Dinosaur Hunter Diaries #122: The Hunted

Friday, March 26, 2021 at 8:00 am Comments Off on Dinosaur Hunter Diaries #122: The Hunted

Turok: The Hunted #1

Turok’s tribe brushes with an entitled whitey.

In the days before their fateful voyage into the Lost Land, Turok and Andar venture the plains in search of a prize. The young Andar is embarking on his rites of manhood, and that entails showing he’s got what it takes to kill an animal. Ever the hothead, he wants to take a buffalo as his first kill, but Turok steers him towards the far simpler deer — the world is changing, and to slay a noble buffalo as a mere prize seems inappropriate. They aren’t the only hunters on the plains anymore.

Case in point: the white settlers who have invaded their land. They’ve come with their rifles, slaying anything they see with impunity, and have no reservations about taking and taking and taking. And yet the tribes are seemingly powerless to stop it — no matter how much they strike back, more invaders come to replace them. Turok only hopes they see the ramifications of their actions themselves before it is too late.

One such settler enters their camp come morning: one Angus McBride. He’s come to trade for the privilege of hunting buffalo, though not just any buffalo — the settlers have no shortage of trophies from common-or-garden variety. No, Angus wants the privilege of hunting the White Buffalo.

The tribe are rightfully miffed about this — it’s bad enough their source of food is already being massacred and left to rot, but to slay such a unique, majestic creature? Fuhgeddaboudit. Fellow tribesman Naiche’s dead keen on just popping this dude’s head off here and now… but between sacrificing even more of their heritage, or incurring the wrath of yet more pillagers and rapists, the chief’s willing to let the animal’s life go.

And Turok’s willing to lead him to it. Naiche is enraged that their bravest hunter would sell out like this; Angus gives his word that he’ll bother them no more once shown what he wants… but leaving well enough alone has hardly been the modus operandi of the white settlers, and the tribe have no reason to think he won’t want more. Be that as it may, Turok agrees to guide the man on his quest… and maybe he’ll learn a thing or two along the way.

Mike Grell and Simon Furman team up for their final shared story on Turok, and once again dealing in what they enjoy most: flashback tales set in Turok’s past and pontifical arguments on philosophy. It’s like a ten car pile-up of shared interests: ethical debates over the right to protect one’s heritage versus the future of one’s tribe, all the while dropping hackneyed similes like it’s going out of style. “We will be swept away, vanishing like the winter snows.” You can end the sentence at the comma, y’know. Not every sentence has gotta be a poem.

Admittedly not a lot happens this issue, but in this case I can respect it. It’s a chance to cool down and simply appreciate the characters interacting; Turok teaching Andar the ways of hunting without being too much of an argumentative grouch about it, and the tribe getting to eloquently explain their distrust of the white man. It’s nifty seeing more glimpses into Turok’s past, now confronted with the looming threat of colonialism.

The colouring in this issue is credited not to any one person, but instead to “Atomic Paintbrush”, a digital colouring company founded in 1995 by artists Kristin Sorra and Dennis Calero. This was among their earliest full-story output (we’d also seen their work before in issue #40), as they were otherwise best known for their run of glossy covers across various Spider-Man runs throughout 1996. They evidently made a name for themselves through their Valiant work, as Atomic Paintbrush would wind up colouring a sizeable chunk of Acclaim Comics’ output, with a couple hundred-odd credits under their banner alone. Once that well dried up, they applied their finish to a variety of Marvel movie tie-in comics before seemingly shuttering around 2003.

Digital colouring was slowly becoming an in thing in the ’90s with the rise of computer technology and greater range of printing palettes. I honestly didn’t even notice until I’d read this one a few times — after seeing Mike Deodato and Mozart Cuoto’s art several times by now, it matches the style pretty well.
The only egregious part is instead of colouring digital skylines, it uses stretched photos of afternoon clouds instead. This seemed to be a common shortcut for digital colouring of the era, though some artists used it less tastefully than others. It helps that it doesn’t draw attention to this new style; it’s just a different method for colouring, and it’s not treated as an excuse to go avant-garde. The world isn’t ready for Turok to go cyber.

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