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Indiana Jones et le Grimoire Maudit (English: Indiana Jones and the Cursed Grimoire) is a French-language, hardcover comic book by Claude Moliterni and Giancarlo Alessandrini. It was released by Bagheera in 1995 and forms the last in a trilogy of stories where Indiana Jones is paired with reporter Marya Smirnova both chronologically in-universe and by publication, none of which have been officially released in English.

Unlike the previous two entries in the series (Indiana Jones et le Secret de la Pyramide and Indiana Jones et la Cité de la Foudre), the book was not re-distributed in Shell gasoline stations as part of the Canadian L'été des BD!! promotion with the offer having ran and ended the year prior.

Publisher's summary[]

Original French[]

Les alchimistes du Moyen Âge, savants de talent ou simples charlatans, rêvaient de découvrir une substance miraculeuse, la pierre philosophale ou l'élixir de longue vie, qui leur permettrait de transmuter en or un métal vil comme le plomb et conférerait l'immortalité à qui le posséderait.

Indiana Jones se trouve confronté, étant en possession du "livre perdu de la Cabale," aux menées occultes et subversives d'un group d'agents secrets voulant, à tout prix, percer le secret de ce grimoire.

English translation[]

The alchemists of the Middle Ages, whether skilled scientists or simple charlatans, dreamed of discovering a miraculous substance, known as the Philosopher's Stone or the Elixir of Life, which would transmute a base metal like lead into gold and confer immortality to whomever wields it.

Indiana Jones, in possession of the Lost Book of the Cabal, is confronted by a group of occult agents who will stop at nothing to learn the secrets of this magic book.

Plot summary[]

United States, 1936[]

One evening at a post office in Aurilctown, Arkansas, a nervous man has a package sent out urgently in the mail then asks a local police sergeant to escort him back to his broken down automobile. The officer agrees but it suddenly called away to an emergency leaving the man alone. Headlamps suddenly light up behind the individual and he's pursued by a car until the man gets trapped. A shadowy figure cloaked in a dark trench coat and hat steps out and retrieves the mail receipt from the mouth of the scared man before it can be swallowed.

The next day, at his home at Barnett College, Indiana Jones unexpectedly receives the delivery which contains a precious grimoire, the Book of Abraham the Jew. With only its title to go on, the archaeologist heads for the university library and discovers that he's been sent the very tome that 15th century alchemist Nicholas Flamel used to learn the secret of the Philosopher's Stone. Realizing that he'll need a specialist to translate, he returns home to find his house has been ransacked then suddenly gets blindsided by a figure in a dark trench coat trying to grab the book. However, Jones is able to hold his in own in the brawl before the assailant is chased off by the timely arrival the archaeologist's reporter friend Marya Smirnova.

Familiar with the grimoire from a story she ran a few years earlier, Smirnova accompanies Indiana Jones to New York City to meet with an old research contact at the Hebraic Library of Brooklyn. There, an elderly scholar named Master Canches confirms that the grimoire did indeed once belong to Nicholas Flamel and is the man's copy of the Lost Book of the Cabal, an esoteric philosophy derived from an interpretation of the "Old Testament". Canches explains that due to the persecutions of the Jewish people that drove them from France, the alchemist had to search for several years to find someone capable of deciphering the contents until he met a convert at the end of the pilgrims' way to Santiago de Compostela after which Flamel successfully concocted the Philospher's Stone, a red powder that transmutes lead into gold. The grimoire was inherited by Flamel's nephew and eventually fell into the hands of Richelieu some two hundreds years later but was thought lost to history upon the cardinal's death.

Although it will take time to translate the text of the book itself, Canches—sensing a kindred spirit in Indiana Jones—entrusts a copy of the elixir's formula to the archaeologist for him to memorize and then destroy. When the scholar is unexpectedly shot by the trench coat wearing figure, the killer escapes but before Canches succumbs to his wounds, he reveals that it was his own ancestor that Flamel met with and urges Jones to visit the tombstone of the alchemist in Paris as Flamel's nephew no-doubt would have been directed to hide their flask of powder.

