Tuesday, November 08, 2011

While I don't do a ton of research for this blog--aside from reading every comic I can get my grubby hands on--every so often I have to check some facts; since there are sometimes things I'm sure of, that are completely wrong. Usually, my misconceptions are the result of not paying enough attention, or just stupid: during a football game a couple weeks back, I was positive "New England" was a state. Bzzztt!

In the same vein, I was dead certain the Trix Rabbit never, ever got a bowl of Trix. I knew there had been 'elections' where kids voted on whether or not to give the Trix Rabbit some motherlovin' Trix; I knew the vote overwhelmingly ran to yes, but still didn't think he got any, because it's such a great ad campaign. (This also strikes me as another Voight-Kampff test question, since if you voted no, you are an inhuman monster.) Looking it up, apparently the Rabbit did get Trix a couple of occasions, and is now completely hooked and still chasing that high...

Aside from me being wrong quite a lot, my point was sometimes if the hook is strong enough, it's going to keep being used, probably even long after you would prefer that plot to be resolved. Like today's book: Turok, Son of Stone #107, written by Paul S. Newman, pencils by Angelo R. Todaro, inks by Alberto Giolitti; and Turok #89, pencils and inks by Alberto Giolitti.

Got four or five out of the quarter/dollar boxes recently. If you've never read Turok, or don't recall his popular N64 games from 1997; well, it's a pretty good hook: Native American brothers Turok and Andar are out hunting when they become trapped in the Lost Valley, a mysterious region full of dinosaurs (called 'honkers'), cavemen, and monsters. Each story is thus their attempts to survive and find a way out. While the younger Andar's curiosity or overconfidence sometimes gets them into trouble, the level-headed badassery of Turok gets them out. And they had 'poison arrows,' that were usually one-shot, one-kill; even on the largest of creatures. (Even more than I wondered what that super-fast acting poison was, I wondered how they could eat the meat from an animal killed with said poison...maybe it was an allegen, like a bee sting?)

There would be later, updated versions of Turok from Valiant, Acclaim, and Dark Horse; and I don't know if a big deal was made of this, but in the original stories Turok and Andar were from a Pre-Columbian tribe: they may have never seen a white man, or a horse until they entered Lost Valley. Granted, historical accuracy was not a big concern in this book; but I thought that was weird, and had just assumed he was from 'western' times.

I think Turok usually ran two stories an issue, and while I haven't read every Gold Key comic out there, it seemed to stick to its formula a little more rigidly than Magnus, Robot Fighter or Dr. Solar, which seemed to have at least the bare-bones of an ongoing storyline. Turok and Andar are stuck for some time in the Lost Valley, which is apparently the size of Australia. Every time they find a clue towards a possible way out, it's either false, or blocked. After a couple hundred failures, most people would be a bit discouraged, but Turok takes it pretty stoically. There's not a lot of deep characterization in these, but it would be easy to read it as Turok holding it together for his brother's sake.

So, reading a random Gold Key Turok (which is the only way I've read them) is like reading a random Archie comic: while entertaining, the stakes never change and progress is never made. If you read a bunch at once, well, it's like playing Chutes and Ladders on a board with nothing but Chutes back to the start. I picture editorial for the book simply asking the writer and artist for Turok stories, until one day they were cancelled; whereas nowadays it's impossible not to figure editorial would've demanded some kind of shakeup if sales slipped.
I think a lot of Turok's comics end like this.

Of course, Turok is just one of any number of unresolved properties: did the Robinson family from Lost in Space ever make it home? Did the A-Team ever clear their names? (Maybe?)

No comments: