I wouldn’t call myself a huge fan of Ghostbusters. Though I enjoyed the first movie and watched the Extreme Ghostbusters cartoon as a kid, I disliked the second movie and haven’t watched the 2016 film. However, I knew I had to check out the series of one-shots celebrating the franchise’s 35th anniversary. The first one-shot, naturally, focuses on the original team of Ghostbusters consisting of Peter Venkman, Ray Spanz, Egon Spengler, and Winston Zeddemore.
Ghostbusters: 35th Anniversary-Ghostbusters #1, published by IDW Comics, written by Erik Burnham, illustrated by Dan Schoening, colored by Luis Antonio Delgado, and lettered by Neil Uteyake, finds the team discovering an ancient stone tablet. When Venkman accidentally spills water over the tablet, an angry spirit from the lost civilization of Atlantis emerges, possessing Spengler and plotting to destroy the island of Manhattan for the sins humanity has committed over the centuries. Naturally, the Ghostbusters are the only thing standing between the spirit and an impending apocalypse.
Burnham and Schoening have worked on several Ghostbusters comics in the past, so it should be no surprise that they work together like a well-oiled machine. Burnham’s script oscillates between the sardonic, mostly seen in Venkman’s lines, and the sinister as the ghost possessing Spengler looks, appropriately, like a drowned corpse. He also peppers the story with references to the first film that die-hard Ghostbusters fans will appreciate. Janine Melnitz, the Ghostbusters’ head of staff, makes an appearance and there are references to Walter Peck, head of the PCOC and the malevolent Gozer also have references within the comic. The only way it could get better is if Bill Murray and Dan Ackroyd acted out the dialogue in front of you.
Schoening’s cartoony style hooked me from the first page. At times it felt like I was watching the pilot for a new Ghostbusters cartoon. He manages to capture the likeness of the team, yet adds his own flair to it. Delgado’s colors also add to the atmosphere, particularly when the Ghostbusters confront the possessed Spengler. The eerie blue glow of the malevolent spirit will send shivers down your spine.
What I appreciate most about this comic is that it is accessible to both the longtime fans of this franchise and the newcomers. The trick with licensed material is creating a story that everyone can enjoy and thankfully even if you’ve only just watched the film, or you’re looking for a new comic series to start, this is the perfect jumping on point. Kudos to Burnham and Schoening for achieving that balancing act.
Personally, I highly recommend this comic. It manages to be spooky, funny, and action-packed all at once, just like the first movie. I definitely will be checking out the ongoing series by Burnham and Schoening, as well.
Ghostbusters: 35th Anniversary-Ghostbusters #1 is available now wherever comics are sold.
Ghostbusters 35th Anniversary: Ghostbusters #1
Ghostbusters 35th Anniversary-Ghostbusters #1 manages to be spooky, funny, and action-packed all at once.
Collier “CJ” Jennings is a freelance reporter and film critic living in Seattle. He uses his love of comics and film/TV to craft reviews and essays on genre projects. He is also a host on Into the Spider-Cast.