Crops of two concept images for Lost Boys posters that are now, finally, coming to the public.
Image: John Alvin (Bottleneck Gallery)

The journey for an iconic movie poster is often long and difficult. Artists can make dozens, maybe even hundreds, of different concepts before landing on the right one. Most, if not all, of those other concepts are usually buried forever. This week though, two such creations for The Lost Boys are, appropriately, coming back to life—and io9 got to learn more about them.

The Bottleneck Gallery—along with Justin Ishmael and the estate of poster legend John Alvin—are releasing not one, not two, but three posters Alvin did while working on The Lost Boys, all of which have never been released before. In addition, for the first time ever, there are now full recreations of the Vampires Everywhere and Destroy All Vampires comic books the Frog brothers show off in the film itself.

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The posters are all by John Alvin, who also did the iconic red theatrical one sheet (which is not being released). Before he landed on that though, he created dozens of other ideas, and you can soon get your hands on these three.

The Lost Boys Stop Sign by John Alvin. (Also available without the text)
Image: John Alvin (Bottleneck Gallery)

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The Lost Boys Teaser Poster by John Alvin. (Also available without the text)
Image: John Alvin (Bottleneck Gallery)
The Lost Boys Santa Carla by John Alvin (Only available online)
Image: John Alvin (Bottleneck Gallery)

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The first two images will also be released in a variant edition without any of the text (just the images as an art piece). They’ll first be released at a screening of The Lost Boys in New York City on Friday, May 31. Tickets for the movie are close to sold out but anyone can go to the event and buy the posters. Information on that is here. All of the posters are 18 x 24 inch screenprints with the text editions seen above costing $50 in an edition of 150, and the art print variants costing $60 in editions of 50.

The third image, of a house in the Murder Capital of the World, is an online exclusive release and will go on sale along with any prints remaining of the first two posters next Tuesday, June 4 on Bottleneck’s website. That’s a 13 x 19 inch giclée in an edition of 125. It costs $50.

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At that same time, Bottleneck and Ishmael will release prop replica comics of Vampires Everywhere and Destroy All Vampires, as seen in the film. It’s the first time all the pages created for the film will be printed for the public. They’ll go up for pre-order on June 4 along with the posters, and cost $10 each or $15 for the set. Each has four double-page spreads made for the movie inside, as well as the original line work, just to fill the comic out a bit.

Vampires Everywhere from The Lost Boys
Image: Chris Miller (Bottleneck via Blackthorne)

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Destroy All Vampires from The Lost Boys
Image: Chris Miller (Bottleneck via Blackthorne)

As a huge Lost Boys fan, when I heard about all of this I kind of freaked out. It’s such a unique and awesome opportunity to get to own, and learn more about, a piece of the film’s history—and I wanted to find out more about how it came together.

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Let’s start with the comic. Ishmael, who previously worked at Mondo, had the idea to reprint the comic for the NY screening but he didn’t actually have a copy of it. So he started where anyone would start, a comic book shop. In fact, he started at the actual comic book shop where The Lost Boys filmed: Atlantis Fantasyworld in Santa Cruz, CA, which is run by Joe Ferrara. Ferrara has been at the store since the mid-’80s when The Lost Boys shot there. It has since moved locations around town and was never actually on the boardwalk, but to this day, fans still come in because of its place in cinematic history. 

“Last Saturday, we opened at 10:00 a.m., and by 11 we’d had one couple from Denver, one couple from Australia, and two couples from England on The Lost Boys tour come into the store and get their picture taken with the prop,” Ferrara told io9. “Then a couple of days ago, we had a young couple from Brazil that was here. I could go down a list of countries. It’s amazing. And it’s not just ‘to this day,’ it is every day. There’s not a day that goes by that the words ‘Lost Boys’ are not spoken in the store.”

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After filming was completed, Ferrara found himself with a copy of the comic from the movie. Though the comic looked complete on camera, it was actually only a few pages of vampire artwork and a cover wrapped around a totally different, unrelated comic about a female detective called Vanity (Ferrara has the actual Vanity comic at the shop next to his Vampires Everywhere). Ishmael found out the store had the original comic, talked with Ferrara and asked him to scan in the pages. Which he did.

Some of the pages inside the comic.
Image: Chris Miller (Bottleneck via Blackthorne)

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Once Ishmael had the pages, he found a signature for the artist named Chris Miller. Through Chris Miller, he found the publisher, Blackthorne—and then eventually Steve Schanes, who was originally hired to produce the comic. Schanes made four double page spreads for the film, which Ishmael borrowed. Then, he had them recolored by artist Rico Renzi, and put together so that, for the first time, the comic could be released to its fans. Just don’t expect a cohesive story because it was never meant for that.

“There’s no real narrative,” Ishmael explained. “We kind of put them in the order that we thought works the best. But even in the movie, they’re saying [the comic] says things that it doesn’t say. It is just there to talk about and it is almost a MacGuffin.”

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All of this only happens because of the posters, though. Ishmael and the Bottleneck Gallery had already been working with the estate of iconic poster artist John Alvin to release a few of his many (many) masterpieces. Posters such as E.T., Gremlins, and Robocop. However, when the conversation turned to The Lost Boys, Ishmael remembered that a book written by Alvin’s widow and frequent collaborator, Andrea Alvin, had a bunch of alternative concepts in it. The concepts obviously didn’t work for the movie’s advertising, but somehow have now aged themselves into relevance. “Being in the era we are with posters and all this stuff for movies like this, it seemed like the perfect time to release these as posters but also kind of...you’re tricking people into learning something,” Ishmael joked.

Andrea Alvin told us her late husband must have done almost two dozen concepts for The Lost Boys back in the ‘80s, each to various stages of completion and many of which were only ever documented on Polaroid. When the studio couldn’t decide on one, John and a marketing executive basically took a box of photographs and made a collage.

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In those days there was no Photoshop so they had a big print made with all these cut out photographs on it,” Alvin told io9. “And John painted on that to blend everything together. So he painted the hair and he painted the sunglasses on Jason Patric. There’s quite a lot of artwork on it. They weren’t really supposed to look like they were in the same place at the same time but they did make it look cohesive. It was an unusual and unique looking piece at the time.”

Here’s that poster, which is not being released this week.

The theatrical one-sheet for The Lost Boys by John Alvin
Image: Warner Bros.

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That’s what was released, but it was not even close to all of the other ways Alvin went with the poster ideas, including the three that are finally being released this week.

“I love the idea that we get to show some of these things that no one ever got to see,” Andrea Alvin said. “My main objective since John passed away is to associate his name with all the work that he did, because in so many cases people don’t know who did it. And he has such a huge career.”

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And so, there you have it. All the vampires aligned to give Lost Boys fans some pieces of history they maybe never knew about, or certainly never thought they could own. All of which will be online June 4 at Bottleneck Gallery.


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