Paris, France[]

In Paris, Indiana Jones and Marya Smirnova meet with curator Arnaud de Montsigny at the Musée de Cluny, where the tombstone of Nicholas Flamel ended up after the church housing it was demolished. At first glance, the archaeologist doesn't see anything remarkable about the slab, at least in regards to the Philosopher's Stone, though he does note that the bottom of it contains a faded inscription in Latin "vulnerant omnes, ultima necat": "all wound, the last kills". In and of itself, the phrase was a common motif on the clock faces of churches and other public buildings. Smirnova wonders if Flamel's nephew left it for posterity and Jones concludes that its obscurity on the tombstone must be what Canches wanted them to find yet the trail seems to have gone cold. However, the curator recalls that the slab was delivered to the museum with another object and takes the pair to view a chest.

Despite being from the "Mussulman world", the bejeweled golden box also contains a version of the Latin phrase but being constructed from a single block of wood, it has no visible means of being opened. When Smirnova notices that the large opal on top of the chest is changing color in the sun, Jones deduces that it functions like a sundial and leads the others out of the room as he correctly anticipates that the artifact is booby-trapped. While awaiting the poison gas cloud to dissipate, he notes that the sun going down would be the killing hour and when dusk falls, the box explodes leaving a vial with the Philosopher's Stone inside sat amongst the remnants of the container.

The archaeologist gives the vial to the curator but Jones and Smirnova are allowed to take a sample to be analyzed. The pair head to the nearby lab of Frederic Joliot-Curie, an old acquaintance of Indiana Jones', who is pleased by their reunion but is too busy to help personally so instead leaves them in the care of an assistant familiar with the scientist's process. The red powder turns out to be nothing special, just a sample of mercury, sulfur, lead and pewter.

In anticipation of a journey back to US, Jones and his reporter friend return to their hotel where they're surprised to find a Dutch professor, Joost van Meert of Rotterdam University, is waiting to meet with the archaeologist. A fellow researcher into the work of Nicholas Flamel, van Meert has been informed of Jones's interest from the Musée de Cluny's curator and is curious of his findings. Jones feigns ignorance, dismissing his presence as merely being a companion for Smirnova's journalistic efforts into the Philosopher's Stone. Van Meert asks if they had not heard that a professor Jacobs, rumored to be in possession of the alchemist's grimoire, had been found dead in Aurilctown, Arkansas a few days prior. When the pair deny any knowledge of the man or the book, van Meert excuses himself. Having learned the identity of the man who sent him the grimoire, Jones calls the museum only to find out that Arnaud de Montsigny has gone missing.

United States[]

Indiana Jones and Marya Smirnova's departure from the airport is observed by the figure in the dark trench coat. Back at Barnett College, the pair decide to do their own experiment on their sample of the red powder in one of the university's rooms only to achieve little beyond blowing up the lab. Shaken but unhurt, the two make their way to Arkansas instead to investigate the fate of Professor Jacobs.

Aurilctown is remote but Jones and Smirnova learn that Jacobs had not been subtle about his alchemy experiments and the barman of a local cafe points them towards the professor's nearby lab. They arrive to find that the building has been overturned and Jacobs' equipment damaged. Joost van Meert reveals himself and, backed up by three men hidden under trench coats and hats, takes the journalist hostage at gunpoint to coerce Jones into handing over the grimoire and the Philosopher's Stone sample.

However, the archaeologist left both back at Barnett College for safe-keeping. A rendezvous in Bryce Canyon is arranged so that Jones can trade Nicholas Flamel's possessions for the safe return of Smirnova. Van Meert reneges on the deal. Jones is also captured by the professor's men and the adventurers are delivered to van Meert's secret mountain base which they discover to be concealing a vast underground factory riddled with armed guards in black jumpsuits. The two are provided quarters where they wonder in private just how van Meert can be carrying out such a large scale operation in secret on US soil. When a man arrives to take them to van Meert, Jones decides he doesn't need the escort and disables him so that he and Smirnova can scout the base in secret. They find and observe the Dutchman in a large chamber collaborating with scientists evidently trying to recreate Flamel's work on an industrial scale.

