‘Ghostbusters’ Series Shares Sneak Peek, but It Don’t Look Good

in Movies & TV

Phoebe Spengler (McKenna Grace) screaming in 'Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire'

Credit: Sony Pictures

Now that Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire (2024) is out in theaters, where it has so far grossed $176.1M worldwide (against a $100M budget), fans are wondering what’s next for the long-running franchise that turns 40 this year.

The Ghostbusters Franchise

So far, there have been five Ghostbusters movies (when you include the 2016 reboot Ghostbusters: Answer the Call), two animated shows (The Real Ghostbusters and Extreme Ghostbusters), and several video games (Ghostbusters: The Video Game, Spirits Unleashed, and Rise of the Ghost Lord are some recent examples).

However, there’s one corner of the franchise that’s often overlooked — the comics. Ghostbusters comic books have changed many hands since they first hit shelves back in 1988 — NOW Comics, Marvel, and Welsh Publishing Group. But between 2008 and 2019, IDW Publishing held the rights, and the main series it started in 2011 remains the most popular.

The Library Ghost in the 'Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire' trailer
Credit: Sony Pictures

Related: ‘Ghostbusters’ Cinematic Universe Will Include New Sequels, TV Shows, and More

IDW’s Ghostbusters Comic Book Series

IDW Publishing’s Ghostbusters is the richest bedrock of ghostbusting lore you’ll find throughout the entire franchise, surpassing even that of the films, which really only started to properly world-build with Ghostbusters: Afterlife (2021). It also boasts the most gorgeous artwork you’ll find in the franchise, courtesy of artist Dan Schoening.

As well as focusing on the main four Ghostbusters, Peter Venkman, Ray Stantz, Winston Zeddemore, and Egon Spengler, as they continue to investigate and eliminate supernatural entities in New York City, and other familiar characters like Janine Melnitz, the series also “cross the streams” with the animated shows, the video games, the 2016 reboot, and even external franchises like Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Transformers.

Ghostbusters and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IDW Comics crossover
Credit: IDW Publishing

Related: All 9 ‘Ghostbusters’ Installments Ranked, Including ‘Frozen Empire’

Dark Horse Comics’ Ghostbusters Series

Sadly, despite going strong for the best part of a decade, churning out volume after volume and even spawning board games and other collectibles, IDW’s series died without so much as a whimper — no one really knows why it faded into the afterlife. Now, Dark Horse Comics holds the publishing rights, having already let its first issue out of the Ecto Containment Unit just last month after the release of Frozen Empire.

Ghostbusters: Back in Town (2024) is a four-part comic book miniseries set between Afterlife and Frozen Empire, following teen siblings Phoebe Spengler and Trevor Spengler, their mother Callie Spengler, and science teacher-turned-stepdad Gary Grooberson (played in the two films by McKenna Grace, Finn Wolfhard, Carrie Coon, and Paul Rudd, respectively) as they relocate from Summerville, Oklahoma (the setting for Afterlife) to New York City, so they can get into their starting positions for the latest theatrical sequel.

Carrie Coon, Finn Wolfhard, and Paul Rudd in the new 'Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire' trailer
Credit: Sony Pictures

Related: ‘Ghostbusters 5’ Official Teaser Explained, Director Comments

Is It Any Good?

Unfortunately, the first issue leaves a lot to be desired.

Not only is the artwork by Blue Delliquanti a truly massive departure from Schoening’s crisp world in the IDW series, the story by David Booher is very underwhelming, and offers zero explanation as to why the Spenglers (plus Grooberson) have relocated to NYC (other than the fact Winston Zeddemore, now a wealthy businessman, has decided to let them live in the Ghostbusters’ old firehouse), which is the only reason this comic book series exists in the first place.

The first issue was released on March 27, one week after Frozen Empire hit theaters. Now, Dark Horse Comics (via Ghostbusters News) has shared a first-look at issue #2. But, just like #1, to quote the iconic “Ghostbusters” song by Ray Parker Jr., “it don’t look good.”

Phoebe Spengler (McKenna Grace) looking surprised in 'Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire'
Credit: Sony Pictures

Related: ‘Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire’ Confirms Non-Canon Installment Is Now Part of the Series

If we didn’t have the IDW comics to compare the new series to, perhaps we’d be a bit more lenient. Unfortunately, Back in Town will never escape IDW’s shadow. But the worst part is that it doesn’t even look like it’s tried, despite being overseen by Afterlife and Frozen Empire director/writer duo Jason Reitman and Gil Kenan.

Per Dark Horse Comics, here’s the synopsis for #2:

Big city life proves a challenging adjustment for the Spengler family! Something sinister swoops around Central Park, but the family’s focus is split between the personal and the professional. New clues point toward the true cause of the city’s recent ghost epidemic, and one family member is following the trail with a dedication that may end in trouble!
 
The Ghostbusters continue their official return to New York City with the second installment of this all-new series! Ghostbusters: Back in Town features script by David Booher, art by Blue Delliquanti, and colors by Mildred Louis.

The next three issues will be released on April 24, May 29, and June 26. You can now pre-order your copy of the second issue through Dark Horse Comics.

Have you read Back in Town yet? Let Inside the Magic know in the comments down below!

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