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Rest In Peace John Alvin, one of the great poster artists of our time

Hey, guys. Quint here. One of the more eye-catching stories that hit the inbox in the last few days was the passing of a man by the name of John Alvin. I saw it as I was traveling back to Austin and now that I've settled back in I looked into it. You probably don't know John Alvin by name, but if you've stepped foot in the cinema anytime in the last 30 years you know his work. He was a poster artist that was responsible for some of the most iconic poster work of not only my generation, but the generation before mine, going back to some of Mel Brooks' earlier movies. Instead of rattling off a list for you, I'm going to post some words from a reader and pepper in some of his most memorable work. I have many of these posters myself and didn't realize they were by the same artist, which is a testament to Mr. Alvin's versatility. At the end I'll include some of his other art. You can tell by this art that he really loved film and used his considerable talents to create some great work from some of our best films.

Hey Harry, Never contributed before, but I've been an avid reader for years now.

My heart is broken and I didn't know who to contact, but I figured maybe you might be willing to make a little tribute. I always enjoy finding out about people in the "industry" that I've never heard of before on your site, and I doubt many people have heard of John Alvin. A quick history, I grew up with John's daughter and spent many nights at the Alvin's with John and his wonderfully sweet wife Andrea during high school just slack-jawed and wide-eyed. You see, John Alvin was an amazing artist that created amazing poster art that I guarantee you've admired before. While everyone might know Drew Struzan by name, everyone knows John Alvin by his art. Lion King? John Alvin. E.T.? John Alvin. Blazing Saddles, Young Frankenstein, Silent Movie, Hook, Darkman, Gremlins? All John Alvin. I grew up knowing one of my heroes, and that was John Alvin.

John Alvin had a heart attack this last Wednesday, and has since passed away. You can see some of John Alvin's work at this site.

I last talked to John and Andrea at the 30th anniversary Star Wars Celebration in LA last year, and was delighted to tell him that I was now working in the movie and television advertising industry myself. He was so proud of me. And now he's gone. Please. Just look at his work and see for yourself. He was a talent that will be sorely missed. I miss him very much already. He had since moved to New York with his family. And due to funding issues, I will not be able to attend the funeral on Sunday. But I do have the mortuary, if you do decide to write anything before Sunday. Thanks, BizarroClark

Let's look at some more of his famous poster work. Keep in mind the below only represents a selection of his work... there are many more recognizable pieces, but these are the ones that really jumped out to me:

And here are a few more pieces... not poster art, but geek art anyway. Especially look at the Jurassic Park pieces... I love the gates image and from what I understand, the Bronto art was a rejected design for a poster... Looks like quite a nod to his other big Spielberg awe-flick poster work, doesn't it? Instead of an alien finger it's a dinosaur.

And perhaps my favorite of his recent poster work... not for a film, but for the great Bruce Campbell film within a film... from Frank Darabont's underappreciated THE MAJESTIC.

The man led an incredible life and his talent was taken away from us too soon. My thoughts are with Mr. Alvin's friends, family and fans.

Readers Talkback
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  • Feb. 10, 2008, 2:58 a.m. CST


    by nonewideasforfilms

  • Feb. 10, 2008, 2:58 a.m. CST


    by BonerDonor

    blade runner bitch!

  • Feb. 10, 2008, 3:03 a.m. CST


    by FlyinHawaiian

    And second and third and fourth. On to the article: This is sad news, he had a unique talent.

  • Feb. 10, 2008, 3:09 a.m. CST

    Wow- what a body of work!

    by Flim Springfield

    That's an impressive legacy.

  • Feb. 10, 2008, 3:19 a.m. CST

    Like a lot of people...

    by Cagliostro

    I had no idea that he had done so much. I still prefer his Blade Runner to the Drew Struzan one . Wish they would've left it on the DVD covers for the new editions.

  • Feb. 10, 2008, 3:19 a.m. CST

    What an inspiring artist

    by mr_lopez

    His art is timeless and beautiful. Rest in peace Mr. Alvin.

  • Feb. 10, 2008, 3:20 a.m. CST

    So he pretty much made every poster known to man.

    by Mike_D


  • Feb. 10, 2008, 3:29 a.m. CST

    wow. what a legacy!

    by mansep

    glad to be able to put a name to all those great posters... amazing they were alll done by one man. inspirational

  • Feb. 10, 2008, 3:32 a.m. CST

    Artwork that made you want to see the film.

    by Uncapie

    Inspiring, fun, creative. Sad to see one of the great ones leave us.

  • Feb. 10, 2008, 3:41 a.m. CST

    Peace to Mr. Alvin

    by Dingbatty

    Creating iconic imagery is a huge accomplishment.

