Seriously, these things are so soaked in testosterone that they should be used in hormone therapy. They are so utterly male that they should be used as reference material for university-level gender studies classes. These three comics should be given to pubescent boys as a rite of passage: “Read these Turok comics, son. They’ll make a man out of you.” The musk of manliness that these comics give off is so powerful that I have to put the damn things in special bags or my office will stink like a mandrill in heat. They are so macho that every time I read them I want to punch somebody in the neck.
Basically, these comics rule.
A little background: Turok is a character that’s been around since the mid-fifties, appearing as Turok: Son of Stone in Dell Comics and then in Gold Key comics. The big concept of Turok is both simple and high-concept, at once stupid yet brilliant:
In the original comics, Turok and his sidekick Andar were two resourceful stone age tribesmen who get trapped in Lost Valley, which is just crawling with dinosaurs and cavemen. Comedy ensues. Valiant Comics picked up the rights to Turok and updated the idea a little. Now he’s Turok, Dinosaur Hunter, and he’s as likely to use an Uzi as a bow.
I think Turok is best known to the world at large as a shooter video game, but whenever anybody says “Turok,” I think of Turok, Dinosaur Hunter #31-33, “Radio Men of Lost Land.” Granted, people don’t say “Turok” around me a lot – maybe if they stub their toe or smash their thumb with a hammer or something. “Turok! My fucking thumb!”
Check out that cover, (below). You cannot go wrong with that cover. Burly shirtless sweaty Turok choking some alien with an M-16 while a formless monstrosity looms in the background? That’s what comics are all about, man.
Man, is it getting hot in here, or is it just me?
In the story, Turok, his sidekick Andy, and his woman Regan are traveling to Lost Land on an archaeological expedition with a documentary film crew when their plane gets sucked into an interdimensional vortex. They crash-land in the Lost Land, naturally. There the survivors are attacked by dinosaurs, kidnapped by telepathic aliens with sharp sticks, and menaced by a huge shapeshifting monster made of flesh-melting goo. It is awesome.
The documentary film crew turn out to be a band of crass film makers who are using the expedition to film footage for a schlocky T&A dinosaur movie.
Turok himself is a stoic, ultra-competent bad-ass who remains inscrutable behind pimpin’ mirrored shades. He quickly establishes alpha status within the group of survivors. This is Turok’s ‘hood, so to speak, so it’s only natural he leads.
Turok has to bust a move to save that ass:
Turok scoops up Miss Charlotte, but the herd of three-horns is thundering their way. How will they escape?
By being a total bad-ass, that’s how. Turok shoots one triceratops with his M-16 – one-handed BTW – and the thing drops. He knows just where to shoot the massive, armored creature, apparently. Anyway, take a look:
Plus, the guy knows how to draw fight scenes. I’ve heard criticisms of Paul Gulacy’s work as stiff or inconsistent, but I disagree. He delivers dynamic, dramatic art that is always in service to the story. I think he’s the cat’s ass.
My only complaint is that sometimes Gulacy draws people with huge, flaring nostrils and bulging crackhead eyes. That's not a plus, usually, unless you're drawing a comic about pig crack addicts.
Anyway, the Radio Men attack the crash site and kidnap Regan and the actresses. They march them through dinosaur-infested jungle in their bikinis to meet their fate as sacrifices to the flesh-eating acid goo monster. The art and story are full of affectionate references to pulp sci-fi of times past, and although the material is played fairly straight, there’s always a wink in its eye.
Wait. That doesn’t make sense – comics can’t wink. But you know what I’m saying, I mean the comics don’t take themselves too seriously.
After braving numerous hazards of the dinosaur variety, Turok and the other survivors attack the Temple of the Radio Men in an effort to save the bikini’d womenfolk from being thrown in flesh-eating goo monster pit. Cooper films the entire battle, delighted by the great footage he’s getting.
Turok and Co. kill many many aliens. Cooper gets too engrossed in filming the battle and falls into the pit of the flesh-eating acid goo monster. Finally Turok and his woman are reunited in this brilliant panel:
One of the special effects guys on the film crew figures out how to overload the telepathic frequencies of the Radio Men and the flesh-eating goo monster. The formless monster turns into a big tidal wave of acid and destroys the High Priestess of the Radio Men.
The rest of the Radio Men get their heads blown up, Cronenberg-style!
BOO-YAH! Head bursting! I really like how the eyeballs are popping out of their heads – that’s a little bit of extra love Gulacy just threw in there for us.
Turok watches stone-faced as the entire evil Temple collapses. His work here is done. His bikini-clad woman holds him tight. All he needs is a beer and he would be set.
Damn, who’s got a cold one for Turok?
Who has got a fucking beer for my man Turok?!