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Ghostbusters (IDW) #1 [Review]

Written by: Erik Burnham
Art by: Dan Schoening
Colors by: Luis Antonio Delgado
PCOC Pages by: Tristan Jones
Letters by: Shawn Lee
Associate Edits by: Bobby Curnow
Edits by: Tom Waltz

I vaguely recall picking up a premiere issue of a Ghostbusters series a few years back…maybe 2004 or so. Unfortunately, I never kept up with it, and pretty much lost track of the property again. Earlier this year, I was ever so slightly reintroduced to the Ghostbusters through the 2-issue micro-series tie-in to the Infestation event. And now, here…a premiere issue, picking up with the characters, sometime after the films.

The lead story of the issue introduces us to the characters where they are in the present…and even though it’s been years since I’ve even seen the films…these felt like those characters. After introductions are out of the way, things get moving, as a series of interactions lead to Winston taking on a pro bono case and dragging Peter into it…where they find themselves faced with a familiar ghost messing up an apartment building.

After this lead story ends on its cliffhanger, we’re given a brief scene as officials discuss the need for someone to oversee the activities of the Ghostbusters and those like them, inducting an old face to head the group: the Paranormal Contracts Oversight Commission.

I’m not familiar offhand with Erik Burnham, at least not consciously by name. Which I think makes this that much more an enjoyable read: I’m here for the Ghostbusters, period. Not the Ghostbusters as written by _______. And as said above…reading this issue, I really got the feeling these are the characters from the films, with a touch of the animated series The Real Ghostbusters. Burnham seems to have a great grasp on these characters, and does a fantastic job of reintroducing me to them, setting up the current status quo, and introducing the group’s first threat here.

Schoening‘s art reminds me a lot of contemporary cartoons…rather stylized and not terribly realistic…but not devolved into goofy caricature. He makes these characters his own…and yet manages to capture the essense of the actors who’d portrayed them. The coloring seems a bit heavy and computerized, almost too “shiny” overall for my tastes. That makes me wonder what the art would look like in strict black and white…probably have a definite manga feel to it at that point. Despite the extra shininess…really can’t complain, as mixed with the writing, this was an enjoyable story overall with a nice cliffhanger.

Jones‘ scene at the end provides an interesting concept, and I look forward to seeing how this aspect of things will play out in the coming issues. The writing and the art have a much more serious, gritty feel to them than the lead…but that makes this work. It’s a much different style than the lead feature…but then, it feels like it could be setting up its own series set in the Ghostbusters universe; Sort of like a Marvel Knights to the Marvel Universe, for lack of a better analogy offhand. Same universe, fits together, but quite different…yet a good mix.

Even with my “limited engagement” with Infestation: Ghostbusters a few months back…this is the third IDW book in the last couple months to fully engage me, hook me, and leave me very much anticipating the next issue.

If you’re familiar with the Ghostbusters, this ought to be a fun ride, checking back in to the characters with a fresh-ish start. At the same time, if you don’t know the characters…this seems a solid point to jump in.


Story: 8/10
Art: 8/10
Whole: 8.5/10

Booking Through Thursday: Loud

btt button

1. What do you think of reading aloud/being read to? Does it bring back memories of your childhood? Your children’s childhood?

2. Does this affect the way you feel about audio books?

3. Do you now have times when you read aloud or are read to?

1. These days, being read to is mostly awkward, at least in person. When I know they’re reading something TO me longform, I find I prefer to read it myself. Doesn’t really bring back memories…moreso just raises the issue of social awkwardness.

2. Nope…I love audiobooks, and they’re the main way I get through most books these days–because I can listen at work. But there, if I ignore the audio/tune it out briefly and all that, I don’t have a person right there expecting (and rightly so!) me to hang on every word.

3. Not if I can help it. Maybe a quote/very brief passage. Most people don’t appreciate what I’m reading, or aren’t in the mood for it. And if I read aloud to myself…I’d probably just be creeping people out, wasting breath, and feeling awkward at even the possibility of drawing undue attention to myself.

And because last week, I forgot it was Thursday until it was almost Friday, here’s my response for last week’s prompt:

Do you carry books with you when you’re out and about in the world?

And, do you ever try to hide the covers?

That depends on how we define ‘out and about in the world.’

I try to always have something handy to read. At home, I have more books than I’m ever gonna actually get around to reading, I think. I usually try to keep at least one book in whatever vehicle I’m driving–that way, if I get stranded somewhere, I have something onhand to read. I also try to keep something at work as “backup” so if I forget to take anything in with me to read, I have it as a fallback to read. And I tend to carry something between home and work that I’m actively “trying” to read or in the process of reading. I also often grab something “extra” to take with me for any weekend visits anywhere.

Now that I have an iphone, I have at least a half-dozen books saved on the device between a couple e-book-readers, and so long as I have a data signal, I’m good for internet browsing–typically browsing twitter for interesting links to read. Having the phone and doing the internet reading on it has significantly cut into my reading time–I often wind up not even getting to my book on breaks at work.

Carrying books out of this apartment–no, I don’t try to hide the covers. It may LOOK like I do–a habit I’ve developed in quick transport for comics is to drop my reading material into a plastic shopping back, pull the bag tight, and wrap the excess around so I’m holding the book or comics or graphic novel, but with plastic protectively around it, protecting against weather, other elements, and just so I don’t worry about covers getting bent or other travel damage.

I met one of my best friends by “openly reading” in public, and have had some interesting conversations with people who approach me and use whatever I’m reading as an icebreaker.

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