  • Feb. 10, 2008, 4:01 a.m. CST

    A loss of a great talent!

    by Boris Baddenov

    I knew about the great movie-poster artwork of Drew Struzan, but was clueless about John Alvin -- until I saw the examples of his work here -- and was swept back into a huge nostalgic mood of what makes movies great. John Alvin was a wonderfully expressive artist.

  • Feb. 10, 2008, 4:05 a.m. CST


    by BonerDonor

    spaceballs bitch!

  • Feb. 10, 2008, 4:10 a.m. CST

    A real great loss this. Very sad news.

    by alucardvsdracula

    Christ who hasn't had one of his movie posters on their wall? Films just won't be the same without him.

  • Feb. 10, 2008, 4:14 a.m. CST

    Great works. R.I.P.

    by Stalkeye

  • Feb. 10, 2008, 4:17 a.m. CST


    by ironic_name

  • Feb. 10, 2008, 4:24 a.m. CST

    An amazing man.

    by Bones

    John was a huge inspiration my whole life. To me, growing up there were four Iconic movie poster artists: Bob Peak, Richard Amsel, Drew Struzen and John Alvin. I have been a fan of his work all my life and particularly of his iconic usage of hands in his posters. You see this in evidence in his E.T., Gremlins, Aladdin, Alien, Blade Runner, Legend posters. But it was his composition and color that always grabbed me by the throat...and that slickness that dominated eighties poster art, different than Amsel or Struzen. There was a theatricality to his work that set it apart.<p> I was inspired by his work when I began my Star Wars Celebration IV print for last year's convention, where I finally met him. Trying to make an homage to the first Star Wars film is daunting, since so many images have been done and they are almost all montage images, with multiple images and scales overlapping. I was thinking of various images and designs and John's Blade Runner was in my mind with Darth Vader standing in for Deckard and similar rays of light behind his head.<p> The night before the show, as some of us were setting up, John was walking around looking at the work of the mostly younger guys in the show. He was more than gracious and very kind--and full of encouragement for all us "kids". He got a big kick out of my small pseudo-tribute to him in my print and took it as the compliment I meant it as. Throughout the show, I kept bumping into him either at his booth or as he escaped into the artists alley usually with encouragement and a laugh. As he was making his final pass through the show he gave me a pat on the back and a handshake and told me once again to keep it up and that it was "good stuff".<p> How often does one of your heroes tell you that?<p> I only met him at the one show, but I am so grateful to have met him in person. To have spent some time with him and Drew Struzan at the same show was incredible. To be accepted as a peer was astounding.<p> Thank you for all your support and inspiration, John.<p> I miss you already.<p> Jeff Carlisle<p>

  • Feb. 10, 2008, 4:30 a.m. CST

    Wow. That's pretty much my Childhood up there...

    by EvilGeek1

    Sorry to see you go John. You created some of the most iconic images I and many others have ever seen in cinema. Rest in Peace buddy.

  • Feb. 10, 2008, 4:42 a.m. CST

    Now *this* guy could paint!

    by BenBraddock

    Versatile's the word.. a great talent, well used - way to go, Mr.Alvin.

  • Feb. 10, 2008, 4:58 a.m. CST

    Mother, Jugs & Speed

    by i kick tits

    This is the first time I've ever heard of this movie. A title like that normally would have just made me chuckle to myself for a moment, but after that I would have never thought of it as long as I lived. But there is something about that poster that makes me want to see it immediately. I don't know what it is about it but the moment I finish this sentence I am going straight to Netflix and ordering it.

  • Feb. 10, 2008, 4:59 a.m. CST


    by Uncle_Pooch

    im....this takes it outta me man

  • Feb. 10, 2008, 5:01 a.m. CST

    and Mother Jugggs

    by Uncle_Pooch

    is awesome

  • Feb. 10, 2008, 5:08 a.m. CST

    An unknown icon...

    by Sledge Hammer's a shame that his name wasn't more widely known, but his art, which includes some of the most iconic film related work of all time, will thankfully live on and be appreciated for generations to come. Rest in peace sir, you've more than earnt it.

  • Feb. 10, 2008, 5:43 a.m. CST

    Good night, Mr. Alvin

    by DennisMM

    Before today I'd read his name, I think, but certainly not as often as Amsel or Struzan. Today I saw just a small sample of what he created and was very much surprised by how many of the definitive geek films of the '80s featured his work. There is a fine collection of posters by Mr. Alvin at I saw the poster for "Ironweed" for the first time in many years. He had Streep and Nicholson, two of the most respected performers ever to work in movies. They were dressed-down to look broke and desperate. Nicholson had graying stubble. Streep had stress lines and the dead skin of a drunk. Strong, strong visual elements to work with. Alvin painted their characters in a kiss - but in shadows and obscured by Nicholson's hat brim so neither's face is visible. That is risk-taking. That is genius. Good night, Mr. Alvin.

