Dinosaur Bounty Hunter Diaries #124: Turret’s Syndrome

Thursday, April 1, 2021 at 8:00 am Comments (0)

Dinosaurs For Hire #7


Buddy, when I said this column was going to be exhaustive, I meant it in the stupidest way possible.

Don’t mind me, I’m just using April Fools as an excuse to talk about the kind of ridiculous minutiae that’d be otherwise relegated to off-hand trivia. I briefly addressed how the 1993 release of Turok: Dinosaur Hunter was believed to be the next hot-ticket item in Valiant’s already illustrious pedigree, with collectors and comics retailers alike estimating its popularity, sales numbers and after-market demand to be just a little bit monumental.

Well, a lotta number ones were printed, that much is fact; the media frenzy required to support such numbers was perhaps a little optimistic. It’s strange to acknowledge Turok, of all characters, was believed to be the next money-maker in comics, a field commonly dominated by the strange, fantastical and super-heroic, that it feels a bit like a strange lie that’s perpetuated in the years since.


Well, if there’s one thing history has taught us, if it got a parody, then someone must’ve been talking about it, if even for just five minutes. Meet Turret: the street-skulking, Manhattan-marauding, bow-wielding creature of the night, here seen mid-internal monologue. He happens to observe a lady single-handedly whooping the collective asses of a crowd of harassers, and she’s plenty keen to tout how her self-sufficiency training has paid off. Turret should be proud, right? Talk about a tough neighbourhood!


Nope, because he shoots her in the gut and walks away. Turret’s a bad guy, see — a self-proclaimed hunter of dinosaurs, and when dinosaurs aren’t on the menu, random people on the street will suffice, apparently. Turret’s a shit. I hope he dies.


As luck would have it, Manhattan’s got a fresh stock of dinosaurs in supply: the Dinosaurs For Hire! This surly, scaly crowd of misfits have been scraping together a blood-soaked living since the ’80s under the government’s Dinosaur Attack Team division, their trigger-happy antics vouched for by the equally eccentric Professor Tyrell.

They’d been barred from Manhattan after a prior incident involving rocket launchers on a routine drugs bust, but have been invited back on special pretences: to exorcise the Americana hotel of its persistent ghost problem! It’s not a job to be taken lightly, so they’ve also invited Dracula along for the ride, who they previously partnered with when one of their handlers instigated an uprising of Communist vampires.
You know, just in case you thought this was serious storytelling or anything.


Ghost hunting is enough hassle, but adding a dino hunt on top of it only muddles things up! Turret is on the scene and leaves Lorenzo KO’d, but Reese manages to scare him off, rattling the dude enough for him to need a quick palaeontology lesson to give him a one-up. The two take their fight to the hotel pool, which I would almost argue were a homage to Turok and Mon-Ark’s square-off in the ocean in Dinosaur Hunter issue #3… if this weren’t cover-dated before Turok’s solo series even hit shelves, hurf.


Turret’s buff enough to grapple against a two-tonne stegosaurus, but it’s looking like a stalemate. The hotel’s ghost, Samantha, declares a truce with Reese and offers the distraction that gives him the winning edge: a glimpse of her yabbos.


Archie barges in and follows up with a killer belly flop, neutralising Turret as a threat to anything more than the cleaning staff. Property damage aside (and that’s a lot of freaking property damage), they’ve killed two birds with one stone, literally: Turret, no longer trapped in this mortal coil, is free to boink Samantha and give her something better to do than torment the rich assholes who absolutely deserved to be tormented.

"Oi. Man, this is like working for Shooter!"
By no means a dignified take on the honker-hunting Kiowa-Apache, but as an excuse to throw a spanner in the works of an already ludicrous story arc, this is a hoot. Dinosaurs For Hire is a total comedy strip, throwing everything at the wall — continuity, characterisation, good taste — for the sake of a joke… and often a bad one at that. It’s hard not to get a kick out of that, personally.
Me cracking wise over what’s already an irreverent string of nonsense ain’t a good way of shilling it, but if this kind of stupidity is up your alley, it’s worth checking out. Don’t go worrying about continuity either; the original black & white run under Eclipse Comics literally abandoned its ongoing story in favour of ridiculous one-offs where the heroes get shrunk, go to ancient Japan, and become kings of a South American country. Not following along is half the fun.

Dinosaurs For Hire is a familiar name to video game fans for its run-and-gun shooter on the SEGA Genesis, and much like Turok, a game so acclaimed in some circles they’re often oblivious to its comic book origins. A lesser known fact is series creator Tom Mason proclaiming it was to tackle television as well, supposed to premiere on Fox Kids in September 1993, cited in both the debut issue of the Malibu Comics relaunch and a Sci-Fi Channel exposé. It sadly never came to be for whatever reason, but it would’ve been a perfect match for later Fox Kids fare like The Tick or Sam & Max: Freelance Police. What could’ve been, eh?

Valiant Turok will continue next week… and it’s in the final stretch, if you’d believe it. Only a month and a half’s worth of entries left! Stick around!

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