Friday, May 29, 2020

Tomb Raider Timeline Updated!

The intention of this timeline is to work much of the Tomb Raider Franchise into one cohesive timeline. I am limiting this to event in Lara Croft’s life so no expansions on the history of the artefacts she finds. I am working on the assumption that the new “Survivor” game continuity is a prequel to the earlier games and that the “Legend” games are also part of this continuity. Any speculation on my part to explain any discrepancies will be clearly indicated.

There have been three games called Tomb Raider the 1996 original, the 2000 Gameboy game and the 2013 reboot. I will be referring to the games as Tomb Raider followed by their year. The 2018 movie will be referred to as Tomb Raider 2018. 

Other adventures will be referred to by their subtitles as we know they are Tomb Raider products. I will also be referring to the source for each entry and the media type (So the novel Tomb Raider: The Lost Cult will be referred to as The Lost Cult (novel))

I won’t be including fan productions as much as I have enjoyed many of them. I also won’t incorporating references to Lara Croft (in Rob Hayes Adventures Rob tells a female friend she is not Lara Croft) or characters dressing as Lara Croft (Ally McBeal, Looney Tunes, Dexter, How I met Your Mother.) The holographic projection of Lara in an episode of Totally Spies is also excluded.

I’m excluding advertisements that treat Tomb Raider as just a game for example one of the later Lucozade commercials has Lara drinking a Lucozade while the game is paused.

What’s new? 

Since I did the original back in 2017, Dark Horse released the two four issue miniseries Survivor’s Quest and Inferno, there was a new game Shadow of the Tomb Raider, and a tie-in novel Shadow of the Tomb Raider: Path of the Apocalypse. There was a new movie starring Alicia Vikander as Lara Croft.

This time I've decided just to list the games and not the expansion levels - the timeline is very long and Shadow of the Tomb Raider had seven DLC levels and they are effectively part of the games.

I did a deep dive into the Top Cow Tomb Raider comics including the appearances in other Top Cow titles. I was never happy with the original placement of the comics and I did a bit more moving things around. The biggest move was for Tomb Raider Journeys, the 12 issue series instead of taking place near the time of publication in 2001 was moved to 1994, a year that had very few adventures – which actually worked much better as issue 5 had Lara’s ten year high school reunion which would have been in 1994.

I didn’t realise that there were 3 different Tomb Raider/Witchblade titles only having one in the original timeline, I also had Dark Crossings and Monster War as one shots when there were two and four issues respectively in those miniseries.

To my eternal shame, I realised that I had forgotten U2’s Elevation video clip from the movie soundtrack in the original timeline, that has been fixed. As far as I can tell none of the songs from that soundtrack had a Lara Croft video clip.


14 Feb 1968 
Lara Croft born to Lord Richard Croft and Amelia Croft (Core Design Bio) (Legend - Game)

1971 - 1979
Private Tutoring Ages 3-11 (Core Design Bio)

Lady Amelia Croft and Lara are in a plane crash. Amelia disappears and Lara walks out (Legend –game)

1979 - 1984
Wimbledon High School for Girls ages 11-16 (Core Bio)

“Pre-Teen Raider” (Re/Visioned animation) (Gail Simone advises that Lara is about 12) Lara is a student at Croft Academy.

Speculationon: It may be that Lara was expelled after this exploit and moved to Wimbledon High School for Girls.

Lara graduates Chesterfield Private Academy (Journeys 5)
Speculation: The book says class of 1992, this must be an error as Lara was 24 at that time. Chesterfield is a co-ed school so it cannot be Wimbledon School for Girls. It seems likely that Lara went to multiple schools and the Core Bio simplified her academic history.

Training with Von Croy in Ankor Wat (The Last Revelation –Game)

“Black Isle” (Chronicles Game)

Lord Richard Croft dies (differing accounts are given in Rise of the Tomb Raider– Game, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider – Movie and Legend –Game)

(The 2018 Tomb Raider movie has Lord Richard presumed dead and does not die until the events of that movie)

Speculation Lara is adopted by her uncle Lord Henshingly Croft and his wife. Neither are fans of Lara adventuring and try to mould her into a proper lady. The adoption explains why in 1996 her father is listed as Henshingly Croft in the first game.

