Tag: Indiana Jones

Characters I Love: Marion Ravenwood

marionIntroduced in Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981), Marion is the daughter of Dr. Abner Ravenwood, a professor of archaeology obsessed with finding the Lost Ark of the Covenant. Abner was the mentor to Indiana Jones, who accompanied the Ravenwoods on many archaeological digs. Marion entered into a sexual relationship with Jones when she was just 14 years old (Indiana was 24) and the relationship continued until Marion was 17. Indiana abruptly left her in 1926, a move that left Marion seething with anger. When they met again, in 1936, Marion confronted Jones by saying, “I was a child! I was in love! It was wrong and you knew it!” Jones showed little remorse, and simply replied “You knew what you were doing.”

During their time apart, Abner Ravenwood had vanished, leaving his daughter in possession of a headpiece for the Staff of Ra, an artifact that would later prove crucial in locating the Ark. When Indiana found her, she was living in Nepal and running a bar known as “The Raven.” Refusing to simply hand over the Staff of Ra to Jones, she accompanied him on a dangerous mission in which he was attempting to reach the Ark before the Nazis did the same. Terrorized by Nazi agent Arnold Toht and nearly seduced by Jones’ rival, Rene Belloq, Marion eventually helped rediscover the object that her father had so coveted.

Following this, Marion returned to the states. After a failed turn at journalism, she re-opened “The Ravens Nest” in New York City. Jones abandoned her the week before their planned wedding day, unaware that she was pregnant with their future son, Henry “Mutt” Jones III. Three months after Indy’s departure, Marion met RAF pilot Colin Williams and the two eventually married. Her life with Colin and Mutt was a happy one but it ended far too soon when Colin was killed in action during World War II.

Many years later, a friend of Marion’s named Harold Oxley was captured by the Russians, who were interested in the power of the crystal skulls. Marion sent Mutt to find Jones, knowing that only he could rescue their mutual acquaintance. Jones learned the truth about Mutt and Marion forgave him for his many transgressions. The two married at last and set out on new adventures together.

I love Marion’s spunk — the way she drinks her patrons under the table and delivers a powerful roundhouse punch. Plus, she’s cute as a button and her smile can light up a room. She’s intelligent, sexy, funny and capable. What’s not to love?

I never liked how she forgave Indiana for dumping her at the altar, though — I love Indy but considering that this was the second time he’d abandoned her, I think she should have kicked his ass to the curb for good. Despite that, Marion is one of the inspirations for virtually every pulp heroine/love interest I’ve created.

Definitely a wonderful character!

Marion-3

My Favorite Pulp & Pulp-Influenced Movies

200px-Indiana_Jones_in_Raiders_of_the_Lost_ArkThere’s a lot of great pulp-influenced movies out there — here’s a quick rundown of some of my favorites. Check ’em out if you haven’t already!

First up is, of course, Raiders of the Lost Ark. All the Indiana Jones films are great but you gotta start with the first (and best).

Next, we have The Shadow. I know a lot of people don’t care for the Alec Baldwin flick but I thought it was great fun, even if it took some liberties.

The first two Mummy movies are wonderful fun — in fact, The Rook’s wife Evelyn was inspired by the female lead in these films.

Lee Falk’s Phantom came to life in a fun-filed movie starring Billy Zane. Is it perfect? No. But it’s still wonderful — and my young son really enjoyed it.

And finally, The Rocketeer. Based on the Dave Stevens’ comic, this was a fun little film — and features the deliciously lovely Jennifer Connelly.

What are some of your faves?

Pulp? Yeah, Pulp.

When I was a kid, I was surrounded by the paperback reprints of the classic pulp heroes: Doc Savage, The Avenger, John Carter, Conan, etc. Those books excited me with their lurid covers and exciting characters, instilling a love for that kind of fiction that remains with me today.

