Documentary Review: Ghostheads (2016)

Release Date: July 15th, 2016
Directed by: Brendan Mertens
Music by: John Avarese
Cast: William Atherton, Dan Aykroyd, Matt Cardona (Zack Ryder), Dave Coulier, Paul Feig, Kurt Fuller, Ernie Hudson, Ivan Reitman, James Rolfe, Jennifer Runyon, Sigourney Weaver

Double Windsor Films, Patchwork Media, Don’t Quit Your Day Job, 73 Minutes

Review:

There are a lot of specific fandoms out there. In this day and age with crowdfunding, it seems like all of them have their own documentaries. That’s cool though, as I find myself as a part of many different fandoms. Maybe not to the extent of the people in these sort of documentaries but I’m always down to hear from people that share one of my many passions.

I’ve loved Ghostbusters almost my entire life. I first saw it at five or six years-old and I was hooked. Between the two movies, the animated series and the toys, I spent a lot of time with my imagination locked into the Ghostbusters world.

What’s impressive about this specific fandom documentary, however, is that it actually interviews a lot of the people who were involved in the films and in the genesis of the franchise’s creation.

It’s cool hearing from the actors, the filmmakers and even voice actors from the cartoon.

Beyond that, this also focuses on the fans, as most fandom documentaries do because that’s sort of the point.

All in all, it seems like these films are a dime a dozen. But this is definitely one of the better ones I’ve seen.

The Ghostbusters fan community really goes all out on the cosplay and in trying to deck out their own personal vehicles to resemble the iconic Ecto-1. It’s hard not to appreciate that sort of enthusiasm.

Rating: 6/10
Pairs well with: other documentaries about specific fandoms.

Comic Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Ghostbusters 2

Published: February 28th, 2018
Written by: Erik Burnham, Tom Waltz
Art by: Dan Schoening
Based on: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird, Ghostbusters by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis

IDW Publishing, 132 Pages

Review:

It’s not this particular comic’s fault but I think I’m suffering from IP crossover fatigue. I’ve read a ton of crossovers between different intellectual properties over the last year or so and they all follow the same tired formula of smashing two franchise together via a portal or a dimensional rift whether it be through science or magic.

That was how these two franchises came together in the first place and that’s also how they come back together for a second time. So I can’t fault it as a plot device here, it’s already been established. However, with that trope, we also get other tropes with stories like this that make them all pretty predictable and just more of the same.

Now this was still amusing and I enjoyed the banter between the characters. However, the story itself felt like a clusterfuck. The main reason, is that it takes this portal/rift trope and multiplies it by a thousand.

There is so much dimensional jumping that the plot becomes overly complicated and confusing. It’s like someone took an entire season of the show Sliders and tried to wedge them all into a five issue comic book arc.

Crossovers like this used to feel cool and special. But there are so many of them and IDW is a big part of the problem, as they own the publishing rights to so many franchises. When the regular comics don’t sell, you smash the titles together and try to capitalize. It worked for awhile. I just don’t think it’s working anymore.

Props to Dan Schoening on the art though. This was a nice book to look at in that regard.

Rating: 5.25/10
Pairs well with: other IDW collections for both Ghostbusters and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Comic Review: IDW Deviations

Published: 2017
Written by: various
Art by: various
Based on: Judge Dredd by John Wagner and Carlos Ezquerra, The X-Files by Chris Carter, Ghostbusters by Ivan Reitman, Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis, G.I. Joe by Hasbro, Transformers by Hasbro, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird, My Little Pony by Bonnie Zacherle, Star Trek by Gene Roddenberry

IDW Publishing, 356 Pages

Review:

So IDW decided to do their own version of Marvel’s What If?… series and DC’s Elseworlds tales. Except, IDW doesn’t have really any creations of their own, at least none that anyone really seems to care about. Instead, they are most known for printing comics of intellectual properties that they pay for publishing rights to have.

This series of one-shots gave us “what if” tales for Judge Dredd, G.I. Joe, Transformers, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Star Trek, X-Files, Ghostbusters and My Little Pony.

At their best, there were a few issues that were simply, okay. But most of these were terrible. And they weren’t terrible for one reason, they had just about everything going wrong for them.

In fact, the only two of these that I would give a passing grade to are Donny Cates’ take on Star Trek, which is still a poor effort considering Cates’ caliber, as well as the Transformers one, which gave us an alternate take on the events of the original animated motion picture.

The worse one of the lot was the one I was most excited for: G.I. Joe. It was a big, lame, unfunny joke that poked at some of the franchise’s tropes but did so without the writer having a single funny bone in their entire body. I’ve never not laughed so hard.

This was something that had potential, could have given us some really cool results and honestly, shouldn’t have been that hard to write at even a passable level. IDW has lost their fucking way, man. I guess it’s no surprise that the company is up shit’s creek, now getting bailouts from Marvel on their D-list comic books.

Frankly, I’m pissed I paid for these issues.

Rating: 3.5/10
Pairs well with: the IDW 20/20, Infestation and Revolution events, as well as some of the IDW crossovers.

Comic Review: IDW 20/20 – Ghostbusters

Published: January 16th, 2019
Written by: Erik Burnham
Art by: Dan Schoening
Based on: Ghostbusters by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis

IDW Publishing, 40 Pages

Review:

“Who ya gonna call?”

Probably not the Ghostbusters twenty years later, as they’ll just send this other team that isn’t as exciting or as capable as the real deal.

This wasn’t a bad read but it was a pretty boring one. It lacked any sort of energy and maybe I’m supposed to know who these new characters are but I don’t and this doesn’t do much to make me care about them.