Gordonstoun Boarding School ages 16-18

Swiss Finishing School ages 18-21

Plane crash 21 year old Lara is only survivor (Core Bio)

Excavation Massacre (Legend – Game)

The Beginning (Dark Horse Comic)

Tomb Raider 2013 (game)

Speculation: The Tomb Raider 2018 (movie) – could be viewed as a simplified version of this game but I’ve gone with a different interpretation and placed it after Shadow of the Tomb Raider. YMMV. (Basically the movie is too different from the game to be an adaptation of the game but has enough elements from the game to make it hard for it to be its own story and to make it work either way requires a fair amount of damage to the movie))

The Ten Thousand Immortals (novel)

Season of the Witch (Dark Horse Comic 1-6)

Secrets and Lies (Dark Horse Comic 7-12) 

Queen of Snakes (Dark Horse Comic 13-18)


Rise of the Tomb Raider (Game)

Spore (Dark Horse Comic 1-6)
Speculation: Spore features a 1996 flashback this must be a 1976 flashback.

Trial and Sacrifice (Dark Horse Comic 7-12)

Survivor’s Quest (Dark Horse Comic Miniseries 1-4)

Inferno (Dark Horse Comic Miniseries 1-4)


Shadow of the Tomb Raider: Path of Apocalyse (Novel)
This is a novelisation of the early part of the Shadow of the Tomb Raider Game.

Shadow of the Tomb Raider (Game)

Tomb Raider (2018) (Movie)
Speculation: After the apocalyptic events of Shadow of the Tomb Raider, Lara temporarily retires from tomb raiding and becomes a cycle courier before being drawn into a mystery about her father’s death which ends with her buying her trademark weapons. The movie uses some elements of the 2013 game but is a different adventure. (Basically the movie is too different from the game to be an adaptation of the game but has enough elements from the game to make it hard for it to be its own story and to make it work either way requires a fair amount of damage to the movie)

Tomb Raider Journeys 1-7 (comic)

Finds Bigfoot (Tomb Raider 1996 – Game)

Tomb Raider Journeys 8-12 

Finds Ark of the Covenant (Tomb Raider 1996 - Game)

Mean Machines (comic)

Philosopher’s Stone (Chronicles – Game)


Tomb Raider 1996 & Anniversary (Games)

Vendetta (Tomb Raider/Witchblade 1 - comic)

Witchblade/Tomb Raider ½ (Comic) This comic is a sequel to Vendetta.

Tomb Raider II (Game)

Tomb Raider/Witchblade (Top Cow Comic)

Lucozade (commercials) (the last commercial is not counted)

PlayStation Commercial

ZDnet Commercial

“Tibet Air” (Short Story)

Witchblade/Tomb Raider 1 (Comic)

PlayStation Commercial

Tomb Raider III (Game)

Seat Cars (Commercials)

Spear of Destiny (Chronicles –Game)

Die Artze “Manner Sind Schweine” (Music video)

Tomb Raider 2000 (Game)


Dark Aeons (Comic)

The Medusa Mask 1-4 (Comic)

Brigitte Magazine (Commercial)

“Hemos terminado con él” The Companeros (Spanish TV Episode)

The Time’s Exclusive Bonus Level (Game)

The Last Revelation (Game)

Tomb Raider Chronicles (Framing Sequence – Game)

The Amulet of Power (Novel)

Dark Crossings: Dark Clouds Rising (Comic)

Dark Crossings: Dark Clouds Overhead (Comic)

The Merlin Stone 5-6 (Comic)

The Resurrection of Taras (Fathom 12-14, Fathom Crossover Tour Book – Comic)
(The Crossover Tour book seems to be set during the events of issue 13 – and is five page story where Aspen recaps the first issue. The artwork does not appear in the three issues. There is also a three page bit where we see a drawing of each of ladies in the story Aspen Matthews, Lara Croft and Sara Pezzinni and a paragraph from the other two characters about that character.)

