Tag Archives: Ghostbusters

Irish Folklore in Popular Culture

There are countless instances of Irish heritage showing up in popular culture one way or another. They range in seriousness from say the clan wars in Gangs of New York to a box of marshmallow cereal. I think that there are two reasons that The Real Ghostbusters cartoon series drug so much out Irish lore: 1) They live in New York City and B) There is a lot of it. Below is just a running list of things–episodes and issues–that can make your St. Patrick’s Day a little more Ghostbuster-y. Currently (as of 3.17.18 The Real Ghostbusters is streaming on Netflix and The Extreme Ghostbusters are on HULU)

The Bird if Kilarby is a less common than your usual Irish faire, but a haunted Irish Castle that was “brought over stone by stone” and reconstructed in a lake in the park complete with pipes, drums, and 800+ ghosts is a great place to start.

Banshee Shanna has decided that one at a time misery is too old hat and that taking her destruction national is the best way to go. Mirrors reveal their true self, but her own voice may be her undoing.

It will be another 10 years before we see a banshee again.

“The Scaring of the Green” follows a bog hound rising on a full moon on St. Patrick’s Day to carry off the head of the Clan O’Malley, who just happens to be the chief of police. The family was cursed in ancient times for stealing a Leprechaun’s pot of gold. Chief O’Malley shows the guys a lock of the bog hound’s hair that his grandfather had gotten. Peter called it a family hairloom.


“Sonic Youth” see a return to Banshee-ville, although this time she has a sister. The sister is a Siren. Luring people in with her voice so her wretchedly haggard banshee sister can steal their youth.

The Extreme Ghostbusters actually face a leprechaun, not just the by product of one’s curses, hellbent on capturing the Sons of Erin and retrieving his stolen gold. By now, the curse has moved from the chief of police to the mayor.

Honorable Mention: “When Halloween was Forever” is really all about halloween, but given the fact that Samhain hails from the Emerald Isle he should at least get a spot on the list, right?

DisHonorable Mention: “Halloween II 1/2” is the sequel. It wouldn’t be bad except it is one of those “junior ghostbusters” episodes. I hated that then, and I hate it now. There was so much “tweaking” that execs pushed through because charts and research with everyone but kids said too.

When I was first thinking about this list I was just including the cartoons, then I remembered that IDW specifically ran a “Happy HorrorDays” arc in the Ghostbusters comics. In Volume 2 number 9, which I *think* is the kickoff, the Ghostbusters meet Stingy Jack.

His carved turnip lantern is ubiquitous (as a pumpkin) with Halloween, but it is another dive into Irish folklore. 

Jack’s carved turnip is also the face of our new old friend Samhain. Less pumpkiny, and more concerned with names.

Later in Ghostbusters international, the guys again meet up with a banshee. The whole international arc is fantastic and I would love to see another one or three, bringing in folklore as it would work if it were real has always been my favorite part of storytelling.


This particular setup is a bit different though, the banshee brings life  to the victim to keep them alive forever as a curse.

I will add that this issue manages to make Walter Peck a sympathetic character and that the whole IDW run has managed to humanize him in a way that I really think befits the character.

Well there is a quick rundown and collection of bits and clips for a Ghostbustin’ St. Patrick’s Day. I partly wanted to put this together for my love of The Real Ghostbusters and partly for my love of myth and folklore and how it conveys messages and meanings to things humans didn’t understand. I was a kid when The Real Ghostbusters hit syndication, maybe that is partly why I am into folklore so much. I think I might be one of the only people who liked the “monster of the week” episodes of The X-Files far more than the alien conspiracy stuff.

ADDENDUM: (3.19.18) When I was putting this together I went digging around on Archive.Org’s WayBack Machine to check out the old Extreme Ghostbusters site, and ultimately didn’t link to anything since it didn’t add much to the rest of post, but after thinking about it, I want to include some of the screenshots here for posterity. There was also a specific entry in Spengler’s Spirit Guide for St. Patrick’s Day and a few paragraphs on just what leprechauns might be made of/from. Also enjoy the little slice of 1998 internet.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

 

Ghostbuster 2K16

Because the world needs another recorded opinion on a movie that has people threatening the lives of strangers online.

