Indiana Jones Comics!
So for a while now I am a collector. A collector of Indiana Jones comics. I have stated in the past that I am not a big fan of good old Indy archaeologically, but as adventure-stories, his movies, games and… well comics still hold up. So, I started to read the comics, and am fascinated, as they are actually not bad. Before writing an article about IJ video games, I wasn’t even aware of the comics, were you?
So Dark Horse is a comic publisher since 1986, founded by Mike Richardson. The portfolio covers licenses to various movies and TV series or created new stories that later became movies. Most famous are the Star Wars comics and of course Indiana Jones as adaptations of movies. Sin City on the other hand was a comic that later became a movie. Since 2021, Dark Horse belongs to a Swedish media company called Embracer Group.
The Indiana Jones comics started with an adaptation of the video game “Fate of Atlantis” in 1991. After that they had a short break and published again between 1993-1996. After another break two more adventures appeared between 2008-2009. In total, Dark Horse published ten adventures compiled of 35 issues based on the original IJ. There also comics about young Indy and some volumes collecting various issues together called Omnibuses.
So far, out of the 35 issues, I collected 20. Some issues are not easy to get, but this is a long game and from time to time I try to skim through eBay or even go to some comic book stores. These rarely have older comics, but you never know. I also have to admit, that the stories are quiet good (for Indiana Jones stories of course). I was never really a comic buff, but reading these is actually quite fun! They are easy and witty and perfect for a lazy Sunday afternoon.
I know if you search a bit, there are all these comics online as well. But for me that is not the same as to hold paper in my hands and to read “offline”. Academically speaking, reading the comics is interesting as well. As another medium with a specialised language compared to movies or video games, comics offer another glimpse into the thought process of creating these adventures. There are also some chapters already dealing with this .
There is something else, that I found very interesting. After nearly each issue, there are letters from readers and how they enjoyed the last issue. Reading these commentaries is quiet worthwhile, having especially one, I want to present. In the third issue of the Fate of Atlantis series, a reader named Tom Thacker really gets into it:
[…] On page 17 Indy calls Sophie a scientist, implying at the same time that he is one as well, which is simply not true. Archaeology circa 1939 for the most part had nothing to do with science. […] Sure, on page 19 Indy is indexing artifacts, but since the artifacts are out of their archaeological context, indexing them is scientifically useless, although it may not be pointless from an art historian’s point of view. […]
I find that fascinating as this shows that readers take the representation of archaeology seriously. Usually when we talk or write about the media representation of archaeology, we normally assume that viewers take these representations as they get delivered. But in the case of the IJ comics, we can see for ourselves that this is – at least not always – the case. I am looking forward to further comments along that line.