Dead Centre 7-10 (comic)

The Tomb Raider Technical Manual (Book)

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider (Movie + Novelisation)

U2 “Elevation” (Music Video)

Tomb Raider/The Darkness 1 (Comic)

Chasing Shangri-La 11-12 (comic)

Grim Reaper 13-15 (Comic)

Tomb Raider 0 (Comic)

Pieces of Zero 16-17, 19-20 (Comic)

Year of the Cat 18 (Comic)

Curse of the Sword (Game)

The Trap: Path of the Tiger 21-23 (Comic)

Scarface’s Treasure (Comic)

Medusa’s Garden 24 (Comic)

The Prophecy (Game)

The Osiris Codex (Game)

The Quest for Cinnabar (Game)

The Elixir of Life (Game)

Endgame (Tomb Raider 25, Witchblade 60, EVO 1 – Comic)

Abyss 26-28 (comic)

Strange Flesh 29- 30 (Comic)

Tomb Raider: Apocalypse (Game)

Conquista 31 (comic)

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider The Cradle of Life (Movie + Novelisation)

Tomb Raider Angel of Darkness (Game)
(The Action Adventure/The Board Game/Flash Game versions and comic adaptation issues 32-34)

Epiphany (Top Cow comic One Shot)

Black Legion 35-37 (Comic)

G4 – (Commercial)

Visa - Monster Chase (Commercial)

The Lost Cult (novel)

The Man of Bronze (novel)

Sphere of Influence (comic)

Takeover (comic)

Bloodstone 38-39 (Comic)

Risen 40 (Comic)

Spirit Walker 41-42 (Comic)

Arabian Nights (Comic)

Tower of Souls 43-44 (Comic)

Signs and Portents - Witchblade 78 (Comic)

Inner Demons 45 (Comic)

Gathering Storm 46-48 (Comic)

Vendetta 49 (Comic)

Alpha/Omega 50 (Comic)
In this comic Lara finds the Fountain of Youth and is seen adventuring into the far future.

Monster War (comic 1-4)

The Greatest Treasure of All (comic)

Legend (game)

The Reckoning (game)

Puzzle Paradox (Game)


The Keys to the Kingdom (3 Parts) (Re/visioned Animation)

Revenge of the Aztec Mummy (Re/Visioned Animation)

Angel Spit (2 Parts)( Re/Visioned Animation)

Lara Croft Legacy (Re/Visioned Animation)

Raising Thermopolis (Re/Visioned Animation)

A Complicated Woman (Re/Visioned Animation)

Tomb Raider Underworld (Game - also has a board game)

Lara Croft and Guardian of Light (game)

Lara Croft Reflections Card Game (Game)

Lara Croft and Temple of Osiris (Game)

Lara Croft Relic Run (game)

Lara Croft Go (Game)

Lara Croft and the Frozen Omen (comic)

Lara Croft and the Blade of Gwynnever (novel)



The Core Series –Original Timeline
Tomb Raider 1996

Tomb Raider II 1997

Tomb Raider III 1998

Tomb Raider: The Times Exclusive 1999

Tomb Raider the Last Revelation 1999

The Tomb Raider Chronicles 2000

Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness 2003
(The Action Adventure/The Board Game/Flash Game versions and comic adaptation) 

