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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

Valley of the Dinosaurs: Katie's Challege "Katie's Challenge"
Valley of the Dinosaurs #3 (Charlton)
Writer and artist unknown (but appears to be the same as credited in later issues from VOTD #4 onwards as Fred Himes)


While her father lays dying from a poison dart, Katie must undertake a hazardous mission to find the antidote.


Story Summary


Picking up from the end of "The Challenge of Mata-Zin", Mata-Zin challenges John Butler to re-enter the cave and find the antidote for the poison dart with which he's been struck, knowing that John is too ill to move. But Katie takes up the challenge and heads back to the evil witch doctor's cave, accompanied by Digger and Glump and watched over from a distance by Gorok and Lok.


Crossing the river, Katie is attacked by a giant squid-like creature, but Lok saves her with a well-placed arrow. Entering the cave, Katie finds the cure but is chased deeper into the cave by Mata-Zin's guardian Komodo dragons. Digger and Glump team up to put the lizards out of action, but Katie meanwhile falls into the web of a giant spider. Lok comes to the rescue again by tossing her his knife and she cuts her way out of the sticky threads.


As they exit the cave with Digger and Glump, Mata-Zin attempts to push a boulder down onto them from above, but is stopped by Gorok and, in the tussle, falls from the cliff edge into the river; even if the witch doctor is not dead, his spell over the tribe has been broken. 




Notes from the Valley of the Dinosaurs Chronology


This chapter immediately follows "The Challenge of Mata-Zin". Also, since Lok is depicted using a bow and arrow here, it must take place some time after "Smoke Screen" where John Butler shows the cave-dwellers how to make and use the weapon.


Didja Notice?


On page 15, Katie ties a vine around a tree and then around her waist to keep the river rapids from sweeping her down the waterfall as she swims across the river. But she doesn't bother to tie off Digger and Glump who accompany her! I guess pets aren't that important!


The giant squid-like creature that attacks Katie in the river is referred to as a "nautilod" in the narration. This would seem to be a misspelling of "nautiloid", a subclass of cephalopods.


Notice on page 15, panel 4, Lok is seen swinging through the air across the river on a vine. If Katie were smart, she would have done the same thing instead of the more dangerous route of swimming! Of course, that would have left Digger and Glump stuck on the other side unless they chose to swim across anyway.


As the giant nautiloid attacks her on page 16, Katie thinks, Nothing like this ever happened at the ol' swimmin' hole! It's unclear if she is referring to a swimming hole near the Butler's home in the modern world, or one near the cave-dwellers' village.


Witnessing the nautiloid's attack on Katie, Lok thinks, That monster belongs in the depths of the ocean...often they get trapped in our rivers! It's true that nautiloids are bound to the ocean...but how does Lok know anything of the ocean? The Valley of the Dinosaurs is surrounded by the Amazon rainforest, with no access to the ocean! And if there were access to it, the Butlers would have their means of escape! Not to mention that no such giant nautiloids exist in the modern ocean.


The long-tailed pterosaur in the foreground of page 17, panel 1, is a Rhamphorhynchus.


Page 18 reveals that Glump is ticklish, even making a "hee, hee" sound when Katie stands on his back.


Glump is drawn a bit too large in panel 4 of page 18.


How does Katie know that the hollowed Triceratops horn hanging in Mata-Zin's cave holds the cure for the poison that was given to her father? A blurb on page 13 informs the reader of that, but Mata-Zin never speaks of it in his boastings.


The gigantic spider that threatens Katie on pages 20-21 is purely an invention of the writer's imagination. No spider the size of a house has ever existed in Earth's history. 


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