Posted in Comic Books/Graphic Novels, Deep Dive Reviews

A TMNT/Ghostbusters Deep-Dive Review – Bustin’ in a Half Shell

TITLE: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Ghostbusters #14
AUTHORS: Erik Burnham, Tom Waltz
ARTIST: Dan Schoening
GUEST ARTISTS: Charles Paul Wilson III, Cory Smith, Ronda Pattison (Colorist)
COLORIST: Luis Delgado
LETTERER: Neil Uyetake
PUBLISHER: IDW Publishing
COLLECTED IN: Paperback, Deluxe EditionTMNT: The IDW Collection, Vol. 5
RELEASED: October 2014 – January 2015

***New around here? Check out Primary Ignition’s TMNT Deep-Dive Review archive!***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

If you were a kid in the ’80s or ’90s, chances are you’ll find something appealing at IDW Publishing. That’s not me kissing ass. It’s simply the law of averages. Their collection of licenses includes Transformers, My Little Pony, Sonic the Hedgehog, Back to the Future, among others. That’s to say nothing of two iconic staples of the ’80s: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Ghostbusters.

And of course, IDW loves them a good crossover. It was only a matter of time before the boys in green met the boys in grey.

So what do people want to see from a story like this? What’s the appeal of a crossover? The answer is fans like it when things…well, cross over. We like to see different characters from different worlds meet, interact, team up, or even fight. Often it’s a combination of all four.

But how do you mash up the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and the Ghostbusters? On the surface, they have very little in common.

The answer is: Find common ground. Take something the two properties have in common and use it to bring them together. Thus the question becomes, what do the TMNT and the GBs have in common? Well, simply at face value…

  • They’re both four-man teams.
  • They both fight the supernatural and/or the extraordinary.
  • They’re both from New York City.

That, especially that third point, is apparently a good enough starting point. TMNT/Ghostbusters sees an accident with the Turtles’ dimensional portal send them to the Ghostbusters’ incarnation of New York. The accident also frees Chi-You, a Chinese warrior god hell bent on ruling the Earth. Caught up in his plot is none other than a demonically possessed Casey Jones.

These issues feel very much like the Turtles are guest-starring in a Ghostbusters story. That’s because artistic team behind IDW’s Ghostbusters books, penciller Dan Schoening, colorist Luis Delgado, and letterer Neil Uyetake handle most of the pages. The common threads between IDW’s Ghostbusters and TMNT books? Tom Waltz, who co-authored TMNT with Kevin Eastman, was the editor on Ghostbusters. Ghostbusters author Erik Burnham had worked on plenty of supplemental material for the TMNT series as well. So the ground was fertile for a crossover.

Said crossover is in good hands. Over the last decade, Burnham, Schoening, Delgado, and Uyetake have been responsible for what in my opinion are the best Ghostbusters comics ever made. All parties involved clearly had a reverence for the source material, and Burnham was turning in amazing scripts.

But what really sets the material apart is Schoening and Delgado. As is the case with TMNT comics, my argument when it comes to Ghostbusters comics is that a lot rides on how you draw the heroes themselves. Because of likeness issues, most pre-Shoening artists tended to draw the movie-based Ghostbusters as guys who looked loosely like the actors. As in this case the characters are so closely identified with their performers (Can you picture someone other than Bill Murray playing Peter Venkman?), what we got were essentially Ghostbusters stories with characters who looked like they were standing in for the genuine article. 

Then along came Shoening who took a more animated, cartoony approach to the movie Ghostbusters. His Egon Spengler doesn’t look like Harold Ramis. But like an impressionist channeling a specific person, he captures the feel of the characters in a way no other artist ever has. So to see him take on the Ghostbusters and the Ninja Turtles, in the same story no less, is very special.

Issues #2 and #3 are where we get a lot of those “common ground” scenes. The two teams share pizza in the firehouse. Donatello compares tech geek notes with Ray. Raph and Venkman make wisecracks to each other. And of course, we get our first obligatory shot of a Ninja Turtle wearing a proton pack. Along those lines, Cory Smith’s variant cover for issue #3 (shown left) is my favorite in the entire series. If you’re an ’80s or ’90s kid, the smart bet is this would have made your head explode back then.

