Any reason at all to talk about Land of the Lost.

§ April 11th, 2018 § Filed under publishing § 7 Comments

So on the Twitters the other day I lamented the fact that there never has been a comic book based on the classic ’70s Saturday morning show Land of the Lost. I did mention that a Land of the Lost comic was at one point solicited in the Diamond Previews catalog in April 2009, featuring this solicitation text:

“Rick Marshall, his son Will, and younger daughter Holly are trapped in an alien world inhabited by dinosaurs, monkey-people called Pakuni, and aggressive, humanoid/lizard creatures called Sleestak. The family’s struggle to survive and find a way back to their own world continues in this comic book series. Land of the Lost is also a $100 million budget film starring Will Ferrell and Zooey Deschanel coming from Universal Studios on June 5th!”

I had mentioned in my Twitter thread that, based on the solicit, I wasn’t sure if the comic would be based on the TV show or the Ferrell vehicle, until it was correctly pointed out that the familial relationship in the TV show and described in the solicit is not present in the film, so it appears the comic would have been based on the original version. I mean, one could hardly blame me for forgetting the details of that mostly execrable movie. Anyway, this was the image accompanying said solicitation: it seemed like it was a safe bet this would have been the TV show version of the concept.

Now, it never did come out…Diamond has it marked as “CANCELLED” in big red letters, and why exactly it was canned I’m not entirely sure. I’ve always assumed it was because the Big Budget Movie whose coattails the comic’s publishers had hoped to ride, based on that solicitation text, turned out to be a bust. Or maybe it was more complex behind-the-scenes licensing shenanigans, or creative issues, or…I haven’t a clue.

But it’s a shame…I’d still love to see a Land of the Lost comic of some kind. The Ferrell movie seems mostly forgotten by now, so a new comic book series wouldn’t have that particular shadow cast over it, I’d think. And there was enough weird world-building elements and hints in at least the first couple of seasons of the TV show that I would love to see some of the original writers for the program participate in this proposed comic book series and maybe put some of those pieces together. Um, y’know, while they’re…uh, still around.

Now to the other thing I wanted to discuss, which was inspired by Twitter pal J.R. Jenks very wisely pointing out “But how would the banjo music translate to the page? That series had great banjo.” Yes indeed it did (and you can look here for all the Land of the Lost banjo discussion you could ever use), and my immediate and somewhat facetious response was “sound chip, like greeting cards.”

And you know what? Why wadn’t there ever a comic book with a sound ship? You open the cover of, say, Justice League International, and there’s Blue Beetle doing the “BWA-HA-HA!” laugh. Or open a Shazam! comic to a crack of thunder. Or…well, there’s plenty of possibilities. Now, as a retailer, I would eventually be driven to murder after listening to these repeatedly play several hours each day, but “practicality” and “the sanity of comic shop owners” rarely enter the discussion when planning gimmicks like these. However, to the best of my knowledge, even during the 1990s cover gimmick heyday, the comic book sound ship threshold was never breached. If someone knows differently, I’d like to hear about it. There are probably production and cost reasons it didn’t happen, I’m sure, but I’m still a little surprised. Plus, those batteries don’t last forever…I’ve got a Star Wars sound-chipped birthday card which plays a very sadly worn-down and depressing rendition of the theme at this point.

I know relatively recently we’ve had the “talking comics” from the current iteration of Valiant, where you’d hold your smartphone in front of a character’s face on the cover, and software internet magic would happen the character would “talk,” but that’s not exactly what I’m talking about.

So basically what I’m asking for here is a new, ongoing Land of the Lost comic which has an embedded sound chip that gives you either banjo music, Grumpy’s roar, or a Sleestak hiss whenever you open the cover. So long as it’s not this terrible, terrible sound from the show that’s always creeped me out.

7 Responses to “Any reason at all to talk about Land of the Lost.”

  • Aaron Thomas says:

    Maybe the publisher hired creators that were only familiar with the version from early 1990s?

  • Thelonious_Nick says:

    What, there’s a media property that hasn’t been mined for a comic series? I find this hard to believe.

    And, for no particular reason, I’d just like to mention I’ve really been enjoying the new Labyrinth series.

  • Allan Hoffman says:

    “However, to the best of my knowledge, even during the 1900s cover gimmick heyday”

    Widespread appearance of President Theodore Roosevelt on comic covers after his elections.

  • Mikester says:

    “Welcome to Mike Sterling’s Progressive Typos, everybody!”


  • Turan, Emissary of the Fly World says:

    A bit of trivia for you is that each of the three TV networks (as there were then) debuted Saturday morning series with prehistoric themes in the fall of 1974. NBC had LAND OF THE LOST, CBS had the somewhat similar (but animated) VALLEY OF THE DINOSAURS, and ABC had the more realistic, live action KORG 70,000 B.C. LAND OF THE LOST must have been the most popular of the lot, as it is the only one that ran for more than one year.

    Charlton published comic book adaptations of both KORG and VALLEY–they were both Hanna-Barbera productions, and Charlton had a deal with H-B at the time. As you note, no one did a LAND OF THE LOST comic, and I do not know why. It was a Kroft production, and other Kroft shows were adapted into comics: Charlton did a BUGALOOS series, and Gold Key published H.R. PUFNSTUF and LIDSVILLE.

    Incidentally, I have always loved how the LAND OF THE LOST theme song is nothing but a slab of exposition converted into lyrics with no consideration for rhythm or rhyme: “Marshall, Will, and Holly/On a routine expedition/Met the greatest earthquake ever kno-o-o-wn/High on the rapids/It struck their tiny raft/And plunged them down a thousand feet belo-o-o-ow.”

  • Turan, Emissary of the Fly World says:

    Now that I have thought about it (slow day, obviously), I can see why there was no LAND OF THE LOST comic when the original series was on the air. In 1974/5, a TV adaptation would have come from either Gold Key or Charlton. Dell was out of the comics business by then; Marvel and DC would, within a couple of years, get into the movie/TV show adaptation game, but they were not into it then; the other publishers at that time–Archie, Harvey, Warren, Eerie–were fairly specialized, and did not bother with this sort of thing (though several years later Harvey did invest heavily into comics based on licensed properties, and even reprinted the Charlton version of VALLEY OF THE DINOSAURS–apparently, as an attempt to tap into the popularity of JURASSIC PARK!). Charlton, as noted above, had the rights to LAND OF THE LOST’s competition, and so probably did not feel the need to get it as well. As for Gold Key, around this time it began to slow down on the acquisition of licensed properties. It continued to publish the properties it had (e.g., Disney, Bugs Bunny, Pink Panther, STAR TREK, TWILIGHT ZONE), and it did once in awhile add a new one (e.g., ADAM-12, HAPPY DAYS, BATTLE OF THE PLANETS), but the days were over when seemingly every new TV series got a comic book version. I can only suppose that the Gold Key editors looked at LAND OF THE LOST and thought “Eh, not worth the bother.”

  • King of the Moon says:

    When I was a 4 years old American living in Tehran, Land of the Lost is my first memory of an English speaking TV show.

    I had no idea what was going on but I was fascinated.