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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

Valley of the Dinosaurs: Strange Marauders "Strange Marauders"
Valley of the Dinosaurs #2 (Charlton)
Writer and artist unknown (but story and art, including covers, for the series were by Fred Himes, according to Toons of Festology).


What manner of creature is stealing supper from Gorok's family and the Butlers?


Story Summary


Kim and Katie find that the group's supper, cooking in the nearby hot spring, has been stolen for the third time in a week. That night, John and Gorok set a trap for the thief and find it is a group of apes taking the food. They follow the apes to a cave in the mountains and see the apes offer the food to a giant troglodyte, who punishes them anyway.


Continuing to observe as the troglodyte forces the apes to build a fortress, the beast eventually notices the two humans spying on the work and gives chase. John and Gorok trick the troglodyte into an encounter with a Dimetrodon and a fierce battle ensues, with the two creatures rolling off a cliff into the river. The troglodyte is able to break off from the lizard in the fall and pulls himself out of the river, but Gorok knocks him back in. Exhausted, the primitive man is carried away from the valley by the swift river currents.


The apes seem to realize who has saved them from their tormentor and instead of stealing food from the combined modern and cave-dweller families, starts leaving food for them.




Notes from the Valley of the Dinosaurs Chronology


The opening narrative paragraph of the story starts out with "The castaway Butler family quickly adapts to life in the mysterious prehistoric valley which is now their home..." This may imply that this story takes place not long after the family's arrival.


Didja Know?


This story is also reprinted in Valley of the Dinosaurs #1, a giant-size one-shot issue published by Harvey Comics in 1993.


Didja Notice?


The cover of this issue is signed by Fred Himes.


The pterosaurs seen on the cover of this issue appear to be Pteranodons.


On page 1, panel 1 of the story, a Brontosaurus and Pteranodon are seen in the background.


On page 3, panel 1, Katie complains to her father that it's hard boiled eggs for dinner again since the thief has once more stolen the main course. John and Gorok decide to set an irresistible trap for the thief that night...using fresh-cooked meats, fruits, and vegetables! So why don't they just eat some of that themselves??


What appears to be the silhouette of a Pteranodon is seen in the night sky background in panel 4 of page 3.


The mountain simians who are found to be the food thieves are seen to be capable of harnessing and riding a duck-billed dinosaur John refers to as Trachodon. The Trachodon genus is now considered dubious, as the original identification from fossilized teeth in 1856 is now known to have been mixed with ceratopsid teeth, not just hadrosaurid.


John states that simians don't eat meat, but that's not entirely true. Though they mostly eat fruit, seeds, insects, etc. some, especially chimpanzees, are known to eat meat when they can get it. In fact, humans are also of the simian infraorder and we certainly can't deny that most humans eat meat!


The simians portrayed in this story might almost be considered proto-humans themselves, considering they are intelligent enough to harness and ride a dinosaur and build a sort of fortress for their despotic ruler.


Gorok refers to the primitive man worshipped by the apes as a troglodite (a misspelling of "troglodyte"). "Troglodyte" is a popular generic term for a caveman or -woman. Oddly, the troglodyte depicted here has pointed ears.


The dinosaur seen in the river in panel 3 of page 6 of the story appears to be a brontosaur.


Seeing that the troglodyte is forcing the apes to build a fortress for him, John says, "We've had tyrants like that back home...we called them Nazis!" But "Nazis" are a much more specific type of tyrant personality. Wouldn't it be more accurate of John to just call them "tyrants"?


In panel 5 of page 11 of the story, a Pteranodon is seen swooping over the river. 


Unanswered Questions


Did the troglodyte survive his unexpected journey down the river?


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