Saturday, 30 March 2013

Indy Book Club - The Comics of Indiana Jones (Marvel Comics)

First off, I want to apologise for not putting up a blog last week, but this one has been so big, that it's required a full two weeks or so to prepare and put together. It's a very special one for the Easter holiday.

You can name any movie or TV series and it will more than likely have had a comic book tie in. Star Wars, Star Trek, Terminator, RoboCop, Aliens, Predator, Buffy and much much much more. Indiana Jones has been no exception.

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In 1981, a few months after the release of the movie in theatres, fans were treated to the official comic book adaptation from Marvel Comics. The three issue series was penned by Walter Simonson and drawn by Sal Buscema, both of them famous already in the Mighty World of Marvel for their work on the likes of the Avengers, Fantastic Four, Thor and Star Wars. Like the movie, there are some subtle differences between the comic version and the movie. In the comic, Barranca isn't killed by the Hovitos. Toht is killed in Gobler's car when it drives over the cliff. The Cairo Swordsman does not appear in the comic. There are two scenes in the comic which were inspired some deleted scenes from the movie and it does explain one other. In the comic, Sallah explains to Indy after the Flying Wing scene that he was able to escape punishment by claiming that he believed Indy was infact a German officer. As to how Indy got to the island on the U-Boat, he lashed himself to the periscope with his whip, losing his hat on the way. Other than that, it's largely the same moments from the movie. It was reprinted in Marvel Comics Super Special 18, an Annual and in the recent Dark Horse Indiana Jones Omnibus: Further Adventures Vol.1

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In September, 1984, Marvel released their second adaptation. This time of Temple of Doom. This time, it was penned by 90s Spider-Man scribe, David Micheline and drawn by Jackson Guice. Like Raiders, it largely follows the plot of Temple of Doom, with some differences like the novel. Like the novel, Short Round learns that fire can cure the Black Sleep after witnessing a thuggee guard get burned by lava and returning to normal, only for him to be carried away to be reconverted. It was also shown that this was a deleted scene. Chattar Lal is killed in the comic when he and Indy fall into the flame pit, however, Indy is able to climb free, leaving Lal to fall to his death. For some reason, Mola Ram is drawn wearing his cattle skull headdress for majority of the comic, unlike his movie counterpart of wearing it for the ceremony only. It was reprinted in Marvel Comics Super Special 30 and in Dark Horse's Further Adventures Omnibus Vol.2.


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Though after the release of Raiders, Marvel released a spin off series. It was The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones. It ran from 1983 to 1986 and filled in the gaps of the story from 1935 to 1937. The first story, Ikons of Ikammanem picks up only weeks after the events of Raiders of the Lost Ark. The series ran for 34 issues overall. It featured all the classic Indy characters and even what they got up to post Raiders. Marion ran her own nightclub called The Raven's Nest. Indy even meets the sister of Arnold Toht, Ilsa. All 34 issues have been reprinted in the Dark Horse Indiana Jones Omnibus The Further Adventures vol 1-3.

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade 1

In 1989, Marvel released their third and final comic book adaptation. The Last Crusade launched on September 1989 and was penned once again by David Micheline, though this time drawn by Brett Brevins. It follows the plot of the movie more closely than the others with fewer noticable differences. It took place over 4 issues, much like Temple of Doom was. Some of the changes were that there is no motorcycle chase in the comic book adaptation. All of the Hatay tank crew were Germans. The adaptation was collected in The Further Adventures omnibus vol.3.

Overall, the series has had it's ups and downs. Some have liked it's art and some haven't. I've been reading them and I've been enjoying the series. If you love your Indiana Jones and you love comics. I highly recommend collecting either the original issues, most of which you can get very cheaply at comic book stores, garage sales, flea markets and even eBay, or there are the Dark Horse reprints which you can find in comic book stores and online.

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