When I first appeared on the cover of Ghostbusters: Displaced Aggression, I was humbled and honored. And I still don’t think the reality of being a part of Ghostbusters’ history has hit me. Since then (as some of you might know by now), members of The Real Tampa Bay Ghostbusters have been helping Nick Runge, cover artist for The Ghostbusters IDW Comics on the upcoming holiday issue, "CON-VOLUTION." Nick wanted our help based on the equipment and faces he saw within our group. The most important thing to Nick was to get it right, and bring as much realism to the covers as possible. This was also an extremely huge compliment to us, but I and the rest of The Real Tampa Bay Ghostbusters knew that this was bigger than us. Now with the new upcoming holiday issue for Halloween, we went into the GB community to bring alive the next vision for IDW and Nick. IDW wanted to capture the spirit, if you will, of the Peanuts classic "The Great Pumpkin," and they wanted Ray and Janine to be the most prominent characters, with the others creeping up behind them. We had five days to get this done.
We thought, “Okay this is pretty big; a Ghostbusters comic book holiday issue for Halloween.” We had also decided we were going to go into the GB community for some new faces for this issue. Immediately, we knew who would be the best Ray, the best one to be front and center for this task. Having met Austin Young and having spent time getting to know him, I knew he could be trusted, was reliable, and most of all understood the big picture of what we were trying to accomplish. I made the call and asked if he could come down for the photo shoot (keep in mind this is right before Adventure Con for him and the rest of the Oklahoma GBs). Unfortunately, he couldn't come down here, but he and Patrick Hurd from the Oklahoma GBs said they could take a ton of photos for us to later use to Photoshop him into the group photo that would be done here in Tampa. They delivered in less than 24 hours about 100 individual photos of Austin taken by Patrick. Next came the casting of Dr. Peter Venkman, who was going to be coming up on the right side of Ray on the cover. I turned to one of the first GBs I ever met, Robby Fuselier of the Tallahassee Ghostbusters. For those of you who don’t know him, he, like Austin, is trustworthy, reliable, and also understood what this was all about. He drove down on Saturday to my home where the shoot was going to take place. With that taken care of we were left with Janine and Egon. When it came to Janine, I used the Spider Witch herself of course, Kimberly Balevre, and myself as Egon. A HUGE thanks from us to Lisa Abney of Haunted South Paranormal Research who came in to be our photographer (and I might as well tell everyone reading this, Lisa is our newest member of The Real Tampa Bay Ghostbusters). We were then later joined by Jeremy Fitzpatrick who came in to help us with some alternate covers that might be used for the Halloween issue which was the Ghostbusters going trick or treating. The stage was set for our photo shoot to begin at dusk in the backyard, which just so happens to be a golf course.
As you can see here in the photos we recreated the best vision we could for the “Great Pumpkin” scene (by the way, you can’t find leaf pumpkin bags locally in the month of May for some reason). Nick had told us from the beginning that he wanted Janine in secretary gear primarily and GB gear secondly if we had the time. We didn’t have the time and we knew from what Nick had told us that secretary Janine would be more important. As it would turn out, they wanted Janine in GB gear for the cover. It also took everyone digging in their closets and garages to pull together as many fake pumpkins as possible to help fill our pumpkin patch. The shoot was great fun and went quite well, aside from Jumanji-sized bugs and wild coyotes. Yes, there was a wild black coyote that stopped by our photo shoot. He saw us but decided we weren’t worth his time. Everything wrapped up at about midnight, which left only a few hours to clean up the photos and start Photoshopping. While Lisa, Rob, and Kimberly worked on the pics, I (not being very technical with that) made food on the grill for everyone. Needless to say, you can see the end result was well worth everyone’s hard work and time. I can not stress enough to everyone involved, a great big THANK YOU for coming together to make this possible. This is history folks, and now we’re all a part of it. You see, in order for these comics to continue, I need you, the community (the community that I will continue to turn to, to use on these photo shoots in the future) to go to as many of your local comic books stores as you can and tell them to BUY as many of the October issues as they can from IDW. This will ensure a chance for many of you to be a part of Ghostbusters’ history. Also, as a lot of you know, Dapper Dan is doing the inside to this issue and fans are NOW on the front. What more do I have to say here?! We have got to pull it together and give IDW some big numbers in October. This is a huge opportunity for every GB out there that bears the patch.