Crystal Dynamics – Legend Reboot
Tomb Raider Legend 2006

Tomb Raider Anniversary 2007

Tomb Raider Underworld 2008

Lara Croft and the Guardian of Light 2010 

Lara Croft and the Temple of Osiris 2015

Survivor Reboot
Tomb Raider 2013

Rise of the Tomb Raider 2015

Shadow of the Tomb Raider 2018

Gameboy Games
Tomb Raider 2000

Tomb Raider: Curse of the Sword 2001

Tomb Raider: The Prophecy 2002

Interactive TV Games
Tomb Raider: Apocalypse 2002

Tomb Raider: The Reckoning 2006

Mobile Phone Games 
Tomb Raider: The Osiris Codex 2003

Tomb Raider: The Quest for Cinnabar 2003

Tomb Raider: The Elixir of Life 2003

Tomb Raider: Puzzle Paradox 2006

Lara Croft Reflections 2014

Lara Croft Relic Run 2015

Lara Croft Go 2015

Board Games
Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness 2003 

Tomb Raider: Underworld 2009

DVD Game 
Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Action Adventure 2006
(adaptation of Angel of Darkness)

Flash Game Tomb Raider: The Angel of Darkness 2004

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider Tech manual by Michael Jan Friedman 2001

Lara Croft: Tomb Raider Movie Novelisation by Dave Stern 2001

Lara Croft Tomb Raider: Cradle of Life Novelisation by Dave Stern 2003

Tomb Raider The Amulet of Power by Mike Resnick 2003

Tomb Raider The Lost Cult by E.E. Knight 2004

Tomb Raider The Man of Bronze by James Alan Gardner 2005

The Ten Thousand Immortals by Dan Abnett & Nik Vincent 2014

The Blade of Gwynnver by Dan Abnett & Nik Vincent 2016

Shadow of the Tomb Raider: Path of the Apocalypse by S.D Perry 2018
(Fun fact S.D. Perry is the daughter of Steve Perry who wrote Indiana Jones and The Army of the Dead)

Short Stories
“Tibet Air” in Lara’s Book: Lara Croft and the Tomb Raider Phenomenon by Douglas Coupland 1998 (reprinted in Tomb Raider Archives Vol 3.

Lara Croft Tomb Raider 2001

Lara Croft Tomb Raider Cradle of Life 2003

Tomb Raider 2018

The Companeros “Hemos terminado con él” 1999 (tie in for Last Revelation) 

PlayStation 1997 & 1998

Lucozade 1998 & 2001

Seat Cars 1999

Brigitte Magazine 1999

ZDnet 2000

Visa Monster Chase 2003

G4 2003

Video Clips
Die Artze “Manner Sind Schweine” 1998

U2 “Elevation” 2001

Re/Visioned 2007
The Keys to the Kingdom (3 Parts)
Revenge of the Aztec Mummy (1 part)
Angel Spit (2 Parts)
Lara Croft Legacy (1 part)
Pre Teen Raider (1 part)
Raising Thermopolis (1 part)
A Complicated Woman (1 part)

Mean Machine Sega #46 (reprinted in Tomb Raider Archives Vol 1)
Untitled story that I called “Mean Machine” predate the release of the first game 

Dark Aeons 1999

Top Cow Comics

Top Cow Crossovers
Tomb Raider/ Witchblade 1997

Witchblade Tomb Raider ½ 2000

Witchblade/Tomb Raider 1 1998
 (Tales of the Witchblade 9 is a follow up to this story -while Lara appears on the cover she does not appear in the story)

Dark Crossings: Dark Clouds Rising 2000 

Dark Crossings: Dark Clouds Overhead 2000

Fathom the Resurrection of Taras 12-14 2000-2002,  Fathom The Crossover Tourbook 2000

Tomb Raider The Darkness 2001

Top Cow Book of Revelations 2003

Monster War 2005
     1 Magdalena vs Dracula
     2 Tomb Raider vs The Wolf-Men
     3 Witchblade vs Frankenstein
     4 The Darkness vs Mr Hyde

Tomb Raider 25 (Endgame part 1)

Witchblade 60 (Endgame part 2)

EVO 1 (Endgame part 3)

Witchblade 78 (Lara cameo)

Witchblade 84 (Witchblade lists Lara as a friend and an image of Lara appears)

