Prelude to Dinosaur Hunter Diaries

Sunday, January 26, 2020 at 11:00 am Comments Off on Prelude to Dinosaur Hunter Diaries

You might’ve picked up a few clues during my run on ONM Remembered, but I’m a little bit of a Turok nut. Doom and Duke Nukem 3D may have been my first dabblings on the PC as a young’un, but I would peg Turok: Dinosaur Hunter on Nintendo 64 as my truly formative experience with first-person-shooters, as well as my inappropriate introduction to low-poly hyper-violence. The hours I would spend blasting raptors with grenades and watch their corpses paint the jungles with blood long after they were a threat… probably didn’t do my adolescent psyche any favours, but I had a hoot, I can tell you that much. That alone was worth plugging the game in, years before I even figured out what the actual objective was.

I wasn’t the one to plonk down the £70 to buy the game in 1997, though – that was my dear ol’ da, who grew up with the classic Turok comics of the 1960s, and remained a comic collector into the ’90s, picking up the rebooted runs by Valiant and Acclaim, and allowing us to peruse so long as we respected the ways of the polybag.

That’s the thing – although the Turok franchise has arguably gone the way of the dinosaur, it still stands as an icon in the world of gaming for classic FPS nuts. People continue to rave about the brutal enemies, the outrageous gore, and the sheer visceral excess of its weaponry. For a surprising number of folk, their knowledge of the franchise begins and ends with the Cerebral Bore – a brain-drilling, grey matter-spewing homing missile. An inelegant weapon for an uncivilized age.
There’s a whole lot more to Turok than just bloody video games, but in any other field, even his home turf of comics, there’s a lot less recognition to be found online. You might hear bewilderment over the existence of a direct-to-DVD animated movie, or a snipe at Valiant’s over-produced Turok: Dinosaur Hunter #1, a tangible death knell in the comic collectors boom of the ’90s, but that’s about it, usually.

That isn’t how Turok deserves to be remembered. There’s a comic with a story underneath all that speculator’s market nonsense! Turok was a franchise, one that tried its damndest to be a media sensation, even targeting all age demographics at one point in its lifespan. If you’re in the mood for dudes using their wits to survive encounters against prehistoric nasties, any issue of Turok from any era is a good lark.
The series has gone some weird and wonderful directions, angles the video games didn’t come close to covering. If you pardon the hyperbole, I might even go as far as to say it’s a crime the comics don’t get talked about, because it means you’re missing out on some outlandish scenarios:

Or amazing storylines:

Or even just the base pleasure of dinosaurs with machine guns:

This was the kind of crap my pals and I would gush about during multi-player sessions of Turok 2 or Evolution, when we weren’t just parroting the in-game characters’ catchphrases (“MORE MEAT FOR THE TABLE”)… and it’s a bummer to see it so rarely discussed outside of obscure fan forums. Turok is a long-running franchise with a rich and varied history, and while I’m not sure it deserves recognition, there’s gotta be someone out there who’d go to bat for it. Why don’t I step up to plate?

So, partly an attempt to promote Turok awareness to the unknowing masses, and partly me submitting to any ridiculous distraction I can think of, here comes a mostly-chronological look at all the Turok media I can get my claws on. Dinosaur Hunter Diaries will begin in earnest tomorrow, with a new entry every Monday and Friday.

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