by Drew Mollo Ever since I was four years old, I have been a Ghostbusters fan. My entire childhood was inspired by the adventures of these unorthodox scientists wielding experimental and usually dangerous technology as they protected New York and the world from the supernatural and the forces of evil. I watched every episode of the acclaimed cartoon, memorized the movies, collected the toys and memorabilia to the point where I don’t know if there was ever a time it wasn’t a part of my life.
That’s the beauty of some movies, it’s not just a part of your collection; it becomes a part of who you are. I became aware of the comics in the middle of Keith Champagne’s “The Other Side” storyline and was more than ecstatic to see my favorite paranormal investigation and elimination team in my favorite medium. The world of comics allows characters and writers/artists freedom to do things that would be too expensive or time-consuming to pull off in the movies and I collected every series and issue that IDW put out. The holiday one-shots were pretty entertaining too and I thoroughly recommend the “Displaced Aggression” series for both the artwork and its hysterical and creative storyline.
So of course, I was ecstatic when I heard that there would be a new ongoing series.
Starting this past February, the book has a solid team. Artist Dan Schoenig is already a favorite for his fan art and his collaboration with James Eatock on a rejected Ghostbusters series proposal dubbed "Ghostbusters: The Lost Comic Book Pitch." Writer Erik Burnham wrote the Ghostbusters tie-in for the IDW company-wide Infestation crossover where I felt he managed to capture the character essences rather well as the guys in grey slugged it out with interdimensional zombies. So, as I said, I couldn’t have been more excited, and yet my expectations were not only met, but were exceeded and then some.
The most enjoyable part of the first issue is how fluidly it moves and, more importantly, has fun doing so. It already assumes everyone has seen the movies and is already familiar with the characters and their background. Burnham effortlessly not only connects both movies and the video game in the same universe but still finds ground to expand their story into new territory. The Ghostbusters are currently dealing with another supernatural epidemic and are warned in a roundabout sort of way that it has some connection to Gozer. While Ray and Egon deal with that mystery, Winston and Peter take on a pro-bono case with a ghost who knows them all too well. Every character is so well defined and in-line with established personalities that I caught myself laughing out loud and re-reading certain panels more than once. Every reference in the issue whether it’s Peter talking about his “kneecaps of a Champion golfer to be” or Ray’s spiritual guide, an absolutely memorable mesh of storytelling and artwork, is told without it derailing the story.
Schoenig continues this fun effortless weave with his super style as everything is drawn in an exaggerated yet realistic manner. Both him and Burnham are clearly fans of the cartoon series as I lost count of a wide number of cameos of all shapes and sizes ranging from bimbos to bogeymen. Every panel is clean and nicely detailed and it feels more like we’re reading elaborate storyboards for an excellent unreleased movie (hint, hint: any day now please) instead of a 22-page comic book.
The issue also includes a four page backup story "featuring The Real Ghostbusters" (not to be confused with The New Ghostbusters that the cover of the issue boasts) that re-introduces an infamous character who could either make the next issue easy or go to hell with the flick of a switch. The backup is drawn by Tristan Jones, an Australian writer/artist who also had his hand in an unapproved Ghostbusters comic pitch, who adds a darker, almost noir-style which serves well to remind the reader that Ghostbusters still has its dark side to it.
The fact is that it shows that both the writer and the artist love the material and the characters they are developing and it’s reflected in the work as there is something for everyone to enjoy. With such a great creative team behind them and a bold, suspenseful storyline ahead of them, I cannot express how much I look forward to the next issue. New York, what a town.
TL;DR: I'm a HUGE Ghostbusters fan and I found nothing to disappoint in the first issue of the new ongoing series from IDW. Pick it up!
The Ghostbusters issue reviewed here is #1 in a new ongoing series (sometimes called The New Ghostbusters) that IDW started in February, written by Erik Burnham with art by Dan Schoenig. Issues 1 & 2 are both available now and issue 3 will be in shops tomorrow (4/17/2013). Pick them up at your local comic book shop or on ComiXology!
EDITOR'S NOTE: Drew once tricked me into watching Ghostbusters in college simply by coming to my apartment and making us food and then going, "well as long as we're all eating dinner, let's watch something!" He's not even mildly kidding about how big a Ghostbusters fan he is. End anecdote. -B
Drew Mollo has been following comics since his childhood and his eventual investment into buying and collecting comics has been one of the best and yet most expensive decisions he ever made. He's that guy that everyone seems to know with a B.A in Ancient History and an M.S. in Publishing. Since he basically treats his comics a giant loaning library and reviews/recommends books for friends anyway, he thought writing his reviews down would be awesome. He spends his spare time writing, drawing, acting and baking and lives the crazy life one would expect from a true Ghostbuster.