real life suffers from an acute shortage of lost valleys filled with dinosaurs. So the heck with real life, I say!

Still, there are places in the American Southwest that have some pretty harsh winters, so it makes sense that snow might occasionally find its way into the lost valley. That's what happens in Turok #38 (March 1964), in an uncredited script (though it feels like a Paul S Newman story to me) and art by Giovanni Ticci. Ticci worked at Alberto Giolittti's studio and often filled in for Giolitti on Turok or other titles. I, quite frankly, usually can't tell their work apart. Giolitti, by the way, inked this issue.

Anyway, Lost Valley gets hit by a blizzard. Turok and Andar hole up in a cave, but a tribe of cavemen surprise them and throw hem out without their bows. 

For a few pages, the two friends are trying desperately to stay warm and running from various dangers. Eventually, they end up on a cliff, with several elasmosaurs frozen in a lake just below them. The long-necked honkers can't quite stretch their necks up far enough to make a meal out of Turok and Andar.
This situation is a pretty unique one, but all the same it shows one of the usual strengths of the series. Without their bows and poison arrows, the Indians can't simply slaughter their way out of trouble. Instead, they are going to have to use their brains and think their way out.

That's one of the reasons I think this is a Paul S. Newman story--Newman was enormously skilled at story construction and his ability to place the protagonists in situations that required them to be clever is unparalleled. Like Giolitti and Ticci, the reason he's not hailed as one of the greats in the comic book field among many comic fans is that he worked for a company that has largely disappeared from pop culture consciousness. In terms of talent, he was one of the best,

Well, Turok and Andar can't just wait it out on the ledge. The sun is shining again and the snow & ice is melting. It won't be long before the elasmosaurs will be able to reach them. But that really doesn't matter--the T-Rex who is now stalking them along the ledge will probably eat them first anyways.

Unless, of course, Turok comes up with a clever plan--such as luring the T-Rex out to the edge of the ledge and causing it to stumble down to the frozen surface of the lake. There, it makes quick work of the elasmosaurs.

A bit more cleverness is needed in smoking the cavemen out of the cave and retrieving their bows, but that's quickly accomplished as well. It was a short blizzard, but an eventful one.

That's it for now. Next week, we'll learn what its like to go window shopping during a World War.

1 comment:

  1. Good article! I will have to track down a copy of this one! Thanks!


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