These days, when people ask me what kind of things I write, I sometimes avoid describing it as “pulp” because most people have no clue what that means and I’m too tired of explaining it to bother. Sometimes, I say I write “horror, sci-fi and fantasy” but then folks expect to find elves or something in my books. A bunch of folks (of which I was one) spent a lot of time coming up with a ‘definition’ of pulp that runs like this: “Fast-paced, plot-oriented storytelling of a linear nature with clearly defined, larger than life protagonists and antagonists, creative descriptions, clever use of turns of phrase and other aspects of writing that add to the intensity and pacing of the story.”

Now that’s quite a mouthful so it’s not something I can just spout off at a moment’s notice. It’s a compromise, too, which means that nobody was really happy with it. And there are so many exceptions to the rule that the definition often sparks debate amongst pulp fans.

I understand the desire to want to brand ourselves as “pulp” — we love it and we want to be a part of it, to be seen as the inheritors of the mantle and the ones who continue to carry it forward.

But to the general public, pulp fiction is a movie that starred John Travolta and Samuel L. Jackson.

I don’t have the answer for how to change that. Honestly, I think it will take that brass ring we’re all chasing — the book or character that “breaks out” and becomes popular to the mainstream. But when that happens, will the New Pulp label be brought with it? I don’t know.

In the end, pulp is kind of like pornography… I may not be able to define it, but I know it when I see it. Brendan Fraser’s The Mummy? Pulp. The Time Traveler’s Wife? Not Pulp.

Our art today is by George Sellas and features Leonid Kaslov in a scene from “Kaslov’s Fire,” which can be found in The Rook Volume Two Special Edition.

My Favorite Pulp & Pulp-Influenced Movies

200px-Indiana_Jones_in_Raiders_of_the_Lost_ArkThere’s a lot of great pulp-influenced movies out there — here’s a quick rundown of some of my favorites. Check ’em out if you haven’t already!

First up is, of course, Raiders of the Lost Ark. All the Indiana Jones films are great but you gotta start with the first (and best).

Next, we have The Shadow. I know a lot of people don’t care for the Alec Baldwin flick but I thought it was great fun, even if it took some liberties.

The first two Mummy movies are wonderful fun — in fact, The Rook’s wife Evelyn was inspired by the female lead in these films.

Lee Falk’s Phantom came to life in a fun-filed movie starring Billy Zane. Is it perfect? No. But it’s still wonderful — and my young son really enjoyed it.

And finally, The Rocketeer. Based on the Dave Stevens’ comic, this was a fun little film — and features the deliciously lovely Jennifer Connelly.

What are some of your faves?

Saturday Matinee: Indiana Jones

200px-Indiana_Jones_in_Raiders_of_the_Lost_ArkEvery now and then I find a movie or clip that I think will appeal to the fans of this blog. Since most of you enjoy action/adventure, I tend to focus on something that falls into that category. This week we’re looking at one of the greatest heroes in cinematic history… the one and only Indiana Jones!

I’ve read all the Indy novels, own all the movies and I’m very passionate in my belief that we need even more Indy in the future! I don’t want any remakes or reboots — just cast somebody new and do a new story! The way they used to do James Bond before they rebooted that series.

C’mon, Disney, let’s do this!

The original film is Raiders of the Lost Ark, which in my opinion is one of the greatest films of all time.

The second film is Temple of Doom and it features a really fun opening song-and-dance number:

The third film, The Last Crusade, is many people’s favorites but I don’t think that it has held up as well as the first two movies. It’s still Indy, though! And this time you have his dad along for the ride!

The last film was Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and while it had many, many flaws, I still thought it was good fun. Loved seeing Marion back, too.

Saturday Matinee: Indiana Jones!

200px-Indiana_Jones_in_Raiders_of_the_Lost_ArkEvery now and then I find a movie or clip that I think will appeal to the fans of this blog. Since most of you enjoy action/adventure, I tend to focus on something that falls into that category. This week we’re looking at one of the greatest heroes in cinematic history… the one and only Indiana Jones!

