"Ghostbusters Annual 2017" Comic Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by IDW Publishing
Written by Erik Burnham and Dan Schoening, and Tom Waltz
Illustrated by Dan Schoening, Corin Howell, Erik Evensen, Rachael Stott, Tim Lattie, Erik Burnham,
Colored by Luis Antonio Delgado
2017, 48 Pages, $7.99
Comic released on February 1st, 2017
Man, I love the Ghostbusters. It's a franchise that has stayed with me for my entire life. I was born the year the first movie came out and somehow it made such an impression on me that I came dangerously close to naming my first child Egon. The IDW Publishing series helmed by writer Erik Burnham, artist Dan Schoening, and colorist Luis Antonio Delgado has added hundreds of pages to the Ghostbusters lore, all of them incredibly well done. You can imagine my excitement at the idea of a double-sized annual collecting a number of new tales, including some additional artists taking a crack at the team.
What is immediately apparent with this annual is how easily accessible it is. The creative team has made it so that anyone even remotely aware of the Ghostbusters can pick up this book and enjoy it. There's a quick rundown of all the characters, including some introduced in this very issue, plus a brief recap of the events of the past year.
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Schoening's artwork, which has given the Ghostbusters comic a signature style, is on point here. He has nailed the personalities of each of the characters in their designs. There's Venkman's sly grin, Egon's quizzical glare, Ray's naïve expressions, and Winston's stoic face. Schoening illustrates my two favorite tales in this book, “Where Winston Was” and “The Origins of Slimer.” The former deals with events from Ghostbusters 2, explaining why Winston wasn't in the courtroom. It's a fun story that shows off the character's resourcefulness. It gets extra points for showing Winston in his younger self complete with bigger hair.
The Slimer story gets at something that's been nagging at me for a while. How did Slimer become the gluttonous green ghost? Who was he when he was alive? No definitive answer is given, but there are several interesting theories. They work so well within this world and add to the character's mythos.
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This book also serves as a prologue to Ghostbusters 101, an upcoming mini-series where the classic team will meet the all-female group from the 2016 film. None of those characters make an appearance here, but their presence is definitely felt. These preludes drum up excitement for the series and I'm intrigued by what kind of force could call in new teams of Ghostbusters. At the bare minimum, they're expanding, creating new teams in different areas. There are ghosts in other places, not just New York City.
The Ghostbusters annual is packed to the brim with the same humor, action, and horror that has come to define the franchise. There are a total of nine stories collected here, including a parody of the classic Hostess snack cakes comic ad, but with a paranormal twist. There is not a bad story in the bunch. This is a must read for any Ghostbusters fan.