Comic Legends: Did Lucasfilm Originally Pass on Marvel's Indiana Jones?

Welcome to Comic Book Legends Revealed! This is the six hundred and eighty-third week where we examine comic book legends and whether they are true or false.

Click here for Part 1 of this week's legends. Click here for Part 2.

NOTE: I noticed that the the CSBG Twitter page was nearing 10,000 followers. If we hit 10,050 followers on the the CSBG Twitter page then I'll do a BONUS edition of Comic Book Legends Revealed during the week that we hit 10,050. So three more legends! Sounds like a great deal, right?


Lucasfilm was so disappointed in Marvel's adaptation of Raiders of the Lost Ark that they initially turned them down for an Indiana Jones ongoing series.



The pathway to Marvel doing an ongoing series based on Indiana Jones was one of the stranger ones of the early 1980s.

Lucasfilm, of course, was working closely and successfully with Marvel on the hit Star Wars comic book series by the time Raiders of the Lost Ark was ready to be adapted into a comic book. Marvel Editor-in-Chief, Jim Shooter, though, was not interested in doing an adaptation of the film. He didn't think the film would be a hit and thought it would be a waste to do an adaptation. He thought Marvel was doing TOO many movie adaptations at the time, as many of them did not sell at all. As I noted in a recent Comic Book Legends Revealed, though, Lucasfilm was so intent on the movie getting a comic book adaptation that they showed Shooter 25 minutes of the movie and he changed his mind. He realized that the script didn't do the film justice. So he approved the adaptation, which appeared in Marvel Super Special #18, with a painted cover by Howard Chaykin...

Shooter assigned some top names to the adaptation, with Walter Simonson writing it and John Buscema and Klauas Janson drawing it...

However, in a strange twist of fate, this time it was LUCASFILM who was irked. They did not like the adaptation for whatever reason. Despite Buscema still being one of Marvel's top artists at the time (I believe he was actually their highest paid artist. I think John Byrne once noted that Shooter told him that he, Byrne, was getting Marvel's highest page rate at the time...next to Buscema), Lucasfilm was not a fan.

This only became an issue when Jim Salicrup convinced Shooter that Marvel should try to do an Indiana Jones ongoing series like their Star Wars series. Shooter was hesitant at first, but ultimately agreed, especially when it was clear that John Byrne was willing to work on the series, as he was a fan of the movie.

However, when Shooter went to lock the deal down with Lucasfilm, they initially told him no, because of the adaptation! When Shooter explained to them, though, that one of the most popular artists at Marvel (if not THE most popular artist) was going to do the series, Lucasfilm relented and granted the license and so The Further Adventures of Indiana Jones was born!

As I noted in an old Comic Book Legends Revealed (which I see, upon re-reading it, touches on a lot of these same issues, just not the most notable bit, which is that Lucasfilm specifically said NO at first to an adaptation), Lucasfilm then gave Byrne so much grief over art corrections that he then quit the series in frustration after just two issues! I guess "Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it" applies here.

The series continued for years under different creators, including some of Steve Ditko's last ongoing artwork for Marvel.

Check out my latest Movie Legends Revealed - Was a joke about Rocky IV the reason for the creation of Predator?

OK, that's it for this week!

Thanks to the Grand Comics Database for this week's covers! And thanks to Brandon Hanvey for the Comic Book Legends Revealed logo, which I don't even actually use on the CBR editions of this column, but I do use them when I collect them all on legendsrevealed.com!

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