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Rendering Raiders
Depicting Doom
Composing Crusade & Beyond
Art of the Adventure: An Indiana Jones Poster Retrospective
November 25, 2003

Rendering Raiders

In the spirit of our favorite international adventurer, IndianaJones.com is launching its collectibles site with a look back at some of the more interesting posters produced for the series both at home and abroad. You may notice that many of the artists represented here have also contributed to the Star Wars poster campaigns, demonstrating the broad range of talents these artists bring to their work. Because the Indy films, like the man himself, have been seen in countless countries on nearly every continent, the posters have needed to appeal to different aesthetic and cultural sensibilities. The handful gathered here showcase some of the best and most unique imagery ever to grace an Indiana Jones poster, capturing in a glance the spirit of adventure and mystery that so well define the Indiana Jones saga.

[ Art of the Adventure: An Indiana Jones Poster Retrospective ] Before we embark on our transcontinental journey, we'll take a moment stateside to admire Richard Amsel's stunning masterwork for the 1982 re-release of Raiders of the Lost Ark. Topping the success of his own 1981 original release poster, this re-release version unfurls the whip and casts Indy in an action pose that will become the iconic standard for the saga's many appearances on home video. Because this artwork appeared a year after Raiders had made its initial world tour, it is seldom seen on release posters outside the U.S.

[ Art of the Adventure: An Indiana Jones Poster Retrospective ] Setting our course for the far side of the Atlantic, we discover Brian Bysouth's depiction of Indy for the Raiders' British and European campaign renders him without his trademark leather jacket and fedora. Not the first poster to leave Indy out in the cold, this one does carry the distinction of leaving him hatless as well. Because of the overall graphic appeal of the piece, though, fans can forgive the slight oversight and appreciate the obscurity of the image paired with the uniquely stylized title.

[ Art of the Adventure: An Indiana Jones Poster Retrospective ] Heading southeast we find poster artist extraordinaire Drew Struzan's first Indy venture lavished on a large two-sheet from Italy. The expansive format of the Italian two-sheet lends itself well to Struzan's larger-than-life style, giving the formal composition more gravity and breadth. Finding its way onto posters in Belgium, Japan, and Thailand, this fan-favorite illustration wouldn't find an American home until printed as a 10th anniversary commemorative in 1991.

[ Art of the Adventure: An Indiana Jones Poster Retrospective ] Ending the Raiders leg of our journey in Poland, Jakob Erol's poster artwork immediately shifts the tone from what we've encountered so far. Having previously illustrated the Polish posters for Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back, Erol delivers a ghoulish masterpiece for Raiders, likening the bullwhip to something slithering. Hands down the most unique submission we'll see on our journey.