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Indiana Jones and the Tomb of the Gods is a comic series from Dark Horse Comics that began in July 2008 and concluded in March 2009. It was composed of four issues, and was later collected in the Indiana Jones and the Tomb of the Gods trade paperback in July 2009.[1] Publisher Spotlight released the issues in four individual, 24 page hardcovers for libraries in August 2009.[2]


In 1936, Indiana Jones took on the quest of archaeologist Henrik Mellberg, to keep pieces of a mysterious artifact from falling into Nazi hands. The artifact was found in Siberia in 1931 by Mellberg and two associates, who divided it into thirds. Unfortunately, while being chased by Nazi agents in Manhattan, Jones lost Mellberg's piece to a mysterious woman posing as a maid, but learned that the Nazis already have one piece. Jones and Marcus Brody traveled to Tibet to find the third piece, held by Francis Beresford-Hope. But when they reached his cave, they discovered cryptic clues written on the walls, and someone threw some dynamite into the cave.

Surviving the collapse of the cave, the two confronted their attacker, who turned out to be Alex Beresford-Hope, Francis' son. The three recognized their common cause in keeping the secret of the key out of Nazi hands. With Jock Lindsey's help, the three escaped from some Tibetan bandits and flew to Shanghai. Concerned with the significance of the last piece, Brody tried to convince Jones to destroy whatever secret the key was supposed to open, but Jones headed off with Alex toward Siberia on a freighter, determined to find the secret. After a stop in Japan, Jones was captured by some extra passengers: the Nazi team leader, Friedrich von Hassell, and the mysterious woman, Janice Le Roi, now working with the Nazis. Von Hassell claimed Jones' piece and left him and Le Roi adrift in the North Pacific Ocean.

Fending off sharks, Jones and Le Roi started a smoky fire to attract rescuers. As their fire died, they began to lose hope when a great white shark began circling. As the shark attacked, shredding their overturned lifeboat, a whaling ship's harpoon caught the animal. Brody had set out after Jones and had seen the signal fire. Le Roi was locked in a supply room while the ship traveled north into the Arctic Ocean. Without the map or Alex Beresford-Hope's knowledge, Jones and Brody were lost. Jones freed Le Roi, and in return, she produced a copy of the map as seen on the two pieces of the key in von Hassell's possession. Jones had copied the map from the Beresford-Hope piece, and they teamed up to race to their destination. Landing on the north coast of Siberia, Brody, Jones and Le Roi set out on dogsled on a shortcut route to catch up to von Hassell's group. Racing along the ice toward a stormy mountain, Jones attacked the Nazi sledges, hoping to free Beresford-Hope. A lightning strike opened up a large crack in the ice ahead of the dogsleds, and both teams fell into the dark chasm.

Jones found himself clinging to an ancient sculpture, but while trying to get a better grip, it broke, and he slid down into the chasm. Finding some sled dogs, and a dead Ahnenerbe agent, he continued along the underground passage, where he was grabbed by Le Roi. She pulled him to an overlook of a giant chamber, where Jones saw that von Hassell and his men had captured Brody as well as Beresford-Hope. His thoughts towards forming a rescue were stopped when Le Roi focused his attention on what the men below were staring at: the mammoth green structure inside the cavern - the Tomb of the Gods, whose plant-like coverings emanated warmth. Von Hassell led the way into the antechamber, and marveled with Beresford-Hope and Brody at the star charts on the ceiling, before trying to force Beresford-Hope to open the main portal at gunpoint. Knowing that only death and madness lay beyond, Beresford-Hope refused, and von Hassell used his hidden blade to kill the young man. Before he could threaten Brody to open the door, three Ahnenerbe agents, now possessed by voices they had heard in the chamber, opened fire on the party, killing their colleagues. Before they could attack Brody, Jones swung in on a vine, kicked over the first agent, punched out the next gunman, and Le Roi shot the third gunman with the goatee. Von Hassell took the key and opened the door himself, and entered the vault. Jones took Brody's dynamite and followed him. Fighting Jones in front of a giant pit, von Hassell argued that he and Jones were alike in seeking the knowledge of the site. Jones agreed, but felt that avenging Beresford-Hope and keeping this site from falling into Nazi hands was more important, and dropped von Hassell into the pit, and threw the ignited bundle of dynamite after him. Jones pulled Le Roi and Brody to safety, while von Hassell was killed in the explosion, which also pulled down the entire structure. Resting before making their exit, Brody agreed with Jones' decision to destroy the tomb, and Le Roi was a little disappointed in the lack of treasure.






