Comic Legends: Did Marvel Refuse to Adapt Raiders of the Lost Ark?

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

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


Marvel at first refused to adapt Raiders of the Lost Ark



As the 1970s came to a close, Marvel was in the midst of a weird situation when it came to licensing popular movies. Since the deals all included at least the option of doing a few issues, Marvel would turn the books into ongoing series and then, when the sales started dropping, cancel the book after the initial licensing agreement finished. The notable exception, of course, was some book about a farm boy and a bunch of weird robots...

So as the 1980s began, Marvel Editor-in-Chief Jim Shooter wanted to be more careful about doing movie adaptations, but at the same time, the higher-ups at Marvel thought it was a great idea, so they kept pushing him to do more and more. So he would do two things. One, he would now release the movie adaptations as brief miniseries and/or large super specials, so that they would not be roped into doing ongoing series that would be canceled right away. Second, he would be a lot more discerning about WHICH movies that Marvel adapted.

And it was then that Shooter read the script for a film called Raiders of the Lost Ark and said, "Uh uh, no way." Shooter later recalled that he felt that the ending of the movie was ridiculous and that Jones doesn't actually DO anything to get the win (honestly, it's not an unfair point).

So Marvel skipped doing Raiders of the Lost Ark...or so they THOUGHT. You see, Lucasfilm loved Marvel's Star Wars comic books so much that they could not believe that Marvel wasn't going to be doing Raiders of the Lost Ark or a possible follow-up Indiana Jones series. So they actually contacted Shooter and showing him 25 minutes from the finished movie to change his mind.

Naturally, he saw how the production might have made up for the script and so he approved the adaptation...

And it soon led to an ongoing series, as well...

(One of Steve Ditko's last regular gigs at Marvel was on the Indiana Jone series).

I just love the idea of a major movie corporation trying to woo a comic book editor into adapting their story into a comic book. It shows the PR value of having a popular comic book.

Check out my latest Movie Legends Revealed - Did Peter "Chewbacca" Mayhew need special protection while filming in the Redwood forests of California to make sure people didn't shoot him, thinking he was Big Foot?

Part 3 will be up on Sunday! Feel free to write in with suggestions for future legends to either cronb01@aol.com or brianc@cbr.com!

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