Ghostbusters (comics)

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Peter Venkman and Ray Stanz of the Ghostbusters battle a ghostly animated Tyrannosaurs Rex skeleton. From The Real Ghostbusters Vol.2 #4. From NOW Comics.
Publication information
Publisher Marvel Comics
Now Comics
88MPH Studios
IDW Comics
Schedule Monthly
Format Ongoing series

The Ghostbusters franchise spawned various comic books published by various comic book companies through the years starting in 1988 and continuing to the present day. These comics have ranged from being based on the The Real Ghostbusters animated series, to the 1984 film.

The Real Ghostbusters[edit]

The very first comic book addition to the Ghostbusters franchise was The Real Ghostbusters. It was a comic series based on the animated series of the same name. NOW Comics and Marvel Comics shared the comic book rights to the property. NOW Comics had the rights for publication in North America, while Marvel had the rights in Europe. Marvel published the series in Europe through their Marvel UK imprint. Some of the Marvel UK issues reprinted material from the NOW Comics series, and vice versa. Publication of the series began on March 28, 1988.

NOW Comics[edit]

NOW Comics began their series in August 1988. The series ran for two volumes, two annuals and one special. The first volume ran for 28 issues.[1] The series was primarily written by James Van Hise, with the exceptions being issue 4 by La Morris Richmond and issue 21 which featured Marvel UK reprints due to production delays. John Tobias, Phillip Hester, Evan Dorkin and Howard Bender were among the pencilers for the series.

The series was on hiatus for a time due to the publisher's financial difficulties, but was subsequently re-launched. The second volume ran for four issues,[2] one special (The Real Ghostbusters Spectacular 3-D Special[3]) and two annuals (one regular[4] and one 3-D[5]). The series had a main story that ran from the 3-D Special through issue 4, followed by back-up stories reprinted from the Marvel UK run. They also contained game pages and health tips for kids and parents. Several issues of volume 1 and the main issues of volume 2 used covers taken from the Marvel UK run.

NOW Comics also published a 3 issue miniseries in 1989 called Real Ghostbusters Starring in Ghostbusters II[6] that was collected as a trade paperback.[7]

A spin-off series of the popular Ghostbusters character Slimer was also published. NOW Comics published a series that ran 19 issues from 1989 through 1990,[8] as well as spawning a one shot special called The Real Ghostbusters 3-D Slimer Special.[9] Some of these issues were reprinted as a tradepaperback in 1991.[10]

When IDW Publishing licensed the comic book rights to the Ghostbusters property, they began to reprint the Now Comics series in a multi-volume series of trade-paperbacks called The Real Ghostbusters Omnibus.[11] beginning in October 2012.

Marvel UK[edit]

Marvel UK published a magazine-sized comic for 193 issues[12] that also spawned 4 annuals[13] and 10 specials. The series started its run on March 28, 1988, starting five months before the NOW Comics series. Each issue contained three to four comic stories, a prose story alternating from a regular tale to one narrated by Winston Zeddemore, a prose entry of Egon Spengler’s Spirit Guide typically discussing the entities in the comic, a bio of a character or ghost that appeared in the series, and a short Slimer strip. The comics featured a rotating line-up of creators, including John Carnell, Dan Abnett, Andy Lanning, Brian Williamson, Anthony Williams, Stuart Place, Richard Starkings, and Helen Stone.

The series ran weekly and eventually began to feature reprints from the American comics as well as stories that appeared previously in the series. The American comics were often broken up into four to five parts, and incorporated the failed Slimer! series beginning with issue 121. The last original story ran in issue 171 with the remaining issues being reprints from the earlier comics and the American books.

Four annual comics were produced in a hardcover format. Each book contained several comic strips, full-page Slimer strips, and prose stories. The books also included game and activity pages, and reprints of bios found in the regular books.

Some of these issues were collected by Titan Books into trade paperbacks. These include:

Marvel UK also reprinted NOW Comics' tradepaperback Real Ghostbusters Starring in Ghostbusters II in 1989[18] as well as reprinting various issues as a compendium called The Real Ghostbusters: The Giggling Ghoul and Other Stories[19] also in 1989.

Outside of the ongoing title, the Ghostbusters were also featured in the 30 issue[20][21][22] run of The Marvel Bumper Comic. An anthology style comic that was published by Marvel UK from 1988–1989, and that featured strips adapting different characters and properties.

Like Now Comics, Marvel UK also published a 19 issue series revolving around Slimer.

Welsh Publishing Group[edit]

The publishing company Welsh Publishing Group Inc published The Real Ghostbusters Magazine. A 7 issue[23] magazine that ran from 1989 to 1991 and reprinted a few of the issues from both the NOW Comics and Marvel UK comic series.

