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Cover art of the trade paperback adapted from the theatrical poster by Drew Struzan.

The comic adaptation of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull was written by John Jackson Miller and pencilled by Luke Ross. It was published by Dark Horse Comics on May 22, 2008. Publisher Spotlight released the two issues — two for each cover — as four individual 24 page hardcovers for libraries in August, 2009.[1]


Differences from the film[]

As with the novelization, the comic book differs from the movie in many ways:

  • There is no race between the disguised Soviet convoy and some American teenagers, with Jimmy Keegan and his friends being absent as well as the prairie dog whose home they disturb.
  • Jimmy Wycroft tells the Soviets that they can't be at the area from the opposite window than the one in the film.
  • Antonin Dovchenko, oddly, never wears a hat, ever, in any of his scenes and has far more dialogue than in the film. In addition, Dovchenko is at the staff car and comes out from the car by shooting Wycroft dead, with his men following his example.
  • The Soviets don't hide the corpses of the MPs.
  • Instead of American Dodge M-57's, artists Luke Ross and Cliff Richards for some reason have drawn all of the "American" jeeps used in the Hangar 51 sequence as Soviet GAZ 69's (used later on in the comic as well as in the film in the jungle).
  • Neither Indiana Jones or George McHale are thrown into Hangar 51's tarmac, so Indy never swipes back his fedora and puts it back on his head while shadowing the car as he does in the film.
  • Indiana Jones has his jacket in Nevada.
  • Irina Spalko doesn't wear black glasses upon meeting Indy and her rapier has a golden handle.
  • While Indy uses powder to find the 9906573 crate, how he asks for it to some of the Soviets isn't shown.
  • Lincoln's glasses don't fly towards the corpse of the New Mexico specimen nor Spalko's rapier.
  • Indy disarms Franklin by making him shoot Adams dead with his whip and takes two machine guns, using one to threaten Irina and force all the Soviets to surrender as he throw the other weapon to Mac instead of after arming Mac, so no Soviets ever try to surrender and just point at Indy before Mac proceeds to reveal his true allegiances.
  • Mac doesn't imply that he lost money by gambling.
  • Irina doesn't ask for Indy to say his last words so Indy never praises Dwight D. Eisenhower with his "I like Ike" slogan.
  • Indy throws the machine gun at the floor in a way that it fires closely at Dovchenko's head, instead of hitting one of Marelli's feet.
  • Instead of Dovchenko chasing Indy and them falling through a skylight into the room with the rocket sled, Indy jumps into the back of the jeep Dovchenko is driving (never falling into a truck behind him or taking over Spalko's jeep, which also leads him to never break the crates that reveal the Ark of the Covenant's cameo in the film nor crashing against Mac or Hoover), and they drive down some stairs into the room. And instead of the sled being accidentally activated by Dovchenko bumping into a control panel, Indy deliberately activates it, somehow knowing what it will do unlike the film, in which the sled is activated by Dovchenko being knocked over the controls. Also Dovchenko doesn't try to strangle Indy with chains and no inrushing Soviets are incinerated by the rocket's backwash.
  • Dovchenko is still conscious when the sled comes to a halt (and it's still daytime whereas in the film it was already nighttime), so Indy knocks him out after they get out of the rocket sled. It's by the time Dovchenko recovers consciousness that it's nighttime as Spalko and her men come to pick him up, thus ommitting the Hangar 51 evacuation scene.
  • Indy's journey to Doom Town is ommitted, with the next scene after Dovchenko's pickup being Indy already at Doom Town.
  • Weirdly enough, Indy doesn't realize that Doom Town's population is full of mannequins despite seeing all of them in the garden, thinking the citizens are being antisocial until he enters into the house he first gets into in the film and finds out the mannequin nuclear family that makes him realize the town he is in is a fake.
  • It isn't shown if The Howdy Doody Show was being played on that Doom Town house's television set.
  • Indy doesn't push any mannequins accidentally before the atomic bomb's countdown starts.
  • Unlike the film, in which only Lincoln, Franklin and Hoover come to Doom Town in a staff car, a jeep with eight Soviets arrives there and quickly departs upon finding out that the whole site is going to be detonated. Indy still tries to make them wait for him, but they make their getaway without breaking any mannequins nor Indy insults them.
  • Indy quickly gets into the King Cool refrigerator without taking a while by removing some fake fruits blocking the door.
  • The refrigerator lands on a dumpster and a curious prairie dog isn't seen.
  • When being interrogated (as he is still decontaminated whereas he was decontaminated first and then interrogated in the film), Indy faces only Agent Paul Smith. Agent Taylor never appears. Smith also questions General Ross' loyalty in addition to Indy's, and there is no indication he and Smith are on a first-name basis.
