Dinosaur Hunter Diaries #007: Friend of the Wolf

Monday, February 17, 2020 at 9:00 am Comments Off on Dinosaur Hunter Diaries #007: Friend of the Wolf

Turok: Son of Stone #7

Turok gets an adorable widdle puppy dog.

First of all, learn some manners, Dell Comics.

Second of all, Turok’s adopted an adorable puppy dog, Ski-Yu, but it doesn’t sit well with the higher-ups in Lanok’s tribe – it chewed the property of one particularly surly member, Nahunk, and he’s stirred up ill will amongst them in the tribe. Will they finally have to part ways with Lanok and the boys?

I haven’t talked about artists or writers on Turok: Son of Stone much… mostly because the series doesn’t even credit them! Only in the late 1970s did it finally begin to credit those responsible for creating the stories, but not with any consistency. To identify any of the writers or artists, you simply had to be familiar with their art style; most comics databases are still uncertain about the credits of certain issues, and Dark Horses’s reprints in the 2010s didn’t bother pegging artists to issues, but simply listed them under “artists include”.

We do know that one Gaylord Du Bois was responsible for the very first issue of Turok. He’s notable for writing a lot of stories in the olde adventure vein, including books and comics for The Lone Ranger, but perhaps more relevant to our interests: Young Hawk, a series featuring two young braves traversing the treacherous wilds of pre-colonial Dakota, one an inexperienced youngster, the other comparatively wiser and more resourceful.
Using their wits, compassion, and knack for making tools, they’d survive whatever life threw at them in their journey to reunite with their stranded tribe. They also had a cute li’l puppy dog called Tumbleweed as their companion. Doesn’t that seem familiar…?

While I’m talking trivia, this is the first time we’ve seen Turok and Andar make themselves a tipi.

The pair are already restless, and if one little pet’s going to earn them scorn, so be it. The two leave the tribe with Ski-Yu in tow, but Lanok doesn’t want them to go — not without him! It’s not to be, but the three bid a fond farewell as Turok and Andar set out on their own.
Lanok’s stuck around a while, huh! Who knew this well-meaning dope would continue to reappear in story after story, even if only as the one name-checked member of a crowd. It’s a little sad to finally say farewell to one of the series’ few strands of continuity, but we’ve over a hundred issues ahead of us, there’ll be new things to get attached to.
(also Lanok shows up again in a few issues anyway, just remember to act surprised)

Without a safe mesa to call home, the two go looking for a cave to crash in, only to tumble down a dark cliff. They’ve no way of going back the way they came, but wouldn’t you know it, it leads to yet another sheltered valley! And into the path of a pissed-off dinohyus!

Ski-Yu comes to their rescue by luring the warthog away until it stops caring.
Turok refers to his wolf cub as “little warrior”, possibly a translation, though the name isn’t given any real significance. If I had to hazard a guess, it might be yanked from the University of Minnesota’s sports chant ,”ski-u-mah”, which they claim originated as a Sioux victory cry. It didn’t. That stuff’s made up.

And because no dog knows the idiom “pick on someone your own size,” Ski-Yu harasses a stegosaurus until it buggers off. What it didn’t know was the honker had been endangering a mother and her child, who takes the opportunity to flee. Curious, Turok and Andar follow them to see where they go.

The woman returns to a village at the top of a cliff, and at the river below it, men leave a basket of delicious goodies for our heroes. Ski-Yu hasn’t just saved their necks, he’s scored them a fan club! Not bad for a first day out.

Meanwhile in the backup strips, Lotor mauls a baby tyrannosaur to death.

While exploring the valley, Turok and Andar witness a group of water carriers — and an incoming honker! The men take shelter in the river, but the beast catches their scent, so the pair put it to sleep with some poison arrows.

The water carriers are very appreciated of the saving throw, only for a group of marauders to come charging up, hungry for blood! Their friends flee, while Turok and Andar watch as the t-rex wakes up and gets the munchies, scaring off the attackers.

Come nightfall, the pair climb up to see if the mountain people will give them asylum, and are repaid for their good deeds earlier. They’re given food and shelter, and they’re very impressed by their bows, though they give Ski-Yu a respectful distance. The mesa is dedicated almost entirely to its cultivated gardens, hence the water carriers, and knowing the trouble they’ve had with beasts and rival tribes, the two wake up early to see if they can put a stop to the attackers.

As they follow the river, a storm brews and the water rises, making conditions treacherous. They spy an incoming war party, so they snipe a nearby honker with an ordinary arrow to spur it into chasing them…

… which unexpectedly erupts into the scene of a natural disaster. A brontosaurus out of the blue! A flash flood sweeps the valley! Drowned creatures and debris crash along the river! Absolute pandemonium!

The aftermath? The stone bridge is destroyed, which the attackers had used to access the mountain tribe’s domain. I doubt Turok factored in all that as part of his plan, but results are results.
Those dudes probably died, though.
Let’s not think about that.

I admit I’m still not even 100% sure what all happens here. It leans on its bombastic narration and chaos-strewn art to sell what an event this is, yet it feels like a total disconnect from the pages prior. It’s intended to be an unexpected chain of events, but instead suggests if you get on the wrong side of Turok, nature finds a way to tag-team you in ways you’d never imagined.

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