I Still Ain’t ‘fraid… – A Ghostbusters, Vol. 1 Review
By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder
I want to marry this book.
A bold statement, I know. But look at it from my perspective. Good Ghostbuster comics are hard to find. Prior to this book, the best one I’d ever read was the somewhat controversial Legion story done by 88 Mph Studios. Everything else, including the work IDW Publishing did with the franchise leading up to this new ongoing series, was strictly okay. I don’t care how good a writer you are, chances are you can’t match comedic chops with the likes of Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd. So much of what made those movies as amazing as they are dealt with the wit, timing and delivery of the performers, and you can’t necessarily convey that in a comic book. With that in mind, a Ghostbusters comic is essentially at a disadvantage from the start.
What Erik Burnham, Dan Schoening, Tristan Jones, and the folks over at IDW have done here is very special. They’ve proven that, while you can’t necessarily match wits with Bill Murray and the others, you can create something that’s worthy of them, and what they created with Ghostbusters.
In this four-issue story, a minion of Gozer (the Sumerian god the boys faced in the original film) is out for revenge on behalf of his master. At the heart of this new conflict is Ray, who was directly responsible for Gozer’s Earthly manifestation as the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, and thus his destruction. Ray and the boys in gray must now keep the peace in New York City, or face a much different, much worse incarnation of Gozer.
It’s evident from the very first page that this book is being done by “ghostheads.” The book is filled with little tributes and winks for die hard Ghostbuster fans, including two appearances by none other than John Belushi (or at least a character that looks exactly like Belushi)! Another late actor, who was originally to have played the Louis Tully character, makes an appearance later in the book as well. This book is clearly a labor of love. Considering how much love I have for these characters and this world, it’s that much more enjoyable for me.
I also love that the characters sound like themselves, which may be this book’s greatest accomplishment. I’ve said previously that a Ghostbuster comic is only as good as its Venkman, and this is the best Venkman you’ll find that’s not done by Bill Murray. It doesn’t necessarily feel like Murray, but it’s close enough, and that’s good enough. Egon is really strong too.
Dan Schoening’s art is also a beautiful sight. I always want to pick at the way prior artists have drawn Peter, Ray and the others, as they usually don’t look much like the actors that played them. But of course, you’ve (presumably) got legal issues there. This series gets around that by presenting the characters in a stripped down cartoon style, which is so much fun to look at. I suppose you could call it a nice middle ground between the movies and The Real Ghostbusters cartoon, but that doesn’t necessarily do it justice.
As a hardcore ghosthead, there’s not much I can throw at this book from a complaint standpoint. I suppose the one thing I can throw at it is the fact that it went back to Gozer, as opposed to coming up with a more original conflict for the boys to face. But when you consider the fact that Gozer is not only the boys’ most infamous foe, but somebody that casual fans will likely remember, it makes sense to go with him/her.
Ghostbusters is near the top of my stack every week it comes out, as it deserves to be. I give everybody working on this book unequivocal props for creating a Ghostbusters book that finally gets it right.
Front page image from mtv.com. Image 1 from drawmein.com. Image 2 from comixology.com.
For more Ghostbusters, check out Blatant Insubordination: Should I Be ‘Fraid of a Sequel?