Ghostbusters Hardcover 2: Mass Hysteria – Erik Burnham

GB MH

This is certainly the way to read the series and much better value than the stingy four issue trades.

The oversized hardcover is identical in format to the first one (Total Containment) and if you purchased that then this is a natural follow on.

The extras at the back are just covers and two pages of frugal sketches. Gone is the amazing Easter Egg list/ director’s commentary.

The art is great and the paper choice shows this off to the maximum. The binding and cover is superb allowing the book to sit fully open without any kind of stress or damage. This is the way to read comics.

Thumbs Up!

Ghostbusters Volume 9: Mass Hysteria Part Two – Erik Burnham

GB9The story ends and it looks like this is the last volume in the franchise. At four issues there is no reason why this and the previous volume could not have been released as one.

The story has rather run out of steam and the novelty of the original casting has worn off. There is more technobabble than Star Trek and in some ways you are glad when it is over. There is however a strong emotional punch at the end and chances are it is not the one you were expecting.

As always that star of the piece is the wonderful visuals.

Thumbs Up!

Ghostbusters Volume 8: Mass Hysteria Part One – Erik Burnham

GB8This is the first instalment of a two part epic that marks the 30th anniversary of Ghostbusters.

All the gang from the original films return and although some of the new cast from the comics are present they are in the background and you can jump right in here with no confusion.

The story could be seen as a third film as it takes many of the threads and antagonists and does its best to run with them. The nostalgia factor is off the scale but the plot, whilst epic in scope, is nothing special.

The art is great and the digital medium is perfect for the glowing, supernatural places and spirits. Things have a very punchy, chaotic feel that tries to convey the fast paced battles going on.

It’s a good start and definitely one for the fans. Thumbs Up!

Ghostbusters Volume 6 – Erik Burnham

GB6There are a couple of tales that loosely tie in with the story so far and two single page strips that aren’t worth printing.

The art is strong and vibrant and does a good job of complimenting the humorous touches in the story. There are also some great covers.

This fulfils the same role as the cartoon series allowing you to reminisce about a great film but it doesn’t live up to the standards originally set.

There are the usual cover galleries and a bit of concept art.

Barely a Thumbs Up!

Ghostbusters Volume 5 “The New Ghostbusters” – Erik Burnham

GB5 Like most of the previous series this takes an idea starts running with it and then abandons it. The Ghostbuster’s disappear leaving secondary characters to take their place. This is an interesting notion but doesn’t last long enough to tell a real story.

The art is strong and really makes the most of digital techniques with complex colouring that really pops off the page. The characterisation is great and everyone is very expressive.

By now you should know what to expect from IDW and if you like what they do this is a Thumbs Up!

Ghostbusters Total Containment – Erik Burnham & Tristan Jones

GB TCThis collects the sixteen issue ongoing series that IDW launched in 2011 and later reissued in four trade paperbacks. It is a very sturdy hardcover that isn’t too heavy for the hand at 432 pages and lays open on a table very well. You can see right into the centre pages and will have no fear of the spine letting you down.

It is slightly oversized. Definitely not an Absolute Edition but bigger than a standard issue by an inch or so. The art is also full bleed making things really pop off the page. As the panel divisions are thin black lines the whole effect is more cinematic than literary. The high gloss paper and the digital colouring work in combination to give a real visual feast.

The storylines are good, striking a balance between the new reader and the rabid fanboy. The more you know about the GB lore the more you will get out of them as every page background is packed with hidden gems and easter eggs but these rarely interrupt the flow of the story.

Unusually the issues start and end aren’t marked save for a modest red number in the corner. This helps things flow like watching a DVD without the ad breaks. Between stories there are extras like technical drawings, sketches and in character documents that would have been present in the individual issues but have been moved to more convenient points.

There are 34 pages of extras including script breakdowns, concept art, sketches and lots of covers. The series was known for an abnormally high number of variant covers. Many of them have been reproduced here either as single page or four to a page showing the amazing creativity and wealth of styles and ideas.

It is expensive but you are getting four TPB’s and a bullet proof binding.

Thumbs Up!

Ghostbusters Volume 4 “Who Ya Gonna Call?” – Erik Burnham

GB4This should be a cracking story. The threads have been delicately woven after the first three volumes and launched in the final pages of the previous book. Whilst it is a great idea, long overdue even, sadly it is wrapped up all too briefly. It seems they haven’t got out of the one-shot mind-set from the last instalment and now we launch into yet another plot to be resolved in the next book. They really haven’t got hold of the “ongoing series concept” they promised.

The art is great with some hefty showdowns lending themselves to big panel action. A lot of thought and effort goes into the creature design and the stylist caricatures. Good use is also made of digital technology and not just for the superb colouring either.

It is a Thumbs Up but only just.

Ghostbusters Volume 3 “Haunted America” – Erik Burnham

GB3The Ghostbusters pile into an RV for a road-trip across America. This is the flimsy premise for a series of one shots featuring the spooks of Detroit, New Orleans, Seattle and Roswell. The stories are OK with some offbeat ideas but the short length is a diversion from establishing an ongoing drama. When the boys get back to the Big Apple things really start to kick off as the background plot erupts, heralding what should be an amazing volume four.

An unusual story is also shoehorned in starring only Venkman and lifting the plot of Spielberg’s Duel. This has a different writer and artist – the same Tristan Jones who did the previous volume’s Russian folktale. The style is completely different and although out of place is a superb ghost story with a proper twist ending.

Mostly the art is the usual luscious, action infused hyperbole the series has stuck by. The in-jokes also go completely off the scale. The Venkman story is entirely different and jarring by comparison, being much darker and infinitely more textured. This benefits the tale being told but makes the lone Ghost Buster feel like a real cuckoo.

Thumbs Up!

Ghostbusters Volume 2 “The Most Magical Place On Earth” – Erik Burnham

GB2The series continues with an OK main story and some subtle plot threads being developed for later. What is amazing is the sheer number of Ghostbusters references taken from the films, videogame and predominantly the cartoon series. Pages are stuffed full of hidden call-backs to these properties that won’t trouble the casual reader but will make the fanboys squeal.

As we learn more about the source of the enhanced supernatural activity the last few pages turn to a story within a story. We are presented with a Russian folktale, the telling of which prompts a change in both narrative and art styles.

The art is just as bold and confident as the first volume. Great use of digital colouring is seen for all the special effects and is a wonderfully atmospheric tool. The eerie scenes almost flicker before your eyes and the whole piece has a very dynamic and animated feel.

A great series very much in tune with the spirit (har har) of the original.

Thumbs Up!