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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

Valley of the Dinosaurs #5 (Charlton)
Art and story: Fred Himes
December 1975


Greg errs in entering the smoldering land of the "rainfire".


Story Summary


Gathering food, the Butlers and their cave-dweller friends stray near the forbidden land of the rainfire. Chasing Digger, Greg goes too far in, to discover a valley of molten lava. A strange fiery-red native of the forbidden land captures the boy and tries to take him to his people. The others rush to his rescue and John tells them how this volcanic valley is much like the way most of the Earth was ages ago.


Greg is saved and our heroes live happily ever after. More or less.




Didja Notice?


The pterosaurs seen in the background of the splashpage of page 1 are probably Rhamphorhynchus, judging from the long tail. The feathered, bird-like flying creature in the foreground is probably Archaeopteryx, as seen by the fan-tail and sharp teeth in its beak.


In this story, Gara's necklace is depicted as white instead of the usual blue. It's possible it's simply a different necklace of similar design and white-colored stones (or bones).


On page 2, Gara is apparently unaware of the edibility of the wild onions that grow in the valley. It seems highly unlikely that the cave-dwellers would be unaware of any food source in their own environment.


On page 2, an Orohippus is seen. Orohippus was an extinct, miniature ancestor of the modern horse about 50 million years ago. It was a descendant of Eohippus, examples of which may have been glimpsed in "Smoke Screen" (unless they were also Orohippus).


On page 3, Greg is charged by a Protoceratops, which existed during the Cretaceous period in Mongolia.


On page 4, panel 2, "protruding" is mistakenly spelled "portruding".


Page 6 reveals that Greg apparently brought some marbles along on the family's trip down the Amazon and into the Valley of the Dinosaurs.


Page 7 reveals that the Butler family was into hang gliding back home and Katie and Greg have been secretly building primitive versions of hang gliders from native materials in preparation for test flights in the Valley of the Dinosaurs. John seems contradictorily able to fly one, yet unfamiliar with how to land it!


On page 8, John, Katie, and Lok discover what John describes as an ocean in the forbidden land of the rainfire. If it's really an ocean, then it must be either the Atlantic or Pacific and the Butlers should be able to sail it in a boat to civilization.


John states that the rainfire valley is a million years more primitive than the one they just left (the Valley of the Dinosaurs).


On page 10, the Butlers and Lok appear to be running in the wrong direction to get away from the belligerent rainfire natives; the "ocean" should be on their right if they are fleeing from the natives, not the left, which would be towards them!


In the last two panels of page 10, Greg sits down on a brontosaur's tail, thinking it's a "green rock". But the coloring is more of a purple-gray.


At the end of the story, apparently the Butlers and Lok are the first to escape the forbidden land alive, as Gara stated at the beginning that no one has ever returned from there.


Unanswered Questions


What kind of being is the fiery-red native that kidnapped Greg? What did he want with his captive?


How can there be an "ocean" in the middle of the Amazon jungle?


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