“Ghostbusters - The Only Comic Book I Need to Read”

June 9, 2012

If you’ve read some of my other ledger entries, you’ve likely read me sing the praises of the now ongoing IDW Ghostbusters comic book. Well this ledger is dedicated solely for this comic series and all its greatness. I will cover all nine issues that have been released thus far, and go over some of the points I enjoyed the most. I will try to keep most of this entry spoiler free, but there are no guarantees.

Issues 1 through 4 - The Tale of The Third

The series starts out with our old friend Gozer wanting to return to our plane of existence, but it wants a new form. This can be done, though it requires a new minion of Gozer, The Third named Idulnas. The team also has to figure out what has been increasing the strength of, what should normally be, weak spirits.

Issue 1 starts with a nicely done dream sequence of Ray’s, which foreshadows what is coming, as well as giving Ray a warning from his Blue’s Brother. This scene was well done and I loved the inclusion of John Belushi as Ray’s sort of guardian. The next good point is the small part where Janosz’s family is mentioned, specifically his nephew. The child worries that his family is cursed, thanks to the actions of his uncle, but it’s Winston that puts the kid’s worries at ease. This is a great moment showing the heart & soul of the team in Winston. There’s a small mention of Peter wanting to golf, which is a nice wink to Bill Murray loving golf, as well as a Caddyshack nod. At the end of the issue we are introduced to the new Paranormal Contracts Oversight Commission for NYC, and the familiar pencil-neck who is placed in charge.

Favorite Real Ghostbusters Easter Egg - The P.K.E. Meter Winston uses shows the old Kenner Toys P.K.E. Meter sticker screen.

Issue 2 picks up with Winston & Peter taking care of our favorite green spud, and trapping him by using their wit. As we later see the team back at the Firehouse, the grudge between Peter & Slimer is kept in tack, and I love seeing this. Another strong plus for the series is shown next when the team is going on a call in Queens. Instead of skipping the guys driving, we stay with them and see the conversations they have while heading to the call. This always worked well in The Real Ghostbusters, and it works just the same here. I do find it very funny that when the team arrives to the call in Queens, the that guy runs up and tells them his apartment is “Bigger on the inside”. Hmm, IDW is the same comic company that puts out the Doctor Who comics. Is it too much to think that our GB comic team are also Whovians, and this line was their wink to other Doctor Who fans?

Favorite Real Ghostbusters Easter Egg - Look for a shirt that says “Melachi & the Ragtime Blues”. A nod to the episode “Play Them Ragtime Boos”.

It’s in issue 3 that we are formally introduced to Ron & Jimmy. They are what I call the “Smart Plot”. It’s not Smart as in intellect, but as in Paul Smart. Fans of The Real Ghostbusters will remember who Paul Smart was, what he wanted & did, and what he caused. So I have decided to just call these two & their plans the “Smart Plot”. It’s a plot that is only visited once every four or so issues, and I sure hope it is leading to a very big event.

This issue also once again brings up the point of there needing to be Ghostbusters Franchises; taking from the 2009 Video Game. This is referenced in many more issues, and I would truly love to see another franchise shown at some point in the future. There is a scene where our heroes are confronted by Peck, and Janine comes their rescue. I am thrilled any time that Janine stands up for the guys. Their work is never fully respected by many, and having their harsh secretary stand up for them just makes me smile and say, “Heck yeah!”. Moving forward, we get a couple of pages that show the Containment Room & Containment Unit. Both of these are not as shown in the first movie, but match perfectly the way they were shown in The Real Ghostbusters. Words cannot express how beautiful this looks to a diehard RGB fan. The next big fight for our team takes place in Times Square and is excellent. All the scenes are done wonderfully and it is PACKED with Easter Eggs. The ending for the issue, with Spate’s Catalog, is one what just leaves you bug eyed.

Favorite Real Ghostbusters Easter Egg - Look for the Earps hanging out at a bar with a Six Guns Ovar Tombstone Banner, a nod to the episode “Ghost Fight at the O.K. Corral”.