88MPH Studios[edit]

Over ten years after the end of The Real Ghostbusters comic books, the property returned to comics courtesy of the Quebec-based comic company 88MPH Studios. 88MPH published a 4 issue[24] mini-series titled Ghostbusters: Legion that ran from February through May 2004. It was written by Andrew Dabb with pencils by Steve Kurth and inks by Serge LaPointe. Unlike the previous comics, this title (as well as future titles by other publishing companies) would be presenting the characters the way they were portrayed in the original 1984 film but set in 2004 instead of 1984, more serious themed and less cartoonish than The Real Ghostbusters series.

The storyline of Legion saw the return of the four Ghostbusters and the principal cast from the movie. Set six months on from the Gozer incident (in this universe having occurred in 2004) the series was designed to follow the Ghostbusters as their initial fame faded and they returned to the regular chore of busting ghosts on a daily basis. The series sees the team run ragged as a spate of supernatural crimes and other related occurrences plague the city.

Prior to its release, the miniseries featured 5 pieces of promotional artwork featuring all 4 Ghostbusters. Two other pieces of promotional artwork were also featured on the back of the comic books once the miniseries had begun. These featured a promo of a melting Stay Puft Marshmallow Man featuring the phrase "S'mores Anyone?" and a promo of Slimer featuring the phrase "Vermin Problems?"

A special 'Christmas card' was created specially for the site, drawn by well-known Ghostbusters prop member Sean Bishop and coloured by one of the comic production staff.

Outside of the 4 issue series a "#0 issue" was planned. It was to have been released before the Legion mini-series, but was eventually released as a convention exclusive at the San Diego Comic Con stall operated by 88MPH Studios to help promote the comic.[25]

Planned ongoing series[edit]

Originally planned for a June 2004 release to coincide with the 20th Anniversary of the movie, the ongoing series of the comic was to officially start in the Summer of 2004 with three known stories. The following synopses have been collected from the official site:

  • Ghostbusters Monthly #1 - In June 1984, GHOSTBUSTERS exploded into theaters and captivated a generation. Twenty years later, the boys are back in a brand new ONGOING comic book series. Now that they’ve saved the world twice, the Ghostbusters want to go global…but that’s easier said than done. Meanwhile, a dead man is wandering the streets of New York and something wicked stirs in the Central Park Zoo. Old foes, new enemies and trusty unlicensed nuclear accelerators, this exciting first issue has it all. Because even after two decades, you know who to call.
  • Ghostbusters Monthly #2 - Romance is in the air as Egon and Janine go out on their first official date, and with Peter playing the role of Cyrano things are bound to get interesting. Meanwhile, Winston goes solo, Louis gets an unwelcome visit from an old friend, and Ray takes a trip to a dark, dangerous place…the library.
  • Ghostbusters Monthly #3 - With the powerful ghost known as Ahriman making trouble and Vinz Clortho back for an encore, the Ghostbusters find themselves racing from one disaster to the next. And that’s before things get really bad. It turns out there's one thing worse than having two evil spirits rampaging through New York; when they get together.

Due to the varying problems with finance and publishing, Sebastien Clavet announced that the ongoing Ghostbusters series would be going into indefinite hiatus with three issues planned and three covers released.[26][27][28]

Collected edition[edit]

In early 2005 Sebastien Clavet announced the official trade collection of the series which would include a coloured version of The Zeddemore Factor one shot, concept art, 'Ecto-Logs', a foreword by Ghostbusters creator Dan Aykroyd and a proposed afterword by an as yet unknown actor related to the film. The cut-off date for pre-orders was extended several times, while a firm release date had never been announced. This trade would have been a hardcover collection that was supposed to be released via a Diamond Comic Distributors "Previews" exclusive.[29][30]

However, it would appear that financial problems have plagued this venture despite hundreds of paid pre-orders. Clavet has since closed his own company's message boards and removed contact information from 88MPH Studios website, leaving many disgruntled fans to level claims of fraud against Clavet. A post made on January 14, 2007 on the new 88MPH Studios website states that pre-orders placed with them and Graham crackers are guaranteed and that more information will be posted shortly. Posts entered onto the Weaver Hall forum on January 17 reference Clavet's intent to offer the hardcover to fans via the 88MPH Studios online store. But this never came to fruition.

Presently, a version of the Legion Trade in Soft Cover has been released for commercial purchase, however it lacks the foreword by Aykroyd and the concept art. The book is available in the United Kingdom and was published by Titan Books.[31]


Tokyopop published a one-shot[32] black and white Manga comic in 2008 called Ghostbusters: Ghost Busted. The comic comprised six mini-stories.