Behind the scenes[]


"You watch the movies countless times and try and get the feel. The most important thing is trying to nail Indy's core, and that's his love of archaeology. One of the first lines in issue one is someone asking Indy who he is, and he replies, ‘I'm a college professor. That's why he's such a great action hero. Indy gets the crap beaten out of him endlessly and he still keeps chasing his prize. And his vulnerabilities make us relate to him. He's not the biggest gag telling hero, either. He's heroic, gets angry when he sees injustice. As the filmmakers pointed out at the start of ‘Last Crusade,’ he's a boy scout."
Rob Williams on why he wished to write a Indiana Jones story.[src]

A huge Indiana Jones fan, Rob Williams saw the chance of writing Indiana Jones and the Tomb of the Gods upon being offered so by Dark Horse Comics as a dream come true.[3] Already working for Dark Horse in the Star Wars comic book series Star Wars: Rebellion, Williams asked his superiors through email if he could pitch for new Indiana Jones comics once he became aware that the franchise would get new entries to coincide with the release of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull.[4] Considering Indiana Jones as one of the greatest iconic heroic figures of modern times despite his lack of invylnerability yet indommable will, Williams always thought of Raiders of the Lost Ark as a template to write a killer action story with a right amount of gags, character work, mystery and humanity.[3]

Taking into account the title character's love for learning and knowledge, acting like an archaeologist first and as an action hero secondly is what Williams had in mind when handling the story's writing. A familiar character from the franchise Williams opted to include was Marcus Brody, an evidently fan-favorite due to his many comical moments in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade,[3] citing his praise for Brody's late actor Denholm Elliott's performance as him.[4] Brody's purpose throughout the story would be to force Indy to focus on when he gets his eyes on the treasure too open. Other than Jones and Brody, Williams and his team preferred to create new ones for the Expanded Adventures in order to place them in real danger without breaking the canon,[3] also thinking that those characters would help the readers to give the comic run a distinct personality of its own.[4] He conceived up a deadly recurring adversary for Indy in the form of Friedrich von Hassell as the protagonist's "Doctor Doom or the Joker".[3] Although choosing the Nazis as main villains being a commonality for the franchise, Williams made the conscious choice to make those Nazis part of the Ahnenerbe like if they were Adolf Hitler's personal "Ghostbusters" and Indy's counterparts within the Nazi ranks.[4]

Feeling that they needed a MacGuffin interesting enough to launch the new Dark Horse series with high stakes without it being a "small, personal trinket", Williams came up with the Tomb of the Gods because it was a MacGuffin that couldn't only be disastrous for the Earth, but also to Indy's soul if he ever let his greed and ego take the best from him, as it likewise tempts Jones with the chance to write a new type of history, a decision that forced Williams to get inside his protagonist's head and examine his motivations and ways of thinking.[3] Putting all the human race seemed like huge stakes, the Tomb of Gods also provided a possibility for Indy to feel like all his years of study were a lie, leading him to a chase across the globe and eventually to a major revelation. Williams also based parts of the story for Tombs of the Gods on actual events that included factual basis and evidence for the comic's events, citing some aspects as homages to a certain author's writings.[4]

Williams felt that some lines in the films like Indy's "That belongs in a museum!" ideology and his "Fortune and glory, kid" mantra presented Jones as a philoshopy hunter with an interesting dichotomy that Tombs of the Gods could explore, needing the story to feel like an evolution in Indy's life that affects his decisions in Raiders, such as when he showed a willingness to blow up the Ark of the Covenant if René Emile Belloq didn't hand Marion Ravenwood over back to him in spite of how he was more hot-headed in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom.[3] Williams felt that this point of Indiana's life was an interesting time for his development, citing Indy's newfound humility what saves his life by closing his eyes from the Ark's ghosts despite backing off from destroying it out of curiosity for the Ark's mysteries.[4]

As for drawing Tomb of the Gods, Williams chose Steve Scott upon seeing his concept sketches for Indiana Jones and Marcus Brody, feeling that Scott would be a "shoo-in" to pencil the story with his excellent storytelling sensibility for detailed feats of heroism. Due to Scott's previous job as a firefighter, Williams enjoyed theorizing if he saw himself wearing Indy's outfit when he drew the pages. When having problems writing scenes for the script, Williams would always remind himself to John Williams' iconic theme song for the franchise to remind himself the story's tone.[4]



Cover to Previews announcing the return of new Indiana Jones comics with Tomb of the Gods. Art by Dustin Weaver

The release of the individual issues of the comic were delayed from the original publishing schedule. Originally, the four issues of the story arc would be released from July 2008 to December 2008, but the final issue was not released until March 2009, and using a different art team (Bart Sears and Randy Elliott) than the first three issues (Steve Scott and Nathan Massengill).


The inside front cover of the individual issues use Indiana Jones' passport to include the publication information, as well as displaying a chronology of the places visited in this adventure. Here is a list of the dated stamps (and the issue of first appearance):

Note that the entry for the North Pacific is not in chronological order, and may be a typographical error, in issues #3 and #4.

While the writer Rob Williams mentioned in interviews that the story was supposed to take place before Raiders of the Lost Ark (with artist Steve Scott brilliantly approaching the comic as a lost Indy film),[3] the ambiguities of the Raiders timeline may place Tomb of the Gods before Raiders (the timeline in the Raiders of the Lost Ark junior novel),[5] during Raiders, in between Peru and Nepal (the timeline in The Lost Journal of Indiana Jones)[6] or even after Raiders (the timeline in Indiana Jones: The Ultimate Guide).[7]



Cover gallery[]

Notes and references[]

External links[]

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
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Indiana Jones and the Cup of the Vampire Indiana Jones and the Tomb of the Gods Indiana Jones et le Grimoire Maudit