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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

Welcome to Death Island "Welcome to Death Island"
Valley of the Dinosaurs #7 (Charlton)
Art and story: Fred Himes
April 1976


Katie falls victim to an island full of Amazon women.


Story Summary


While Katie and Tana are out gathering fruit, a Dimetrodon startles Katie, sending her falling down a steep hillside, into a body of water known as the Sea of Silence. Tana runs to get help and John, Gorok, and Lok rush to the rescue. Finding no immediate sign of her, they quickly build two log rafts and set off into the dark lagoon. They split up to cover more area and John and Gorok soon come upon what Gorok refers to as Death Island, inhabited by Amazon warrior women who kill with poisonous darts and are known to raid local villages for young women to serve as slaves. The two land silently on the island but a misstep by John alerts an Amazon guard. Gorok lures the guard and a number of other pursuing warriors on a chase, while John manages to sneak into the deadly village and free his daughter, but not before they are seen. John and Katie dive back into the waters and Amazons give chase in boats. Lok comes to the rescue on his raft, ramming one of the boats, sending the occupant into the water. John and Katie topple two other pilots. However, John, Katie, and Lok are all in the water too, and endangered by the presence of a curious duck-billed dinosaur, which Gorok arrives on his raft to dispatch with his pole.


The foursome heads home on Gorok's raft, but not without first a joke from Lok at Katie's expense.




Didja Know?


"Welcome to Death Island" is an 11-page story appearing in Valley of the Dinosaurs #7.


Didja Notice?


On page 1, Katie is picking giant strawberries (about the size of her hand) in the valley. Though not as large as those in the Land of the Lost, it may be that writer Fred Himes was inspired by the show, especially considering the similarities between the two series in the first place. It also looks like she has a pair of large pears (no that's not a euphemism for her chest).


The narration on page 2 refers to the water Katie has fallen into as a "black lagoon". Apparently this is not the same lagoon from which the Butler familiar emerged into the valley in "Arrival", called the Black Lagoon in "S.O.S.", as Gorok refers to this one as the Sea of Silence later in the story. It may simply be another reference by the writer to the 1954 classic creature film, The Creature from the Black Lagoon, which takes place in the Amazon, as does Valley of the Dinosaurs.


Gorok remarks to John that he's sure Katie is all right as she is a good swimmer. She was revealed to be a champion swimmer in school in "The Challenge of Mata-Zin".


Page 3 describes a Brontosaurus wading in the lagoon as weighing 35 tons. This is about the maximum weight of any known fossil specimen of the species.


Lok claims on page 3 that no one has ever explored the Sea of Silence. Yet, on page 4, Gorok says he has heard of the island they find in the middle, Death Island. I suppose since it is later revealed that the Amazons of Death Island have been known to raid cave-dweller villages for young women to serve as slaves, that they have gleaned some knowledge of the Sea and Death Island in the course of the altercations.


On the top of page 5, John appears to have taken off his pants to push the raft ashore! Maybe he's just looking forward to meeting these Amazon women!



On pages 7 and 8, as Gorok leads a pack of warrior women away, John dons one of the Amazons' long cloaks and enters the village and searches for Katie by calling her name through the skull-like openings of the caves. A man's voice echoing through a cave that may still be occupied by Amazons. Isn't that a good way to get caught?


On page 8, John refers to the Amazon women as "the deadly dolls".


On page 10, Katie refers to Lok's raft as he rams the Amazon boat bearing down on her and John as a P.T. boat. P.T. stands for Patrol Torpedo; P.T. boats were small, fast attack boats armed with torpedoes used against larger ships in WWII.


Page 11 refers to the duck-billed dinosaur in the water with John and Katie as an Anatosaurus. This was one of the hadrosaurids with the most distinctive "duck-billed" snout, but is now known as Edmontosaurus annectens, when the genus was found (as were many other genuses of duck-bills) to be a member of the pre-existing Edmontosaurus genus.


At the end of the story, Lok reveals that cavemen apparently have the same problem modern men do when he remarks, "Something puzzles me, a place inhabited only by women can be so quiet!"


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