Published on July 8, 2012 by Amy
Turok is a fictional American comic book character initially in comics from Western Publishing published through licensee Dell Comics. He first appeared in Four Color Comics #596 (October/November 1954), then graduated to his own title, Turok, Son of Stone. Gold Key Comics, Valiant Comics and Dark Horse Comics later published the character.
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The original comic was illustrated by Rex Maxon. The writer-creator credit for the characters of Turok and Andar is disputed, with historians citing Matthew H. Murphy, Gaylord Du Bois and Paul S. Newman as the feature’s earliest writers.
The Western Publishing version of Turok was a pre-Columbian Native American (named Mandan in the first issue, on page 21 and 32 of Dell Four Color #596) who, along with his brother Andar, became trapped in an isolated valley populated by dinosaurs, which they refer to in general as “hoppers”, “monsters” and more often than not beginning in Dell issue number 9, page 35 as “honkers”, as well as “by their most obvious characteristics (Tyrannosaurs are called “Runners”, Pterosaurs are called “Flyers”, Velociraptors are “Screamers”, Plesiosaurs are “Sea Demons”, Triceratops are “Rammers”, etc.). The Du Bois stories involve Turok and Andar seeking a way out. Du Bois was influenced by his visits to Carlsbad Caverns New Mexico and developed the “Lost Valley” from his visits to the area.
After two appearances in Four Color #596 and #656, the title ran 27 issues (#3-29) from publisher Dell Comics (1956–62); then issues #30-125 (1962–80) from Gold Key Comics; and finally issues #126-130 (1981–82) under Western’s Whitman Comics imprint.
The first Turok one-shot (Four Color #596) was originally written by Du Bois as a “Young Hawk” story. “Young Hawk” was an earlier Native American comic book feature Du Bois created, which appeared in Dell’s The Lone Ranger comic-book series.
Although the artists had long since established Turok as an adult, Du Bois’s last scripts for the series (Turok #8) still introduced stories by describing Turok and Andar as “youths,” more befitting Young Hawk than Turok (though Andar was depicted as a youth). The first story in that issue begins, “Turok and Andar, Indian youths, have found their way into a strange network of deep canyons in the Carlsbad area, where ancient forms of life still exist…They have found no way to get out.” The second story begins, “Trapped in a deep canyon in the Carlsbad area of New Mexico, Turok and Andar, two Indian youths, have met ancient forms of life which have disappeared from all other parts of the world.”
In Du Bois’ last Turok story (issue #8, “Turok Seeks the Trail to Freedom”, in which Turok encounters a herd of horses, which he calls “slim-legged creatures,” having no word for them, as the horse had not yet been introduced to the Americas by the Spanish), Turok scales the cliffs, and escapes the Lost Valley. He is out, but he returns for Andar, who was wounded. Then an avalanche permanently seals the way out, and the series begins anew. Paul S. Newman began writing the Turok stories afterward.
When the character appeared in Valiant Comics, the concept and setting were altered. Turok and Andar were now 18th century Native Americans. The isolated valley became The Lost Lands – a land where Demons, Dinosaurs and Aliens flourished and where “Time has no meaning”. A cosmic anomaly caused time in The Lost Lands to move in a self-contained loop (which meant that while millions of years passed outside of it, inside it, time barely moved at all). Unity, a line-wide Valiant Comics crossover, altered the concept even further. The crossover’s main villain, a psychotic, super-powered being known as Mothergod used the Lost Land as the base of operations. She outfitted Dinosaurs with intelligence-boosting implants, turning them into “bionisaurs”. In the aftermath of the final battle between Mothergod and Valiant Universe heroes, the Lost Lands began to disappear. Turok and Andar wound up tossed into a post-apocalyptic future Earth. Unfortunately for Turok and Andar, a group of bionisaurs made it to Earth along with them. Following this, they became ruthless hunters trying to contend with the Demons and Aliens that exist in the future world as well as various Lovecraftian abominations and high-tech future warriors. Mothergod had seized power in this horrific future and, with the help of The Campaigner, The Longhunter, Thunder (a biomechanical Tyrannosaur) and Mantid (a 30-foot robot praying mantis), had begun to rebuild her empire and attempt to finally hunt down and kill Turok and Andar.
Valiant published a total of 53 issues before Acclaim purchased the company, including Turok: Dinosaur Hunter #0-47, Original Turok, Son of Stone #1 & 2, Turok Dinosaur Hunter Yearbook in 1994, and the two-issue mini-series Turok the Hunted in 1996.
In the revamped Acclaim Comics universe, Turok is not the character’s name, but rather a title meaning ‘Son of Stone’. The Turok must protect the barriers between this dimension and the others — the axis of all worlds being The Lost Lands, a place where creatures from across time and space had been dragged and where “Time has no meaning”. Joshua Fireseed, the latest Turok, must travel between alternate universes stopping those who would try to conquer the Lost Lands, and thus all of the Multiverse with it. This series is notable for inspiring the Video Game series of the same name.
Dark Horse Comics
On October 13, 2010 a new Turok series was launched by Dark Horse Comics, under license by Classic Media. Titled ‘Turok: Son of Stone’, the title was written by former Valiant Comics writer Jim Shooter and illustrated by Eduardo Francisco. This was one of a series of titles released by Dark Horse that year based on classic Gold Key Comics properties. The entire line, including Turok, was short-lived.