New Gang For Gags In Ghostbusters 101
Jan 19, 2017
by Vince Brusio
As we learned in this PREVIEWS Exclusive interview, some of the best ideas come to mind when you’re slap happy. There’s no discounting the magic made when the fun factor is turned to “11.” If you don’t believe us, ask creators Erik Burnham and Tom Waltz when they brainstormed for a new IDW series later titled Ghostbusters 101 #1 (JAN170460). Some of the best ideas make it to the front burner when there’s no filters in place. Dimension-hopping is complicated enough, but when you add several new characters to an already top-heavy title like Ghostbusters, what should be fun can become overbearing work in a short period of time. As this wasn’t their first rodeo, Burnham and Waltz navigated the new logistics with relative ease, and got onto the business of having fun quickly so that Ghostbusters 101 #1 became the class clown the teacher didn’t anticipate.
Ghostbusters 101 #1 (JAN170460) is in comic shops March 22.
Vince Brusio: How did the idea get started for this inter-dimensional adventure?
Erik Burnham: In this case, while we thought it could be fun to do a crossover of the original Ghostbusters with the "Answer The Call" crew in the same way that we crossed over with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and “The Real Ghostbusters” — and we kicked it around as a “maybe” — we didn't have it totally on the radar. Ghostbusters 101 was going to be a smaller story, with the guys straight-up teaching their trade in between busts — largely the result of Tom Waltz (Ghostbusters editor) and myself brainstorming ideas late at night during San Diego Comic Con, when we're both a little punchy and there's no filter on the ideas. Fun stuff almost always comes of these sessions, and the bones of 101 were no different.
But when Ghost Corps was presented with the story, they had one small suggestion... introducing the ATC ladies to the multiverse we'd established in our prior crossovers. Bring them into a continuity together, as canon, that still allows everyone to stand alone.
Small suggestion, but not a small change! Adding another five characters to the book required some reworking, but it allows for some fun exchanges. Tom and I bounced some more ideas back and forth, Dan chipped in, and we were off to the races.
Tom Waltz: And Ghost Corps’ timing was great, because we were preparing the Ghostbusters Annual 2017 when they asked us to include the ATC team in the upcoming Ghostbusters 101 mini-series, so we had the opportunity to adjust fire on the Annual a bit, throwing in some new story details and a fun teaser that work to set the stage for GB 101. Annuals are always fun, but just like our Ghostbusters Annual 2015, the 2017 edition is also firmly set in our long-running IDW continuity and not just a one-off.
Vince Brusio: How does the “101” continuity move forward? Is it similar to how we have Marvel Comics & Marvel NOW comics?
Erik Burnham: This is just another step forward in what we've been building from the start on the title, and how we're growing into Dan Akroyd's initial, pre-film concepts. This is a multiverse. And our Ghostbusters are responsible for making a change to the way that multiverse operates (which we started to hint at in Ghostbusters International). We'll look at that some in 101.
As for why the 101 title itself, that's the brainchild of Tom Waltz! There's a lot of beginnings here; students learning basics about Ghostbusting, the Answer, The Call characters learning the basics of other dimensions. Tom felt 101 was the appropriate title given all that. And a pun like “Get Real" didn't make itself apparent!
Tom Waltz: What I really love about this is that not only do we get to bring in fantastic characters like Abby, Erin, Patty and, of course, Holtzmann to the mix, we are also adding to our ever-expanding roster of new and original characters with the 101 students (who make their debut in Ghostbusters Annual 2017). I’m absolutely confident that in Erik, Dan, and Luis’ capable and talented hands, the ATC team and the new 101 characters will find the same success and popularity in our comic book that characters like Ron Alexander and Mel Ortiz have.
Vince Brusio: Give us an idea of where things start in this story. Who’s going to be stepping on whose toes? It seems some egos are about to get bruised.
Erik Burnham: Well, multiple universes are old hat to the originals, but I think the ladies may be surprised to find that there's a group of people with similar equipment, methods, and theories who have been operating for years longer than they have. That surprise may be a rude shock, or it may be cause for relief. Most likely, it'll be both. But will egos be bruised? Maybe just one...
Seeing how these personalities clash is going to be a lot of fun.
The story starts with the students Ray has decided to start teaching. They’re made aware of the interdimensional technology the Ghostbusters have been experimenting with, and decide to play with it themselves... messing around with technology you don't understand is a great way to cause a problem.
Vince Brusio: This is a mini-series, correct? So are we going to be treated to more ongoing team-ups? How many issues have already been plotted?
Erik Burnham: This one is a six-issue mini-series! Tom and I have been talking about what will come next; there are several ideas, none of which I'm allowed to talk about under penalty of Tom unleashing the hounds on me, and there are some I may not even be involved in... but there's a lot of Ghostbusting left to get to, and I'm as excited for it now as I was when I first started. I love this job.
Vince Brusio: If dimension-hopping is the means of transportation for this new alliance of Ghostbusters, then it means that the highway they’re riding on is a two-lane highway. Which means there can be a lot of traffic on that highway. And that means they might have to share the road with someone else. Do you see where this is going? The possibilities for crossovers is endless! Is that the point?
Erik Burnham: Well... yeah! Wait, Tom! That's not a spoiler, right? Keep those huskies in the yard!
Tom Waltz: HA! My huskies would just cuddle you to death, Erik, you know that. Let’s just say, if all goes as planned, and if we get our way, one of the major comic book events of the next few years will feature the Ghostbusters… lots and lots of Ghostbusters. Stand by, Ghostheads… and thank you so much for reading our books and supporting our work all these years! The best is yet to come!
Vince Brusio writes about comics, and writes comics. He is the long-serving Editor of PREVIEWSworld.com, the creator of PUSSYCATS, and encourages everyone to keep the faith...and keep reading comics.