Dinosaur Hunter Diaries #098: Radio Men of Lost Land! Part 1

Friday, January 1, 2021 at 8:00 am Comments Off on Dinosaur Hunter Diaries #098: Radio Men of Lost Land! Part 1

Turok: Dinosaur Hunter #31

Turok gets trashy.

Turok, Andy, Regan, and her old mentor Professor Challenger are setting out for a scientific expedition… in the Lost Land! En route to Charleston in the ricketiest plane university funding can afford, they intend to touch down and track one of the same portal Turok and Andy used to visit the plains of time just a few issues back.
… and with them is what claims to be a documentary crew, led by one Shoedsack Cooper. What good is the scientific discovery of the century without footage and broadcast rights to sell?

Speaking of his crew, time for a role call! From left to right, top to bottom, we’ve got Willis, O’Brien, Janine, Awkland, Lex, Madeline, Brett, and Charlotte. Not exactly the most professional looking crew in the biz, but on a budget like this, they have to take what they can get. Turok, however, has an ominous foreboding… the portal may be closer than they expected!

Things are going to get plenty stupid if you hadn’t guessed already.

The plane is forced to crash-land, killing the pilots, but aside from Charlotte’s twisted ankle, everyone remains in one piece. For all but Turok and Andy, this is their first visit to the Lost Land, and Dr. Challenger in particular is blown away by its primeval surroundings. Shoedsack, however, is more drawn to the incoming stampede of triceratops. Places, people!

The film crew never had documentaries in mind — they wanted B-movies! Sci-fi schlock with monsters and machismo in equal measure! And they’ve every intention of shooting that sleaze in an alien landscape with honest-to-goodness ferocious fauna, a scheme exactly as slipshod as you might expect.

The crew are all ready and willing — right up until the honkers get too close for comfort, leaving poor Charlotte to hoof it on her own. Turok steps to her aid, killing the leader of the pack and forcing them to diverge around it. Once again, everyone’s impressed by a kickass hero Turok is, and Shoedsack remains the one with greater plans than just marvelling at him.

Tim Truman’s stories are rife with name gags; the many incidental sheriffs that’ve shown up so far have tended to be named after guitar musicians, and Shoedsack Cooper is no different, his name a mash-up of the directors on 1937’s King Kong: Ernest B. Schoedsack and Merian C. Cooper.
Artist Paul Gulacy begins his brief run on Turok this ish, pencilling this story arc and only a couple more in future. Perhaps making his first big splash in Marvel’s Master of Kung-Fu, he bounced between companies in the ’90s with a variety of runs on Marvel Comics Presents, Batman, Terminator, and whatever else came his way. He’s capable of charmingly varied human depictions, from the heroic to the hedonistic… to the borderline ‘ooer’ caricature in Shoedsack’s case here. He also has a knack for monsters, perhaps best demonstrated in Dark Horse’s multiple mini-series of The Thing from Another World. Why do I mention monsters? Oh, no reason.

Shoedsack comes clean about his motives; the money men had no intention of funding this pro bono, never mind a nature documentary, and were only willing if they could get some something cheap, dirty, but very, very marketable. This isn’t just out of Turok’s wheelhouse, it’s total buffoonery — they’re stranded here without a working plane, or even the whereabouts of a portal out! He puts Challenger and Regan in charge of babysitting these dopes while he and Andy scope out the area; triceratops don’t stampede without a reason.

And here’s as good a reason as any: a dirty great pile of skeletons, seemingly singed to the bone by burning gunk! It’s a good thing they’re far from where they were last time, otherwise Keth and the lake tribe would be in danger… but it also means they’re facing things they’ve never encountered before, and no idea what to expect from it.

Back at the plane, the gang set up camp and unload their belongings. Because a B-movie isn’t complete with unnecessary cattiness, Regan takes umbrage not only with Charlotte’s attempts to get cozy with Turok, but being seen as the old hag among the crew. She sneaks off to see what’s so secret about Charlotte’s chest… oblivious that she’s being watched by bobble-headed lady-snatching aliens.

Tim Truman back in the writer’s chair again, taking us back to he Lost Land once more, this time under the pretence of cheesy B-movie schlock. It’s campy, it’s corny, its tropes are sourced directly from the drecks of cinema… but gosh darn, this could be fun. Giving Turok dimwitted foil is always good for a laugh, and now he’s got a bus-load of them to play chaperone to. We’ve got a crew of ten, discounting our three regulars. Place your bets on who makes it out by the story’s end!

We haven’t had time to properly address Turok and Regan’s relationship since #28; her brief appearances in the two stories afterwards were mostly butting heads over contemporary politics, so it remains to be seen if she’s cooled off any. She’s not at all chuffed with the attention he’s getting from the ‘actresses’, so I dread to think what catfights will ensue. Spare us.

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