I will apologize for not putting any images in this post which is 100% against what I stand for when I post, but everything I could find online just reinforces how terrible they were with the press releasing and advertising for this film.

TL;DR: The movie is far better than what we’ve seen leaked/been given with trailers. It isn’t your standard Feig/McCarthy potty humor either. All of the worst parts we’ve seen in the trailers and  I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed it.

*****Background to release here, scroll down for Review*****

I don’t remember when I heard about the potential for a reboot of the Ghostbusters franchise, but I am pretty certain my first reaction was either” “Why?” or “another reboot?” Because the entire world outside the indie film festivals is filled with reboots and superheroes.

Like any good researcher I started trying to figure out what was going on with the new one, who was involved, how they were involved, and where the original cast were otherwise. It wasn’t long before a search or two revealed a “leaked” script on Reddit. It read terribly. So that didn’t much alleviate any concerns.

The biggest concern for me was casting and writing. Who could possibly be available to provide subtle wit interlaced within the horror story and terrifying animatronics. Full disclosure to set up my reservations, I hate most modern comedic schticks. The last time I watched SNL on Saturday night Tom Petty was performing. A couple years ago I DVR-ed the episode The National played and tried to watch it around the music. I thought it was terrible.

So when I found out it was going to be a Feig/McCarthy style movie I was more or less terrified. My loyalties with this who franchise lay solely in the cartoon so it wasn’t going to ruin my childhood, it was just shaping up to be a pretty gross movie for my taste. I don’t think that Bridesmaids is funny at all not a single bit, I lumped it into films such as Me, Myself, and Irene, and anything that Rob Schneider has been in.

The internet went mad. Madder than usual. The “gender swap” and Social Justice brigade came out in full force. It never occurred to me to dislike the film because there were women. My biggest concern was it was going to be a two hour SNL skit. It was Harold Ramis’ writing that kept the original from being an 1984 two hour SNL skit that would have originally cast John Belushi, Ackroyd, Murray, and Eddie Murphy. All this wasn’t alleviated by his writing, but knowing he wasn’t around to add substance and understatement to terror was a way bigger problem for me than whether or not Bill Murray was going to be in it.

It was odd too, that with the popularity, success, and brilliance that is the IDW comic run that the movie wan’t going to try and work the woman angle the way they did. I mean I don’t remember an uproar when Janine suited up years ago, or even when Kiley took the lead on Extreme Ghostbusters, but maybe I wasn’t paying as much attention.

Then the trailers hit. My god, those were terrible (they are even worse after you see the film). The most hated movie trailer on youtube, and that is saying something. None of the subsequent trailers made it look any better. I’ve seen episodes of Scooby Doo that are more different than Feig/McCarthy movies and they were selling this thing like just another one of those.

To add insult (sometimes literally) to injury the damage control began trying to force everyone that it would be great, we were all stupid for thinking otherwise, and if we didn’t support it at all we were trump supporters. I tried to avoid most conversations about it, but if the need arose I referred to those involved as Feign and Apathy. The only sane response to any of it came from Ivan Reitman right before the premier. Otherwise it was the battle of the lowest common denominator on both sides. No one in the middle had any chance, and every time someone posted a link about it on social media most of us just shuddered while others were cracking their knuckles to write out a symphony of support or derision for the project, the people involved, and/or the people that liked it or disliked it.

This went on for months, and is still going on in some form now that the movie is out. But, it is out and so are ghostbusters twinkies, and ecto cooler, and ghostbusters mini figures (including those hideous pop vinyl figures). For whatever your take on the film you should at least be enjoying this renaissance, right?

In the world of hashtag teamery I was firmly #TeamIfwhatweseeiswhatwegetthethingisgoingtosuck it was the damage control from Sony and the fierce supporters claiming I didn’t like it because I was misogynist that tipped my off the #TeamGiveitashot fence. From the outset I wanted it to be good, I wanted it to be fun, and I wanted it to be vastly different than what we had seen in the script and the trailers. I was worried it was going to be another Feig/McCarthy teamup with two newbies stretching their SNL chops into a feature length film. It wasn’t.

