Hank McCoy (Before the Fur)

I’m on a little bit of a George Lucas kick lately so why stop now, right? Let’s talk about Indiana Jones. Again Jones can really do no wrong, in my eyes. Just because it IS Indiana Jones. I like the new movie. It’s not bad. I mean, if I’m going to watch Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, I could watch Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull right? I mean, really.

I will admit that if there’s one thing that turns me off about the new film, it’s bringing Marion back. Not that I don’t love Marion! I do. It just, for me, kind of goes against the grain of the whole concept of the character. This sort of serial, James Bond like archeologist. You get these little episodes of his career and his life and each one is really different. I don’t like the idea of commiting to this is ‘THE’ woman, for Jones that he was always in love with.

It’s kind of funny. This is actually, exactly, the kind of thing those who know me would expect me NOT to say. Usually I’m all ‘continuity’ this and ‘character development’ that. But I just LOVE that Indiana’s life is just that- snapshots. It’s always Indiana Jones and the ‘(blank) of the (blank)’, or Indiana Jones and the ‘(adjective) (noun)’.

If there’s one thing I dig about Jones, it’s the little references to American history that gets tucked into his background. Some of it’s real, some of it’s fictonal- Crystal Skull is no exception. Putting Jones in the Cold War era is a gutsy move for example. I mean, let’s face it, Indiana Jones and fighting Nazis go together like peanut butter and jelly. But I like that it’s intimated that Jones was at least mildly involved in the supposed 1950’s Roswell, New Mexico, UFO crash, and that he ends up in a bomb test site, and all that stuff. It’s cool.

I think what’s interesting about Indiana Jones is- despite the huge fan base- there’s like this sort of tight-lid on adding to the canon. You know? There’s never BEEN a whole LOT of Indiana Jones novels, comics or video games. There are a couple of good ones here and there. But it’s almost like he’s TOO great a character. We don’t want to fool around with a good thing. We’re CAREFUL with Indiana Jones. We want to sort of preserve him and remember Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade in all its glory, you know?

Now I haven’t heard great things about Marvel’s run in the 80’s (surprises me- they usually do well, with licenses. Just ask G.I. Joe and Transformers), but the Dark Horse Indiana Jones comics are supposedly worth your time these days. These are written as sort of mini-Indiana Jones movies, each couple of issues being a contained arc complete with a formulaic title of: Indiana Jones and…

What I was PSYCHED to find OUT (and please, forgive me, I know this is old news) was that the first series Dark Horse published was: Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis! Now why is this important? LucasArts has been a pretty stellar video game company for a long time. Sure, their principle property has always been Star Wars, but they’ve had a history of pushing the limits of video gaming for a long time. Some of my FAVORITE games (the first I think I ever played, really) were old school adventure games that LucasArts made.

Now, when I say adventure games I mean puzzle solving, problem-solving, graphic adventures. It was the kind of game you could play for hours and cruise through and then hit a wall and be stuck for hours until you figured something out or went back and found something you missed. It could drive you nuts, but the payoff- when you worked it out- was always excellent. LucasArts always had an affinity for these kind of games, and they were complete with fun and funny little in-references to the George Lucas ‘universe’ and inside jokes that were cute.

The graphic commodore 64 game Maniac Mansion allowed players to pick up a chainsaw. Unfortunately it has no gas, and while it seems, intuitively, like it should be an item you can use, it serves no purpose in the game. A year or two and a thorough search later of items by a player of Zak McKraken and the Alien Mindbenders reveals a can of chainsaw gas. When you ask your character to ‘pick up’ the gas, he or she responds ‘it’s for another game’. Indy had two of these.

One, a video game adaption of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade- an EXCELLENT video game I might add. This involved multiple story paths (some not featured in the movie), but with the right ‘feel’ for the kind of antics Indy and Henry were going to get caught up in. The other? Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis. A completely new ‘episode’ in the Indy universe, written for a video game.

It introduces a cool new cast that you could have seen appearing in an Indy movie too. My favorite is Indy’s love interest, Sophia Hapgood, a retired archeologist turned psychic (who you can never quite tell if she’s faking or not). I loved this game and always thought it was the kind of material that warranted a real movie. Apparently, someone at Dark Horse agreed with me and put the story to good use. Highly recommended!

Editor's Note: I can't believe Tedd didn't mention this, but there was also the Young Indiana Jones Chronicles, the TV show that ran from 1992 to 1993. The show actually won ten Emmys and lists among its guest stars Catherine Zeta-Jones, Daniel Craig, Christopher Lee, Peter Firth, Vanessa Redgrave, Elizabeth Hurley, Anne Heche, Ian McDiarmid, Max von Sydow and Michael Gough. Maybe if Tedd wasn't writing his own adventure Tedd and the Adjective Noun he would've included the underrated show.