No. 191 – The Valley of Gwangi

The Valley Of Gwangi image ©Warner Bros.-Seven Arts, Inc.

Flesh from prog 1 (1977) written by Pat Mills and drawn by Joan Boix Solà-Segalés v The Valley Of Gwangi* (1969)

Gwangi was originally conceived by special effects and stop-motion animation pioneer Willis O’Brien (1886–1962), responsible for King Kong (RKO Radio Pictures, 1933), and the shelved production was revived by his acolyte Ray Harryhausen (1920–2013). It was to be Harryhausen’s last dinosaur-themed film, and was released with little studio promotion or fanfare at a time when audiences’ interest in monster movies was on the wane; and while not exactly a classic, it does pop up in cultural references from time-to-time; Steven Spielberg notably paying it homage in a scene in Jurassic Park (Universal Pictures, 1993) where the tyrannosaur appears suddenly and snatches up a fleeing ornithomimus.

The design of the infamous Fleshdozer appearing in the 2000 AD story – a nightmarish robotic contraption employed by Trans-Time Corp. to covert** dinosaurs into meat for transport to the future – is often thought to be a swipe, but as Angus McKie, the artist who painted a similar robot for the cover of Harry Harrison’s† (1925–2012) War with the Robots (Pyramid Books, 1962, [1976 ed.]), worked as a colourist on 2000 AD anyway, it’s really only been borrowed with permission.

*Poster by Frank McCarthy (1924–2002)
**Having first “humanely” stunned them
†Of Stainless Steel Rat fame, featured in HoH No.59