Sunday, June 22, 2008

An Open Letter To Wildstorm Comics

[Warning: This post contains spoilers of the Lost Boys: Reign of Frogs comic]

Dear Wildstorm,

I saw The Lost Boys as a teenager, and, like most people my age, I thought it was awesome. Even after the seeing Near Dark (which, let's face it, was a better film) and watching the "cool vampire" thing get out of control in the 90's (culminating in goth's bastard step-child, the Vampire: The Masquerade Role-Playing Game), The Lost Boys still has a special place in my heart.

When I first heard that they were making a Lost Boys sequel (Lost Boys: The Tribe), I'll admit I was a little excited. That is, until I actually learned a bit about the movie: straight to video; The Coreys and that guy who played the other Frog brother returning; Keifer Sutherland's little brother as the head vampire (which is kind of like casting Joey Travolta as Jules Winstead's new partner in crime). I'll still watch the movie, but I know from the start not to expect much.

When I saw the Wildstorm prequel comic, I also didn't expect much. Wildstorm's specialty is flashy, variant-cover comics about anatomically improbable women, and there's nothing wrong with that. Sure, you occasionally give us something like The Authority, or America's Best Comics, but those are the exception, not the rule. And since neither Warren Ellis nor Alan Moore were signed on for the Lost Boys book, I expected at best barely readable fluff.

I wasn't expecting you to take a huge shit on the original movie.

We'll start with David's return. Even if we're willing to accept that nobody noticed his corpse just disappearing (remember, Lost Boys vamps don't "dust" like the ones on Buffy), and we're willing to accept your premise that Max wasn't really the head vamp, there's still a problem (or more accurately, three). If the head vampire wasn't Max, then Michael, Star, and Laddie would still be vampires, which was clearly not the case at the end of the movie.

You know what, since there wasn't a lot of denouement (do Wildstorm writers even know what that means?) to the movie, I'm willing to go along with you and pretend that Michael and friends only appeared to be cured, discovered otherwise, and left town without telling Sam and the Frog Brothers that they were still bloodsuckers. I have no idea why they'd do this, but I'll play along.

I'm not giving you Grandpa, though. According the final page of issue #2, Gramps is the head vampire. I'm sorry, but that's bullshit. I could cite the fact that we saw grandpa out in broad daylight at several points in the movie, but then you could claim that he's extra powerful and can stand daylight or something. But that's not the problem. The problem is that making Grandpa a vampire goes against the nature of the character.

Perhaps I should explain that last sentence. You see, to most writers (regardless of whether they're writing books, comics, or movie scripts), a good character has more depth than "a hot ninja chick with humongous tits." If a character is well thought out and presented well (through writing, art, and/or acting), the audience can guess a lot of things about him that aren't made explicit. In the case of Grandpa, for instance, it was very obvious from the script and Barnard Hughes's wonderful portrayal that he WAS NOT A FUCKING VAMPIRE.

I can't say whether or not I'll buy the final two installments of the mini-series, but at the very least I'll make sure to find out how they end. There is a chance, however remote, that your writers have come up with something truly brilliant that I'm just not getting. It's happened before (I almost gave up on The Invisibles after a few issues). If this is one of those cases I will take back everything I've said.

Of course, that's probably not going to happen, which means that I'll be skittish about purchasing future Wildstorm comics based on licensed properties. In the future, I urge you to pay a bit more respect to the spirit of others' creations, especially creations that are as beloved by so many as The Lost Boys. Doing so will allow your company to build upon the "not always utter shit" reputation that Ellis and Moore have helped you begin to establish.

Yours truly,
Steve Johnson
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