Issue 4 picks up with Ray’s peril, but he is once again given assistance by his Blues Brother. The others prepare themselves for the fight against Idulnas & Gozer by suiting up with some new & familiar equipment. I highly enjoy the comic team working in new & familiar Ghostbusting gear. It helps the authenticity, and shows that the Ghostbusters  don’t just sit around all day when they are not busting ghosts. The Paranormal Storm in the sky and the entire Gozerian Temple scene are beautiful. . .in a creepy “end of the world” way. The ending to this first adventure is enjoyable, and messy as well.

Favorite Real Ghostbusters Easter Egg - You will find a toy of a Skeleton flying a Plane. This is a homage to the original Real Ghostbusters pilot that was shown to launch the show, and later used for promotional material.

Issues 5 through 7 - BrainBug Fun Land

Our next story is a three-parter that covers a Manitou Ghost brought into being in the 1600s. It comes out of hibernation every generation to feed on a human soul of greed and darkness. So when it pops up this time, it happens in a family theme park in upstate New York.

Issue 5 begins our tale and does a nice job of opening at the theme park, and giving us a creepy looking kid. Meanwhile back in the city, we see Peter & Egon having to meet the new psychical requires Peck as placed on them. After they finish exercising we see that Egon acts odd after noticing someone at a street corner, yet looses sight of the individual quickly. Next we get to see that Ray’s Occult Shop is still open and running, and it’s even got a familiar face working the store; Kylie Griffin. As the team is sent via plane upstate, it’s once again great to see Ray & Egon doing research on the area they are being sent to, and the history of such occurrences. We end with the boys being trapped inside the theme park from Hell.

Favorite Real Ghostbusters Easter Egg - You’ll find Dr. Crowley and his assistant Fairweather in a street crowd. These two are from the Primetime Episode, and one of my favorites, “The Halloween Door”.

Issue 6 starts up with Ray getting a call from Kylie as she has found the information they need to know. She informs Ray of the Native American Medicine Man that brought this spirit into existence, and how once a generation his appears, takes over a section of land, finds a soul and devours it. This scene works great by showing that the team has a wider network of helpers than just Janine at the Firehouse. As the guys split up and make their way through the park, we are given some very fine artwork in all the haunted park rides and scenery. Peter & Ray have some nicely written banter when discussing Egon’s recent odd behavior. When the team finally confronts the possessed boy and speak with the ghost, it is very nice to have the spirit point out the reasons why it would not feed on Winston, Ray or Egon. The ending gives us that, “oh boy” feeling.

It’s also in issue 6 that we come back to the “Smart Plot”. We see that Ron has somehow managed to find someone, who has stolen the blueprints needed. This adds suspense to this slowly growing & evolving back burner story.

Favorite Real Ghostbusters Easter Egg - One of the haunted rides in the park is the green winged dragon beast ride from “The Boogeyman is Back”, which fits perfectly.

In issue 7 we spend a great deal of time inside Peter’s mind, as our fearless leader sits down and talks with the Manitou Ghost. I really enjoy all these scenes and think it was a great decision. The way Peter stays calm & cool against the ghost is spot on with how he was portrayed in the films & The Real Ghostbusters (and why I relate to him so much). On the outside as the others get the captured tourist out, the constructs the ghost comes up with are excellent creations and look fantastic. The final showdown between Peter & the ghost is brilliant, and proves that Peter is a lot smarter than anyone would ever give him credit for. With the ghost beaten, Dr. Venkman does end up in the hospital from a fall in the fight, but the ending of the comic gives some well written comedy.

Favorite Real Ghostbusters Easter Egg - In Peter’s mind, in the background you’ll find the box of Marshmallow covered coveralls, from the guy’s first battle with Gozer. These are from my all time favorite episode “Citizen Ghost”.

Issues 8 - The Man Who Holds the Hands of Death

Issue 8 is stand alone, but a very well written and driven stand alone. It is told from Egon’s point of view as he tries to solve the mystery of the continued increase in ghost strength, and the connection with the person he saw in Issue 5.