  • Feb. 10, 2008, 5:45 a.m. CST

    sorry, forgot the poster link

    by DennisMM

    The "Ironweed" poster

  • Feb. 10, 2008, 6:03 a.m. CST

    damn impressive, will be missed

    by couP

  • Feb. 10, 2008, 6:14 a.m. CST

    Wow, most of those posters are burned in my brain,

    by NomoredirtyjokespleaseweareYanks

    all those other images sure were amazing as well. I've had a framed Darkman poster for years ands it's one of my favorite things.

  • Feb. 10, 2008, 7:31 a.m. CST

    Ain't it suck news

    by Grammaton Cleric Binks

    I never knew the name of the artist who did all these. Better later than never. His work was amazing.

  • Feb. 10, 2008, 7:32 a.m. CST

    Check it out, he did the WALL-E poster

    by Grammaton Cleric Binks

    before he died. It's the one right below Red Dawn.

  • Feb. 10, 2008, 7:33 a.m. CST

    So would a poster artist with his legacy be featured in 2008 Aca

    by Chishu_Ryu

    And if so, I wonder what his clap-o-meter will register? (I always feel sorry for the poor blokes whom no one has ever heard of get like one or two claps and a few crickets chirping, who are then followed by a Stanley Kubrick-type who suddenly gets thunderous applause...poor blokes...)

  • Feb. 10, 2008, 7:37 a.m. CST


    by Chishu_Ryu

    above post in reference to the Academy Awards obituary video montage

  • Feb. 10, 2008, 7:44 a.m. CST

    Knew what you meant Chishu_Ryu but

    by Grammaton Cleric Binks

    I don't think he'll be in. You, me, and everyone else in the world know his posters, but how many of us never knew the name of the artist. I don't even know what he looks like. You know they'll be whooping and hollering for Ledger. I'm glad it was accidental, and not a deliberate overdose. Like I said way back when, a friend of ours ODed accidentally on prescription migraine meds. It was just a freak accident.

  • Feb. 10, 2008, 7:47 a.m. CST


    by 5minutes

    It says something when some of this guy's posters were better than the movies they advertised.

  • Feb. 10, 2008, 7:50 a.m. CST

    Man, he sure loved white sparkling light...

    by theycallmemrglass

    ...and he is a master of it. adds magic to every poster. RIP, JA, your posters will live forever because quite simply, they are awesome.

  • Feb. 10, 2008, 7:56 a.m. CST

    I never get the whole clapping at the obits bit...

    by Sledge Hammer

    ...I mean let's face it, most of the idiots in the audience are probably just clapping themselves everytime they recognise one of the names that pops up, and when they don't know someone, nada, silence. Call me crazy, but clapping someone's death bow always seemed pretty fucking tasteless to me, and turning an obits segment into a popularity contest even more so.

  • Feb. 10, 2008, 8:21 a.m. CST

    Great art

    by SpencerTrilby

    I knew almost every image but not the artist behind. Rest in peace Sir.

  • Feb. 10, 2008, 8:32 a.m. CST


    by DocPazuzu

    Another great passes on, bringing a golden era closer to its inevitable end. <p> I still have that great Darkman poster framed on my wall.

  • Feb. 10, 2008, 8:55 a.m. CST

    The best poster is def mother jugs & speed

    by mmaddox3

    but in all seriousness, this really blows, he ws clearly amongst the best that ever lived. Rest in peace.

  • Feb. 10, 2008, 9:21 a.m. CST

    Great to put the name to the work

    by spud mcspud

    I had no idea who this man was, and now I do. His art dominates my childhood and my formative years - posters I've had hung on my wall for over 20 years, all down to him. He's an unsung legend, and now he'll be sorely missed. Rest In Peace, and thanks for the great, great art. Thanks to your work, I'm 14 forever.

  • Feb. 10, 2008, 9:36 a.m. CST

    Wow, I remember actually watching Solar Babies

    by moondoggy2u

    Anyone else remember seeing that film?

  • Feb. 10, 2008, 9:38 a.m. CST

    sledge hammer

    by ironic_name

    good point. <P> that batman returns poster is great.

  • Feb. 10, 2008, 10:10 a.m. CST

    He was awesome

    by Gungan Slayer

    alvin is probably the most famous unknown poster artist out there. He's made tons of posters that people know about, but few know who he was. Those Disney ones are stunning. I mean, just pure awesomeness. I can't stand how studios today basically take the photoshop route today with their posters, in hopes of plastering the film's poster with a photos of the hot stars in the film. Sigh. Alvin will be missed.

  • Feb. 10, 2008, 10:14 a.m. CST


    by henrydalton

    Never knew that one man was responsible for so many iconic images and memories. And I'm glad that I (and so many others) have found that out so we can truly appreciate it, even if it is by way of it being a legacy rather than a portfolio. RIP.

