I know I planned on doing a Fanfics You Should Be Reading for my next post, but this week I got a gift in the mail from my friend Fourth Mrs. Malcolm, and I thought it was too amazing not to share. If you’ve never read the first comic series, you’re in for a treat. But before I get to it, I have two announcements to make.
First, I wish I could report that FX is making a Jurassic World TV show, but unfortunately I can’t. As Sickle_Claw on JPL quickly debunked, FX bought the movie’s TV rights, but that was only in order to broadcast the movie, not to expand it into a whole TV show. Sorry.
Second, our own DinoReviews101 and Lord Kristine have started a new JP/JW podcast! Their first JW celebrity interview podcast has just come out, and it features an insightful interview with Stan Winston’s son, Matt Winston. Give it a watch, and keep on the lookout for other familiar faces in the future.
All right, now let’s take a look at the awesome first issue of the Jurassic Park Topps comic line! Before I get into the actual comic, allow me to show you the three trading cards that came in the packet with it. The first two are pretty amusing; one has the Big One making a “say whaaaaat?” face, and the other is the cover of the famous “terrifying faces”issue of the comic.
But my absolute favorite is the third one, which came with an illustration of brachiosaurs and which features either the angriest or the most stoned sauropod I’ve ever seen in my life. It reminds me of the time a drunk girl from Hoboken got in my face and asked “Whaddya want? Whaddya want?” with the voice of a drunken zombie, or of this.
Moving on– let’s get to the real attraction.
Just like the original movie, it opens with the raptor-loading scene, goes on to the amber mines and continues on to the dig site, etc. However, one pretty crucial and weird thing was changed about the scene in the very beginning. Namely, Muldoon is replaced with Ian Malcolm, or at least his twin or doppelganger.
What the heck could that mean? Aside from the possibility that the artist was just really lazy and/or didn’t want to give Muldoon the creepy-face treatment (more on that in a minute), there’s one of two things that Malcolm isn’t telling us in this universe. Either he has a long-lost twin or clone (and what a lucky universe that would be) who’s gone to the dark side, or he has a night job that he’s more than a little ashamed of. Honestly though, I can’t say I blame the guy. He’s a college professor, he probably needs this second job just to buy ramen and roach traps.
I also found it funny how the raptor attack began:
The amber mine scene isn’t really worth mentioning, except for the fact that it introduces us to this artist’s preference for drawing really, really creepy faces. That cover with all the grotesque gargoyles that we previously knew as the JP cast? That wasn’t a one-time occurrence. This guy has some sort of personal grudge against the human form, and it can be seen as either hilarious or horrifying. I personally go for the former. In other words, artistic liberties were taken.
We then move on to the dig site scene, which begins by showing off what’s obviously this artist’s strong suit: beautiful landscapes. Just look at what he does with the Badlands:
I don’t really have any jokes about the next part, which is a conversation between Alan and Ellie that was either cut from the movie or added in. I just wanted to show it to you because it resolves a commonly-asked question: how did Grant know so much about raptor pack behavior if he’d never seen any raptors in action before he went to the Park? This comic shows that he got the information by deducing it from a fossilized raptor pack. (You probably knew that already– it’s not a question commonly asked by enormous JP fans.)
Speaking of Grant and Ellie, remember all the adorable exchanges they had in the junior novel that were cut from the final film? It turns out there were even more that we didn’t get to see. They just get more and more adorable with every appearance, and the beginning of JP3 gets more and more tragic.
Well, Alan and Ellie are cute. Ellie is spared the scary-face treatment, but by himself, Alan looks like– well, this:
His description of the raptor attack in particular is illustrated in a level of detail that I would describe as entirely too loving.
Also, I realize that I’ve made a career out of calling Ian an absolute dork, but in this version of the movie, Alan absolutely takes that cake. Look what his reason is for not wanting children. Look at it:
Then we go through the motions of the trailer scene, which includes a glimpse at Alan and Ellie’s work space (it looks like they finally got rid of those “Aliens Stole My Face!” newspaper clippings and replaced them with actual equipment. Good for them):
As well as a close-up of Hammond’s “scheming face” that I wouldn’t have minded if I’d died without seeing:
It’s not just the way he’s drawn, but also in the way he’s written– Hammond seems a lot less like a hapless, friendly grandfather in this and a lot more like the version of himself from the original novels. He has a lot more biting things to say (particularly toward Malcolm) and far less wonder-filled promises about making dreams come true. It takes away from the whole “awe and wonder” tone of the original movie a bit, but I actually don’t mind. Book Hammond was an interesting character and a believable villain, and I commend the author for bringing him into more than one canon. If I ever get my hands on the rest of the comics in this series, I’d be very interested to see what else the comic line does with this version of the character.
Next we get a brief glimpse at the Nedry scene. The cafe that they’re in was supposed to be located in is in a part of Costa Rica that’s landlocked in real life; it was portrayed as being next to the ocean in the movie, but here it’s shown in a more realistic way. But background accuracy isn’t what the viewer’s eye is drawn to here. We’re more distracted by what I presume to be the last faces that quite a few people saw before they died.
And then we transition to the helicopter scene, where the artist pulls off a feat that I had previously thought to be impossible– for one brief frame, he manages to make ’90s Jeff Goldblum look unattractive.
But that’s quickly forgotten as we get a front-row seat to his and Hammond’s bickering. Well, more specifically, Hammond’s bickering and Malcolm’s face of absolutely no regrets whatsoever.
Then we get a few deleted Ian lines, which is kind of a small thing in the big picture but is like a little ray of sunlight in my day:
Topps interrupts this program to offer me the opportunity to enter a drawing and win a special “Amberchrome” edition of this comic book. If only, 1993. If only.
Then we get another beautiful landscape as the helicopter flies over the island…
…which is immediately interrupted by Hammond telling Ian to put his pessimism back in his pants.
If you ask me, that doesn’t really fit in with the kind of thing that movie Hammond would have said, but I think it should have been kept in the movie regardless, because come on, it’s hilarious. There are actually a bunch of Hammond lines in here that shouldn’t have been axed. They actually fit in with his movie character, too.
And then there are a few that were best left within these pages.
But then we get to the best part of the whole comic– the scenery shots of the park’s entrance. Enclosed with jungle plants instead of out in the open like they are in the movie, the gates look much more mysterious and it looks far more like our heroes really are entering a magical nature preserve from the past.
And then the famous brachiosaur scene is upon us. It’s presented a lot more like it was in the novel than as it was in the movie, but it doesn’t take away any of the wonder and joy– it just portrays those feelings with different visuals. I seem to remember this being in the novel too:
The brachiosaur scene in particular is drawn in a way that could have gone directly to the screen and looked just as good as the movie version did; its tease-and-reveal is fantastic. I took pictures of the entire scene because it’s just that great.
And that brings us to the end of Part One. Aside from the world of tie-dye dinosaurs, there’s a little section about how the movie was adapted from Crichton’s novel to the movie we all love.
I mostly mention it because it includes my very favorite picture of Steven Spielberg.
And aside from a couple of advertisements for Terminator and Spider-Man comics, that’s all, folks. If I were reviewing this as a collectible item, I’d definitely recommend owning it if you don’t already; at most it’s a lovely keepsake of one of the best parts of the first movie, and at least you’ll be able to own a photo of a pissed brachiosaur, possibly to keep in your wallet. And as an art piece, it’s just as wonderful. The scenery and dinosaur art in particular are great, and the comic as a whole conveys the spirit of JP in a way that I love.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to check in my closet and under my bed for Comic Hammond.