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Indiana Jones is one of the most iconic characters in cinema history, who has thrilled audiences with his daring escapades and discoveries in four blockbuster movies. But did you know that Indy’s adventures have also been chronicled in comic books? Since 1981, various publishers have produced comic book adaptations and original stories featuring the world’s favorite archaeologist. In this blog post, we will give you a guide to the Indiana Jones comics, and how they expand and enrich the Indiana Jones franchise.
Marvel Comics: The First Adventures
The first publisher to produce Indiana Jones comics was Marvel Comics, who initially held the comic book licensing rights before they were acquired by Dark Horse Comics in 19901. Marvel published adaptations of the first three films: Raiders of the Lost Ark, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, and Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. These adaptations followed the plots of the movies closely, but also added some scenes and details that were not shown on screen.
Marvel also published The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones from 1983 to 1986, which were the first original adventures featuring the character in comic book form1. The series featured Marcus Brody and Marion Ravenwood in regular supporting roles, with appearances by Sallah, Katanga, and Short Round as well. The series had its own continuity, adding original content and characters to pre-existing Indiana Jones mythology, with villains such as rival archaeologist Ian McIver and Ali Ben Ayoob, a Levantine tycoon employing Ishmaelite assassins as agents1.
The Marvel comics are notable for having captured the spirit and tone of the movies, with action-packed stories, witty dialogue, and exotic locations. They also explored different aspects of Indy’s personality and background, such as his relationship with his father, his academic career, and his involvement in World War II1.
Dark Horse Comics: The New Adventures
In 1990, Dark Horse Comics acquired the comic book licensing rights for Indiana Jones, and began publishing new stories featuring the character. Dark Horse adapted the Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis video game by William Messner-Loebs and Dan Barry from March to September 19911. The adaptation followed the plot of the game closely, but also added some scenes and details that were not shown in the game.
Dark Horse also adapted The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles television series, which explored Indy’s life as a child and a teenager before he became famous. The adaptation was written by Dan Barry and Mike Richardson, and ran for 12 issues from February 1992 to January 19931. The adaptation followed the episodes of the TV series closely, but also added some scenes and details that were not shown on TV.
From 1992 to 1996, following the Fate of Atlantis adaptation, Dark Horse published seven original limited series featuring Indy’s adventures in different time periods and locations. These series were:
- Indiana Jones: Thunder in the Orient by Dan Barry (6 issues from October 1993 to March 1994)
- Indiana Jones and the Arms of Gold by Lee Marrs and Leo Duranona (4 issues from February to May 1994)
- Indiana Jones and the Golden Fleece by Pat McGreal and Ken Hooper (2 issues from June to July 1994)
- Indiana Jones and the Shrine of the Sea Devil by Gary Gianni (one-shot issue in August 1994)
- Indiana Jones and the Iron Phoenix by Lee Marrs and Leo Duranona (4 issues from December 1994 to March 1995)
- Indiana Jones and the Spear of Destiny by Elaine Lee and Dan Spiegle (4 issues from April to July 1995)
- Indiana Jones and the Sargasso Pirates by Karl Kesel and Eduardo Barreto (4 issues from December 1995 to March 1996)
The Dark Horse comics are notable for having introduced new characters and elements to the Indiana Jones franchise, such as Sophia Hapgood, a psychic archaeologist who became Indy’s love interest in Fate of Atlantis; Mei-Ying, a Chinese rebel leader who became Indy’s ally in Thunder in the Orient; Lao Che’s son Chen, who became Indy’s enemy in Arms of Gold; and Magnus Völler, a Nazi scientist who became Indy’s nemesis in Iron Phoenix1. The comics also explored different themes and genres, such as mysticism, science fiction, horror, and comedy.
Dark Horse Comics: The Revival
With the franchise’s revival in 2008 due to the release of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, Dark Horse published further series featuring Indy’s adventures. Dark Horse adapted Kingdom of the Crystal Skull by John Jackson Miller and Luke Ross from May to August 20081. The adaptation followed the plot of the movie closely, but also added some scenes and details that were not shown on screen.
Dark Horse also published Indiana Jones and the Tomb of the Gods by Rob Williams and Steve Scott from June 2008 to March 20091. The series was set in 1936, between Raiders of the Lost Ark and Temple of Doom, and involved Indy’s search for a mysterious artifact that could prove the existence of God. The series featured Marion Ravenwood and Rene Belloq in supporting roles, and introduced a new villain named Henrik Mellberg, a Swedish archaeologist who was working for the Nazis1.
Dark Horse also published a series aimed at children, called Indiana Jones Adventures by Philip Gelatt and Ethen Beavers from September 2008 to February 20091. The series was set in 1930 when Indy was a young professor at London University and involved his adventures with a young boy named Angus Starbuck. The series had a lighter tone and simpler art style than the other comics, and was inspired by the classic Tintin comics by Hergé1.
The Indiana Jones comics are a treasure trove of entertainment and education for fans of Indiana Jones and history lovers alike. They showcase the talent and versatility of various writers and artists who have brought to life the character’s curiosity, courage, and passion for learning and exploration. They also show how Indy grew from a rebellious teenager to a mature and responsible adult, who faced many challenges and dangers along the way. The comics are a testament to the enduring appeal and legacy of one of the most beloved characters of all time.