  • Feb. 10, 2008, 10:15 a.m. CST

    Not into the air brushy style

    by FlickaPoo

  • Feb. 10, 2008, 10:16 a.m. CST

    Some of the posters are a lot better than the films.

    by Rev. Slappy

    That Arachniphobia poster is great, and the movie is awful.

  • Feb. 10, 2008, 10:24 a.m. CST

    Too bad

    by moviemaniac-7

    The posters speak for themselves. RIP.

  • Feb. 10, 2008, 10:28 a.m. CST

    End of an era

    by wilsonfisk89

    Much prefer his emotionally charged, poetic artwork to much of today's designs

  • Feb. 10, 2008, 10:30 a.m. CST

    i kick tits, re: Mother, Jugs & Speed

    by KnightShift

    That is one of THE FUNNIEST movies ever. I mean, Bill Cosby and Harvey Keitel and Racquel Welch in an ambulance... 'nuff said.

  • Feb. 10, 2008, 10:30 a.m. CST

    The imagery of my childhood...

    by R H S C

    and a lot of those posters are better than the films. Any posters we can say that about now?

  • Feb. 10, 2008, 10:34 a.m. CST

    Lost Boys poster....

    by Quake II

    I had that over my bed in high school. I thought it was a photograph. The guy was truly a legend. Never realized the same man did all those posters.

  • Feb. 10, 2008, 10:41 a.m. CST

    This one guy...

    by LordEnigma

    created the lingering images in poster form for countless movies that I love. It's sort of awe inspiring the work he has done. Godspeed to him and may he rest in peace.

  • Feb. 10, 2008, 10:58 a.m. CST

    Blade Runner Original 1-Sheet

    by aboriginal

    proudly hangs on my wall

  • Feb. 10, 2008, 11 a.m. CST

    Brought back many fond memories.....

    by closeencounter

    Truly a great artist. R.O.P. Mr. Alvin.

  • Feb. 10, 2008, 11:01 a.m. CST

    Empire of the Sun...

    by Karl Hungus probably my favorite John Alvin poster. Simple but incredibly powerful. R.I.P.

  • Feb. 10, 2008, 11:03 a.m. CST

    He pretty much...

    by Frank Black

    Defined the way we saw movies for the 80's (in terms of the images we associated with them) and though his passing is sad, those iconic and wonderful representations will last forever.

  • Feb. 10, 2008, 11:07 a.m. CST

    That Beauty and the Beast one

    by MrTrilby

    is breathtaking.

  • Feb. 10, 2008, 11:19 a.m. CST


    by wash

    Never knew he did the Phantom of The Paradise one.

  • Feb. 10, 2008, 11:20 a.m. CST

    Those are some classics

    by newc0253

    esp Blade Runner and the Lost Boys. RIP sir, RIP.

  • Feb. 10, 2008, 11:44 a.m. CST

    moondoggy2u, I remember seein the ad

    by Grammaton Cleric Binks

    and realizing that movie was going to suck. Having said that the poster is the best silk purse you can make from a sow's ear. One thing to remember as well is that almost all, and maybe all of these posters were made before Photoshop came into existence.

  • Feb. 10, 2008, 11:48 a.m. CST

    Some of the most memorable one-sheets of all time.

    by SkinJob69

    Certainly a career to be proud of.<p> Even "Mother,Jugs & Speed" (wtf on that one) was decent!<p>

  • Feb. 10, 2008, 11:49 a.m. CST

    Unsung Heroes at Academy Awards

    by derej

    Its mind boggling that an industry awards show that *attempts* to recognize all the many facets of movie-making and entertainment design overlooks talented artists and illustrators like John Alvin. Illustrators, entertainment artists and entertainment designers are integral to the movie making process these days--not to mention their work in paving the way back in the day. Looking at the incredible, whimsical and thoughtful work in Alvin's posters reminds me of all the other talented artists who remain unsung. An obit in the Los Angeles Times mentions that Alvin attended Art Center College of Design. After a quick search it seems that Art Center alone has contributed heavily to the multi-faceted world of entertainment. Multiply that by the hundreds of other schools from which illustrators, artists and filmmakers graduate from and the self-congratulatory industry might get an accurate picture of how posters like Alvin's contribute so greatly to their success. John Alvin

  • Feb. 10, 2008, 11:58 a.m. CST

    Quite a legacy

    by Forsakyn

    He sure created some fantastic posters - a very nice sense of adventure to them.

  • Feb. 10, 2008, 12:15 p.m. CST

    Some classic posters

    by proper

    Thats a very strong body of work.Condolences to his family..............

