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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

The Beasts of Snow Mountain "The Beasts from Snow Mountain"
Valley of the Dinosaurs #7 (Charlton)
Art and story: Fred Himes
April 1976


Our heroes face peril from a Neanderthal assault and a terrible giant bird.


Story Summary


Lok, Katie, and Greg are exploring the prehistoric valley when they stumble across a pair of river people under attack by Neanderthals from the mountains. They temporarily incapacitate the Neanderthals and escape with the two river people. But they soon find themselves followed by the brutish attackers.


Meanwhile, back near home, Digger and Glump find themselves chased by a Diatryma, a giant, flightless, predatory bird. The chase leads to a Tyrannosaurus rex, who quickly catches and consumes a chicken dinner. Digger and Glump continue on in relief and come across their masters, greeting them warmly. Suddenly the Neanderthals are back, attacking with boulders hurled by their powerful muscles. Lok and Katie duck for cover behind some rocks, while Greg and the pets seek shelter from the assault behind others. Then the two pets suddenly begin urging Greg to run, leading the Neanderthals on a chase...straight to the location of the rapacious T. rex. At the sight of him, the two Neanderthals turn and flee back to their mountain home.


Greg tries to take the credit for scaring them off, but Katie realizes they brought in a "ringer".




Didja Know?


"The Beasts from Snow Mountain" is an 11-page story appearing in Valley of the Dinosaurs #7.


Didja Notice?


Lok, Katie, and Greg come upon a group of river people under attack by Neanderthals. The river people previously appeared in "The Jade Skull" and "Return of the Exile".


The pterosaur in the bottom right corner of page 1 is probably a Rhamphorhynchus.


Katie and Greg seem to be fairly skilled at swinging from vines in this story, suggesting it takes place after the Butlers have been in the valley for a while and learned from Lok.


The skull gracing the title banner of "The Beasts from Snow Mountain" is hard to identify, but may be a sloth skull.


Page 4 describes the beasts from Snow Mountain as Neanderthals. This would be Homo neanderthalensis, a human species that died out approximately 30,000-45,000 years ago. The hairy, primitive beast-men presented here are no longer considered accurate by modern anthropological standards and are now thought to have been much closer, though squatter and more muscular, to modern humans.


On page 4, Katie implies she learned to be a lassoette in high school. She's quite talented it seems; in "The Challenge of Mata-Zin", she was revealed to be a champion swimmer.


In the foreground of page 5, panel 1, a large dragonfly is being pursued by what may be a Compsognathus or Procompsognathus.


On page 6, panel 3, Digger seems to be saying "Huh?" when he hears a clucking sound that awakens him. On the next page, Glump also has a "Huh?" above his head when he sees the giant bird, but at least it's not in a word balloon, so it might be construed as a narrative indication of his surprise rather than a spoken sound.


The giant flightless bird that chases Digger and Glump is identified as a Diatryma. This was an actual genus of predatory flightless bird from the Cenozoic discovered in North America in the 1870s, though most scientists now consider it to be the same as the pre-existing genus Gastornis, named from a fossil found near Paris, France in 1855. Page 6 describes the bird as being like something out of Colonel Sanders' wildest nightmares; Sanders (1890-1980) was the founder of the Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant chain. Diatryma


On page 8, panel 1, the two river men are still with our trio. But when the returning Neanderthals suddenly attack again with boulders, the river men have disappeared without explanation and are not seen again!


The pterosaur in panel 1 of page 11 appears to be a Pteranodon.


Once again, in this story Digger and Glump display almost human intelligence, particularly in how they lead the Neanderthals into a trap against a T. rex.


At the end of the story, Katie jokes to Greg that he brought in a ringer against the Neanderthals in the form of the T. rex. "Ringer" is a sports idiom referring to a player or contestant brought in under false pretenses to strengthen one side's chances of winning.


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