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SYFY WIRE Interviews

Hunting dinosaurs in the Old West makes sense, as Turok writer Ron Marz explains

By Jeff Spry
Turok Cover Hero

Comics industry veteran Ron Marz has made his mark on many flagship titles during his influential 25-year writing career, breathing new life into such luminaries as John Carter, Silver Surfer, Green Lantern, Batman, Superboy, and Witchblade.

Now Marz is saddling up and galloping into the legend of Turok the Dinosaur Hunter, paired with dynamic artist Roberto Castro (Red Sonja, Flash Gordon) in a bold new rebooted series from Dynamite Entertainment aptly titled Turok.

Turok 1954 Dell Comics

Turok first made his appearance way back in 1954 in Dell's Four Color Comics #596 as Turok: Son of Stone, and he's seen his fair share of reimaginings and variations in the decades since his original arrival. The fierce and famous Kiowa warrior has also been showcased in numerous tie-in novels and multi-platform video games.

In this new revival series, though, Marz and Castro are setting their two-fisted tale in the dusty Colorado badlands of the 1870s American West, harkening back to the character's true spirit and old-fashioned roots first unleashed in the earlier classic material from Dell and Gold Key.

Turok Cover A

Here, Turok is infinitely greater than simply a crazed stalker of prehistoric creatures and must bravely serve to protect his younger brother Andar in a cruel and harsh environment... filled with marauding monsters out to eat them!

In Marz's tight storyline, Turok attempts to rescue his kidnapped sibling from the ruthless clutches of the U.S. Cavalry in the waning days of the Indian Wars. His motivated, focused quest leads Turok, Andar, and the uniformed soldiers through a shimmering portal and into an uncanny valley where mammoth primeval animals prowl the landscape.

Turok Cover Slice 1

SYFY WIRE spoke with Marz on this refreshed Turok project to learn what inspirations led him to resurrecting the legendary character and making him fresh and relevant again.

"The core concept of Turok, of a guy stranded in a lost land who fights dinosaurs, is so elegantly simple, there's no reason to reinvent it," said Marz. "That's what Marvel does so well with its movies, understanding what makes those characters tick, and sticking with it. The details are malleable, the heart is what matters. I got to put a little of my own icing on it by starting off in the Old West, but the cake is the same perfect recipe. We all watch stuff like Jurassic Park because we're still fascinated by dinosaurs. So you're going to get plenty of them in this book, plus a compelling lead character who makes you come back every month to see what happens next."

Marz insisted that the initial setting be immediately recognizable to readers, so it would engage a familiar comfort level straight out of the gate.

"I felt like if we could give the audience a real grounded sense of place, the transition to the Lost Valley would be more accepted and believable. In the script, I referenced the landscapes in John Ford films, and dropped in some images from the 'Blueberry' stories by Moebius. Roberto Castro really took that inspiration to heart, and came up with some evocative Western visuals that help the reader accept the transition at the end of the issue."

Turok Page 3 Slice

Turok's Lost Valley will play out as much more than just a remote land where our heroes are marooned, and Marz promises they'll be revealing the reality of it as the series progresses.

"The location, its denizens, Turok himself, they're all related in a way that will be made clear as the mystery is unraveled," Marz added. "I wanted the Lost Valley to contain more surprises than just hungry dinosaurs… but also a lot of hungry dinosaurs."

As a seasoned writer, Marz was weaned on Edgar Rice Burroughs stories, the pulpy tales of Robert E. Howard, and Ray Harryhausen monster movies, which all contributed to his passion and respect for the Turok material.

"Hopefully what we're doing makes a 12-year-old go, 'Cool!' And more than anything, it's 12-year-old me. And certainly I still love all that stuff. I think a lot of people do, if the wild success of last week's Conan debut from Marvel is any indication. So that's the sweet spot I'm aiming for. I was to reconnect with the kid I was at that age, and to a great extent, still am."

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Take the reins and canter into our exclusive 7-page preview in the full gallery below, with a posse of exceptional covers and variants by Bart Sears (Turok), Butch Guice (Captain America), Jeffrey Veregge (Transformers), and Roberto Castro (Red Sonja/Conan).

Dynamite's Turok #1 charges into comic shops on January 9.