  • General Robert Ross doesn't show Irina Spalko's file but instead seemingly reads it without it being seen on-panel, though he doesn't mention her to be "extremely dangerous".
  • Indy learns he was fired from Marshall College at home, rather than being told by Dean Charles Stanforth after being pulled out his class. The scenes with Stanforth at Indy's house take place at night instead of daytime, and while there's a reflection on the passing of Indy's father Henry Walton Jones, Senior or Marcus Brody, no pictures of them are seen, not even those of Sallah Mohammed Faisel el-Kahir and Willie Scott.
  • Indy is about to board the train in Bedford when Mutt Williams (wearing glasses and not a cab) arrives at the Bedford train station, instead of already being aboard the train.
  • Dimitri and his fellow Russian Suit 2 roughely grab Mutt at Arnie's Diner to incite Jones into coming with them, attracting the attention of some customers, in addition to one of them confiscating his knife when Mutt threatens them with it while the other points his gun at him and Indy remarks how foolish his decision was without looking at him.
  • Indy doesn't explicitly tell Mutt to punch Joe College (who wears green clothes instead of his letterman ones), with Mutt taking the decision on his own and not even distracting Joe by asking him to hold his cap before punching him on the jaw instead of punching him in the face as in the film. Joe's Slugger girlfriend doesn't slap Mutt and the lettermen and the greasers immediately get into a fight without Joe pushing Mutt towards his fellow greasers.
  • The Ride Through Academy around the college campus does not include the sequence where Jones is pulled into the Soviets car from Mutt's motorcycle and hits Dimitri on the face, but it does include driving a football field during a game in progress.
  • When the KGB agents crash against Marcus Brody's memorial statue, the whole statue falls on their car instead of just the head falling through the windshield, denting its front totally. Furthermore, the dialogue makes a reference to Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade by pointing out that while "the pen may not be mightier than the sword", the "New Hampshire granite generally trumps Pittsburgh steel". THe crash also seemingly knocks or kills the agents, which technically prevents Dimitri from dying in the climax later on.
  • Indy's dialogue about the Nazca Lines doesn't happen until Mutt and him fly over the geoglyphs group's location.
  • Mutt's scene of him trying to get his motorcycle into the plane is ommitted.
  • Indy's conversation with Mutt about how he learned Quechua from Pancho Villa's riders is ommitted.
  • Sister María and all the Nazca sanatorium's patients are absent.
  • When Indy and Mutt face the guards in the Chauchilla Cemetery (with the guards being depicted as bare-chested with skull-like garments similar to those of the Ugha), instead of Indy killing one with his own poisoned dart and driving the other away, he knocks them both off a cliff with his whip and kills them.
  • Mutt finds a scorpion on the tomb's roof, but it never comes down so he doesn't get any stings from it and Indy never mocks him for his apparent dance.
  • The preserved Conquistador Indy uncovers does not deteriorate after being exposed to the fresh air.
  • When Indy and Mutt start leaving the cemetery, Dovchenko, Mac and some Russian soldiers, are waiting for them at gunpoint. In the comic, Dovchenko hits Indy on his head with the butt of a gun and drugs him.
  • The Soviet jungle camp is on Iquitos, Peru instead of Ilha Aramacá, Brazil.
  • At the Soviet camp, Indy is restrained by having his hands tied up behind a chair instead of being restrained on a electric chair-like seat. It's only when after Indy sees an insane Harold Oxley that Spalko has him restrained in that chair to see if he can understand the Crystal Skull of Akator.
  • Indy doesn't break Mac's nose, instead punching him on the cheek, though he says that he plans to do it and is about to before Spalko threatens Mutt's life with her rapier.
  • Mutt doesn't complain about having left his motorcycle behind, instead asking Indy to not tell Spalko about how the Crystal Skull works.
  • Marion Ravenwood doesn't hug Mutt upon being reunited with him and Indy.
  • Indy's, Marion's and Mutt's attempted escape from the Russian camp occurs the following morning rather than at night. As such, Mutt doesn't burn the camp because there are no lanterns.
  • Mutt throws the table where Spalko and her men are reading the map instead of pushing them with the table.
  • Indy doesn't ask Mutt and Marion to tell him that the snake is a rope so he can get rescued from the quicksand.
  • Before Indy and Marion have their discussion in the back of Dovchenko's truck, there is a scene in Spalko's jeep where Spalko gazes into the crystal skull, and then Mac tries to convince her that the skull's abilities are rubbish. Spalko disagrees, citing her knowledge of Soviet experiments in telepathy and answering Mac's unspoken question.
