'The Lost Boys' Comic Writer Explains Why Santa Carla Is Still Dangerous After All These Years
Never growing old never grows old — a fact proven by a new comic book version of classic 1980s horror movie The Lost Boys, released today, which brings back Sam, Michael, Grandpa, the Frog Brothers and the vampire-plagued town of Santa Carla, California.
Set a year after the events of the movie, the new Lost Boys comic reveals that, despite the death of Max, Santa Carla still has reason to call itself the "murder capital of the world." Heat Vision talked to series writer Tim Seeley (DC's Nightwing) about why people are still strange, even three decades later.
This Week In Heat Vision breakdown
How did you get involved with this project?
It came about because I was sitting at a bar with Jamie Rich, who's the senior editor at Vertigo. He was saying, are there any projects that I might want to do based on movies from Warner Bros., and he ran through lots of ideas. When he got to Lost Boys, I said, "Give it to me. That one. Give that to me." He said, "Oh, right, you're a horror guy; you did Hack/Slash, of course, we have to have you do this."
Were you a fan of the movie when it was first released?
I didn't see it in the theater because I was, I think, 11 when it came out? When it came out on video, I was the perfect age. My friends and I, the summer of '88, we would rent movies and just watch them over and over again. That summer, I must've watched The Lost Boys, like, 10 times. It was just that and Predator 2 and Monty Python was the basis of an entire summer. So when it came to the potential of writing The Lost Boys, I felt like I had to write this. I've been waiting my whole life to tell a story with these characters.
Did that fandom inform the series, or did you sit down and force yourself to forget everything you've been thinking about for the last three decades and approach the property anew?
Both! What I tried to do with it was to think about all the things I have in my head as a fan, but also watch it fresh and try to pick up on things I thought would lend themselves to a new story and would justify a sequel. So the story picks up on elements about the character Star, who we didn't know that much about, or get to know very well [in the movie]. So it picks up on her. It's the chance to pick up someone who needed more exploration and give them the attention they deserve. The obvious move would've been to pick up on the Frog Brothers, which the [movie] sequels did, but I felt like they were just part of the story. Sam and Michael and the Frog Brothers and Grandpa — they were all equally important parts in that original story.
One of the things about the movie sequels was that they were very focused on the Frog Brothers to the exclusion of everyone else in the original.
I think one of the best things about comic books is that we weren't limited in the way that the original film came out, and then actors aged and things changed. To make a sequel to the film, they needed to do something to be different and get away from the original story and casting. We didn't have that at all — I can use any of the original characters, I can set it in 1987, 1988, back in the era of the original movie. That's one of the huge advantages of comic books [over the movie sequels], to be able to do Lost Boys that way.
And you're getting to do it with Scott Godlewski, who's just finished The Dark and The Bloody for Vertigo. He's a really strong horror artist.
Scott is a great horror artist. He learned so much from The Dark and the Bloody about page design and pacing a scene. He did some great character designs, and I think he did a really good job of getting the essence of the characters without having to get an exact likeness. I think he really comes into his own midway through Issue 2. It looks amazing.
Considering the success of Stranger Things this summer, do you think The Lost Boys is more in tune with the zeitgeist right now than it has been since its release? It is one of the core 1980s horror movies, isn't it?
There have been several waves of nostalgia for the '80s now, depending on how we're doing politically and culturally. I think, this time around, a lot of the attention is on how great the movies were, how great the music was. The Lost Boys is both of those things; the original movie has one of the best soundtracks ever created for a film. That sort of nostalgia, celebrating what was so great about the era. One of the things we do in the comic book, too, was try and re-create the world of late '80s comics. Lost Boys has a huge comic book element, the Frog Brothers worked in a comic book store, and our first issue starts in a comic book store. As well as homaging the original film, we also play around with '80s comic books, as well.
One of the things that really marked out that era of horror movies was that they weren't "just" horror stories. They were usually funny, as well, they didn't stay trapped in one particular mood or even genre. Is that something you're going to be playing with, as well?
It's me, so it's not just horror. There's a lot of comedy in the series too. That's just how I am. That's always been a huge element. For me, my favorite horror movies — with the exception of Halloween — are all half-comedies, and I think horror and comedy go together really well. The Lost Boys is a great example of this — it's a teen comedy about a boy, it's about the awkwardness of teenagers. I think they play the metaphor of vampirism for puberty really well. There're some hilarious bits in there, some of them unintentional, and it's aged really well.
In many ways, The Lost Boys laid the groundwork for something like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and much of what followed. Do you get to reference that in the series?
I didn't want to be too self-referential in a way that took people out the story. But we definitely play with that. The saxophone man, who we renamed and gave a new role, is the most obvious reference we make to it — he's this very strange and wonderful addition to the movie, this concert where a guy plays saxophone and is dressed just like a heavy metal guy, but he's oiled up and kind of head banging. It's very confusing, very strange, but a wonderful part of the movie.
Is this it for you and The Lost Boys? Do you feel like this series scratches this particular itch for you, and you can move on, or has it only made your love for the movie and the entire universe stronger?
The universe is ripe. There's always talk of a TV show, there's always talk of new movies. It's so ripe for more stories. I'd love to do something more. If it sells well enough, then I think they would do more. So, if you're a horror fan, plunk down the cash and you'll help more Lost Boys stories get made.
The Lost Boys No. 1 is available digitally and in comic book stores now.
by Richard Newby
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by Trilby Beresford