By villain standards, Chi-You isn’t very memorable at all. He’s essentially a generic, grand-standing, monolouging bad guy. He does, however, manage to look pretty bad ass in Casey Jones’ hockey mask. But the strange thing about this story is that the bad guy is almost an afterthought. The main event is that interaction between the two teams. With only four issues to work with, you almost don’t have the time to properly build up a brand new villain while still delivering on what fans want to see from a crossover.

And did Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Ghostbusters deliver on what fans wanted to see? I’d say so. I’d like to think no one realistically came into this thing expecting a grand masterpiece. But it wasn’t a small task either. It’s job was to deliver on a scenario dreamed up by many an ’80s or ’90s kid: What if the Ninja Turtles met the Ghostbusters? And the answer we get is perfectly serviceable. It isn’t contrived, or forced, or hokey, or stupid, all of which it easily could have been. The IDW crew delivered on the crossover, just like they delivered on the two books individually.

What more could a kid who grew up watching these characters on worn out VHS tapes possibly ask for?

Email Rob at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Posted in Weekly Comic 100s

Weekly Comic 100s: Batman: The Adventures Continue #1, and Much More!

***”Weekly Comic 100s” keeps it nice and simple. Comic book reviews in 100 words or less. Straight, concise, and to the point.***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

This pandemic is really throwing a monkey wrench into my reading habits.

My local comic shop is still working on getting me issues from March 25. I’ve stayed away from digital editions, as I want to support local shops as much as possible. Ergo, I’ve been waiting two weeks for certain issues. But sooner than later, the most recent editions of Action Comics, Batman/Superman, TMNT, and others will be reviewed here.

The only new issue I purchased this week was a digital exclusive. And how could I resist? It’s the return of the DC Animated Universe!

TITLE: Batman: The Adventures Continue #1
AUTHORS:
Alan Burnett, Paul Dini
ARTISTS:
Ty Templeton, Monica Cubina (Colorist), Joshua Reed (Letterer). Cover by Dave Johnson.
RELEASED:
April 1, 2020

This is exactly what it was supposed to be: A return to the old form, i.e. the comics of yesteryear that were based on the Bruce Timm animated shows. Heck, they even threw in a title card, a la Batman: The Animated Series.

A lot is thrown at us here. Bane. A giant robot attacking S.T.A.R. Labs. Lex Luthor and a mystery regarding Superman’s whereabouts. But what I took away from issue #1 is that they’re going that route. A route paved by Judd Winick about 15 years ago…

TITLE: Star Wars: Bounty Hunters #2
AUTHOR: Ethan Sacks
ARTISTS:
Paolo Villanelli, Arif Prianto (Colorist), Travis Lanham (Letterer). Cover by Lee Bermejo
RELEASED:
March 25, 2020

I got a little lost on this one.

I came away from last issue thinking about our main character, or at least one of them, Valance. Obviously I remembered Boba Fett and Bossk were there. But I struggled to remember the significance of T’onga, why different characters were going certain places, and when certain events took place. A quick re-read of issue #1 set me straight. But obviously that’s not something you want readers to have to do. Then again, maybe it’s just me.

TITLE: I Can Sell You A Body #3 (of 4)
AUTHOR: Ryan Ferrier
ARTISTS:
George Kambadais. Ferrier (Letterer).
RELEASED:
March 25, 2020

This issue unexpectedly hit me in the feels. I talked a bit about the Henrietta character last time. She’s very likable, but as a love interest, she’s all in with Denny very quickly. Not in the creepy way, either. It’s more like they just click.

It made me reminisce about the people I’ve clicked with like that. And not just in a romantic way. There’s a magic in that feeling that’s really great. So I Can Sell You A Body gained some surprising sentimental points from me with this one.

TITLE: Ghostbusters: Year One #3 (of 4)
AUTHOR: Erik Burnham
ARTISTS: Dan Shoening, Luis Delgado (Colorist), Neil Uyetake (Letterer)
RELEASED: March 25, 2020

If you’ve seen the trailer for Ghostbusters: Afterlife (as you should have), you know it’s probably not an accident they saved Egon for last.