  • Marion doesn't get gagged by Dovchenko as Indy knocks him out before he can do so, plus the gag is a white rag instead of a brownish one like in the film.
  • Indy shoots the bazooka from the driver's seat and opening the truck's door a little instead of shooting it from the truck's back between Mutt and Marion.
  • The Jungle Cutter gets absolutely destroyed by Indy's bazooka instead of just being disabled like in the film, with its saws not going in different directions nor ripping off part of the truck the Joneses are driving.
  • During the jungle chase, Mac's revelation that he is a CIA agent is followed by him revealing that he was the reason that Bob Ross was in Nevada to bail Jones out. Also, Indy doesn't get to punch him nor wrapping his elbow over Mac's neck because Mac tells him this before he could give him "his turn" after knocking a Soviet soldier off the same car.
  • The Jungle Chase does not include Mutt's monkey attack, nor the cliffside jockeying for position.
  • Marion never drives the car Mutt uses to fight Irina Spalko nor Spalko gets to give him a cut and a kick to the face.
  • Indy and Mutt doesn't exchange their "Wows" to approve each other's abilities before crashing their duck in a giant siafu anthill, crashing into it instead of over it.
  • Following the jungle chase, Spalko's car does not follow Indy's duck into the giant anthill, and thus her driver is not eaten by the siafu. In fact, no Russians arrive on the scene except for Dovchenko, who arrives on foot rather than in the truck with all of the jungle chase's survivors.
  • Dovchenko is not dragged down the ant hill and does not fight Indy, which leads Oxley to never lie down on the jungle to hypnotize the ants. Indy just elbows him after distracting him by pointing out the ants surrounding them, knocking a distracted Dovchenko into a swarm of ants. There, Dovchenko just yells "NYET!" and is shown with ants all over him, without any of them entering into his mouth. The siafu neither steal Indy's hat due to Dovchenko not throwing it into them so Indy doesn't need to retrieve it before they take it to their anthill.
  • There are only two waterfalls despite Oxley still saying that they must fall three times. The first drop is the cliff that the duck drives off of. The Duck is not destroyed by the trip over the falls.
  • Inside the ruins where Jones' group view the historical record of how the outsiders came to teach the Ugha, Jones also talks about the conquistadors, and Mutt finds a picture of one of the visitors, but missing his head.
  • During the Ugha attack (which comes out of nowhere due to the Ugha warriors not being shown hiding until they attack unlike the film), Mutt gets a bolo around his neck inside the passage and Indy punches out an Ugha warrior before they run down the steps to the city of Akator. In the film, Indy and his party didn't attack the Ugha at all.
  • Oxley tells Indy that he got past the Ugha by using the Crystal Skull whereas Oxley didn't say that in the film, stopping the Ugha as they grabbed Mac to prepare to kill him.
  • Spalko and the remaining Soviets find the entrance to Akator not because of Mac's tracers (as in the film) or Spalko's psychic powers (as in the novel), but because they find the Duck parked in the water near the entrance. However, Mac has left behind homing beacons in the ruins leading to Akator.
  • Mac finds some gems after reaching the bottom of the retracting staircase inside the Temple of Akator, and entices Mutt to grab the treasure though Marion forbides him, before Indy points out the corpses of the former looters.
  • Inside the temple, Indy tells Spalko his reason for why the skull won't talk to her - it spoke to him and Oxley because the visitors were teachers. Spalko insists that the visitors were a hive mind.
  • Instead of being sucked into the vortex, the soldiers with Spalko are burned up by the piercing gaze of the crystal skeletons as they are surrounded by a purple vortex that sucks out their weapons. The skeletons also never grow flesh and combine into one being, and simply surround Spalko as she dies, with her eyes turning yellow and bleeding until they start to emanate smoke.
  • Mac is pulled into the vortex when he is inside a room of staircases and falling water, and not in the historical vault room -- and Indy does not use his whip to try to save him.
  • The destruction of the temple area does not involve many large rock fragments circling above the site, merely a large mysterious orb.
  • There's a scene of Oxley thinking about human life's nature when Stanforth comes with a bible of his own for the Minister, with his following scene greeting Indy and Marion being ommitted.
  • Indy and Marion are already kissing by the time the Minister gets the bible, without any indications on who of the two started the kiss.
  • Deirdre Stanforth is absent from the wedding scene.
  • Mutt doesn't briefly contemplate wearing Indy's fedora at the end because it isn't get blown off due to the doors not getting opened by the wind.



