domingo, 24 de maio de 2009

Indiana Jones Omnibus Vol.1 - Graphic novel review


Back in 1992, I was still fresh from "Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade", the movie on teathers, and fiercely playing
"Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis" on the computer.

I remember stopping by my favourite comic shop, my mecca at the time and buying a edition of "Comics Scene 18" magazine,
one portraying John Wesley Shipp on the cover as "the Flash", the one from the live action tv series. It was one of the few "Comics Scene" which would arrive here in Brazil.

One of the previews were the "Indiana Jones" comic book series, to be produced by Dark Horse Comics. It featured the interview
of illustrator Dan Barry, presenting an black and white art reminescent of the ancient Russ Manning´s Tarzan comics. A new born classic, I´ve had to get my clutches on it. The first one would be the adaptation of the game of the same name "Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis", featuring that fascinating story of Indiana Jones and Sophia Hapgood in a race against the nazis to find the lost city. Even by that time, there were quite a few options of Adventure games to play with, guess the difference was is that one would take time to savour it as it deserves.

Years passed, and only a few original editions here and there would arrive here in Brazil, "Young Indiana Jones" particularly. Dark Horse would launch other movie related comics, the terrific and terrifying "Star Wars: Dark Empire" series, ALIENS, Predator, Rocketeer and James Bond. All of them offensively good. How dare them to be so good, it was so good it hurts.

The good thing about DARK HORSE handling all those movie licenses at the time was the fact that they actually took the time to develop good, well planned and well executed comic books out of those movies. Apparently there was no rush on it. It would be months or years of interval between one series and another, it wouldn´t feel like a rushed afterthought, like draining a poor slave overnight by a last minute movie tie-in.

Did you ever read a comic book adapting a movie? I mean, straight out of a movie? Did you ever read the "X-Men The Movie Adaptation"? The poor brazilian who drew it didn´t even had access to the actual likeness of the bloody actors on the movie! Rogue, was portraied by Anna Paquim on the movie, and the illustrator didn´t even knew that, and drew Rogue in the comic, like a regular "grim and gritty" tall Rogue from the 1990´s. It was pitiful. Makes you wanna hang the suits and bean counters behind this crime.

Did you read the "Daredevil" comic adaptation? It was a sin punishable by death! The original Daredevil movie was based on a few selected comic series, mostly by John Romita JR "The Man without fear". THAT was a sensitive work of art. The movie adaptation? It was like a pizza squashed on the pavement with pieces of beavers on it.

I won´t even mention won´t mention.

Well, where were we? Oh yes, the "INDIANA JONES" comic book series. Well, one of the good things brought in by the recent Indiana Jones movie "Kingdom of the Crystal Skull"... no, it wasn´t the fridge scene, no the monkeys scene or the flying saucers scene, one of the GREAT things about this movie was the fact that led blessed DARK HORSE to open their comic book catacombs and publish a massive compendium of the Indy comic books launched during the 1990´s. Why bother in making a last minute, rushed comic book adaptation of the movie made by an uncaring, underpaid starved team that just couldn´t care less for the source material,when they had hundreds of high quality long-out-of-print substantial stories on their archives?

OH WAIT, they actually did published a movie adaptation of "Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" which sucks badly, they were like, why break the tradition, right? Let´s make a last minute thingie just for the sucktivity of it.

But let´s forget about it also and focus on this buried treasure.

The book i´m talking about is the "INDIANA JONES OMNIBUS", which collects the entire "Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis" miniseries, plus "Indiana Jones and the Thunder on the Orient" and "Indiana Jones and the Arms of Gold".

Finally after 20 years I could read this entire storyline, my favourite one: "Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis", with it´s beautiful art, clever adaptation of the game, and a good piece of pulp fiction on its own right. The bickering and bantering between Sophie Hapgood and Indiana Jones is priceless. 103 pages of quality substantial art.

"Indiana Jones and the Thunder on the Orient" is almost as good, but the coloring leaves a little to be desired, the color palette was a little too yellowish.

"Indiana Jones and the Arms of Gold" featuring Indiana Jones in the peruvian alps. Good to see the script lived up to the actual likeness of the country they were trying to portrait, and I actually visited. They even had good spanish! a miracle!

I bought this omnibus edition on the library. It was 350 pages of real, exciting satisfying treasure that deserves the vault!
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