*****Review Starts Here*****

My wife and I went to see it in IMAX 3D on the opening day matinee. When we purchased our tickets there were only two others out on the guide, but by showtime there were about 30 people in there. The 3D is worth it, if you an afford it. It isn’t gimmicky, there are some things flying at the screen, but not as much as you’d think. The comedy averages out on the plus side for me. There are the compulsory bodily functions jokes the mostly get played out in the first act. My thinking is the PG rating required some toning down from the R Bridesmaids, and that did much to help it out.

For my money this is the best movie McCarthy and Wiig have made. The characters are believable if a little over the top. There is a lot of gushing about how McKinnon makes the film, and she is great, but sometimes it is a bit much. Coming from SNL though it is a vast improvement for her comedy, and if someone can get with her to bring her overacting quirkiness down to, say, Jim Carrey levels from the Jerry Lewis levels that make up the show she will be a comedienne extraordinaire. I can’t pinpoint the exact moments, but there were times she had a real Gilda Radner feel to her and that was great.

Leslie Jones has some of the best comic timing I has seen in a long time. The trailers really do her a disservice by casting her as the loud black woman. The only times she acts like that are in the scenes from the trailer. Hands down she has some of the most “Ghostbusters style” lines in the movie. She is also the most relatable character on the screen and manages to level the humor out just as it is about to get out of hand she tones it back down (hard to believe if you just see her in the trailers, right?)

McCarthy is surprisingly understated which I think is an asset to her and Wiig’s chemistry in this, the whole estranged friendship trope, etc. Again the flattest moments for her character are expertly captured in the trailers. There are more than a few scenes from the trailers that were not part of the released production. I am sure they will be put back in and rearranged for the director’s cut.

Not even going to lie, I left with a little crush on Erin Gilbert. Wiig was great, and I don’t think that is due to my terminal weakness for smart redheads, but it could be. As far as characterization goes, I think it is hard for people to work through the lack of a true 1:1 replacement, even with the black chick being the “every(wo)man” that we relate too. There are some definite marks, but it wasn’t a wholesale replication, and that works for me, at least.

Nerd Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is the most impressive dork I have seen on the big screen. The stupidity and klutziness he brings to the receptionist job there is even more amazing if you’ve seen his dramatic performance in The Heart of the Sea and all his work with Marvel. I work with a tall skinny guy with glasses named Kevin and that made this whole schtick even funnier. Some how they managed to wrap Jeanine, Dana, and Louis into one character as well (again no straight 1:1 character replacement)

The cameos are there, and they are surprisingly decent as they go. One in particular was more surprising than the others. Even for the people that weren’t there were covered. There was a great visual nod to Moranis that was great. In fact most of the film is loaded with subtle, or even subliminal, nods to the original. This can work both ways: for the super fans that want to see it, it serves as a sign that someone did their homework, but it can also look like it is trying to hard to prop itself up on the old one and if you can’t suspend disbelief well enough those nods keep reminding you that there is another ghostbusters that happened before.

The effects are great in IMAX 3D even the blue Scooby Doo movie ghosts look pretty cool. It was a fun movie to watch, just from an effects standpoint. I think a lot of people are going to have a hard time adopting the new gear, but getting to watch them develop over test periods was an interesting approach. Again, if you can spring for a 3D ticket, I think it is worth it, especially if you are planning on seeing it again.

The last half of the movie feels a little rushed, like a short story for a test that has to be wrapped up in the last few pages to avoid penalty. I would have liked to have seen more close ups and interaction with all the former inhabitants of New York.  The fight scenes were pretty impressive (the weird possession scene notwithstanding).

For all that it is I will say it follows the Reddit script well, but develops it a bit more to make it better than that. Some dancing gets the editing treatment, but, again, will probably be back in the director’s cut. Where it gets overlain in the version we saw was a lot better than if it had been left in as part of the actual.

