Thursday, February 27, 2014

CBR Ghost Busted


A review dedicated to the memory of Harold Ramis, RIP.

Comic title: Ghostbusters: Ghost Busted 
Written by Nathan Johnson and Matt Yamashita
Illustrated by Chrissy Delk, Maximo V. Lorenzo, Michael Shelfer & Nate Watson

Published by TOKYOPOP
From 2008
Lineup Ghostbusters series
Format: Manga-sized "graphic novel" volume.

The Ghostbusters have not only known their fair share of video game and cartoon adaptations over the years, but the franchise managed to get more than enough comic book series along the way.

From the usual adaptations such as the Real Ghostbusters-based comic to proper stand-alone series.

Ghostbusters comics started their life first at Now Comics and Marvel.

After a long hiatus, the franchise finally returning to the comic medium at the now defunct 88MPH Studios in the early 2000s. But the publisher went through a lot of trouble, and after a problematic run and uncertain schedules - as well as a never-published proper on-going - the license was put to rest along the Quebec-based company.

In 2008, TOKYOPOP acquired the rights temporary, and released this following manga-format graphic novel.

Before IDW Publishing were able to secure the rights for the entire Ghostbusters franchise (which means they could reprint older material such as the Real Ghostbusters comics), later that same year. Finally, an all-new Ghostbusters on-going was launched September 2011.

Ghostbusters: Ghost Busted is a Western manga.

Co-written by Nathan Johnson and Matt Yamashita, with Yamashita being the only Japanese person involved in this project. Matt Yamashita actually worked on some on Lupin III-related material.

This faux manga was actually drawn by Chrissy Delk, Maximo V. Lorenzo, Michael Shelfer & Nate Watson. Each chapter is drawn by another artist, giving this manga an overall "anthology" feel, while actually these 6 unrelated short stories/chapters form an overarching plot.

At first sight this book looks like a collection of one-shots. Each chapter focusing on a different Ghostbusters. Each in a somewhat different "manga" art style.

We meet the guys again, they're all here - Peter, Egon, Ray and of course Winston. Janine is still here, working as their (sarcastic) receptionist.

The story takes place some time after the second movie. We get to see what's going on at the ol' firehouse, since they saved New York City, twice!

Post-Gozer and Vigo the Carpathian, business is still open for the guys. There's obviously less frequent ghosts, but they can still make some money off residual spectral apparitions.

That is... until a new problem arise in the form of the minor character everybody forgot about, the Kurt Fuller-played character Jack Hardemeyer (Woody on Psych!).    

Ghost Busted is kind of similar to the Real Ghostbusters cartoon in tone.

A comedic series with plenty of humor and full of adventures thrown in the mix.

It starts with simple cases. The guys go investigate an haunted theater on Broadway. Then the next chapters focuses on one Buster at the time. Egon gets to meet with a former teacher who's calling for his help... Ray gets sent on a series of errands which turn out to be a goose chase... But then the trap closes on our hero and they have to face Ghostbusters... busters!

The final chapter is another self-contained short story, about a fashion designer and her ties with the Sumerian Goddess of Deception, Heel! How will our heroes face these possessed clothes...?!

The various manga-styles need some getting used to. The art varies from one artist to another.

The story gets a bit darker in the middle. I particularly enjoyed Egon's story, very touching. It brought an interesting angle with spirits very rarely thought off.

The Ghostbusters have great voices, well captured on the paper. Our two writers were able to manage getting some of the franchise's "magic" back. There's plenty of laughs an even a couple of serious moments.

The manga aspect is actually a great fit. You'll even wonder if this book wasn't part of the official merchandising they produced in the actual film.

The book also contain some behind-the-scenes sketches at the end.

Overall, a pretty fun recommended read for fans of the series or readers curious of this whole American-manga experiment.

It's a mix of better stories and decent ones, forming an overarching plot disguised as an anthology of short Ghostbusters manga stories. Even the ones which featured, let's say, less than stellar artwork got some charm to them.

There's obviously some flaws here and there, some inconsistent from one story to another regarding secondary characters for example. It's a hit and miss in that regard.

But a fun read. Given the different approaches it works great in the end.

Despite being not a "real manga", it's still very good.

I give it:
2.5 / 3 Bobobos!

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