Dinosaurs and Indians?

Anybody remember that great series of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup commercials from the 1980′s that used the slogan, “two great tastes that taste great together”?  Well, Dell Comics could have used that same catchy slogan in the 1950′s when they began publishing Turok, Son of Stone.  For kids of that era (and in the 1970′s when they were reprinted), what could be better than combining dinosaurs with Indians?

Of course, nowadays the preferred term is Native Americans, but back then, kids played “Cowboys and Indians”, and Turok and his younger friend Andar were a pair of displaced braves trapped in a subterranean world that time forgot!   This past year Dark Horse Comics collected the first five volumes of the Turok stories in gorgeous hardcovers, and we decided they should be part of our Graphic Series collection.  You can find them listed in the catalog here.

These stories exude a playful innocence that will seem refreshing amidst a lot of the ultra-violent superhero stuff that currently inhabits the market.  They generally follow a simple pattern with the two braves exploring the forgotten lands and encountering dangerous dinosaurs and cave men.  Sometimes these encounters are peaceful, but more often than not the pair need to break out their bows and knives and fight for their lives!  The stories also sometimes included “fact sheets” explaining what current-day science then knew about a given species of dinosaur or predatory mammal.

The artwork and colors are understated and quite beautiful in their simplicity.  Despite succumbing to some of the racial stereotypes of their era, the stories also showcase ethnically diverse protagonists that readers from any background can identify with.

Next year Dark Horse plans to reprint more of Dell’s action-oriented titles in the same hardcover format, and funding permitting, we’ll be there to add them to what has always been one of the country’s most extensive public library collection of graphic novels.

–Scott

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