As licensed properties go, “Ghostbusters” has never really moved me much beyond the pair of movies. The first movie is an American classic to be certain, but once the proton pack-wielding protagonists moved to other media, the shine was tarnished, in my opinion. The cartoon held no lure for me, the fruit drink was all right, and, for the most part, the comics were dismissible.
Then I saw some online sketches — although “sketches” is demeaning compared to the quality of work shining through the pieces — from an artist going by the moniker of Dapper Dan. Dapper Dan had a bit of an obsession for the Ghostbusters, and that shines through in his art. A few years back there was a bit of a murmur shifting through the interwebs regarding a rejected Ghostbusters pitch that featured art from Schoening. The moment I saw that, I knew the Ghostbusters had found their artist. Schoening’s art is buoyant and lively, bringing these characters to life in an almost stop-motion frivolity. Every panel floats like an animation cel. The characters are filled with emotion and burst with expression and the rest of the world is detailed, but not to the point of distraction. Schoening’s art makes this purchase worth the price of admission all by itself.
Add in a story by Peter David, throw a pack on Janine’s back, and bring in an antlered ghost and the Ghostbusters license gets a nice booster shot and we get a wonderful Halloween treat. David’s story is fairly straightforward, with minimal plot twists and no feints. It’s a story that throws the spotlight squarely on Janine Melnitz. The Ghostbusters are here, and they all get a chance to shine a little. Well, most of them get a chance to shine.
Ghostbusters is the perfect license to roll out for a Halloween special or two, and this issue certainly delivers on all counts. As on ongoing, I think this would be a pretty thin one-trick pony, but great writers find ways to make characters great. In this case, for this issue, a wonderful synthesis of art, story, and character essence make this a great book.