Behind the scenes[]

John Jackson Miller asked to be involved with a comic book adaptation of what ultimately became Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull back in 2005, long before the fourth Indiana Jones film entered into active development. While there was, at that time, no script for the film nor even a guarantee that Dark Horse Comics would adapt it, Miller made his Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic editor Jeremy Barlow aware that he definitely wanted to write the adaptation should the fourth film happen.[2]

Around Star Wars Celebration IV in May 2007, when the fourth Indiana Jones picture was preparing to film, Miller was asked by Barlow to write its comic book adaptation. Going against his usual writing habits, Miller included the presence of an omniscient narrator, feeling it was a necessity to carry the story as the comic wasn't large enough to include every scene from the movie. A challenge while writing the adaptation was predicting what scenes the audience would expect to see in the comic book, which required consideration into what space could be used or how much of a scene was needed to establish an idea from the script.[2]

With Lucasfilm Ltd. about to start work on the film when Dark Horse got involved in the comic adaptation, Miller got to see production art before there was any photography, requiring him to use a great deal of imagination to figure out how the scenes connecting the set pieces were going to look.[3] In his additions to the story, Miller included some knowledge about Nazca that he had acquired from reading Chariots of the Gods? back in middle school.[2]



Cover gallery[]

Notes and references[]

External links[]

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Novel · Junior novel · The Movie Storybook · The Official Magazine · Scholastic Readers · Interactive Play-a-Sound
Partial adaptations
Meet Indy · Meet Mutt · Race for Akator
Indy's Adventures · Traps and Snares · Great Escapes · The Search For Buried Treasure
Soundtrack (The Soundtracks Collection) · An Unabridged Production
Comic · 1 · 2 · TPB · Indiana Jones Comic · Escape from the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull!
Mobile game · Didj · LEGO Indiana Jones 2: The Adventure Continues · Trading cards · Akator Temple Race Game
Activity books
Ready for Action! · A New Adventure! · Activity Book With Stickers
Activity Book · Activity Annual · Winter Activity Annual
Sticker Collection · Annual 2009 · Annual 2010 · The Greatest Adventures of Indiana Jones
Behind the scenes
The Return of a Legend · Pre-Production · Production Diary (abridged cut) · Warrior Makeup · The Crystal Skulls · Iconic Props · The Effects of Indy · Adventures in Post Production · Closing: Team Indy
The Complete Making of Indiana Jones · A Photographic Journal
Script development
Indiana Jones and the Saucermen from Mars · Indiana Jones and the City of the Gods
Home video
DVD (Complete Adventure Collection) · Blu-ray (The Complete Adventures) · 4K (4-Movie Collection)
Other material and merchandise
Toy line · Collector's Guide · Piano Accompaniment
Dark Horse Comics
Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis: 1 · 2 · 3 · 4
The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles: 1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · 6 · 7 · 8 · 9 · 10 · 11 · 12
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull: 1 · 2
Original stories
The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles: "Mid-Atlantic, April 1916"
Indiana Jones and the Shrine of the Sea Devil: 1 · 2 · 3 · 4
Indiana Jones: Thunder in the Orient: 1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · 6
Indiana Jones and the Arms of Gold: 1 · 2 · 3 · 4
Indiana Jones and the Golden Fleece: 1 · 2
Indiana Jones and the Iron Phoenix: 1 · 2 · 3 · 4
Indiana Jones and the Spear of Destiny: 1 · 2 · 3 · 4
Indiana Jones and the Sargasso Pirates: 1 · 2 · 3 · 4
Indiana Jones and the Tomb of the Gods: 1 · 2 · 3 · 4
Cancelled: Jungle Queen · Dance of Death
Lost Horizon · Batman crossover
Indiana Jones Adventures
Volume 1 · Volume 2 · Temple of Yearning
Star Wars Tales
Into the Great Unknown
Omnibus: Volume 1 · Volume 2
Star Wars · Indiana Jones Trident Comics · Indiana Jones Comic
Marvel Comics · Hollywood Comics · Timeline of comics