  • Feb. 10, 2008, 12:19 p.m. CST

    Only iconic if you grew up in the 80's

    by WhoDis

    Man, they just don't make movie posters like that anymore. Everything today is put together by 14 year olds who downloaded Photoshop and a few plug-ins illegally, L0L3rZ1111!!!!.

  • Feb. 10, 2008, 12:33 p.m. CST

    Those are some awesome posters...

    by Zardoz

    and some of the the worst movies! But JA didn't have anything to do with that! I've got Blade Runner hanging on my wall. I think he was talking about making that poster on the new Blade Runner DVD, right? E.T. is an iconic poster and I've always loved the Young Frankenstein one. (Boy, Mel Brooks sure loved him, too!) I always thought the poster for Lost Boys was just a photo! I never realized someone painted it. Amazing! And the best thing about Willow and Leviathan was the posters! A great artist for a great art form has passed, may he rest in peace...

  • Feb. 10, 2008, 1:16 p.m. CST


    by CatVutt

    Fantastic body of work. So many instantly recognizable pieces. That's talent. RIP indeed.

  • Feb. 10, 2008, 1:28 p.m. CST

    Beauty and the Beast is the best

    by kuldan

    That poster is something that should be hung on every movie-lover's wall. "Hook" is also a damn cool one, as well.

  • Feb. 10, 2008, 1:51 p.m. CST

    This guy was Astonishing!

    by Proman1984

    What a terrible loss!

  • Feb. 10, 2008, 1:58 p.m. CST


    by the son of John

    John Alvin Thank you for your beutuful work. Ben

  • Feb. 10, 2008, 2:03 p.m. CST

    The Blade Runner post alone...

    by Moonwatcher

    would be enough to get him into the Poster Hall of Fame. He even makes the lousy movies look attractive. Sorry to find out this way who was behind all the wonderful icons, but at least we can now put a name to them all.

  • Feb. 10, 2008, 2:13 p.m. CST

    Lost Boys

    by Bouncy X

    i assume he was also a photographer because thats like the only poster in this list here that isnt a painting/drawing and is the actual actors.

  • Feb. 10, 2008, 2:18 p.m. CST

    Lost Boys....ummm 2 lol

    by Bouncy X

    you know, in ALL these years i never realized Feldman is nowhere in that poster. considering how big a part he plays thats pretty surprising.

  • Feb. 10, 2008, 2:53 p.m. CST

    Beautiful posters

    by Evil Hobbit

    Some of the best up there, I love the Disney once like Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast and Aladdin. The simplicity of a single scene gives them such a strong and iconic appearance. I love it.

  • Feb. 10, 2008, 3:25 p.m. CST

    Wow... what an amazing artist

    by Darth Thoth

    I'm almost in shock after looking at all those classic posters and knowing how much they contributed in experience of each of those films. God bless his soul and family. Great tribute by BizarroClark and thanks for posting it AICN. Truly this man's work will never be forgotten.

  • Feb. 10, 2008, 4:05 p.m. CST

    Alvin and the Solar Babies

    by Jonah Echo

    Alvin was a great artist, and I recall seeing so much of his work plastered outside the theaters and inside the video rental stores back in the 80s. That was one of my favorite things about the mall-catching all that great artwork, that was almost always better than the actual movies. I'd have to say it was stuff like Alvin's work that inspired me to become an artist moreso than classical works. I gained a greater appreciation for all of that later, but I think my current track can be traced back to geeking out over stuff like this. Look at that Leviathan poster! I remember how terrible that actual movie was. 80s churned out alot of giant aquatic crap movies. Recall the poster for Deep Star Six? A half eaten diving suit rising out of the water? Again, a giant turd of the movie. I think Ill even skip talking about Lords of the Deep. My favorite of the above posters that isnt E.T. or Bladerunner is probably that Gremlins poster. How mysterious and cool is that? On the otherhand, its funny how sparse the Solarbabies poster is, like even he couldnt come up with something cool for it. I just recall the black kid roller-breakdancing with the little alien strobelight. Uggh.

  • Feb. 10, 2008, 4:12 p.m. CST

    wow what a archive

    by red ezra


  • Feb. 10, 2008, 5:10 p.m. CST

    Bouncy X...

    by Bones

    The Lost Boys poster needed to be designed, the colors chosen, the photo elements composed and then tweaked. Then he went over the entire image and did subtle color washes, painted in the details, painted out some of the unneeded details and generally tightened the image. Consider it the non-photoshop early version of modern movie posters, but done like a rock poster. There is actually a LOT of hand crafted art in the image.<p> Just an FYI...

  • Feb. 10, 2008, 5:23 p.m. CST

    Alvin was a master- Rest In Peace

    by finky089

    I have never seen that Goonies one-sheet he did until now. kick. ass.

  • Feb. 10, 2008, 6:29 p.m. CST

    The Blade Runner poster...

    by otm shank

    is one of my favorites of all time. I've had it hanging on my wall forever, and I never even knew who made it. R.I.P sir.

