ID4 Like Never Before With Marvel’s 1996 ‘Independence Day’ Comic
Nowadays movie spoilers are impressively oppressive on social media and other channels of communication, but as a kid in the 1990s I only knew of three quick ways to intentionally spoil movies for myself. Drugstores had surprisingly plot-filled movie tie-in coloring books, bookstores sometimes had early movie novelizations, and comic shops straddled the fence with one-shots or miniseries directly adapting a given blockbuster. By the summer of 1996, I was a movie self-spoiling sixth grade junkie, but for whatever reason my incredible desire to see the alien invasion action of Independence Day on opening night gave me pause when I found Marvel’s ID4 adaptation in a grocery store a few weeks ahead of time. Before I saw the movie with my own eyes, I simply couldn’t bring myself to read Will Smith welcoming me to Earth in a word balloon.
Initially serialized as a three-issue miniseries (#0-2, in pure ’90s fashion!), Marvel’s ID4 adaptation was quickly collected in trade paperback form… which I did manage to seek out after seeing the movie in theaters. Not a lot about it stood out as I quickly flipped through it in a local Price Chopper, although I do remember the adaptation sort of fleshing out Randy Quaid’s goofy Russell Casse character’s alien abduction in a flashback panel. There were no probes involved, despite the fact that Marvel seemed to circumvent the still-operating Comics Code Authority. I can’t find their emblem on any of the covers, man.
Checking out the creative team, however, I’m kind of curious to see how it reads in 2013. According to Grand Comics Database Phil Crain and Ralph Macchio adapted the screenplay. Steve Erwin, Leonard Kirk, Steve Moncuse, Terry Pallot, Scott Reed, Rod Whigham and Gabriel Hardman (credited as Gabriel Gecko) pencilled various portions of the mini. Moncuse, Pallot, Philip Moy and Larry Welch inked. Colors were done by W. Moose Baumann and letters were done by Edd Fear. Hardman’s the only name that really stands out to me these days, and I can honestly say that if somebody wanted to re-adapt ID4, I would buy it in a second if he lent his lines to it. His Planet of the Apes stuff at Boom! is a lot of fun.
With “Independence Day 2″ looking less and less like something I could genuinely get excited about (no Will Smith? Who is supposed to punch bio-armored aliens in the face now?), I’m not in a huge rush to pore over the pages of Marvel’s now 17-year-old ID4 comic. Still, this 4th of July I confess I’m tempted to celebrate the turning point in my attitude toward personally spoiling movies for myself by spending like $2 on eBay for what’s surely Marvel’s most ’90s movie adaptation. Maybe I missed something and Will Smith’s dog gets more dope scenes where he narrowly escapes flying saucer carnage?