1999-2005 Tomb Raider Series
       The Medusa Mask 1-4
       Merlin Stone 5-6
       Dead Centre 7-10
       Chasing Shangri-La 11-12
       Grim Reaper 13-15
       Pieces of Zero 16-17, 19-20
       Year of the Cat 18
       The Trap: The Path of The Tiger 21-23
       Medusa’s Garden 24
       Endgame 25 (Crossover with Witchblade #60/EVO #1)
       Abyss 26-28
       Strange Flesh 29-30
       Conquista 31
       The Angel of Darkness 32-34 (Comic Adaptation of Game) 
       The Black Legion 35-37
       Bloodstone 38-39
       Risen 40
       Spirit Walker 41-42
      Tower of Souls 43-44
      Inner Demons 45
      Gathering Storm 46-48
      Vendetta 49
      Alpha/Omega 50

Tomb Raider Journeys 1-12 2001-2003

Top Cow One Shots
Tomb Raider Origins 2000

Scarface’s Treasure 2003

Epiphany 2003 (AOD tie-in)

Takeover 2004

Sphere of Influence 2004

Arabian Knights 2004

The Greatest Treasure of All 2005

Dark Horse Comics
The Beginning 2013 (Digital only)

Tomb Raider 
     Season of the Witch 1-6
     Secrets and Lies 7-12
     Queen of Serpents 13-18

Lara Croft and the Frozen Omen 1-5

Tomb Raider II
      Spore 1-6
      Trials and Sacrifice 7-12

Tomb Raider: Survivor’s Quest 1-4

Tomb Raider: Inferno 1-4

Saturday, May 23, 2020

This is the End: Tomb Raider & Uncharted.

It's funny what I know about video games is really small.  The family Playstation serves mostly as a glorified blu ray player for me.  (with a lot of "what do these blasted buttons do?" if I try to pause.)

Yet there are two video game franchises that I absolutely love - not surprisingly Tomb Raider and Uncharted.  I cannot play the games to save my life but I love their expanded universes - not surprisingly they both are "descendants" of Indiana Jones.

This was initially just going to celebrate the catching up with Tomb Raider but I hadn't really talked about Uncharted that much and there wasn't enough Uncharted material to justify it's own post (but I have notes for an Uncharted timeline similar to what I did for Tomb Raider. I'll have to get back to that.)

I've been collecting now for a long time - nearly forty years.  Series and franchses went in and out of favour.  It's easier to  collect things as they come out - I jumped on the extended Uncharted material as it came out.  One novel and a six issue miniseries and I'll get the associated material for the Tom Holland/ Mark Walhberg movie assuming they make it before Tom Holland looks old enough to play Sully. (although I hear it or Spiderman 3 are his next films once the virus allows filming to start again)

Tomb Raider pretty much captivated me from 1997 when I first heard about her.  I admit we got a PC version of the first game and I could not play it to save myself but the character was interesting.  

I saw the first movie in the cinema when we lived in Emerald, a city in the Outback.  I got the novelisation, and the technical manual which came out then, the book store could order things for me.  

I also got the Tomb Raider Magazine in the newsagents that reprinted the Top Cow Comics from issue 5 and none of the crossovers with other Top Cow characters.  By the final couple of issues Lara was sharing her magazine with Aphrodite IX.  There were no comic shops in Emerald and buying things on the internet wasn't really a thing then.

I remember trying to get the Tomb Raider action figure from the Emerald Toyworld and they just flatout refused to order it or even aknowledge it was a thing.  My wife rang the Toyworld in Rockhampton (three hours east of Emerald and the closest town) and bought it for me over the phone with the credit card and they posted it out to us.

By the time the sequel to the movie came out we had moved back to Ipswich and could get to the comic shops in Brisbane.  I saw Lara Croft: Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life in the cinema in Ipswich and bought the novelisation.

Then they brought out the first three novels The Amulet of Power, The Lost Cult and The Man of Bronze.  SOOOOO good with references and easter eggs galore.

The Top Cow Tomb Raider comics were a little more elusive and trying to buy the back issues was difficult.  I eventually got the bulk of them when Dark Horse did the Archives in 4 volumes that reprinted the issues 1-24, 26-50, the 12 issue Journeys and the various one shots.  issue 25 was a crossover with EVO and Witchblade and wasn't included.  

