Jamil Scalese: We ain’t afraid of no crossovers!
Like the ghosts they bust this franchise refuses to dissipate from the modern zeitgeist. The 1984 Ghostbusters is a true classic, evident in the fact that not one, but two, Ghostbusters reboots are in the works. I remember as the kid the movie was absolutely fascinating to me, one of those rare piece of entertainment popular with both adults and kids. That film was a big part of my childhood and that’s pretty amazing because I wasn’t born until 1986! Thanks, cable and VHS
While Ghostbusters (and its poor sequel) were go-to flicks in my youth I distinctly remember watching, and loving, The Real Ghostbusters, and if I’m really real about it that cartoon probably had a lot more to do with my affection for Venkman, Egon, Slimer and the rest than anything else. Though I can barely remember any of the episodes I recall being enamored with the show’s cleverness, the way it spun the vague occult theme and general horror tropes into all types of zany plots. My love of comics have roots in the semi-serialized animation of my lil’ kid days, and I can guarantee The Real Ghostbusters factored heavily into that formula.
When I first discovered this comic’s existence (last week) I didn’t know if I should dabble. I’ve read some of Erik Burnham’s Ghostbusters stuff (as well as his TMNT and Galaxy Quest comics) and while sound I’ve never been too impressed. In some ways, that trend continues, this will hardly set the word on fire, but for lovers of the franchise, and there’s a lot of us, the first issue of this miniseries is damn fine read.
Julia Walchuk: I also grew up watching and rewatching Ghostbusters and I was born in 1993, so I think it’s clear that Ghostbusters is a movie that has stuck. I still consider it to be one of my favorite movies of all time, next to Jurassic Park and Fight Club, and it is part of my carefully curated movie collection. Ghostbusters is the perfect amount of goofiness with enough actual horror mixed in to make the seven year old me unable to sleep for weeks. That scene with the hands coming out of the chair, yikes. The 22 year old me isn’t so scared anymore, but I still love watching Ghostbusters and making all of my friends who haven’t seen it yet watch it with me.
Unlike you, Jamil, I never really saw the cartoon, but I was aware of it. My grandma had a picture book based off of The Real Ghostbusters and I distinctly remember being confused by Egon’s blonde hair. What I really loved about Ghostbusters: Get Real was how it held on to the original feeling of whimsy and fun that the original movie has. There is kind of an effortless charm that Ghostbusters managed to pull off that the second movie definitely did not. This has made me trepidatious about any Ghostbuster spin-offs or sequels. The Ghostbusters sequel was just so bad. But! The comic gave me hope and was an incredibly enjoyable read.
The first scene that shows The Real Ghostbusters walking around the Ghostbusters office is so great. For most people, it wouldn’t be a first instinct that your work space was rearranged due to supernatural activity, but of course that’s the first thing that comes to their minds. And then using the discrepancies in Slimer’s character as the catalyst for The Real Ghostbusters discovering that things might be even weirder than they thought – genius. The two teams of Ghostbusters have so many similarities, yet just enough differences to make their interactions hilarious and clever. I loved this first issue and now I want to start watching the TV show!
Jamil: The true test of this series will be elevating it from novel idea to great plot. The team-up of two Ghostbusters teams from different mediums is awesome, a hell of a hook, but is there enough of a difference between the two groups to tell a good story? Burnham touches on what might be a slight juxtaposition: the Real Ghostbusters inherent cartoon cleanliness and silliness versus the tad more PG-13 comic version. That confrontation with the comic “Slimer” points directly to that as the Real team is confused as to why their slobbering, good-natured buddy is locked up. That’s a really heady move by Burnham because I can remember as a kid being kind of confused and later upset that the movie version of Slimer was just a gross green ghost as opposed to affable hot mess toony version.
What makes this issue work so well is Dan Schoening and Luis Antonio Delgaldo. The former has served as Burnham’s other the guiding hand of IDW’s kooky quartet. The clashing of the teams succeeds because of the diversity in visual style between the comic and cartoon worlds and Schoening does a splendid job mixing his own approach with that of the late 80’s show. It’s super awesome seeing the old school “animation” right next to the more modern and stylized comic book team. Accenting that is colorist Delgaldo’s ability to capture the faded, slightly opaque look of the cartoon as well as the “drabber” aura of the comic realm.
The villain of the story, the god Proteus, is a cool choice as the foe and per my research (a Google search and a couple of clicks) the plot of this is co-opted from an actual (Keith Giffen-penned) episode of The Real Ghostbusters. That’s fan service I can get behind.
Julia: I agree, Jamil, that this is a really great start to a series, but it will take some work to keep it going and keep it interesting. When you have a story centered around dopplegangers, you have to make sure that the similarities don’t become wearing on the readers. However, based on the excitement and intrigue of this first issue, I have high hopes that this series won’t fall flat.
I also think that this series provides interesting commentary on the differences between comics and cartoons. A lot of people I know who haven’t read many comics and who try to understand what I spend all of my time doing have immediately jumped to the connection that comics are like the cartoons that they grew up watching. While this might be true for some comics, Ghostbusters: Get Real shows how different comics and cartoons can really be. It does it subtly and with humor, but the message is definitely there.
Jamil: It’s a little bit of a nod to one of the most consistent problem plaguing the medium: whether to market to kids and/or adults, or try more for all-ages material. The 1984 Ghostbusters was brilliant in its kid-like tone and winking adult humor, a formula that a successes like Adventure Time and Pixar utilize, and lets hope that the upcoming movie doesn’t lose that.
I agree, Julia, this issue is a good indicator of the quality and drive of the rest of the miniseries. I’ll definitely scoop the next issue.