By Greg Pak
Today the final issue of my run on Dynamite’s TUROK DINOSAUR HUNTER hits stores. It’s been a great experience working on the book for twelve issues and I wanted to publicly thank the folks at Dynamite for pulling me on board and letting me run wild.
When editor Nate Cosby called me up over a year ago to discuss TUROK, I tried to say no. I had a pretty full schedule and didn’t want to overcommit. But I’d loved working with Nate when he was the Assistant Editor on the Hulk and Hercules books I wrote at Marvel. And I’d had a great time working with Dynamite when I wrote the BATTLESTAR GALACTICA series for them a few years back.
But what made it impossible for me to say no was the chance to write a comic book series starring a Native American hero.
During my entire creative career, I’ve talked about the importance of representation and done my best to cast my films and comics diversely. Now here I was with what might be a one-in-a-thousand offer — getting paid to write an ongoing comic book series starring a Native American hero.
As an added bonus, Turok fights dinosaurs.
And the incredible bow on the box was that Nate and Dynamite and the licensors totally supported the big crazy idea I threw at them — that the story would be set in 1210 AD and would follow Turok as he took on invading Crusaders who used dinosaurs as biological weapons to assault his tribe on the shores of pre-Columbian Manhattan. Our second story arc followed Turok west as he faced the pterodactyl-riding daughter of Genghis Khan and the Mongol invasion of the New World. And our last story, co-written with the great Paul Tobin, featured Turok heading to England and inspiring the legend of Robin Hood.
So huge thanks to Nate and everyone at Dynamite and all of the incredible artists who worked on the book, including Mirko Colak, Takeshi Miyazaki, Cory Smith, Stephen Downey, Felipe Cunha, and Lee Ferguson.
And here are a few of my favorite moments from the series.
I wanted to be sure that we saw the world entirely from Turok’s eyes. So letterer Marshall Dillon rendered Turok’s (and all of the Native Americans’) dialogue normally. But we put brackets around the Crusaders’ dialogue to indicate they’re speaking a foreign language. A huge part of diversity is normalizing and humanizing people from different backgrounds. This little lettering trick felt like a good way to almost subconsciously impress the idea on every reader that we are Turok and Turok is us.
I loved having the chance to work the city of Cahokia into our second arc – first, because it’s an insanely cool part of history, and second, because it shows the diversity of historical Native American experiences.
Similarly, I loved the opportunity to depict a range of spirituality and differences in belief among the Native Americans in the story. As an Asian American, my teeth get set on edge whenever folks make supposedly positive generalizations about some aspect of some mythical, monolithic Asian culture. There’s a huge amount of variety within any community or culture. I wanted to reflect that in every issue of TUROK.
My schedule got a little tight as we approached the last story arc of the book, so we pulled on Paul Tobin to co-write. Paul really did the huge lions share of the work on these last four issues — and I couldn’t be happier about it. I had the initial idea of Turok heading to England and becoming the basis for the legend of Robin Hood. But Paul ran with it and pulled in details and nuances I would never have come up with on my own. Case in point: the insane scene above, in which a man fights to kill a bird with only his teeth. Paul assures me this was an actual source of entertainment in the faires of the day.
And, finally, dinosaurs. With feathers. Just feast your eyes on this incredible Mirko Colak splash from the end of issue #3. Imagine getting pages like this in your email for a year.
TUROK, you were a blast. Thanks so much for everything.
Or ask your <a href=”http://findacomicshop.com”>local comics shop</a> to get copies for you!