I also bought the new comics that Dark Horse printed to tie in with the 2013 reboot game and the 20th anniversary of the original game in 2016.  

But I wanted those Top Cow comics - I found a list and started working my way through it.  Ebay and comic shops selling on line have been a godsend.

I thought I had most of them only discover that there were two one shots that had not been reprinted in the archives.  Top Cow had done two books for Dynamic Forces - Scarface's Treasure and Sphere of Influence.  Both were bought fairly soon thereafter.  I discovered the French comic Dark Aeons and grabbed it too (sadly there is no English edition but I found a translation on line)

Then last week , it arrived the final two books I needed to finish off the Tomb Raider comics - the two issue event Dark Crossings.

I enjoyed both these series - Uncharted is fun and Tomb Raider is just solid action adventure. It was a fun hunt to chase these books down, discovering new appearances and false leads.  I may have to revisist my Tomb Raider timeline to include the books I wasn't aware of at the time I wrote it.

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

Simon Spector (2004) written Warren Ellis, art by Jack Burrows

Last year I wrote a review of Mark Millar's Prodigy, which I really enjoyed.

I was looking at the comments for that post and Alan Blank posted his review of the series on Goodreads which can be found here

In that review he mentions Simon Spector, a character I'd never heard of - a modern pulp character I'd never heard of.  Naturally, this was something that had to be rectified.

Simon Spector was part of Ellis' Apparat line for Avatar Comics.  The quick version is Ellis had a thought experiment - what if the pulp influence on comics was a little stronger and superheroes hadn't been as dominant.  What might comics of various pulp genres look like?  Science Fiction adventure, detective stories, aviator adventures and pulp vigilantes were the four genres picked and Angel Stomp Future, Frank Ironwine, Quit City and Simon Spector were the results.

Four one shots -  it sounded intriguing.  If I could find Simon Spector I wasn't off on a long term quest it was one and done. If I liked it then there were three more of similar style to track down.

And I found a reasonably priced copy and promptly bought it.

In the back of the book, Ellis talks of his inspiration for the line and this book in particular.  How he would read Doc Savage, The Shadow and The Spider and speculate about the pharmacutical assistance these heroes must have.

It's an interesting idea, not one I'd be keen to see used for a proper Doc Savage or Shadow adventure but intriguing.

In fact now that I think about it, Ellis is running not quite in the same groove as Philip Jose Farmer in A Feast Unknown but a parallel track.  Farmer isn't mentioned in his essay but ......

Simon Spector is a modern day riff on Doc Savage.  He operates out what appears to be the spire at the top of the Chrysler Building.

The story opens when a woman comes to Spector's office telling about her kidnapped husband who works for a weapons manufacturer. She mentions that one of the kidnappers was named Cristos. 

Cristos we discover is Spector's archenemy who was believed dead (first villian rule - if you don't see a body they are not dead) when the plane which he was locked in the cockpit crashed. 

Spector takes a pill that effectively speeds up his brain (Not unlike NZT in Limitless movie and TV series and the drug in Lucy)  There's a nice five page sequence after he takes the pill, where he asks for the lady's address and through deduction and knowledge of Cristos' MO is able to determine the villian's lair. 

Spector grabs his custom made weapons (because a number of pulp vigilantes had custom made weapons) made with his parent's wedding rings. 

He then makes his way to the hideout, where he battles Cristos. 

There's a surprise or two in the confrontation that I won't spoil.

I really loved this book - it was perfectly self contained giving us everything we need to know about Simon Spector yet also managing to tantalise us with hints of a larger story.  We don't know what happened to his parents, the nature of his earlier encounters with Cristos, what other villians has he faced, does he always need the tablets? Where did he meet his bodyguard and his doctor? Is Simon Spector his real name?

You could write a whole series of hundreds of adventures with this character and yet in this single adventure we know all that we need. 

This was a really good comic I enjoyed it immensely.  I'll have to see if I can find the other three Apparat books.