It may seem like a bit of a stretch, but IDW’s on-going series has something in common with the Muppets movie currently out in theaters: love. Finishing reading the publisher’s latest third book in the on-going series, it’s abundantly clear that the creative team behind the book pours their love of the series into each and every panel. Much like the creative team behind the recent Muppets film, you can tell that every person involved with IDW’s series loves and respects the source material and knows the ebbs and flows which made the source material so successful. Tone, structure, everything is replicated to the finest detail. The result is an experience that gives you that same whimsical giddiness that you used to get as an eight-year old watching Real Ghostbusters, when the opening title song would kick in and you knew that something new and exciting was coming up…
There’s a fine line when love is involved in the creation of something that separates a worthy addition to a series from an overwrought fan fiction that just leaves you scratching your head wondering what the hell just happened. The new Ghostbusters on-going has proven that it firmly lives in the worthy addition side of that battlefield. The nods to Ecto-Cooler, Ghostbusters: Video Game, and tons of in-jokes among Real Ghostbusters fans (pay attention to the billboards during a certain battle scene in the third issue for an abundance of winks and nods) are plenty. And while it may seem like the references would weigh down the narrative and be overwhelming, they’re not… if you notice them, you notice them – but if not, you’re so wrapped up in the engaging running storyline and Erik Burnham’s spot-on dialogue characteristics of each character that you’ll probably notice them on your second, or even third read. Which is quite telling of the quality of the book, you’ll put it down and want to go back and re-read it right away.
Especially telling of the love and detail given to the book are the Walter Peck P.C.O.C. Files in the back of every book. What originally felt like was going to turn into a subplot b-story that ran with the book has now turned into a fun supplement that enhances the entry that you just read. Not only are the files themselves a joy to read, but the “annotations” that are peppered throughout as the document (which has gone through various incarnations of approvals, notes, and redaction through the usual bureaucracy) make the “bonus feature” a robust and fun experience all its own.
While most series enjoy a solid first issue, a drop in the second, and a bit of a lull in the third, Ghostbusters continues to fire on all cylinders and if you’re even a casual Ghostbusters fan, you owe it to yourself to hop on board. Reading each of the past three issues, I’ve felt like I’m reading and being a part of something special, something that rarely fans of licensed properties get to enjoy. It’s a fun ride and I can’t wait for #4.