This post is actually a sequel to an early installment of NJ’s Great Pop Culture Moments from way back in 2008. Vol.19 is all about the actual film reference and you can check it out right here: http://thesexyarmpit.blogspot.com/2008/11/new-jerseys-great-pop-culture-moments_19.html
For all the negative feedback it sustains, I still feel that Ghostbusters 2 is an entertaining sequel. That certainly seems to be an unpopular opinion though. If you can’t get down with the fact that the the boys in gray came inside the Statue of Liberty and sprayed their ectoplasm all over her insides, thereby getting her suitably riled up, enough for her to walk through the Hudson River to help defeat one seriously ugly Carpathian, who coincidentally materialized out of a rare painting, then you’ve got no sense of humor. It’s obvious that I’m a big fan of the sequel, but what I found surprising is that I’ve never read its comic adaptation.
When clicking around GhostbustersFans.com, I realized they had the 3-part adaptation of Ghostbusters 2 from NOW Comics scanned in and available to read. Nowadays, NOW Comics is no more, but, as a kid, I was very familiar with the publisher because I collected The Green Hornet, Ghostbusters, and The Terminator. Their Ghostbusters line was based off the animated Real Ghostbusters since that was the version they had the license for. NOW did an excellent job capturing the essence of the cartoon. I remember owning several issues of it, but I never realized this 3-part adaptation even existed.
Adapting Ghostbusters 2 into a Real Ghostbusters comic is an odd, yet awesome idea. There were always callbacks to the first Ghostbusters film throughout the cartoon series, and when those episodes aired I thought it was the coolest thing. One thing is for sure, if you were around when the RGB was first on TV, you know it was a bit strange and confusing to see various character changes and other minor differences from the live action movie. Minor alterations like hair color were by no means bad choices, but, even then we knew something was up. Back then, no one explained to us kids why Egon or Janine looked different from the live action movie and the whole team wore their own color jumpsuits. As I think about it, it was probably to differentiate their action figures.
After reading the 3-parter, I realized there were a few scenes that were not included in the movie. Since it was based on the movie script, many bits of dialogue don’t coincide with what is heard in the movie. I attribute a lot of that to Bill Murray ad-libbing, and I’m grateful for it. For instance, they didn’t want to print the word SHIT when Peter Venkman is on the stand in the court room scene, so the line in the comic winds up to be “…IT happens and somebody has to deal with it.” In other panels, we also get to see how the Ghostbusters crew got let out of the mental institution as well as when Ray, momentarily possessed by Vigo, drives recklessly in the Ecto 1-A, nearly killing his fellow Ghostbusters.
The style of the characters is exactly how you remember them from the cartoon. This was thanks to Van Hise and Tobias, the same creative team who worked on Real Ghostbusters. Another aspect of this adaptation that makes it unique is the fact that Dana Barrett never appeared in the Real Ghostbusters cartoon so it’s pretty amazing to be able to see how she would look in that universe, directly from the team that worked on the show no less! I always found Barrett’s character to be a bit stuffy, and it’s not that her dialogue changed that much, but here she was drawn a bit more lively and interesting.
I remember NOW’s covers and pages were above average in comparison to some of the other books of the time and that actually brought another dimension to the characters. The colors were vibrant and I especially dug how the creepy Scoleri Brothers were inked and how deranged the kids at the birthday party that Ray and Winston appeared at were drawn.
Conflict arose when my inner voice actors began competing for my favor. Was I supposed to be using Bill Murray or Lorenzo Music/Dave Coulier? Should I have been using Dan Akroyd or Frank Welker for Ray Stantz? Ramis or Lamarche? Decisions decisions. I tried to stick with the Real Ghostbusters voices so I could make the experience as authentic as possible. That was the right move, although it’s hard not to hear Bill Murray explain the many subtle levels of dirty laundry.