  • Feb. 10, 2008, 6:39 p.m. CST

    You never knew who drew it?

    by skywalkerfamily

    Is there not a signature at the bottom of the poster?

  • Feb. 10, 2008, 6:49 p.m. CST


    by decfx

    You mean the Inner Space poster is a painting? lol

  • Feb. 10, 2008, 7:10 p.m. CST

    Bouncy X

    by Briannicus

    Feldman's at the bottom of the poster, next to the cart with the corpse.

  • Feb. 10, 2008, 7:53 p.m. CST

    That's some gorgeous stuff right there

    by Funketeer

    Too bad we waited for him to die to look at it all. Posters don't do much for me now but back in the 80s and 90s I'd always spend a few minutes looking at the coming attraction posters before going into the theater. It's too bad we don't get more painted posters because these do more to excite me than the photoshopped stuff we get today.

  • Feb. 10, 2008, 8:45 p.m. CST

    RIP John

    by XoanonTORN

    I interviewed John about a year ago for his LOTR work. Sad to say I still haven't edited it and put it online..I will try to get that out there this week. <p> This is really sad news, he was really enthusiastic about film, his work in Hollywood, but especially about his new work doing special film related pieces. He had big plans...its sad to see him go way too soon.

  • Feb. 10, 2008, 8:59 p.m. CST

    Holy cow

    by Phimseto

    That was basically a slideshow through my childhood. Before the internet, those posters were *the* key to getting me interested in seeing films. As mediocre as "Hook" was, I remember being completely excited for the film because every time I saw that poster, I would think of all the great possibilities. Of course, that's what the posters are supposed to do and for my era, John Alvin was obviously one of the best. Godspeed.

  • Feb. 10, 2008, 9:37 p.m. CST

    Wow, the story title lives up to the content for once

    by hamster factor

    He really was one of the best - my personal favorites: Beauty and the Beast and Princess Bride.

  • Feb. 10, 2008, 10:08 p.m. CST

    Goddamn I loved that ST: VI poster

    by zillabeast

    RIP good sir.

  • Feb. 10, 2008, 10:35 p.m. CST


    by CherryValance

    This is something I never think about. I'm not really a poster collector, but seeing all of these, it's amazing how someone you've never really heard of has had that much of an impression on your life. Those images are ingrained in so many people's psyches, including my own. He will definitely be missed.</p> John Alvin, I didn't know I knew you. Thanks. RIP.

  • Feb. 10, 2008, 10:46 p.m. CST

    Holy shit...

    by blindambition238

    I've never seen that Alien poster before but it totally jumped out at me. Freaking baddass.

  • Feb. 10, 2008, 10:50 p.m. CST

    Nice tribute

    by Hikaru Ichijo

    a mini-trip back to my childhood. What a shitty Sunday!

  • Feb. 10, 2008, 11 p.m. CST

    Posters are a beautiful

    by JBouganim1

  • Feb. 10, 2008, 11:09 p.m. CST


    by Series7

    After just looking though that collection, makes me realize how crappy most movie posters are today. Thanks to the Mist for making me realize that movie poster making is an art. And too bad I never knew anything about it till now.

  • Feb. 10, 2008, 11:16 p.m. CST

    Beauty & the Beast? NO way

    by GrendelGrendelGrendel

    Everyone knows that Brian McEntee, Art director of Beauty and the Beast, designed that poster of the Beast and Belle dancing, NOT john alvin. There are more than a few other incorrectly attributed posters listed here as well.

  • Feb. 10, 2008, 11:35 p.m. CST

    I'd buy a book of his work

    by The Skeptical

    Is such a thing possible? or is the copyright situation too complicated. I'd love to have that on the cardboard box I use as a coffee table.

  • Feb. 10, 2008, 11:48 p.m. CST

    this guy was no joke

    by ClockWorker

    the ARACHNAPHOBIA one was awsome. the original pressings of these posters are going to be very valuable. I would love to have all of those hanging on my wall.

  • Feb. 11, 2008, 1:42 a.m. CST

    met him once

    by PBoy

    Some how and don't ask me how, but an ex-girlfriend of mine, while trying to impress me, got him in her living room. I think they were family friends. Anyway, He showed me a bunch of stuff and looked at my work and inspired me to go to art school. He was a great guy. Totally nice and super talented. He will be missed.

  • Feb. 11, 2008, 1:56 a.m. CST

    Some great artworks there

    by Motoko Kusanagi

    but I never really liked that one for ALIEN.<p>R.I.P. John Alvin!

  • Feb. 11, 2008, 2:06 a.m. CST

    Now all we have left is floating heads...

    by themikejonas

    ...that Trajan font, and the Red Bold Arial for wacky comedies.