Agreeing with Smirnova that they need to know who these people are and figuring that van Meert's men are looking for them anyway, Jones decides that the only option is to surrender themselves. Caught off guard by their sudden arrival, van Meert betrays the truth: he is, in actuality, von Meert, a Nazi officer and scientist who then explains that he's been following Indiana Jones' search into the Philosopher's Stone the entire time. Von Meert, personally selected by Adolf Hitler to pursue a mission into the application of alchemy for the Third Reich, reveals that he had been hunting Dunikowski, a disgraced Polish professor convicted of fraud for his attempts to transmute lead into gold, who had fled to the United States. By the time the Nazis had caught up to him, Dunikowski, now going by Jacobs, had already mailed the grimoire to Indiana Jones. The only thing von Meert needs is Canches' copy of the formula that Jones had memorized.

With his friend's life on the line, Jones seemingly gives up his knowledge but deliberately provides the Nazis with the process which failed at Barnett College. Von Meert's equipment detonates in a large explosion that enables Jones and Smirvova to get away and they race to escape the base, fending off the Nazi guards as they depart, as the whole mountain is going to blow.

From a safe distance, the two look on as an impromptu volcano erupts and a molten substance flows from within.

Appearances[]

Characters[]

Artifacts[]

Creatures[]

  • Crow (Mentioned only)
  • Horse (Pictured only)

Cultures[]

Locations[]

Organizations and titles[]

Vehicles and vessels[]

Miscellanea[]

  • Aesch-Mezareph (Mentioned only)
  • Old Testament (Mentioned only)
  • Pulitzer Prize (Mentioned only)
  • The Globe (Indirect mention)
  • Hieroglyphics (Mentioned only)

Behind the scenes[]

Indiana Jones et le Grimoire Maudit is somewhat unusual in that at no point in the story does Indiana Jones, representing the 1930s Harrison Ford iteration of the character, actually appear in his traditional adventuring gear. Gone are his hat, jacket and bullwhip and instead, Jones is outfitted in a suit and trench coat for the most part. The cover is based on stills from Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom used against a backdrop featuring the tombstone of Nicholas Flamel.

Continuity[]

Indiana Jones et le Grimoire Maudit is one of three Indiana Jones stories, all released around 1995, which deal with the Philosopher's Stone as the central MacGuffin and are unconnected with each other outside of the titular archaeologist.[1][2]

The comic incorrectly places Barnett College, shown to be in Fairfield, New York in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade,[3] in Indiana Jones' hometown of Princeton, New Jersey, largely introduced in The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles.[4] That the story is set in 1936 but Jones doesn't begin teaching there until 1937/'38 may be a further example of Marshall College from Raiders of the Lost Ark and Barnett from Last Crusade being treated as one and the same.[5][3]

Notes and references[]

International Indiana Jones comics
France
Secret of the Pyramid · City of Lightning · Cursed Grimoire
Cancelled: Bedouins of the Sea
United Kingdom
Young Indiana Jones newspaper strips
Mountains of Superstition · Plantation Treasure · Princess of Peril
IJ Adventure Magazine
Indiana Jones and the Treasure of Monte Cassana · Indiana Jones and the Sword of Excalibur
Indiana Jones and the Lost Treasures
"Facing Death!" · "Skull Duggery!" · "Aurelius's Dagger!"
"Take Cover!" · "Olympic Ordeal!" · "Digging For Trouble"
Related
Indiana Jones and the San Francisco Soul-Suckers
Marvel Comics reprints · Dark Horse Comics reprints
ADVENTURE TIMELINE
previous next
1936 1936 1936
Indiana Jones and the Tomb of the Gods Indiana Jones et le Grimoire Maudit Indiana Jones and the Legion of Death
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