Monday, April 10, 2006

TUROK, DINOSAUR HUNTER #31-33 Valiant Comics, 1995

These three issues of Turok, Dinosaur Hunter may be the most manly comics I have ever read in my life.

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:
Indians versus dinosaurs.
How can you go wrong with an idea like that? It practically writes itself.

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!”

This retro-pulp-sci-fi extravaganza from writer Tim Truman and penciller Paul Gulacy glories in its B-movie cheesiness, reveling in violence and gratuitous cheesecake. Plus, it is macho as hell.

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.

When a herd of triceratops starts to stampede, the film crew try to get their actresses in the shot, with predictable results.

Turok has to bust a move to save that ass:

Oh, hell yes. That’s some manly shit right there.

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:

Cooper, the sleazy producer of the film, is impressed by Turok’s mad skillz, and wants to put the laconic warrior in his movie. While all of the characters in “Radio Men of Lost Land” are broadly sketched, the Cooper character is a particularly over the top caricature:

Artist Paul Gulacey’s work is well-suited to the subject matter, and it looks like he had fun drawing it. Gulacy’s well-constructed sequences are very cinematic, like this first reveal of the mysterious Radio Men:

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?!


Anonymous said...

Damn it! I think Turok got culled from my pull list right before these issues came out. I don't know what I was thinking. Tim Truman is the Duke, A #1. Can't wait for him to take over Conan in a couple of issues (not that there's anything terribly wrong with Busiek)...

Harvey Jerkwater said...

This is what life is like inside my head. All the time.

dwinn said...

All I can think of is Shatner yelling "I... AM... TUROK!"

Anonymous said...

Does this take place in Cuba? 'Cause I'd swear that's Fidel Castro helping Turok fight the Radio Men.

Anonymous said...

I was mildly surprised when ol' Turok had a revival back in the '90s--I remember getting some reprints at Osco Drug or something back in the early '80s, just as my dinosaur phase ended.

I've got to ask: Does he still call dinosaurs "honkers" in the '90s books?

Anonymous said...

All i know is when i played the Turok video game i would use the gernade launcher and watch the bodies fly into the air as i heard them scream in pain. and when thier lifeless body hit the ground i would nail them with another gernade.....mysteriously they would scream again as the body went flying.
THAT IS HOW BADASS TURKOK IS! lifeless bodies scream out in pain...damn right

Anonymous said...

I will buy a beer for Turok! And not any of that Budweiser crap either- only Guinness is worthy of his badassery!!!

Anonymous said...

Turok doesn't teabag you....

He potato sacks you!!!!!

At night, Galactus looks under his bed at night for Turok.

Anonymous said...

Jesus, this comic is so manly I want to eat a steak after looking at those pages. And I HATE eating steak! Damn you, Tim Truman!!

Anonymous said...

Turok doesn't kill two birds with one stone. Turok kills all birds, with two stones. The ones in his pants.

When Bruce Banner gets mad, he turns into the Hulk. When the Hulk gets mad, he turns into Turok.

Bully said...

Dan Coyle said: Jesus, this comic is so manly I want to eat a steak after looking at those pages. And I HATE eating steak! Damn you, Tim Truman!

It's so manly I want to eat a steak after looking at those pages. And I am steak!

Darn you, Tim Truman!!

Ken said...

Turok is so bad he can drop a charging Triceratops with a .223 poodleshooter. That is badness cubed. That is a metric pantload of badditude.

"idhmhgv:" the sound at least one of the Radio Men made just before his head 'sploded.

Rob Schamberger said...

The Truman/Morales/Gulacy run on Turok is one of my favorite comics of all time. Ever. It was incredibly smart, well-crafted, and beautiful.

Turok is so hardcore, he makes Sabu wet his pants in fear.

Harvey Jerkwater said...

Turok also showed us that Henry Kissinger is now a movie producer.

Not only is he the Ultimate Manly Man, his comic is educational.

I would ask who would win in a fight between Turok and Mr. T, but almost certainly the shockwaves from their conflict would shatter the universe itself. We must content ourselves with the knowledge that such a fight can never be, if only for our own good.