The climax, and the oft repeated spoiler of how it comes off, is, I think a direct response to all the actual misogynists out there, and, make no mistake there are many, so, l think I am okay with it. Not the direction I would have taken it, but I wasn’t the one making it.  The final form, known as Rowan, which we have seen in toy and trailer form, looks a lot like Oogie Boogie from the Nightmare before Christmas. The stilts ghost and the parade floats looked pretty cool too.

You are going to see what you want to see. If you want it to suck you’ll think it will. If you want it to be glorious, well, it might not be glorious, but you are going to like it. I think the hardest thing for people is to be able to realize something can be “good” if they don’t “like it.” I have talked to a few friends about it, and some others that are waiting to see it, but in the end I would watch it again, and that is my usual meter stick for things. In fact, I just got back from the noon matinee of TMNT: Out of the Shadows at the $2 theatre today. I mean, I have watched Ghostbusters and Ninja turtles this summer. I have bought Ghostbusters and Ninja Turtles toys this summer, I am sorry if this stuff is ruining your childhood, but it is making my adulthood a lot of fun.

For me, and this may only be me, but I am writing this so you get my opinion, there isn’t a set of male comedians that could have done better. In fact, I think they would have made it worse. I like this movie more than the people that hate it, but I don’t think I love it as much as others might. At times I think it is better than Ghostbusters II, but probably isn’t as quotable. The very idea that a new Ghostbusters could have been, say, Will Ferrell, Rob Schneider, Adam Sandler, and Tracy Morgan is absolutely terrifying and with that in mind this movie was way better than I expected and I really like then that happens.

Oh, and if Marvel hasn’t trained you enough, stay through the credits. The last reveal isn’t as great as the one before it.

The only sexist thing I can come up with is that Mckinnon looks better in her movie street clothes and Wiig looks amazing however and I support a sequel to see more of them

It All Started With a Tweet

Actually it was the reply to a tweet. The one below in fact. Suddenly, going through twitter in the morning before getting out of bed changed the trajectory of the entire summer and, in all honesty, may have helped my reconnect with a very long forgotten piece of myself. I’ve used the analogy before, but in this case I very much feel like Columbus who has discovered something that thousands of people already knew about. The Ghostbusters cartoon, that is The Real Ghostbusters, had a comic.

Nessie is a ghost
Nessie is a ghost
No, really.
No, really.

So it goes, that April 19th began a tireless internet search for any format of any of these comics I could find. I lived for the ghostbusters cartoon when I was a kid. I saw the series before the movie and was always a bit bummed that Egon did not look the same in the movie. If I ever had a television hero or role model as such, it was Egon. Cartoon Egon. I can’t tell you how hard I tried to get my hair to roll like that. Incidentally it was the late 80s and early 90s and I did have the rat-tail too.

Personal collection of animation cells
Personal collection of animation cells

Not a single person I knew was into comic books when I was a kid. To be fair I grew up mostly around adults, but still I don’t remember classmates bringing any to school or whatever. The first one I bought was an Uncanny X-men that was in the magazine section of the grocery store (Brookshire Brothers is its name), because I had been watching the animated series on Fox Kids on Saturday mornings.

I kept up with the story arc until at some point in Jr. High school, I was made to get rid of my collection of two large Nocona boot boxes full of comics, by this time X-men, Ninja Turtles, and Wolverine because they were “a fire hazard.” I gave them to the one person I knew had comics and as far as I know he still has them all to this day.

When I tried to get back into them later when I had my own place that I wasn’t concerned with pyromaniac comics burning down, I found that the single story lines I had followed had been split into seemingly limitless different arcs and I absolutely hated it. I didn’t pick up a comic again until this year.

The original run, drawn and written true to the cartoon are a thing of beauty. Not far into the run, there is Egon pointing out the debates on the warm-bloodedness of dinosaurs. That was neat enough, but when I got to the issue that had the reference to Symmes Hollow Earth theory I was hook. I am a historian of science (specifically earth and field sciences, geology, paleontology, and archaeology) so it was fascinating to see  that obscure reference in a comic from 1988 aimed at kids. I now have an enlargement of that panel on my office wall.

