Look at it. It’s beautiful. It’s glorious. I covet it despite the fact that it’s mine.
It is so precious to me that I’m going to booby-trap my home like an ancient South American temple — lest that sneaky Indiana Jones try and abscond with it. It also explains why I’m running around my home in only a loincloth, shouting a strange language and shooting poison darts at any newcomers.
I’m glad we had this talk.
When I was in the third grade, Marvel’s 1982 adaptation of “Raiders of the Lost Ark” (1981) might have been the most beloved comic book in my collection. And that’s saying a lot — there were a couple of issues of “Sgt. Rock” that I probably would have killed to protect.
“Raiders of the Lost Ark” was a quite decent adaptation of what I still revere as my favorite movie of all time (though it’s probably tied for that distinction with a certain unpopular film that I will not name here). It makes sense that the book was so well crafted — this Internet thingamajig tells me that it was scripted by none other than comics great Walter Simonson.
I’m a little confused by some of what I’m reading online … yes, this was originally published as a three-issue arc. (I had a couple of those.) But it was also released as a complete book (with the cover art that you see below).
Postscript — I learned a couple of years ago that Marvel also released a two-issue adaptation of “Blade Runner” (1982) the same year. The artwork looks pitch perfect. Sooner or later, I need to get my hands on that.
I know this is a childish comparison to make, but does anyone else look at acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and totally see Toht from 1981’s “Raiders of the Lost Ark?”
FILE PHOTO: Director of the Office of Management and Budget Mick Mulvaney speaks at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at National Harbor, Maryland, U.S., February 24, 2018. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts/File Photo – RC19789AFEF0
“Pitfall!” was quite the hit when Activision released it in 1982. (I’m a little unclear on what I’m reading about the relationship between Activision and Atari … it looks like the former was a group of defected employees who were then sued by latter, but who then inadvertently pioneered the third-party-developer arrangement for video games.)
“Pitfall!” hit the shelves the same year that the priceless “Raiders of the Lost Ark” galloped through theaters, which I’ll bet helped with the popularity of the jungle adventure game. But the game became a bestseller because of its own merits. Wikipedia informs me that its took a lot of innovation by its creator, David Crane, to get his newer, more advanced graphics stored and operable on a 4-kilobyte game.
And I could kinda see that, as a kid. “Pitfall!” was far sleeker and seemingly more complex than other Atari games my family had, like “Combat,” “Missile Command,” “Frogger” and “Donkey Kong.” And it was a lot of fun. See for yourself; you can play the original game for free right here at the Virtual Atari website. (Seriously, the people who set up that site did something really cool for the rest of us.)
When I sat down to write this, I actually got my memories of “Pitfall!” confused with a later, more advanced side-scrolling PC game called “Impossible Mission.” I played that in high school, and I loved it even more than “Pitfall!” The two games look pretty similar; I wonder if anyone else gets them confused.
By the way, does that kid in the pith helmet in the ad below look familiar to you? That’s because he’s none other than Jack Black, age 13.
Parker Brothers released this game in 1982. It was a hell of a lot more fun than it looks. The kid next door and I wore this thing out on my front porch.
I just wish I could find a better picture of it.
It would be both ironic and meta if my cache of 1980’s Indiana Jones merchandise was someday uncovered by a future archeologist.
I had this poster for “Raiders of the Lost Ark” (1981) when I was 11 or so. It was goddam gigantic. It took up nearly an entire wall in my room.
It wasn’t store bought; it came from a theater. My father used to do something that was pretty damned cool for any parent to do — he’d occasionally ask the manager of a movie theater to save their in-house advertising for my favorite movies. (I don’t know how things are done nowadays, but back then they’d just throw them out after using them.) Then my Dad would hand the guy $10 or $20 for one of these, or maybe the manager would just give it to him.
Sometimes that meant a truly industrial-size poster, like this one. Sometimes it meant one of those huge cardboard stand-up advertisments. (I could only have a couple of these at a time … I had a small room.)
I also had a cardboard stand-up for “Colors,” the 1988 film depicting Los Angeles gangs — but my older brother brought me that one. It had nearly life-size cutouts of Sean Penn and Robert Duvall, the movie’s police protagonists. I don’t know why the nerdiest kid in East Coast suburbia was so taken with a movie about inner-city West Coast gangs, but that movie meant a lot to me.
