Friday, May 16, 2014

Turok And The Lost Opportunity!


For a comic book fan of my vintage, the name "Turok" rings with the possibility of adventure and excitement.


One thing a comic book reader of the 60's could count on was finding a potent tale of primitive men pitted against prehistoric behemoths and themselves. Turok, Son of Stone was a must read.


Sadly the revivals haven't done much for him. Of all the Gold Key revivals (to date) Turok has been the least effective. Magnus and Solar have found their stories enriched by new renditions, but alas the core concept of Turok never seems to be sufficient for modern storytellers who always take Turok and Andar out of their Lost World and have them shuffle among modern men. Also, it's important that Turok be older, a mature man sure and capable.

And that final point is where the latest revision from Dynamite Comics by writer Greg Pak goes horribly wrong. I know he's not the first, but Pak turns Turok into a teenager finding his own path in a terrifically violent environment which gets unbelievably more so as this saga unfolds. The story of Crusaders in the New World wreaking terrible suffering on the Native Americans they find on the shores of historical Manhattan is not a bad story at all. Add in the weird detail that for reasons unexplained dinosaurs come with them, and you have a story which has all the elements of a whipping good yarn.

But it's not really a Turok story.

There's no hidden land, no real isolation from society, and way way too many other side characters who are exceedingly unlikeable, including sadly a bizarre version of Andar. In the spirit of Valiant's revival there is supposedly some attempt to make Turok part of the larger revived Gold Key universe, and that's part of the problem most like. I'm pretty set in my ways when it comes to this character, so after this initial arc, I'll let the book slide for a while. It's too bad really. Turok is a great character, and someone needs sometime to do some new Turok stories. These aren't them.




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7 comments:

  1. "For a comic book fan of my vintage..."
    Love that.
    Gold Key Turok was one Great Comic Book.
    I'd get a thrill when a new issue was on the spinner rack.
    Those Comic Book Covers!
    The Giolitti issues are beautiful.
    Don't understand how the post Gold Key style can not be repeated.

    Have to seen the animated version?
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b_i7-lQMCdU

    Close, yet still not classic.
    Yes, I know the video game was a modern influence.
    American Indians vs. Dinosaurs.
    What boy (or at heart) doesn't Love That?
    I understand someone wanting to be a part of this legacy.
    So why do they want to stray so far from the source?
    Best,
    -Sam

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    1. I have seen the animated. I liked it okay for what it was.

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  2. I remember buying the Gold Key Digest of Turok in the Spring of 1973, when I was 7. It had the cover shown above for "Fight of the Fire Makers." I fell in love with the character and, perhaps more importantly, the premise and setting, which has lasted until this day.

    So, yeah, I agree: why do all the revivals seem dead-set on abandoning the core of Turok? It was his and Andar's struggles against the Lost Land itself that were central to the series. The modern revivals, from Valiant until now, seem to not trust that central theme. There has to be a recurring villain (like in the brief, recent Shooter-led revival) or Turok being transported through time and space (the original Valiant revival, also Shooter-related). I mean, fine, I get that they want him to be part of a larger comic universe, but how many other of the revived characters have had their main premise so thoroughly ignored? It doesn't aggravate me TOO much, since I can easily ignore the revivals, but sometimes I feel a little sad seeing how far astray the character has been taken; look at how Valiant ended up changing him, to the point that he was literally not even the same character anymore. Plus, even though the Valiant comic had some great art (Bart Sears, Rags Morales), I just had my fill of cyborg pirates and dinosaurs, and gallivanting around the multiverse. I really missed the exploration of the Lost Land, whether the dinosaur-filled one, or the prehistoric mammal one. I've been hoping to see the release of softcover (and, thus, more affordable) versions of the vintage Turok comics to satisfy my urge to see Turok in his original form.

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    1. I think Shooter got reasonably close, especially with the second revival at Dark Horse. But overall the Valiant choice to put him in the modern world was a mistake.

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    2. I liked the first Valiant revival more than the recent one. The recent one established the Aztec recurring villains, which simply was not what I was looking for. Instead of trying to make his way through life in the Lost Land, the focus was, apparently, going to be on Turok being hectored by the Aztecs on a regular basis. My interest plummeted because of that. At least with the initial Valiant revival, there was a sense of "anything can happen" running through the book that came close to matching how varied the original book was, at least for a time. Then, "Turok" became a title, not a name, and the character I was interested in vanished, to be replaced by a teenager designed to appeal to the video game set.

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  3. Jeff B.
    You are amazing.
    Just So Great That There is The DOJO
    Love It!
    -Sam

    ReplyDelete

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