Comic Book Coffee, number 127: Turok, Dinosaur Hunter #4

Comic Book Coffee, number 127: Turok, Dinosaur Hunter #4, penciled by Rags Morales, inked by Randy Elliott, written by Tim Truman, colored by Bill Dunn & Erik Lusk, and lettered by Chris Eliopoulos, published by Valiant Comics in October 1993.

Turok was  introduced by Western Publishing / Dell Comics in 1955. A Native American warrior from before the colonization of the Americas by Europe, Turok and his brother Andar become trapped in a mysterious lost valley occupied by dinosaurs. In the early 1990s Valiant Comics licensed the character and, following their seismic “Unity” crossover, brought Turok into the then-present day. Dinosaurs from the “Lost Lands” had also been transported to the present, and Turok had to track them down & stop them before they could destroy modern civilization.

The first few issues of Turok, Dinosaur Hunter were decent, but I feel the series really hit its stride with issue #4 with the arrival of writer Tim Truman and penciler Rags Morales. Truman was extremely well-versed in Native American history & culture, having previously written & drawn the acclaimed post-apocalyptic independent series Scout in the mid 1980s. Truman brought really nuance & subtlety to the character of Turok. He also introduced cultural anthropologist Doctor Regan Howell, who was tasked with helping Turok acclimate to the very different world of the 1990s, and to the tragic circumstances that had befallen the Native American societies.

Truman was ably assisted by Rags Morales, a relative newcomer who had gotten his start at DC Comics in the late 1980s on Forgotten Realms. Following his work on Black Condor for DC in the early 1990s, Morales moved over to Valiant and alternated with Truman on the art chores for Turok, Dinosaur Hunter. Morales’ strong storytelling and his ability to convey personality & characterization through his art effectively complemented Truman’s stories. Those abilities are very much on display on these two pages, which see Turok and Reagan having coffee at a diner on the Tanoan Flats Reservation.

Following his work on Turok, Dinosaur Hunter, Morales returned to DC and worked on Hourman, Hawkman, Identity Crisis Wonder Woman and Action Comics. More recently he’s drawn covers for the Turok revival published by Dynamite Entertainment and was once of the artists on Generations Shattered from DC.

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