I’ve read all the Indy novels, own all the movies and I’m very passionate in my belief that we need even more Indy in the future! I don’t want any remakes or reboots — just cast somebody new and do a new story! The way they used to do James Bond before they rebooted that series.

C’mon, Disney, let’s do this!

The original film is Raiders of the Lost Ark, which in my opinion is one of the greatest films of all time.

The second film is Temple of Doom and it features a really fun opening song-and-dance number:

The third film, The Last Crusade, is many people’s favorites but I don’t think that it has held up as well as the first two movies. It’s still Indy, though! And this time you have his dad along for the ride!

The last film was Kingdom of the Crystal Skull and while it had many, many flaws, I still thought it was good fun. Loved seeing Marion back, too.

Riffing On the Classics

dillon-piratesOccasionally, I’ll see fans of classic pulp dismiss New Pulp as being nothing more than a bunch of pastiches (or, less kindly, “rip-offs”) of the original heroes. “Oh, all they’re doing is changing the names — Doc this-or-that. How come they can’t do anything NEW?”

Well, pardon my French, but if that’s what you think of New Pulp, then you’re a freakin’ idiot.

Are there are pastiches out there? Of course! Many people grew up wanting to write Doc Savage, The Shadow, Tarzan, etc. Those heroes made them pulp fans to begin with — and, with the exception of Doc Savage and a few of the heroes who have fallen into public domain, most of the classic heroes are not getting new prose stories right now. So if you want to see new adventures of, say, The Shadow, in prose… then you’ve got to create your own version. Some people adhere to the original template more than others. I don’t begrudge anyone for doing a pastiche — I’ve done more than a few myself. If I have a kick-ass Doc Savage story and I know I’ll never get the chance to write that character for real, why not make a few changes and go from there? Hell, Brendan Fraser’s character in The Mummy is only a few degrees from being Indiana Jones — but both sets of movies are great in their own right.

Sometimes a pastiche can be mighty fine reading.

And if you don’t care for pastiches, don’t read them. There’s plenty of NEW, ORIGINAL concepts in New Pulp.

How about The Black Centipede? You can’t possibly tell me that there was anything like that character in the original days of pulp. It’s a heady brew of PJ Farmer and HP Lovecraft, along with a dash of pure inventiveness.

Derrick Ferguson’s Dillon may have its feet planted in classic pulp roots but it’s also so different and unique from those that it’s light years away from being a pastiche.

To me, it’s like saying “I don’t read comics anymore because when you get down to it, all superheroes are variations of Superman, Batman or Spider-Man.” Well, most of them sure — they’re archetypes for a reason, moron. Those characters are primal and speak to us on a basic human level — that’s why people go back to them. Also, it’s writer shorthand… if you see a Superman analogue, you automatically have a set of expectations that I either want to reinforce or turn on their head. But you need to READ it to find out which. I get the feeling that a lot of these guys don’t do that. They see “Doc Daye” and go “Oh, another Doc Savage clone. How boring.” They never bother to read the actual stories and see that, name aside, he doesn’t have much to do with Doc Savage.

Look, if you’re one of those who refuse to try New Pulp because “I haven’t finished collecting all these stories from 100 years ago!” then I can’t help you. You’ve chosen your fandom and you’re just plain going to miss out on new stories that you’d probably enjoy.

But if you’re going to call New Pulp as a whole derivative and a rip-off, then you look like a fool. Are there derivative and rip-off concepts out there? Sure. But I would say that number gets less and less every year.

Why people who should be embracing the things we all love and share try to put up barriers between each other is beyond me. Celebrate what you love! If you really dig urban avengers, try some of the new guys… if you think nobody could possibly ever top Walter Gibson, stick to the classics. But if you’re not going to read Lazarus Gray, don’t call it a rip-off of The Avenger. Because all you’re doing is showing your own ignorance.

Our accompanying artwork today is from Dillon and the Pirates of Xonira, one of those rip-off books that some folks are too snooty to have read.