Review by Frank Plowright
A fifth archived collection of Turok and Andar’s adventures in the hidden valley populated by dinosaurs and cavemen continues Paul S. Newman’s intelligent plots. Turok and Andar’s ultimate aim remains finding their way back home, and in one adventure they think they’ve found someone who can show them, but as ever, hope is dashed on the final page.
Otherwise Newman has Turok and Andar’s superior knowledge of woodcraft enable them to outwit frequently aggressive cave tribes keen to learn about controlling fire. One smart moment is Turok deliberately creating a smokescreen by burning fresh green leaves. However, although Newman has previously used fantastic elements, giants appearing in Volume 4, this selection has them coming thick and fast. There are cavemen with artificial wings, some enslaved by a potion, massive plants with tendrils strong enough to ensnare dinosaurs, and a giant breed of Tyrannosaur. Newman can also inject considerable humanity, though, as in the touching story of Turok helping a medicine man regain the respect of his tribe.
On the basis of the art originating from an Italian studio run by Alberto Giolitti, for many years it was believed Giolitti himself drew a far greater quantity of comics produced for Dell and Gold Key in the 1960s, but more recent information credits Giovanni Ticci as the pencil artist on Turok, Son of Stone. He draws much of this selection, with the better known Giolitti as inker. Ticci’s pages can be distinguished from other artists by the work put into trees and foliage, not just seen as background sticks, but twisting, dense and moss-covered. While remaining relatively realistic unless the story calls for something different, his work is also slightly more dramatic than Rex Maxon or Jack Sparling.
Maxon only draws two Turok stories here, but all of the four page educational features looking at aspects of life in the prehistoric era. His quiet professionalism defined Turok, but Ticci’s work offers more. Sparling’s two stories are crude in comparison with either, and he draws Andar as far younger.
Reading archived stories does draw attention to repetition, Newman again having Turok fight a dinosaur in a pit as he did in Volume Four, but because they’re set in an enclosed timeless environment this selection is as entertaining as intended back in 1962 and 1963.