Discussing the finer details about dinosaurian blood temperature
Discussing the finer details about dinosaurian blood temperature
The Hollow Earth Theory
The Hollow Earth Theory

In addition for finally rounding up all the original US comics and digitizing them, I lucked on to a fellow from the UK selling the first 100+ of the UK Mag comics. I have about 15 of them digitized, but they are coming along. That aside, something interesting started showing up in the google searches for Ghostbusters comics–(and here we have the second voyage of Columbus) there were new ones.

They were new, but they weren’t new. They are brilliant. They are absolutely everything that a fan could possibly want in a 21st century rendition of the franchise. I hate to admit just how long it took me to get used to the newly drawn characters specifically because I love all the artwork and the artist Dan Schoening (@Dapperpomade) is such a great guy and a must follow on Twitter if not for interaction then for his sneak peak/previews (including some really neat post-it art).

That is the "Rookie" from the video game.
That is the “Rookie” from the video game. (all images are copyright of IDW Publishing and are used here to highlight and review the work where they are originally located. no infringement is intended and they are used for educational purposes (secondary to praise))
The Twinkie
The Twinkie

There could be a full manual written on just the easter eggs and sly references to other incarnations of the Ghostbusters that he includes in the series. When I started reading the series (that is now more than a couple years old) the appearance of Belushi as Ray’s Dreamworld Virgil pretty much squashed any doubts I had about where this was going. The writing, masterfully executed by Erik Burnham (@Erikburnham) brings everything together in a way that make every single issue enjoyable every single time you read one.

It's the end of the world as we know it
It’s the end of the world as we know it
and I feel...
and I feel…

What I think I love the most amongst all this stuff that many of you have been enjoying for years is the fact that it does the very opposite of the thing that turned me away from comics all those years ago. Instead of splitting stories into backstories and alternate universes and riding relative dimensions to some weird end, the IDW publishing series is tying in everything. That is everything. The cartoons–yes, plural, even that weird one made for teens is represented, the movies, the video games, it is all coming together and that, for me, is a nice bit of Ray Stantz cosmological symmetry.

So much goodness
So much goodness

They, along with Tom Waltz (@TomWaltz) produced the crossover to rule them all: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Ghostbusters. (I don’t want to leave the colorist Luis Antonio Delgado out either, the stuff pops on the page and looks amazing on a retina display iPad, Luis doesn’t have a twitter that I am aware). God, how I wish this would have been done when I was a kid, because the very UN-esque agreement that my mother made me submit to in order to get Ninja Turtle toys was to make room for them by getting rid of my ghostbusters toys. That this even exists is a tribute to humanity’s greatness. I am telling you, t is golden record in space worthy.

Even when interests mesh, it isn't a perfect 1:1 and that makes it perfect
Even when interests mesh, it isn’t a perfect 1:1 and that makes it perfect
Mikey asks the important questions
Mikey asks the important questions

Every page has comes with something like this. Which, of course, has led to backtracking to Tom Waltz recent runs with Ninja Turtles proper and it doesn’t disappoint either, but that is a thought for another time.

Currently they are running a 4 part Ghostbusters Get Real, wherein the cartoon ghobstbusters have crossed over into the new/real/comic universe.  Never before have I wanted to hit up a Comic Con and get anything signed before, but this series has me looking at future locations.

Get Real #'s 1 & 2
Get Real #’s 1 & 2

The third one is out in a couple weeks and will feature Egon on the cover, so I am more than a little excited for that. The story is running true to all forms too. The best news comes that they are also working on a Ghostbusters Annual for the end of this year and a full new series (this will be Vol. 3) for 2016 along with a full published Tobin’s Spirit guide. There is really much, much more to say about just how wonderful all of this is and most especially for me as it recaptures a lot of what I was before life really got in the way. It also doesn’t hurt that I am finding it as I am working on my PhD research. A quick read through of one or two issues is a welcome break and recharge from digitizing thousands of WPA letters and funding, locality, worker records, and bureaucratic paperwork. I will, with all sincerity but these guys in my acknowledgements when the dissertation is finished.