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The Lost World: Jurassic Park and Ian Malcolm’s Disappearing Mustache

Topps Comics’ adaptation of the Jurassic Park sequel was a faithful take on the story – save for its main character’s inexplicable mustache.

1997 saw the release of Steven Spielberg’s The Lost World: Jurassic Park, the first sequel to his dinosaur classic. This movie followed Jeff Goldblum’s Ian Malcolm as he ventured to the shores of Isla Sorna, the location of mastermind John Hammond’s mooted second park, in pursuit of partner Sarah Harding (Julianne Moore). Here, they fight for survival against wild dinosaurs and the machinations of the sinister InGen corporation.

Just as Jurassic Park spawned a number of comic book tie-ins, sequels and adaptations, so did its sequel. In 1997, Topps Comics published an official adaptation of the story, spanning four issues and eventually collected in graphic novel form. Written by Don McGregor, the first and second issues were illustrated by Jeff Butler and Armando Gil (letters by Ken Lopez and colors by Renee Witterstaetter). Issues 3-4 would then be illustrated by Claude St. Aubin and Steve Montano, finishing the story. Interestingly, the art of the series featured an odd inclusion to one of the main characters.

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This extended version of the movie’s story would dive deeper into the characters and their motivations – including additional sequences featuring Malcolm’s daughter, Kelly, and its villains, including InGen boss Peter Ludlow. Otherwise, however, this was a faithful, if extended, adaptation of the movie’s story. However, under Butler and Gil, the adaptation did introduce one curious, inexplicable discrepancy – giving Ian Malcolm a thick and luxurious mustache.

While the book’s depiction of Jeff Goldblum is otherwise accurate, the addition of this facial hair is a glaring and inexplicable flourish. In the first issue’s afterword, McGregor mentioned how this book was based on the movie’s script, and not its visuals (which were unavailable at the time of writing and illustration). This meaning that the team could not have known with certainty how the actors would appear in the film. Even so, giving its lead character such a mustache and one not dissimilar to that of Queen frontman Freddie Mercury seems like a stretch.

RELATED: How Jurassic Park Does Survival Horror Better Than Jurassic World

An artistic flourish, guess or miscalculation, based on old pictures of Jeff Goldblum wearing a mustache? Neither the movie’s screenplay nor Michael Crichton’s novel support this sudden growth of facial hair on the character’s upper lip. Whatever the case may be, Malcolm’s mustache is absent from Spielberg’s The Lost World as filmed – even if Goldblum is wearing a more pronounced stubble in this film than his earlier Jurassic Park appearance.

Whatever the origins or reasons for Malcolm’s mysterious mustache, it is gone by the time St. Aubin and Montano pick up the story for Issues 3-4. While a fully bearded Doctor Malcolm would later appear in 2018’s Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, this book remains the only depiction of a mustachioed Ian Malcolm, in any medium.

A film critic and professional writer of over ten years, Joel Harley has a deep and abiding love of all things horror, Batman and Nicolas Cage. He can be found writing online and in print, all over the Internet and in especially good bookstores. Read him at Starburst Magazine, Horror DNA, WhatCulture and Total Film.

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