Come to think of it, a lot of people were talking about “Colors” back in the day. It was a big deal. It was considered pretty edgy at the time, the critics loved it, and I’m surprised I never heard about it again after the close of the decade. Its soundtrack had a damned good title track by Ice-T, too.
The poster below was my favorite, though. To this day, “Raiders of the Lost Ark” is probably my favorite film of all time.
I was thrilled when these Indiana Jones action figures arrived for me under the Christmas tree in 1983. I loved “Raiders of the Lost Ark” more than I loved “Star Wars.” I was truly surprised, too — I didn’t even know that they existed.
Why was that, I wonder? Was Kenner just not advertising them much? The company sure wasn’t shy about advertising its “Star Wars” figures.
That very last figure you see is the German mechanic that Indy fought at the desert base, when he and Marion were trying to hijack that plane. (Dear God, was that one of the greatest movie scenes of all time.) Anyway, the German mechanic toy had a spring-activated arm for clobbering action, and he came with a little plastic wrench. Good times.
Guys, please do not view the solar eclipse tomorrow without the ISO-certified eclipse-viewing glasses. You could go blind.
Do not allow any children to view the eclipse without the special glasses. (Wouldn’t a lot of kids just ignore adults’ advice and watch an eclipse unprotected anyway, especially if their eyes don’t hurt when they first look at it? I was that kind of kid.)
Sunglasses are not a substitute. I’m a little confused by what I’ve read so far online about taking pictures, but I understand you should not be looking at the eclipse through a camera or a smartphone camera either.
I don’t know why this whole thing has me acting like such a mother hen on the Internet, seriously. But here we are.
If your eyes aren’t protected, MARION, DON’T LOOK AT IT.
Does anyone else think that the “Alien: Covenant” ship logo looks a hell of a lot like the sculpted top of “Raiders'” Ark of the Covenant?!
Am I just realizing something everyone else has already noticed? I’m not known for being the first guy to notice important details …
Or maybe both are based on the same ancient Hebrew art or something?
[UPDATE:] Okay, various smart people on Facebook are informing me that while the Bible doesn’t contain illustrations, it does contain a detailed textual description of the top of the ark. So both movies took their cue from Exodus: 25. (Thanks, Lisa L.)
Whatever. I’m still counting this as my own “Sherlock” moment.
No, I’m not talking about the Marvel Comics adaptation of “Raiders of the Lost Ark” (1981); I’ve written about that separately here at the blog. This was a regular ongoing comic book title between January 1983 and March 1986.
And every issue of it was a mind-boggling pleasure for a fourth grader whose favorite hero was Indiana Jones. I remember issues one and two waiting for me after school one day, displayed upright on the kitchen table. My Dad had picked them up for me. (He was constantly trying to help me with a problem that had plagued my childhood — I simply never owned enough comic books.) These were a departure from the “Sgt. Rock” comics that my father usually bought for me, but damn if they weren’t a thousand times better. I was stunned by the very concept of them. “Raiders” was a … COMIC BOOK now!?
Of course the plots were derivative of the film. Ninety percent of the places Indy went, an ancient artifact or temple held a terrifying secret, often unleashing a power that could control or destroy the world. And only Indy’s superior knowledge of archeology — or just his sheer pluck — would allow him to employ it to vanquish the bad guys. [Spoiler warning for “Raiders,” by the way.] The writing was damn good, as far as I can remember. And we got to see Marion, Sallah, Marcus Brody and even Captain Katanga again.
You see that cover where Indy is on the wing of a plane? That bad guy just might be one of the Hovitos … I can’t remember well enough to be sure. At one point this adversary steals Indy’s whip and tries to use it against him. (It doesn’t turn out well for him.) In fact …I think it was the scene you see on the cover. I’m not sure why the artist depicted a grappling hook instead. I remember the villain’s line being, “It would be fitting for such a man to die by the sting of his own weapon.” I have no idea why I remember that dialogue after 35 years (and little else about the issue). The mind is a funny thing.
All of the covers were damn cool. I happen to love that final one you see at the bottom. That was Indy’s adventure at Stonehenge. But the first two covers you see are the ones that I would eventually like to get framed, someday after fame brings me opulence — those were the ones waiting for me on the kitchen table that day in 1981.