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Episode Studies by Clayton Barr

enik1138
-at-popapostle-dot-com

Indiana Jones: Shrine of the Sea Devil Indiana Jones
"Shrine of the Sea Devil"
Comic book
Dark Horse Comics
Script and art by Gary Gianni
Letters by Bill Spicer
Colors by Alex Wald
Cover by Gary Gianni
1994

(Page numbers come from the Indiana Jones and the Shrine of the Sea Devil one-shot)

Indy has uncovered a map leading to an ancient site now lying underwater in the Pacific Ocean.

 

Read the summary of "Shrine of the Sea Devil" at the Indiana Jones Wiki

 

Notes from the Indiana Jones chronology

 

This story takes place in early January of 1935.

 

Didja Know?

 

This story was originally published in three parts in the anthology comic book series Dark Horse Comics, issues 3-6, in 1993. In 1994, Dark Horse reprinted the entire story as a one-shot comic book. This study uses page numbering from the one-shot. 

 

Notes from The Lost Journal of Indiana Jones

 

The Lost Journal of Indiana Jones is a 2008 publication that purports to be Indy's journal as seen throughout The Young Indiana Chronicles TV series and the big screen Indiana Jones movies. The publication is also annotated with notes from a functionary of the Federal Security Service (FSB) of the Russian Federation, the successor agency of the Soviet Union's KGB security agency. The KGB relieved Indy of his journal in 1957 during the events of Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. The notations imply the journal was released to other governments by the FSB in the early 21st Century. However, some bookend segments of The Young Indiana Chronicles depict Old Indy still in possession of the journal in 1992. The discrepancy has never been resolved. 

 

The journal as published does not mention the events of this story, containing some notes from May 1933 relating to the Crystal Skull of Cozán from The Philosopher's Stone, followed by the edges of four pages torn from the journal, with the next existing entries being from 1935 and Indy's adventures as depicted in The Temple of Doom.

 

Characters appearing or mentioned in this story

 

Polynesian natives

Indiana Jones

Manahiki

Captain Whitby

Dr. Lopez (mentioned only, deceased)

Caspar Zzyzx

ship's crew

Pete (dies in this story)

murdering crewman

Turps

Orch Crowloff (in flashback only) 

 

Didja Notice?

 

The story opens in the Marquesas Islands. This is an island group in French Polynesia.

 

On page 2, Indy remarks to Manahiki that if it wasn't for him, "...my head would be the size of a walnut right now!" It would seem that Indy is referring to a narrow escape from a tribe of headhunters who practice the process of shrinking severed human heads. However, I don't think there has ever been a human head shrunk to the size of a walnut! Most were down to about the size of a large orange.

 

Hearing that Indy has found a map to the fabled Shrine of the Sea Devil, Captain Whitby exclaims, "Well, I'll retire to Bedlam!" The idiom "I'll retire to Bedlam" was a popular British idiom. This refers to Bethlem Royal Hospital, a psychiatric hospital in London; it was nicknamed Bedlam almost from its founding as a priory in 1247 (it began housing the insane in the late 14th Century). The Shrine of the Sea Devil appears to be a fictitious legend invented for the story.

 

On page 3, Caspar Zzyzx mentions the statues of Easter Island and the legend that the statues walked to their locations. Easter Island (aka Rapa Nui) is a Chilean island in the Pacific Ocean, known for its monolithic statues called moai. Native legends actually say the moai walked to their locations from the quarry, guided by powerful priests. Modern researchers believe this may have been true, with the statues "walked" using ropes from two sides and tilting and swiveling them in a back-and-forth motion across the ground. Indy visited Easter Island in The Interior World.

 

The last name of Caspar Zzyzx is likely borrowed from the desert community of Zzyzx, California, a name made up by the founder of the Zzyzx Mineral Springs resort in 1944 as the purported last word in the English language.

 

It's a little hard to read, but on page 3, panel 6, the crewman has a tattoo on his right arm that reads "Mother".

 

After losing Pete overboard, Captain Whitby worries there will be a court of inquiry when they reach San Francisco.

 

On pages 5-6, First Mate Turps tells of a museum heist he once pulled (but was foiled by Indiana Jones) in Kafiristan. Kafiristan is an historical region of Afghanistan in what is today Nuristan Province.

 

Page 7 reveals the name of Captain Whitby's ship is the Julie Anne.

 

On page 8, Captain Whitby, watching Indy descend into the ocean depths in a diving suit, asserts, "I wouldn't go down there for King Solomon's gold!" King Solomon (or Jedidiah) is a Biblical monarch of ancient Israel, the son of King David, and was famed for his wealth and wisdom. 

 

The giant statues Indy stumbles upon under the sea in the shrine appear nearly identical to the moai of Easter Island.

 

On page 10, Indy thinks to himself, "Get National Geographic on the line--the Jones boy has stumbled onto something really big." National Geographic is a magazine published since 1888 by the National Geographic Society, a nonprofit scientific and educational organization.

 

The "sea devil" of the shrine turns out to be a very giant octopus, maybe more properly called a kraken, a tentacled mythical monster of the sea. Indy also faced a giant octopus in Journey to the Underworld and The Interior World, and will face a kraken again not too long after this in The Emperor's Tomb.

 

On page 19, Indy heads for the stern of the Julie Anne as the bow sinks into the water, hoping to avoid sharing space in Davy Jones' locker. This is a reference to the nautical euphemism "Davy Jones' locker" which stands for the drowning death of sailors in the sea.

 

Trying to figure how to get off the rapidly sinking ship and onto the buzzing airplane, Indy wonders what Doug Fairbanks would do in a jam like that. Douglas Fairbanks (1883-1939) was one of the most popular actors of the era. Indy attended a party held by Fairbanks and his wife, Mary Pickford, in 1920 in Hollywood Follies.

 

On page 21, Indy, wishing he had his whip to lash onto the landing struts of the buzzing plane, says to himself, "Rule number one--never leave whip at home." He said something similar about always travelling with his whip in Secret of the Sphinx.

 

On page 23, Indy wonders who it was who said, "We triumph without glory when we conquer without danger!" This was the French playwright Pierre Corneille (1606-1684), known for his tragic dramas.

 

The pilot who "picks up" Indy turns out to be Amelia Earhart, and the two are apparently already familiar with each other. Amelia Earhart (1897-1937) was an American aviatrix who disappeared in 1937 during an attempt to circumnavigate the globe in a small airplane. Here, she is attempting to set a record for the first solo flight out of Hawaii to the United States. This was an actual flight she made, leaving Honolulu, Hawaii on January 11, 1935 and arriving in Oakland, California on January 13 in a time of 18 hours and 15 minutes, just as shown on the newspaper headline at the end of the story. As far as I can tell, the Evening Sun newspaper seen here is fictitious.

 

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