The absolutely brilliant part of this issue? Part of it is plotted based on a line Casey Kasem had in the original film. When it comes to writing Ghostbusters, Erik Burnham is a damn genius.

Along those same lines, I love the way Burnham has the other characters describe Peter Venkman’s personality. Mostly because he then proceeds to prove them right.

TITLE: X-Men/Fantastic Four #3 (of 4)
AUTHOR: Chip Zdarsky
ARTISTS:
Terry Dodson, Rachel Dodson & Ransom Getty (Inkers), Andrew Crossley & Peter Pantazis (Colorists), Joe Caramagna (Letterer).
RELEASED:
March 25, 2020

Superheroes fighting. The older I get, the less I enjoy it. Maybe it’s all the division we see in the world today. But I didn’t get a huge kick out of seeing the X-Men and the Fantastic Four fighting.

On the upside, the art is gorgeous and the colors vibrant and fun. I remain somewhat surprised at how political this book is, i.e. relations between Latveria and Krakoa. But at it’s core, it’s really the relationship between Reed Richards and his son Franklin, and how the latter’s choices will ultimately effect the world.

TITLE: Suicide Squad #4
AUTHOR:
Tom Taylor
ARTISTS:
Daniel Sampere, Juan Albarran (Inker), Adriano Lucas (Colorist), Wes Abbott (Letterer). Cover by Bruno Redondo and Lucas.
RELEASED:
March 25, 2020

Captain Boomerang returns in this issue. One way or another, the band always gets back together.

Taylor still has me entertained with this more espionage-centered direction. We also learn much more about our new characters, and what exactly their agenda is.

Deadshot also has a great character moment in this issue. Or rather, Floyd Lawton does. He becomes very sympathetic, and you’re that much more invested.

TITLE: Alienated #2 (of 6)
AUTHOR:
Simon Spurrier
ARTISTS:
Chris Wildgoose, Andre May (Colorist), Jim Campbell (Letterer)
RELEASED:
March 18, 2020

This’ll definitely fill your teen angst quota for the week.

Despite being about three high schoolers finding an alien that gives them telepathic powers, what these characters are feeling is very real. In this issue, there’s lot of longing to be seen, noticed, or at least acknowledged. I think every teenager can relate to that at some point in their lives.

Chris Wildgoose has a hell of an issue. There’s a two-page spread that’s just gorgeous. He also gets to flex some otherworldly character design muscles. They come out looking pretty awesome.

Email Rob at at primaryignition@yahoo.com, or check us out on Twitter.

Posted in Comic Books/Graphic Novels, Dan Schoening Easter Egg Hunt

Dan Schoening Easter Egg Hunt: Eddie Murphy at Ghostbusters HQ

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

The Eddie Murphy/Ghostbusters connection goes back a long way. The irony there is that most people have no idea there’s a connection at all.

Legend has it that while writing early treatments for Ghostbusters, Dan Aykroyd had his eye on Murphy for a co-starring role. This would have been during Murphy’s days on Saturday Night Live. But as the film evolved, and Harold Ramis, Ivan Reitman, and Bill Murray became involved, the idea of Murphy playing a role fell to the wayside.

Some believe Murphy had been pegged for the Winston Zeddemore role, i.e. the everyman who gets to asks the Ghostbusters expository questions. A quote from Harold Ramis is cited in Ghostbusters: The Ultimate Visual History, which ultimately debunks this idea…

“Everyone thought that Winston was written for Eddie Murphy, but Eddie was really only going to costar with Danny is in his original version of the story. I never spoke to Eddie about being in the film.”

Decades later, Dan Schoening would pay a subtle tribute to Murphy in Ghostbusters #2.

Alright, maybe subtle isn’t the right word.

As Ecto-1 does one of its trademark zooms out of the firehouse, it nearly clips Axel Foley, Murphy’s character in Beverly Hills Cop. Foley is conspicuous by his trademark black jacket and muscle car.

Fittingly, both Ghostbusters and Beverly Hills Cop were released in 1984. Both made big bucks, and spawned franchises. *sigh* Sure makes you miss the ’80s, doesn’t it?

Email Rob at PrimaryIgnition@yahoo.com, or follow Primary Ignition on Twitter.

