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Turok, created by Matthew H. Murphy, first appeared in Dell's Four Color Comics in 1954. He and his sidekick, Andar were "kiowa" braves from the days before European contact, drawn to resemble the infamous "Hollywood Indian" tribe. While hunting, they entered a cave system and found their way into a bizarre valley. In fact, the narrator explains, it is a vast cave, the roof of which fell in at some point in the distant past. Prehistoric mammals survived there, along with primitive tribes whose language Turok and Andar did not at first speak. The concept proved so successful, that Turok received his own title, Turok: Son of Stone in 1956.

After a few adventures in the original, relatively small Lost Valley, they tried to work their way out through the caves again, only to find themselves in a second, much larger valley surrounded by sheer cliff walls. They spent more than twenty years worth of issues there, battling dinosaurs, which they called "honkers." Fortunately, these could be killed with arrows dipped in the juice of some very poison berries. Turok and Andar also encountered many (caucasian) human tribes, some at different stages of evolution. Turok could understand them all; apparently, everyone spoke a "Lost Valley Standard" dialect. They generally spoke it, however, as though they'd learned from Johnny Weissmuller's Tarzan.

In 1962, Western Publishing cancelled their contract with Dell, and began their own comic company, Gold Key, which took over Turok with issue #30. The adventures continued, with beautifully painted covers and exciting tales. For a short time, Turok and Andar picked up a third adventurer, an Aztec-seeming character whose tribe had written language. The writers and artists routinely scrambled their dinosaur references, but, hey, Turok was fun.

In 1980, Turok continued publication as a Whitman comic; it lasted two more years.

In 1993, Valient Comics revived the title. Andar died, and Turok's adventures continued in what, it turns out, was actually another dimension. Further retcons made Turok a kind of hereditary title (into each generation, a Turok is born), and Turok: Dinosaur Hunter had our intrepid hero find his way through the interdimensional pathways to the present. Contemporary cities, hi-tech weapons, and intelligent "bionosaurs" were added to the Lost Valley (Lost Universe?) mix, and Turok adventured on until 1998. He continues to encounter prehistoric beasts in successful videogames, and talk of a Turok movie surfaces from time to time.

In 2010, Dark Horse, having purchased the rights to several properties that had belonged to Gold Key, relaunched certain titles. Their new Turok, while written with a contemporary sensibility, resembles the old one. Turok and Andar wander into a cave during a conflict and find themselves in a lost world. The cave, however, contains some kind of inter-dimensional portal; we're no longer in an impossible valley somewhere, but on an improbable alternate earth. Once again, Turok must battle against beasts and people assembled from a cross-section of past eras-- and his adventures, one hopes, will be fun to follow.

Donald Markstein. "Turok, Son of Stone." Toonopedia. http://www.toonopedia.com/turok.htm

"Turok, Son of Stone." Psychosaurus. http://www.psychosaurus.com/frames/turokindex.html

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