We start out at an elderly home with our brave Ghostbusters having to take down the ghost of a woman who was just wanting her son to come and visit her & her cat. However, this normally easy ghost proved stronger than she should have been. We see Egon going to extreme lengths to try and solve this mystery, and it works great as you know Egon is one to not stop until he has the answers he needs. After working out at a gym, Egon finally puts the pieces together and knows what he has to do. However, on his way back to the Firehouse, he happens to run into. . .well. . .kinda. . .well let me put it this way. He runs into Janine and someone who will leave your jaw on the floor and you will laugh. When Egon does return to the Firehouse, he states that he needs to get to New Jersey. This allows for a classic, Real Ghostbusters style joke, as Peter explains that no one NEEDS to get to New Jersey. I love this joke, and it brings that great RGB feel. What Egon ultimately finds in New Jersey is a 100% brilliant tale, and best of all, the ending leaves you feeling just the same as Egon feels.

There is a bonus story done by Tristan Jones that adds SOO much more. It is a wonderful story that will send shivers down your spine and helps take the entire issue to a higher level of enjoyment.

Favorite Real Ghostbusters Easter Egg - The house Egon arrives at in New Jersey is actually Mrs. Roger’s house from “Mrs. Roger’s Neighborhood”.

Issues 9 through 12- Haunted America 4 Part Series

(Note: Issue Order is actually Winston #9, Egon #10, Peter #11 & Ray #12)

The latest issue begins the journey of the Ghostbusters making their way across the United States to handle cases in other states. With the increase in paranormal activity growing, other states have asked for the Ghostbusters, and Peck has been happy to lease them out.

We begin issue 9 by seeing that Peck has financial reasons for sending the Ghostbusters on this road trip. This continues to add to Peck’s political worm persona, and makes you just growl when you see him. As the team is making their way to Detroit, we see them take on a classic Crybaby Bridge haunting. It’s here that we learn Peter wanted to fly, but instead they are going by Ecto RV & Ecto-1A. The Ecto RV is a visual masterpiece and utilizes the Containment Unit from the first movie, or as it is now described as, a portable ECU. After meeting with the mayor of Detroit, the guys head out to take care of an army of ghost soldiers. The way Ray makes his way into the fort and gathers information is funny, especially when we learn the leader wants to invade a country close to Mr. Aykroyd's heart. When it’s showtime, Peter’s plan has an awesome Real Ghostbusters feel to it. As Ray & Winston handle the lead ghost, it is very nice to see Winston’s caring nature help put a peaceful end to the scene.

There is a scene in the middle of the issue where we return to Ron & Jimmy in the “Smart Plot”. We see that Ron has managed to create his own equipment from the stolen blueprints. Though after the most recent test, it seems that he hasn’t quite figured everything out yet. This leaves you with a few smirks and the thought, “not as easy as you thought, huh smarty?”

This issue has another bonus story done again by Tristan Jones. This story is told from Peter’s viewpoint mostly, and continues the tale of the team making their way cross country. It’s a nice extra and good to see the continued reference of franchising the business, and why it hasn’t been done yet.

Favorite Real Ghostbusters Easter Egg - You’ll notice that there are Gremlins in the auto factory, thus a big nod to the episode “Don’t Forget the Motor City”.

Those ladies & gentlemen are the nine issues of the IDWs ongoing Ghostbusters Comics. They are all excellent masterpieces. It was an absolute joy reading the issues again to prepare for this ledger. There is never a point when the story in any of the issues drag. All the dialog is brilliantly written, so much so, that I find myself hearing the voices from The Real Ghostbusters saying the lines in my mind. With Dan Schoening’s amazing art style, and great RGB Easter Eggs, there is no way you can’t not enjoy this series. Erik Burnham, Dan Schoening, Luis Antonio Delgado, Tristan Jones, Neil Uyetake & Tom Waltz really do all put 110% effort into making this the absolute best comic it can be.

I must say, this team has done what has not been done since The Real Ghostbusters left the air. This comic book team has created an ongoing Ghostbusters story series that is entertaining, funny, exciting and captures all the love & enjoyment of the films & cartoons. This comic series, ladies & gentlemen, is the best Ghostbusters story telling you will find available now. Words can never fully express how much I love reading these comics month after month. I want to thank everyone who works on this series, and I’m sure all the stories you still have to tell will only continue to get better. Thank you.



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