If you think that Mondo, the Austin, Texas-based pop culture brand, is only staggeringly beautiful alternate movie posters, well, think again. The company, owned by the Alamo Drafthouse, has expanded in recent years and now includes pins, collectables, apparel, and vinyl record soundtracks. It’s these records that have served as some of the most wonderful items in the company’s portfolio, especially when it comes to reissues or soundtracks that are appearing on the format for the very first time. (Their recent “Mission: Impossible – Fallout” vinyl is a jaw-dropper; get it now with a plutonium core colorway.) So you can imagine how thrilled we are to exclusively debut that they will have a brand-new edition of Alan Silvestri's “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” score that will be on sale at San Diego Comic Con later this month, along with two new ‘Roger Rabbit’ pins by artist Craig Drake.
We spoke with Mo Shafeek, record label manager for Mondo, who confirms that this will be the first time that the “Who Framed Roger Rabbit” soundtrack has been in print on vinyl in 30 years. “Like a lot of pressings from that time period. ‘88/’89 was the beginning of the CD era. I didn’t even realize it had a vinyl pressing until I discovered it as a thrift store. I don’t know how many were made back then. The soundtrack industry was so weird in ‘88/’89,” Shafeek said. There were hit soundtracks from that period (he cited “Top Gun” and “Batman”) but this was decidedly weirder, a “Disney live-action/animation hybrid.” He admitted: “I don’t know how widely available it was at the time.”
One of the things that has notoriously slowed down (if not outright canceled) many projects related to the property is the unique rights/licensing agreements that were forged during the movie’s production, insuring that executive producer Steven Spielberg had just as much say (if not more) than Disney. “We knew it was an uphill battle. We’ve been very lucky in that we’ve developed a positive relationship with Disney. It came together organically but it took a while,” Shafeek said.
This new soundtrack is the same one that was released, however marginally, more than 30 years ago.
“‘Roger Rabbit’ was a title where we felt like it would be an honor just to reissue it like it was in ’88. One, because it’s been widely out-of-print for so long and two, it’s a great soundtrack. There’s a real beauty to the originally sequenced album,” Shafeek said. “The ‘Valiant and Valiant’ theme is one of my favorite Alan Silvestri’s compositions and it’s featured like a single. It’s a cool blend of two of the themes they use for Eddie. There are a couple of things like that on the soundtrack. It’s a great, condensed version of the score, which is I think sometimes overlooked when discussed the beauty of these expanded soundtracks. It’s like, yeah, you could use everything but a lot of times people worked hard to make the best, most listenable version of this album.” And anyone who loves the original soundtrack knows what a great album it actually is.
Of course, as with any Mondo project, the artwork is just as important as anything else, and Shafeek supervises the art that goes into each Mondo vinyl release. “You always try to find an artist who fits the style and the vibe you’re going for. As a fan of this film, I’ve always viewed it as one of my favorite noir films. So I wanted it to feel like a cool, smoky noir without leaning too heavily on those tropes,” Shafeek said. He found his artists in Stan & Vince, a pair of French illustrators who had done posters for Mondo. “I didn’t know how they would approach rendering well-known and iconic animated characters, so seeing that it was faithful but through-their-lens, it came out gorgeous,” Shafeek said.
Another super nifty bit of the packaging: a reproduction of the Acme’s will prop that appears in the film. This bit of the package was a bit of a necessity, as there are sometimes additional credits that won’t fit on the sleeve, which Shafeek said, “might as well be a nod to the universe.” He scoured the internet trying to find if the original prop was up for sale. It wasn’t. But he did still manage to track down some high-res photos of it when it was on the auction block and went about faithfully recreating Roger’s lipstick crawl. Shafeek also promised that there’s even some “hidden” text on there as well, a reference to the will being written in invisible ink.
The record was pressed in two colorways: a “Dip” variant that looks like the toxic substance that Judge Doom devises to kill toons (made up of turpentine, acetone, and benzene as you’ll recall), which will be available exclusively at Comic Con and limited to 1,000 copies. Like the regular edition, it'll retail for $25. (Should there be any left, Shafeek assured us, they’d go online after the convention.) There’s also a colorway meant to appropriate Jessica’s dress. So either version that you go home with will be a winner.
But that’s not all! There are a pair of enamel pins, perfect to accessorize your summertime jean jacket, designed by noted artist Craig Drake (see them below). One features Roger, the other Jessica, surrounded by a halo of rings from the Maroon Cartoon title cards. Chef’s kiss!
As always, stop by the Mondo booth (#435) starting on Wednesday night, for all sorts of surprises and delights.