BigSleep666 said...

Turok: You know what I think I'm gonna do then? Just for the hell of it?
Dinosaur: Tell me.
Turok: I'm gonna take this right foot, and I'm gonna whop you on that side of your face... and you wanna know something? There's not a damn thing you're gonna be able to do about it.
Dinosaur: Really?
Turok: Really.
Turok then whops the dinosaur on the side of its face.

Bully said...

Say, why were they called Radio Men?

Anonymous said...

Am I the only one who now thinks of Turok as speaking in Stan Marsh's Uncle Jimbo's voice?

"Now, Tweek, boxing is a Man sport. There is nothing in the world more Man than boxing. It is Man at his most Man. So when you spar with Ned here, just dig deep into that most Man part of you."

Anonymous said...

After I read this entry, my monitor started sprouting hair.

Thanks, Turok and Dave, you've helped my computer finally become a man!

Anonymous said...

Didn't Henry Kissinger appear in Captain America and The Falcon during the Englehart and Kirby runs?

Dweeze said...

Say, why were they called Radio Men?

With faces like that, they couldn't get work in the movies.

Good night everyone! Try the veal! The dinosaur veal!

Anonymous said...

"3. Jesse Custer, from Preacher: Ever read Preacher: Salvation? In one scene, the Klu Kux Klan tries to scare Jesse by burning a huge effin cross on his lawn."

Something I've been wondering: is Jesse Custer meant to be black? 'Cause his skin is of a different tone from his girfriend's, but he's always just looked kinda... tanned to me.

Anonymous said...

Sadly, when I think of Turok I think of holofoil whatsits and other nonsense and the inexorable decline of Valiant Comics from something great to utter crap to extinction

Anonymous said...

Oh no you di'nt. Yeah, you BETTER stay anonymous there, but it won't help, cause the one thing Turok hunts better than dinosaurs? ISP addresses.

Kevin Church said...

While Gulacy's cinematic elements can't be designed, his faces make it look like Invasion Of The Streamlined Retro Lizard People in each and every panel.

Except for Kissinger. Him, he draws correctly.

Mike Podgor said...

It's good to see the series actually started delivering what it promised after a while. I talked about the sixth issue in my Blog last month (still on the front page, I've updated the blasted thing about four times) and the best thing Turok did was take out some hick with a monkey wrench. While that's not without its charms, I'd much rather have seen him take down a herd of triceratops. As Turok is, you know, a dinosaur hunter. Not a barfighter.

J'onn J'onzz, Martian Manhunter said...

Honkers... He actually called dinosaurs "honkers"! And he wasn't black... That's weird... How are they "honkers"?

Mike Podgor said...

In the Turok Universe, Dinosaurs honk.

Bully said...

Dan Coyle said...Didn't Henry Kissinger appear in Captain America and The Falcon during the Englehart and Kirby runs?

I dunno about that, but he clearly appeared, first in shadow, then later by face and name in the aptly-titled Supervillain Team-Up #6-7...signing a non-aggression pact between the US and freakin' Doctor Doom!

Anonymous said...

Those abs! Looks like he has a horseshoe crab sprouting from his torso.

Anonymous said...

"Turok, Dinosaur Hunter: An Autobiography by Chuck Norris"

Word verification: ktcdarrg - Klingon for "manly."

Chris Arndt said...

and Turok is/was the sidekick to "Mighty X-O" that is, X-O Manowar!

Yes. That is relevent.

Biggest_Baddest_Wolf said...

Turok is so manly, he's almost fit to breathe the same air as me...

Mister Sinister said...

Before God, there was Norris & Turok, & they punched each other in the chest.

This created God.

God created the universe, but calmly asked the two to separate.

Turok spit on the floor.

This is Earth.

Norris did as such & created the sun.

But Turok & Norris must never meet or their fight would continue & destroy the universe due to too much man in the universe



Russian for "manly"

roadrunner said...

TUROK can kill a Raptoid standing on one foot and with one hand behind his back!!!

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