(IDW Publishing, 2014)
Written by Erik Burnham
Art by Dan Schoening
Colors by Luis Antonio Delgado
“Mass Hysteria! Prelude #2”
Written by Erik Burnham
Art by Erik Evensen
Letters by Gilberto Lazcano
The Ghostbusters is a franchise near and dear to me. The original film is in my top five of all time. I love it for reasons that will probably be familiar to so many people that are in their mid-30’s. The two films, the accompanying soundtracks (“Who you gonna’ call?”) the breakfast cereal, the “Real” Ghostbusters cartoon, all of these things have coalesced into a marshamallowy shape in my mind, one snaps me back to my childhood with any mention of a line or the high-pitched Theremin-type music at the beginning of the score.
There have been comics in the past, based around the animated show and a series of one-shots from several companies, as well as an impressive run by Marvel UK. But now the Ghostbusters are back in the states with IDW. (And minus the toaster-popping pink slime.)
I’m coming into the series late, but even jumping in at issue 12 feels like coming home. Erik Schoening has such a perfect grasp of the characters and the genre that these feel as if they were written by Ramis and Akroyd. It’s the ease with which he has jumped into this role as creator and the skill that he’s done it that makes this feel like a seamless transition. It’s such a smooth change that he’s even added characters, and I, normally a stickler for the purity of the original idea, liked seeing the nuances between those guys I idolized when I was a kid and these new ‘busters.
One of the new characters is an FBI agent named Ortiz, sort of an Agent Scully to the four Mulders on the original team. There is also a younger set, a new crew of Ghostbusters, the trainees that will eventually replace the original guys. I didn’t see a lot of them in the main story, but two are featured in the short preview at the end, drawn by Erik Evensen, that teases the 30th anniversary event called “Mass Hysteria”. Look for Gozar…oh yes…the destructor, to return in a big, ghosts in the darkness way.
Issue 12 is the last in a four-issue arc called “Happy Horror Days”, in which creatures called “the bogeymen” are planning on “eating” New York’s children on New Year’s Eve in Time’s Square. The guys bust it, but not before they see some of their worst fears made real, a flashback that had me geeking out and wishing I could be in front of a DVD player watching this on the big screen.
I love the art. It’s as if Schoening captures an approximation of their physical look and at the same time incorporates the psychic feel of a character into their look. Ray has that “sweet and kinda dumb” look about him; Spengler has the “scientific” hard-nosed feel and look without the crazy white hair of the “Real” Spengler. The art is inspired, a perfect feel for the tone, scary where it needs to, light in other places.
Burnham has taken the feel of all previous incarnations of the Ghostbusters and fitted them into a beautiful comic.
It’s hard to jump into a book after 11 issues, but these guys have done such a splendid job that it’s just like watching that much talked about, often speculated third movie in the franchise. (Pray that Bill Murray signs on…) Ghostbusters is every bit as good as the original, and dare I say has the potential to be better, simply because the medium can withstand whatever stretchy, slimy, barbecued dog-hair that Burnham decides to throw at it. Cross the streams gentlemen…the door swings both ways.
Brad Gischia is a writer and artist living in the frozen Upper Peninsula of Michigan. He is married and has three kids and a dog, who all put up with his incessant prattling about comic books.