Mr. Shandor, I know you think the numbers are low. That's your opinion. It was not, and never has been, IDW's opinion. Though I'm sure nobody would object if sales were higher, your hypothesis that the low numbers are why the Ongoing is being discontinued is not the case.
I mean, I'm like Fritz: I love nitpicking and sometimes even mocking each new installment of this series. I don't always agree with every choice made. But it's new, and alive, and made by people who love the franchise. If you want hope for the future of Ghostbusters, it's right here.
But I have to question some of your helpful suggestions. Lets see...
1) Forget the Real Ghostbusters.
The Real Ghostbusters was one of the most popular, memorable, well-written and fondly remembered cartoon shows ever made. It gave millions of children nightmares right before making them laugh. Certain episodes have written themselves into the mythology of the characters so completely you will have a hard time disentangling them (Egon was terrorized by the Boogieman as a kid. Ray came from a small town with a haunted house in it. Peter's dad was a con artist. And so on). I wouldn't recommend forgetting the Real Ghostbusters.
1a) I don't want to see the characters based, even tangientally, on the cartoon series. Peter should look like Bill Murray. Egon should look like Harold Ramis. Ray should look like Dan Aykroyd, Winston should look like Ernie Hudson. Secrure the rights to these actors likenesses, and use them. No more pointy glasses on Janine. Revert the characters to their original looks.
The characters DO look like the actors...or more specifically, they look like the characters. I know you don't like the Real Ghostbusters at all, but they intentionally didn't go for the likenesses when they designed those characters, and it's easy to see why when you look at a cast photo: you would have had three tall, brown-haired middle-aged white guys in khaki and their tall black friend also in khaki and also their brown-haired lady friend. You can't do that in a cartoon. You'd be asking for a ton of continuity errors.
Dan Schrodding's art strikes a different balance. He has the benefit of anime and Bruce Timm style influence, and his characters are closer to the actor's looks (they at least have brown hair, just different shades of brown) while being distinctive enough from each-other to avoid continuity issues. The mark of a really good character design is, "can you black out all a character's features, look just at the silloette, and know at a glance who that character is?" Dapper Dan has passed this test repeatedly, and so well that the people who made the Stylized version of the video game had to cut him a check after they used his art style without asking him first.
But hey, keep on believing there's an unnamed mass of people who don't like his designs, if it helps validate something for you.
2) Stop trying to shoehorn all the accessory characters into the Ghostbusters comic. The video game for the XBox also suffered from this flaw.
The video game had a good many flaws, but an excess of returning characters wasn't one of them. That's one thing I never saw anyone complain about.
We don't need Walter Peck. We don't need Jack Hardemyer. We don't need Janosz Poha. Develop some new characters and leave these old characters in the movies. No need to ever see Extreme Ghostbusters characters either. Let's stick to the core 4 GBs (and maybe Janine) and then develop new characters.
Why would you go to the trouble of developing all new original characters for niches where characters already exist? Doesn't that seem like a waste of time? If you want to keep continuity with the films, populating the world with familiar faces is the way to do it. You don't get to demand total fidelity to the film and then complain about too much continuity with the film. That just doesn't make sense.
3) Start the new Ghostbusters comic with a long, slow-building storyline. At least 8 issues, maybe 12. Start slow. Take it easy. Develop an air of menace, of foreboding. We don't see Gozer until the last 10 minutes of the orginal film!
Not every enemy they face is going to be Gozer. Different villains require different approaches by the heroes, and besides, in case you haven't noticed, our guys are REALLY POWERFUL. They're smart, courageous, heavily armed, and have no qualms about killing or destroying what they cannot capture. Your standard enemy isn't going to last long enough to make the build-up worth it. Besides, we're not here for the Big Twinkies, we're here to watch the characters interact. That's the key of Ghostbuster's appeal.
4) The writing: hire someone who is a good writer, with comedic talent.
Comedic talent? You were just complaining that the stories needed to be longer, more disconnected and more realistic. You sure you want comedy? Because Erik Burnham brings the comedy. Of all things you can say about his work, he writes some of the best comedic dialog in you'll find.
The plotting and comedy aspects of Ghstbusters are tough to balance correctly. Avoid trying to write too many jokes.
They already do that. What else?
Peter Venkman can be funny at times, but trying to write for Bill Murray comes off as forced and awful if you're not as talented as Ramis & Aykroyd (and who in the comics-writing business IS as talented as those two writing comedy?? No one).
Bill Murray actually would rework and improvise a scene while he was performing it, as would Ramis and Akyroyd. They all had backgrounds in improvisational comedy and if you look at the shooting script, and then the finished film, you'll see layers of detail that could only have come after the three of them arrived, got into character, and started interacting.
Obviously you can't replicate that in a comic book, but getting the tone of the banter right is a good place to start, and Burnham has that part down.
Keep the jokes to a minimum. Use situational humor, physical humor, maybe the occasional one-liner from Pete. It's a delicate balance. The current writers can't pull it off.
So you want comedy but without any of the comedy. That's not a "delicate balance," that's a nonsensical jumble of contradictory demands.
5) The art: hire someone who can draw realistic-looking people.
They did. His name's Tristain Jones, and his art is so dark and gritty you could use it as sandpaper. He's already spoken to you.
One of the problems with the stylized art is it makes the book look like it's for children. Do you feel proud opening a copy of the current Ghostbusters comic in mixed company (i.e. in front of non-comics fans)? It looks like you are reading an Archie comic.
Even allowing for the comparison, you know what else looks like Archie comics?...Archie comics. And people read those in public all the time. They're in every supermarket check-out isle. Kids, adults, random guys will reach over and grab one just on a whim. I don't understand what the embarrassment is supposed to be.
The art is childish-looking and cartoony. It's fine art, but it's not going to make the Ghostbusters comic cool. Like it or not, you need to cultivate a "cool" vibe in today's comic book market. People aren't ashamed to pick up Batman comics. Walking Dead comics. Avengers comics. These books are cool. Ghostbusters is not - but it SHOULD be. It COULD be. Change the art, get some realistic art, gritty art. Watch the first movie - it's gritty. Get some of that vibe.
So now you are an expert in what's "cool?" Chasing fads, or altering what you are doing so you can be more like whatever is selling big right now.... that's a recipe for disaster. That's the death of creativity. What you do won't be true to your own vision, and whatever fad you are chasing will be instantly dated anyway. I advise against chasing "cool."
6) Promote the book. People love Ghostbusters. They go to screenings, they wear GB t-shirts. University dorms are full of GB posters on the wall. Do these people know there is a GB comic? Some don't. Advertise.
Finally, something we agree on. I'm sure it's not IDW's fault: they are an indy publisher without a ton of cash to spend on advertising campaigns, but I think something like an animated trailer or even a tweet by an A-Lister (Mr. Akyroyd!) would help get the word out in a big way. The problem isn't that people don't like the comic. The problem is not enough people know about it. Most people who pick it up, seem to like it.
An initial outlay of some marketing dollars will announce that this NEW Ghostbusters comic is different from past GB comics.
So you want to promote your new comic by insulting people who've bought your GB comics in the past? Killer marketing plan.
So to summarize, you want a dark gritty realistic long slow-burning comic with photorealistic art, comedy but not too many jokes, and you want it to be "cool."
If you want a "cool" series about people vs. the parnanormal, there are so many options. Hellboy and Constantine instantly jump to mind. They are not Ghostbusters.
I like the series we have, and I'm glad as hell that we can (probably I HOPE I HOPE) count on volume 3 happening. That's the best news I've heard in months.