Strange thing for me to admit. Ghostbusters is my favorite movie of all time. I have the rare novelizations of both films. I've owned both movies on every medium they've been released on.
I have action figures, tshirts, posters, pins, video games. You name it, if it's Ghostbusters I probably have it.
I have all the NOW comics. I have all the current IDW comics. I have the 88MPH comics.
But buying the IDW comic was more a reflex than a joy. Reading it felt like a duty, not a pleasure. It sank further and further down the reading pile as the months wore on.
I had to eventually face the fact that I just didn't like the book much. I'm not going to denigrate the creators, they are talented people. I follow them on Twitter. They seem like cool people and have a real love for the Ghostbusters universe.
Nothing against them, but I just don't care for the artwork and don't care for the writing direction or storylines.
The artwork is serviceable, but nothing outstanding. The characters have an odd, stylized appearance.
The writing is serviceable, but nothing outstanding. The plots at times move with odd pacing, and the story ideas aren't inspired.
Please remember, this is all my own opinion. Yours may (probably does) differ. But the comic is being canceled because far more people agree with me than with you. In an era where the top comics sell 120,000 copies a month, Ghostbusters sells 7,000. There are thousands and thousands of comic readers who give Ghostbusters a pass each month. Is it because they don't know about it, or haven't given it a try? Maybe. Many have read the comic and just not liked it, however.
In my mind, no one has yet produced a good comic book based on Ghostbusters.
"Ok, then Ivo," I hear you say. "If you're so smart, what would a good Ghostbusters comic look like?"
Well, first of all, I don't know if it's possible to create a good Ghostbusters comic. I know it could be done to my specifications, but I don't know if it could be done to my specifications legally.
Here's a rundown of things that would have to happen in order for a "good" Ghostbusters comic to be published:
1) Forget the Real Ghostbusters. 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.
2) Stop trying to shoehorn all the accessory characters into the Ghostbusters comic. The video game for the XBox also suffered from this flaw. 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.
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!
4) The writing: hire someone who is a good writer, with comedic talent. The plotting and comedy aspects of Ghstbusters are tough to balance correctly. Avoid trying to write too many jokes. 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). 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.
5) The art: hire someone who can draw realistic-looking people. 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. 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.
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. An initial outlay of some marketing dollars will announce that this NEW Ghostbusters comic is different from past GB comics.
Will any of this happen? Maybe. At some point in the future, some company will buy the rights to GB in comic form. Some of these suggestions might actually be done. Some, probably not. I can't see anyone paying to use the likenesses of the 1984 actors, for example. But as long as they don't base the characters on The Real Ghostbusters (as everyone, including the current IDW team, seems to do) it will be better than what we have now. As long as the writer doesn't try to channel Bill Murray reading from an Aykroyd-Ramis script, the writing will be better than now. Any fan of GB would probably love to write these characters. Heck, I have written some GB fan-fiction myself and I would jump at the chance to write a GB comic! But it has to be done right.
As we say goodbye to the current Ghostbusters comic, we look forward to a time when Ghostbusters #1 will once again grace comic-book store shelves. But what will be inside?