1987’s The Lost Boys now has a direct sequel thanks to Vertigo. The Emerson family thinks their world is finally returning to normal, after dealing with dirtbike-riding vampires, nerdy but deadly video store owners, and bad 80’s fashion. But just when they think they can watch some MTV and practice their moonwalking, a new threat even deadlier than Keifer Sutherland appears: the “Blood Belles.” While their end goal may be unclear, Mike, Sam, The Frog Brothers, Starr and the little boy who dressed like a drum major know that no one is safe as long as vampires still roam the streets of Santa Clara, CA, “The Murder Capital of the World.”
For those that don’t know, The Lost Boys film achieved box office success by telling a vampire story celebrating the youth culture of the 80’s. Big hair, big clothes and questionable dance parties permeated the film. Although it featured teen heartthrobs Corey Haim and Corey Fieldman, and shot Keifer Sutherland into superstar territory, the film also had plenty of blood by way of practical effects while telling a pretty fun story.
The oldest Emerson boy, Michael, falls for a girl named Starr whose friends turn out to be a clutch of vampires led by Keifer Sutherland’s “David.” After unsuccessfully trying to eat his little brother Sam, Michael decides to fight for his soul and Starr’s freedom. With the help of Sam and self proclaimed vampire hunters The Frog Brothers, Michael takes the fight to David and his fangy, wannabe stepdad Max. Spoiler: they win. David gets impaled on deer antlers, oblivious Grampa Emerson turns out to be vampire aware, and several members of “Flock of Seagulls” get melted by water-guns. High-fives all around.
The new story starts after a short amount of time has passed (months?), with a few new changes for the crew. Michael now has a job rubbing old people’s feet at a nursing home (I imagine he has other duties, but that is highlighted). He’s dating Starr, who, in turn, is taking care of Laddie and not letting him dress like Sgt. Pepper anymore. Edgar and Alan Frog are back at the comic shop, but also receiving vampire-hunting training from Grampa Emerson who is part of a “greatest generation” vampire hunting group that looks a lot like a cooler version of the Elk’s club. Unfortunately, a mysterious pair of glowing, red eyes begin to appear in the background of panels, foreshadowing… evil. The eyes are attached to female vampires, i.e., the “Lost Girls,” who pick up where the “Lost Boys” left off: Killing and sucking their way through everything the Emerson family holds dear.
The book starts off great. There was a real effort to replicate the tone and look of the movie, by writer Tim Seeley and artist Scott Godlewski. There are plenty of quips as vampires are dispatched, with dialogue purposely matching the corny-cool one liners that filled 1980’s genre movies. Callbacks from the film, such as Sam’s white overcoat (that may or may not be made of linen) which was too cool not to wear at the beach, are thrown in and help the feeling of continuity the film and comic share.
The shirtless, body-building, sax-player from the film, who was so over the top even for the 80’s that he totally exemplified the decade, makes a return in a larger role, too. Given that his brief, but unforgettable appearance (about 10 seconds of screentime) is out of proportion to his recognizability in the film, I was encouraged the creators had a love for the material and a finger on the pulse of why The Lost Boys has retained its popularity in light of others fading into obscurity. For the first four issues of this six part collection, I think that beared out, as they reaquainted us with the characters and developed the plot evenly. The tension built through the beginning of the book felt better than the film, as the characters found themselves in circumstances so dire as to be almost hopeless. The fourth part was the highlight for me, finishing with a satisfying fight between two of my favorite characters.
Unfortunately, it seemed as if the series was given too much runway, as the last two issues didn’t raise the stakes, but simply continued. There turned out to be a ladder of big bads that would be revealed and quickly dealt with, not giving them enough time to build the same tension as the first four issues, nor making an emotional connection with the story. Perhaps if there was another mini-series in the works it would have been a good place to expand on them and give them their own space, but here it felt unnecessary and didn’t reach the bar set by the first four issues.
The art was good throughout, with characters recognizable from their screen counterparts. In particular, the coloring was done well, with an emphasis on the lighting. The blue illumination of the subterranean caves gave the pages an eerie quality. So too, the orange light of dusk over the beach, as Sam talks with the Sax player and the battle that takes place on the boardwalk rides. It set the mood and gave a great backdrop to some of the highlights of the series.
Is It Good?
I really loved the first part of this book and wanted to like the ending more than I did. It’s definitely worth a read for fans of the film, and for those who grew up with it, it’s a dose of nostalgia that mostly gets it right. The book simply went on longer than was necessary, with some character subplots wrapped up so neatly and quickly I was left wondering if I missed something. I wouldn’t mind reading more in the series from the same group behind this one, but would temper my expectations a bit.