Ghosts aren't just a States-based problem anymore. IDW's January-launching "Ghostbusters International" by regular series writer Erik Burnham and artist Dan Schoening will see what happens when Ray Stantz, Peter Venkman, Winston Zeddmore and Egon Spengler tackle supernatural threats in other parts of the world.
Announced during a panel at New York Comic Con, the new series -- which picks up where "Ghostbusters: Get Real" and the 2015 annual leave off -- begins with the 'Busters performing their unique service at the United Nations only to earn a few trips overseas to track down problematic spirits. The series will take the team to Italy and France for starters, but that doesn't mean all the ghouls in the Big Apple will just take it easy. Who you gonna call? Some new and old Ghostbusters alike!
CBR News talked with Burnham and Schoening about the complications of international ghost hunting, leaving behind worthy replacements and what keeps them coming back for more ghostbusting adventures.
CBR News: What countries will the 'Busters be visiting during their travels and what kinds of menaces will they face?
Erik Burnham: We have ideas for visits to so many countries, but we're starting out with Italy and France. The ghosts they face will be more... I guess "standard" would be the best way to put it, insofar as they aren't godlike beings intent on destruction. In Italy, near Venice, the island of Poveglia is supposed to be one of the most haunted in the world. And Paris has tons of potential ghost lore to choose from. I promise only that I won't send the team to the Eiffel Tower.
The team will also still be covering New York, but I'll get to that in a moment.
Dan, how did the various locations influence the designs of those countries' ghosts?
Dan Schoening: I always strive for accuracy and put a lot of time into researching locations and folklore/history. When designing a ghost, I try to find that middle ground that the ["Ghostbusters"] films captured so well, in between the scary and fun.
How is it that one ghost investigation can lead to another in a different locale?
Burnham: There are many ways -- they're being contracted to investigate some straight out. Others will be looked into because they're in the neighborhood and Ray would be dying of curiosity. There may also be a connective mystery.
Other cultures think of spirits differently than we do here in America. Will that come into play and possibly interfere with the Ghostbusters' plans?
Burnham: We played with that a little bit when we did an issue set in New Orleans -- the local folk were proud of their ghosts and picketed the arriving Ghostbusters. And yes, different attitudes will be in play in different locations, and not just about ghosts. Can you imagine the red tape in trying to bring unlicensed nuclear accelerators across a border?
Schoening: I feel that anyone faced with a presence that is malevolent would want it removed eventually. The Ghostbusters are great at capturing ghouls and ghosts, but they are also very adept at dealing with people. Perhaps Peter's tact and consideration may cause some friction though.
It sounds like the Ghostbusters also have to keep tabs on what's going on back in New York. Does that mean we'll see an expansion of the team?
Burnham: We've expanded the team in the past, but so many of them have moved on; for example, we have a whole branch in Chicago now. So yes, Janine will be probably be looking into hiring. And as I was saying earlier, we'll definitely cut back to NYC for stories. It's not an all on-the-road show.
Schoening: They most definitely will be in contact with their HQ in NYC. We have plenty of Ghostbusters to work with, so you'll definitely see the return of some favorites.
"Ghostbusters International" sounds like it might be taking the comics a few steps closer to Dan Aykroyd's original vision of this concept, with Ghostbusters running around like franchised exterminators. Was that the intent or more of a natural progression?
Burnham: A bit of both. We've always intended to use as much of Aykroyd's concepts as we could and the more we used, the more we expanded on the core, the more it naturally allowed us to expand further. We've added team members, investigated other places, brought in new equipment, seen different dimensions, had the team face competition and industrial espionage and opened a new franchise. And for the guys -- and the NYC they live in -- it's all been routine, just as Aykroyd intended. I don't know if we'll ever expand out to his full vision, but there's so much there that just works so well in comics.
Schoening: I feel it's more of a natural step, as ghosts are everywhere and not just in NYC. Other worldly cultures are so rich in haunted tales and apparitions, it would be a shame not to visit them in the comics. I know Dan's idea also involved space and other dimensions, and it would be great to visit those more as well.
You've worked on Ghostbusters comics together quite a bit. What makes you both, together, such a good fit for this book?
Burnham: We love the property. All of us. Me, Dan, colorist Luis Delgado, editor Tom Waltz. We love it and our skills are complementary. I can write a good line and Dan can sell it with the acting. This team and this property is the most fun I've had in comics.
Schoening: Erik writes all the characters so well, when I read the scripts I can instantly see a movie playing in my head with the actor's voices. It makes the drawing process very organic. We are also both very open to changes and tweaks if we feel it makes the story stronger. Along with the amazing talents of Luis Delgado and Tom Waltz, it's not only fun to be a part of the book, but it's also an honor to add to the mythos of something I love.
To see what happens to the Ghostbusters when they head overseas, check out IDW's "Ghostbusters International" #1 by Erik Burnham and Dan Schoening when it hits stands in January.