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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

Valley of the Dinosaurs: The Incredible Mud Demon "The Incredible Mud Demon"
Valley of the Dinosaurs #9 (Charlton)
Art and Story: Fred Himes
August 1976


An earthquake releases a terrifying creature.


Story Summary


Returning from a fishing expedition, John and Greg, along with Digger and Glump, are caught in an earthquake. A fissure opens in the ground and a huge, terrifying, three-horned beast emerges from the mud at the bottom. It chases the humans up a hillside, but the two manage to evade it by ducking into a small cave. The beast quickly loses interest and begins heading towards the region of the cave dwellers. There, Lok, Katie, and Tana are surprised by it and are forced to jump into the river in an attempt to escape it. But it follows them in, swimming powerfully.


The beast is temporarily distracted by a Brontosaurus, but soon begins chasing the humans again. Suddenly, a Tyrannosaurus rex, drawn by the sounds of battle between the beast and the brontosaur, emerges from the jungle and a titanic tussle begins. The mud demon gains an early advantage, knocking the T. rex on its back, but the king of the dinosaurs uses the position to rip into the monster with its powerful, triple-clawed hind legs, killing it.


Didja Know?


"The Incredible Mud Demon" is an 11-page story appearing in Valley of the Dinosaurs #9.


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 pterosaurs depicted on the cover of this issue are probably intended to be Rhamphorhynchus, judging from the long, vane-tipped tails.


In panel 4 of page 1, three prehistoric creatures are seen fleeing as they sense the earthquake approaching. The pterosaur appears to be a Pteranodon. The small, bipedal dinosaur may be a Compsognathus or Procompsognathus. The four-legged one may be a Polacanthus, judging by the small spikes on its back.


On page 2, panel 4, an Archaeopteryx and Protoceratops are seen fleeing the quake.


The so-called "mud demon" of the story does not appear to be any known type of dinosaur from the fossil record.


On page 7, panel 1, a few Pteranodons are seen, as well as a stegosaurid. An unidentified, bipedal theropod is also seen.


On page 7, the terrifying screech of the mud demon is described as something "no Earthly being could emit." But the bizarre creature is still from Earth, right?


What is it that seems to be hanging or dropping from the mud demon's mouth on page 9, panel 4? Did it tear a strip of flesh from the Brontosaurus in the previous panel?

Mud demon


After the Tyrannosaurus rex kills the mud demon, Tana is seen picking some flowers next to the corpse. Wouldn't the Tyrannosaurus stick around to eat its kill?


Unanswered Questions


What kind of creature was the mud demon? Are there more of them around?


Why was the mud demon never seen before? It's emergence from the muddy fissure that opened up with the earthquake implies it was a subterranean-dweller, but it seems unlikely such a huge beast could make a living entirely underground. And it seemed to be able to see and move on the surface quite ably.


Where were the rest of the cave dwellers during the mud demon's attack? Why do we only see Lok, Katie, and Tana there?


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