I picked this up because I liked the concept of IDW’s 20/20 event, which sees beloved franchises either rewind or fast forward 20 years.

The original Ghostbusters are here but they’re old, moody and pretty much don’t do anything other than show up to make a cameo. They totally could have gone an Old Man Logan route with this and it would have worked better than this did.

The art is okay, the story is just meh and this just feels like it was rushed out just to celebrate IDW’s 20th anniversary.

Rating: 5.5/10
Pairs well with: other IDW 20/20 comics, as well as Ghostbusters comics.

Comic Review: Mars Attacks the Real Ghostbusters

Published: January 16, 2013
Written by: Erik Burnham
Art by: Ray Dillon, Jose Holder
Based on: Mars Attacks! by Topps, Ghostbusters by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis

IDW Publishing, 24 Pages

Review:

This was too short. It would have been much better had it, at the very least, been stretched out to the size of an annual or a double issue. 24 pages just wasn’t enough space to let this breathe.

Still, it was a hell of a fun read and imaginative.

This ties the Mars Attacks aliens with the famous Orson Welles War of the Worlds broadcast. Those aliens crash and die. Years later, the Ghostbusters are called in because the Martians are back. But they’re not just back, they’re Martian ghosts! Seriously, how cool is that?

Anyway, this is also The Real Ghostbusters, which are based on the original Ghostbusters film but went on to have their own rich and exciting mythos, sort of evolving into their own separate thing. I loved The Real Ghostbusters when I was a kid and this just reminded me of how strong that love was. Frankly, this made me want to go back and revisit the cartoon.

Not a lot happens here though and that goes back to my comment about this being too short. Aliens crash, fast-forward several decades, the Ghostbusters arrive to fight ghost aliens, ghost aliens try to escape, their ship explodes, Venkman wants to get paid.

This was an amusing peek into both franchises in comic book form but man, it just made me want more.

Maybe I’ll pick up some of IDW’s The Real Ghostbusters comics. I already have some other Mars Attacks books I can read through.

Rating: 7.25/10
Pairs well with: Other IDW collections for Ghostbusters, The Real Ghostbusters and Mars Attacks!

Comic Review: Ghostbusters, Vol. 1

Published: March 20th, 2014
Written by: Erik Burnham
Art by: Dan Schoening, Tristan Jones
Based on: Ghostbusters by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis

IDW Publishing, 104 Pages

Review:

I read the first Ghostbusters/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles crossover before this and it inspired me to checkout IDW’s regular Ghostbusters series, which starts with this collected volume.

I have been an avid fan of Ghostbusters for as long as I can remember. I watched the movies constantly and had The Real Ghostbusters cartoon on my television every single day after school.

So when IDW got the rights to publish comics on my favorite ghost busting heroes, I was pretty stoked. Granted, I didn’t pick them up until now but life is a busy bitch and there are so many damn comics to read between all the franchises I love and all the heroes I have a hard time keeping up with already.

One thing about IDW’s handling of this universe is that it feels like a true extension of the film series. This almost reads like it is Ghostbusters 3. It’s sadly missing Dana and Louis but watching the boys and Janine ham it up is always fun. Plus, that evil pencil pushing pinhead Walter Peck is back to be a thorn in the Ghostbusters’ sides.

This collection covers the first story arc in the IDW comic but it is still pretty open ended when you get through the last chapter. It calls back to Gozer and the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man from the original film while trying to add more to the Gozer mythos. We also see the reappearance of Slimer.

Strangely, there are two weird cameos in this comic, the first is Jake from The Blues Borthers and the second is Roger Murdock from Airplane! They aren’t called by their names but it is very obvious who they are supposed to be.

This book was fun but it left me wanting more meat to sink my teeth into. Still, it was a good, quick and enjoyable read.

Rating: 7/10
Pairs well with: Other IDW Ghostbusters comics, also the Ghostbusters/Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles crossovers.

Comic Review: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Ghostbusters

Published: April 21st, 2015
Written by: Erik Burnham, Tom Waltz
Art by: Dan Schoening
Based on: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird, Ghostbusters by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis

IDW Publishing, 104 Pages

Review:

I have always been a sucker for crossovers. Even if I know they’ll be bad, I want to see what happens when two different franchises (or more) come together to tell a story. When a crossover is actually a merger of two franchise I absolutely love, I’m an even bigger sucker.

So two of the coolest things from the ’80s come together in IDW’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Ghostbusters crossover. I’m a big fan of both properties and seeing them share the same space is kind of cool. But that’s one of my favorite things about IDW. They own the publishing rights to so many franchises I love that they are able to do stuff like this quite often.

Since both groups of heroes live in New York City, this crossover was relatively easy to execute, although Donatello had to use a portal that fritzed out and sent the Turtles into the Ghostbusters’ dimension.

Once there, a Japanese deity took hold of some people, one of which was Casey Jones, and decided he was going to enslave humans into his army and take over the world because that’s what these sort of undead tyrants like to do.

The real highlight of this tale is the camaraderie between the Turtles and the Ghostbusters. I love the scenes between Venkman and Michelangelo, as well as Egon and Donatello. With each team having four members, it was easy to pair each one up with their closest counterpart.

The story isn’t particularly great and I was more engaged by the general dialogue between the Turtles and Ghostbusters over their actual mission or the villain. It wasn’t a bad story it just wasn’t special enough to really bring these two groups together, at least in my opinion. Everything felt kind of forced and convenient and the writing was lazy. But when you are limited to four issues, a writer has to resort to a quick paced plot where convenience is sometimes unavoidable.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Ghostbusters was still a good read if you are into both franchises.

Rating: 7/10
Pairs well with: Other IDW collections for both Ghostbusters and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.