Dinosaur Hunter Diaries #065: Reprinted by popular demand!

Monday, September 7, 2020 at 8:00 am Comments Off on Dinosaur Hunter Diaries #065: Reprinted by popular demand!

Turok: Son of Stone #36

I get to take the day off.

Our heroes are in a dill of a pickle — a slobbering honker hankers for their flesh, and the earth trembles beneath– hey, wait a second! We saw this story before!

Yep, this issue is a reprint of stories from issue #14, The Angry Mountain and The Flying Menace, both completely unchanged… barring the newly-added “reprinted by popular demand!” signifier.

Gold Key typically released around four to six issues a year in each comic line, and a kid’s interest can change drastically in that time; while some may grow out of dinosaurs, another generation of youngsters are only just getting into these prehistoric predators, and what better excuse to reprint old material for a new audience?
Comics of this era were rarely designed to be consumed chronologically, but simply deliver a fun story that any reader could enjoy, so it’s hardly disrupting to push an old story to the forefront. Besides, they’re fun adventures. Any excuse to see Turok and Andar running about with pteranodon eggs is a good time in my book.

What is new, however, are the backup features — a single-page spotlight on the anteater, an educational text piece on the history of tools made of bone, and Young Earth‘s The Stag-Headed Man. Not quite as educational as older entries, and more a whimsical exploration of a medicine man’s role in his society, dramatised as the teachings passed on between wearers of the stag-head pelt.
While there’s probably some truth in it, a lot of it seems to be a mish-mash of cultural traditions pieced together just to make a fun yarn. Like a lot of Young Earth tales, it just runs with the most exotic speculation it can find with the most minute scientific evidence. I will say this though: that stag-headed man has swag.

I’ve no idea if there’s any truth to the “by popular demand” part. Dell did print their business address in all their comics, mostly for the sake of subscription forms, and if they did receive reader mail, they certainly didn’t print any. Were kids writing in about the issues they couldn’t afford, and can’t go on without knowing what happened inside? I’ve no idea what the market for back issues was like in the 1960s.
It’s a different story to Marvel’s golden age output, where the lines of communication were most prolific with its (often fabricated) letters pages and sensationally dramatised Bullpen Bulletins. I can’t even begin to count how many Marvel covers feature “because you demanded it!” as their tagline… but you could almost believe it, even if it were probably dictated by sales or the whims of the writer. It’s also a terrific way of passing the buck. Hey, don’t blame us for this cop-out! Someone out there wanted this! Blame them!

Across its 130 issues, Turok: Son of Stone had nine issues dedicated to full reprints, in addition to ‘partial’ reprints alongside new material. When I said Dinosaur Hunter Diaries was going to be exhaustive, I meant it in the stupidest, most literal meaning possible, because I’m going to cover those reprints.
Of course I’ll have nothing to say about them — they’re reprints!! But I want to use them as an excuse for a change of pace: to talk longform about rubbish I wouldn’t want to interject in the middle of a summary, or simply shoot the breeze. Who knows. I’ve got some ideas, but they probably won’t come out as interesting as I’d hoped — not like that’s ever stopped me before.

In the meantime, please let me have this. It gives me a day off, and it’s one less issue to crop and colour correct!

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