Like most kids caught up in the excitement of Raiders of the Lost Ark in 1981, I devoured anything that had to do with globe-trotting archeologist, whether it was the Atari 2600 video game, the novelization by Campbell Black, or the collectable trading cards.
I was thrilled to see the first issue of a licensed Indian Jones series on the spinner rack at my local convenience store. Seeing Indy and his supporting characters continue on beyond the big screen blew me away.
The series’ first year was outstanding. It certainly started strong with Marvel’s hottest artist at that time, John Byrne, writing and drawing it (with Terry Austin’s lavish inks). Denny O’Neil, Archie Goodwin, and David Michelinie solid scripts for the rest of that year. The art teams were equally impressive with rookies would who sound prove themselves, like Kerry Gammill, David Mazzucchelli, and Ron Frenz, as well as veterans like Howard Chaykin, Herb Trimpe, and the legendary Steve Ditko.
Unfortunately, the series’ stability in terms of creative teams was it greatest weakness. The series felt like a hot potato being based from artist to artist, writer to writer.
Highlighting that fact was Byrne’s departure after only two issues. It seems that the Lucasfilms representative was disappointed with Busema’s art on the movie adaptation. So Marvel had replied by assigning Byrne to the book. Unfortunately, the rep apparently didn’t have a clue about the process in creating comics and requested dramatic changes are the wrong time which ultimately drove Byrne from the book. According to Byrne, his short run on the series was one of the most unpleasant experiences of his career.
Here's a hint of what might have been...
Dark Horse Comics has recently put out a nice Omnibus paperback collection reprinting those Marvel issues.