  • Feb. 11, 2008, 2:11 a.m. CST

    He was rare in so much as he was both

    by half vader

    an accomplished graphic designer AND illustrator. That's actually fairly rare. I like the E.T. one for the cheeky take on creation of Adam. And the Colour Purple one is really iconic. Actually I think I like the super graphic ones even more than the airbrushed ones. I wonder what the brief on the candy-coloured Alien one was? Lost boys is a great example of a strong (airbrushed/retouched) photo and strong colour styling (I don't think he designed the logotype it was a woman designer but please someone correct me if my lousy memory is wrong). <p> And my God - no little man running with a gun at the bottom on any of 'em!

  • Feb. 11, 2008, 2:14 a.m. CST

    Actually you got the Colour Purple one free

    by half vader

    with the soundtrack album. That was cool, and it was a great album. Can't remember the film so well though. Didn't Oprah get an Oscar or something?

  • Feb. 11, 2008, 2:23 a.m. CST

    Neither Alvin nor Ledger would be in the upcoming Oscars

    by half vader

    nor Scheider as they all died this year, and these Oscars are for 07.

  • Feb. 11, 2008, 3:01 a.m. CST

    That Alien poster....

    by Primus

    ...was that really in theaters? I've never seen it before, and I thought they would have tried to keep the monster a secret. Amazing portfolio of work though, what a man.

  • Feb. 11, 2008, 3:45 a.m. CST

    horrible day...

    by Muldoon

    this man made pieces of art. thanks for posting these

  • Feb. 11, 2008, 7:10 a.m. CST


    by Bouncy X

    it was probably used after the movie's release. you know how many movies try and hide their monsters in all the previews and such before release, and then once its out and doing well, we see it/them in all their glory. the most recent example of this is Cloverfield, you can now see the full monster in some tv spots. I do recognize that Alien poster though, it must have been used for a comic or novelization or something.

  • Feb. 11, 2008, 7:19 a.m. CST

    All those posters kick ass

    by Abominable Snowcone

    Nice work, Mr. Alvin, and thank you.

  • Feb. 11, 2008, 7:34 a.m. CST

    I don't think the Alien one was for the theaters.

    by Grammaton Cleric Binks

    Remember the theatrical one was like a split egg with a little glow coming from it. The tag line was "In space no one can hear you scream."

  • Feb. 11, 2008, 8:44 a.m. CST

    The Alien poster was for...

    by Jonah Echo

    a re-release of the film, which would have been after the initial mystery filled release with the glowing egg. After that, it would have been used to play up the iconic monster design. And, yea for showcasing the alien, thats a cool poster. Love the Red Dawn one too. Makes me want to rewatch that flick.

  • Feb. 11, 2008, 9:31 a.m. CST

    Red Dawn was the first PG-13

    by Abominable Snowcone

    I saw at the theater. I think it was the first PG-13 film released in the states. Wolverines!!

  • Feb. 11, 2008, 9:43 a.m. CST


    by Billy Batts

    I had NO idea he was responsible for all those iconic images. Makes you long for the days of real artists with an eye for composition, atmosphere and opposed to the Photoshop hack jobs that pass for movie posters these days.

  • Feb. 11, 2008, 9:48 a.m. CST

    Wasn't Dreamscape first PG-13?

    by Jonah Echo

    I had always thought that, but honestly not for sure. That was another fave from my childhood, with a cool poster that while something of a Indy ripoff, still managed to cram a ton of stuff from the movie in there and make it appealing. I'm not sure if that was Alvin or not. Ill have to pull out the dvd case and check.

  • Feb. 11, 2008, 10:01 a.m. CST

    Holy &*^$

    by rutgerman

    I did NOT know this man did ALL these iconic posters. The 3 for Aladdin, Beauty & the Beast and Little Mermaid have been in my head for years. ET? Cocoon? Oh, man...I had NO IDEA. This man created artwork that allowed us to dream about what would await us in the future. Sigh...depressed now. He will be missed.

  • Feb. 11, 2008, 11:25 a.m. CST

    Wow! Thank'ee kindly BizzaroClark and Quint.

    by morGoth

    Simply stunning body of work! I just got the Bladerunner edition for Christmas so that cover is still fresh. Such beautiful and iconic work. RIP John Alvin and thank you for bringing such beauty and art into this world. Your work will be loved and remembered forever.

  • Feb. 11, 2008, 11:25 a.m. CST


    by macgruder

    His work was amazing, looking at the breadth of his art leaves me in awe, theres nothing like the hand drawn covers of the 80's that he did, I wish this style made a comeback but I wouldnt be sad if his art style dies with him, he was a true genius when it came to posters.

