The stories behind the stories

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull #2

“It ain’t the mileage, honey — it’s the years.” — Indiana Jones, in a line that didn’t make it into the movie

“Part Two”

The adaptation of the fourth blockbuster Indiana Jones film, in comics form!
Published by Dark Horse • May 29, 2008

Written by John Jackson Miller

Based on the story written by George Lucas and Jeff Nathanson and the screenplay by David Koepp

Art by Luke Ross

Lettered by Fabio Laguna

Lettered by Michael Heisler

Colored by Dan Jackson

Covers by Drew Struzan and Hugh Fleming

Edited by Jeremy Barlow, David Marshall, and Freddye Lins

This issue comprises the second half of the Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull graphic novel.

The big challenge in writing one of these adaptatoions is indeed in selecting in advance what scenes movie viewers are going to expect to see in an adaptation. Sometimes that’s easy; you can often tell what’s going to be the iconic shot, or the oft-quoted line. But then you also have to look at what space is involved, and how much of a scene you have to depict to carry through on the idea. You don’t need every soul that was on camera to carry through on a scene (note how we went from two FBI guys to one); nor are you going to be able to convey every line exactly where it took place (much of the Dean Stanforth material was shifted in location).

So while we’re not creating new material here, we are, in a sense, restaging the film for the “comics camera” — not adding scenes, but reimagining shots from different perspectives, so as to make their staging work for comics. It really helps to have detail-oriented artists who can visualize scenes in that way — Luke Ross and Fabio Laguna were definitely up to the challenge!

Perhaps in keeping with the cinematic aspect of the events, most of the panels are page-width horizontal. I tend to imagine in more traditional grid layouts, but the “letterbox” is certainly more appropriate here!

“Finished? Honey, I’m just getting warmed up.” — Indiana Jones

Two variant covers were produced for this half of the adaptation — painted cover by Hugh Fleming, movie poster cover by Drew Struzan. The latter became the cover of the graphic novel.

Much of what I knew of Nazca came from my reading of Chariots of the Gods, back in middle school. That was assigned reading then — I didn’t know it would be training for later work!

A fun coda: I first saw this movie in a double-feature with my first viewing of Iron Man, a film which included a couple of my characters. It was a surreal viewing experience!