IDW Publishing[edit]

IDW Publishing obtained the comic books rights to the Ghostbusters in 2008 and began publishing a series of one shots and miniseries based on the property. IDW then announced plans to publish an ongoing series starting in September 2011.[33]

One shots and mini-series[edit]

  • Ghostbusters: The Other Side

A 4 issue[34] miniseries that ran from October 2008 to January 2009. It was written by Keith C. Champagne with artwork by Tom Nguyen. It was collected as a trade paperback in May 2009.[35]

  • Ghostbusters: Displaced Aggression

Another 4 issue[36] miniseries that ran from September 2009 to December 2009. It was written by Scott Lobdell and illustrated by Llias Kyriazis. It was then collected as a trade paperback in April 2010,[37] and spawned a Hundred Penny Press edition in 2011.[38]

  • Ghostbusters: Past, Present, and Future

A one-shot that was published in December 2009.[39] It was written by Rob Williams with artwork by Diego Jourdan Pereira.

  • Ghostbusters: Tainted Love

A one-shot published in February 2010.[40] Written by Dara Naraghi with artwork by Salgood Sam.

  • Ghostbusters: Con-Volution

A one-shot published in June 2010.[41] It was written by Jim Beard and Keith Dallas and featured artwork by Josh Howard.

  • Ghostbusters: What in Samhain Just Happened?!

A one shot published in October 2010.[42] It was written by Peter Allen David with artwork by Dan Schoening.

  • Ghostbusters: Haunted Holidays

A tradepaperback[43] published in November 2010 that collects the various one-shots. These include Past, Present, and Future, Tainted Love, Con-Volution and What in Samhain Just Happened?!. It also includes a brand new bonus story called Guess What's Coming to Dinner?.

  • Three of these one shots and mini-series, Displaced Aggression, The Other Side, and Haunted Holidays, were collected as the Ghostbusters: Omnibus in September 2012.[44] In October 2012 to coincide with Halloween, IDW released a collection of some of these issues as Ghostbusters: 100-Page Spooktacular,[45] as well as a mini-comic reprint called Ghostbusters Times Scare! which was released at Halloween Comic-Fest 2012.[46]
  • Infestation

A 2 issue[47] series published from January to April 2011. It was preceded by an ashcan edition called Classified Secrets of Infestation[48] that was published in November 2010. It also featured a sketchbook[49] that was published in January 2011. This miniseries was part of a large zombie crossover storyline event that featured several of the IDW licensed properties such as G.I. Joe, Star Trek, Transformers and of course Ghostbusters. The entire series was collected as a hardcover in December 2011.

  • Ghostbusters: Infestation

A 2 issue[50] miniseries published in March 2011, as part of the Infestation storyline. It was written by Erik Burnham with artwork by Kyle Hotz.

  • Mars Attacks the Real Ghostbusters

A one shot comic published in January 2013, written by Erik Burnham with art by Jose Holder, featuring a crossover between the Ghostbusters and Mars Attacks. Variant covers of this issue featured the Martians battling Chew and Madman.[51] This issue was reprinted in the one shot Mars Attacks IDW trade that April.[52]

  • The X-Files Conspiracy

This one shot written by Erik Burnham with art by Salvador Navarro (published January 2014), was issue #2 of a six issue series combining several of the IDW licenses with the X-Files property. This particular issue spotlighted the Ghostbusters.[53]

  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Ghostbusters

This four issue miniseries by Erik Burnham, Tom Waltz, Dan Schoening, and Luis Antonio Delgado (published between October 2014 and January 2015) has the team having an in-continuity crossover/teamup with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.[54] The miniseries was collected in a single volume in April 2015,[55] and a special "Director's Cut" version of issue #1 featuring bonus materials and creator commentary was released.[56]

  • Ghostbusters: Get Real

A four issue miniseries published from June through September 2015 featuring a crossover between the established Ghostbusters and the cartoon counterparts from The Real Ghostbusters.[57]

Ongoing series[edit]

From September 2011 through December 2012, IDW published an ongoing series that ran 16 issues, written by Erik Burnham with art by Dan Schoening and Luis Antonio Delgado.[58] In March 2014, the entire series was collected as a hardcover collection called Ghostbusters: Total Containment.[59]

From February 2013 through September 2014, after a hiatus for the "Mars Attacks Real Ghostbusters" one shot, IDW published a new ongoing series at first titled The New Ghostbusters. The series, also by Burnham, Schoening, and Delgado, ran 20 issues.[60] In July 2015, the entire series was collected as a hardcover collection called Ghostbusters: Mass Hysteria.[61]

In March 2012, IDW began reprinting both series as a 9 volume trade paperback collection.[62]


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