Posted in Comic Books/Graphic Novels

Dan Schoening Easter Egg Hunt: Martin Short and…Grandma Winslow???

***Dan Schoening’s art is filled with delightful Easter Eggs and winks. Here at “Dan Schoening Easter Egg Hunt,” we shine a fresh light on things you might have missed the first time around.***

By Rob Siebert
Fanboy Wonder

This hidden gem comes to us from 2014’s Ghostbusters #14, and the wedding of Winston Zeddemore. The boys in gray are about to face the heart-wrenching wrath of Tiamat. But in the meantime, Winston has some really interesting wedding guests.

I’ve always remembered this panel because Schoening slipped in, of all people, Rosetta Lenoire. Modern audiences know her best as Grandma Winslow from Family Matters. And low and behold, there she is in her Family Matters get-up. It somehow makes sense, doesn’t it? On the show, her son was Chicago Police Officer Carl Winslow. Carl was, of course, played by Reginald VelJohnson. VelJohnson also had a small speaking role as a prison guard in Ghostbusters. If you know enough to connect the dots, that’s an epic ’80s reference.

Then it was pointed out to me that standing next to her is Frank Eggelhoffer, Martin Short’s character from Father of the Bride. Yeah, I had no idea on that one. Makes me think I need to go back and watch that movie again.

And because we needed another ’90s reference, Schoening threw Roland from Extreme Ghostbusters in as well. Happy to see the team at IDW giving that show some love. Highly underrated, in my view.

Email Rob at PrimaryIgnition@yahoo.com, or follow Primary Ignition on Twitter.

Posted in Uncategorized

A Ghostbusters International #6 Review – The Legend of La Llorona

Ghostbusters International #6, 2016TITLE: Ghostbusters International #6
AUTHOR: Erik Burnham
PENCILLER: Rachael Stott
PUBLISHER: IDW Publishing
PRICE: $3.99
RELEASED: June 29, 2016

By Rob Siebert
Editor, Fanboy Wonder

If you’ll permit me, I’d like to gush about Dan Schoening some more.

I’ll never discount the work of Erik Burnham, Luis Delgado, or anyone else who has contributed to these IDW Ghostbusters books. As a lifelong fan, they’ve been an absolute joy to read. But what truly sets them apart is Dan Schoening’s stripped down, animated take on the world. That’s been the case from the start. So when a guest artist steps in to try and fill his shoes, they’ve practically been set up to fail.

Rachael Stott, for my money, is the first artist to buck that trend. The issue misses Schoening, but Stott fills his shoes better than any artist ever has.

This issue takes Egon, Kylie, and Melanie Ortiz to Puerto Rico to face the legendary La Llorona. What follows is pretty standard Ghostbusters fare. Exposition, search, discover, battle, capture. It’s not great, but it’s fine. I’ve never been enamored with the Melanie character. She’s always struck me as a very bland Dana Scully wannabe.

Ghostbusters International #6, 2016, Rachael StottThat being said, Melanie does have the best line in the issue. When a hospitalized teenager says “I thought [the Ghostbusters] were all guys,” she replies with a sigh and an eye roll. I think that’s a tip of the hat to the cast of the new Ghostbusters movie.

Stott’s characters look more like real people than Schoening’s ever do. It’s an interesting deviation from the norm. Her Kylie Griffin is particularly strong. But what really endeared her to me was her take on Egon. You can easily see Harold Ramis on these pages. Oddly enough, that doesn’t seem to be the case with the rest of the team. Though we only see them in a brief interlude.

I’m consistently impressed by how much research Erik Burnham puts into these stories. I had never heard the story of La Llorona prior to this issue. But its a significant piece of Mexican folklore. Though as Egon points out, similar legends exist in other parts of the world. Incidentally, I wouldn’t recommend Googling La Lorona if you’re by yourself at night…just saying.

There’s been so much unrest lately about the Ghostbusters remake, with people being upset that it’s not what they remember. As sexist as many of those complaints have been, I wish I could direct all those people to these IDW books. In a lot of ways, these are the sequels we never got. They have their flaws. But as a whole, I really can’t say enough good things about them.

Interior Image from comicsasylum.com.

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