  • Feb. 11, 2008, 1:32 p.m. CST

    Ah.. every movie poster ever... thats all you had to say

    by modlight

    Wow, what a talent. Not only that but you can see how much art, and knowledge of composition and color went into posters in the era before photoshop and Trajan. That being said. The Alien poster would've massively ruined the mystery behind that movie.

  • Feb. 11, 2008, 1:34 p.m. CST

    First PG-13

    by finky089

    I thought Temple Of Doom was the first to recieve this rating. If not, then it was ToD that caused them to create it.

  • Feb. 11, 2008, 1:48 p.m. CST

    Red Dawn was the first film released with a PG-13

    by Bones

    Gremlins, Dreamscape, Temple of Doom and a few others are what finally caused the rating.<p> And since then, movies have been marketed squarely at that rating, basically destroying the PG and G ratings in the process. You might not remember this, but Star Trek: The Motion Picture was rated G and it would be considered a PG rated film now.

  • Feb. 11, 2008, 2:49 p.m. CST

    Yes, Red Dawn was the first PG-13 released.

    by Grammaton Cleric Binks

    I never saw Dreamscape until years later, but I think the eyeball soup in the Temple, or whatever it was, and lot of Gremlin stuff, like the microwaved and blended gremlins probably had something to do with it.

  • Feb. 11, 2008, 3:14 p.m. CST

    Yea, it was Red Dawn

    by Jonah Echo

    IMDB says Dreamscape was second, a few weeks after this film came out. Also, if you google john alvin you'll find some more of his work, including some fantasy stuff for some projects I wasn't familar with. Also, theres a much better Pinocchio poster to his name than the one above.

  • Feb. 11, 2008, 4:11 p.m. CST

    Alien and Hook

    by Doctor Phibes

    I absolutely love that Alien poster. I have never seen it before. I do remember that poster for Hook though and how you knew exactly what to expect without any titles, catch phrases, or text of any kind. Rest In Peace.

  • Feb. 11, 2008, 5:37 p.m. CST

    Best of the best

    by Sackratte

    He did all the remarkable posters of my favourite movies! This stuff inspired me to become an artist myself.

  • Feb. 11, 2008, 6:26 p.m. CST

    That's some fine work up there...

    by Edward_nygma

    ... That Alien poster is fucking awesome. Rest in peace Mr A.

  • Feb. 11, 2008, 6:30 p.m. CST

    Yep, he rocked.

    by alienindisguise

    Looks like Drew Struzan may be the last of the traditional poster artists still working.

  • Feb. 11, 2008, 9:50 p.m. CST

    The new Bladerunner cut DOES use his art

    by half vader

    Some editions use his, some Struzan's.

  • Feb. 11, 2008, 9:52 p.m. CST

    Did he do the "Cobra" poster?

    by half vader

    It seems like his airbrushy stuff from memory. I can't find that link to his gallery, sorry.

  • Feb. 11, 2008, 9:57 p.m. CST


    by half vader

    Uh, they use photographic reference you know. Not taking anything away from the art (I do poster art myself), but yeah. It's very much a part of that whole Batman/Hook/Dick Tracy "icon" teaser era. Which I loved.

  • Feb. 11, 2008, 10:46 p.m. CST

    Wow. I'm back!

    by BigBlackDude

    I'm just happy i can still sign in after three weeks with no computer. Oh yeah, RIP bro. You were a true artist.

  • Feb. 12, 2008, 12:16 a.m. CST

    The disappearance of poster art

    by half vader

    The one thing about going to digital downloads that happened with music and will eventually happen with movies is losing great artwork. A screenrez pic just isn't the same. Sure going from records to CDs was great for many reasons and LDs to DVDs was too but the loss of album cover art and poster art is a shame. Even cinema poster art has been marginalised to the point where the only creative stuff is on the 'teaser' posters which don't seem to 'count' according to the studios (as when it comes to the 'official' poster they wuss out with the lame photoshop heads over the running guy with the gun and preferably in duotone). <p> I know the size of a DVD case is a bit wasteful in so much as it doesn't really need to be bigger than a CD but at least it maintained the basic proportions of 1-ehset art. I love the quality of Blu-ray but the in-between size of the case is an abomination! Not 1-sheet size, not album art size, but a bastard of both. It's terrible when it comes to the art on the cover. I know they can re-jig to fit with photoshop but that's not my point. They're just really ugly proportions. <p> I know this thread is waning but I just thought it was appropriate in respect to John Alvin's passing.

  • Feb. 12, 2008, 1:38 a.m. CST

    RIP dear sir

    by MGTHEDJ

    I too spent many minutes in the theatre after a movie looking at all the posters. I remember seeing that Gremlins poster, wondering what that movie was all about. The Blade Runner one-sheet is sooo iconic. I agree, that one alone gets him immortality. I hope the next Indy film has something as appropriate. Godspeed Mr. Alvin.----m