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Comic Book / Ghostbusters (IDW Comics)

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Over the years, there have been several comic series based on the Ghostbusters franchise, mostly based on The Real Ghostbusters cartoon. In 2008, IDW Publishing acquired the comic book rights to the franchise, primarily focusing on the original films.

After some miniseries and one-shots with different creative teams, a full series began in 2011 which picks up a few years after Ghostbusters II, sometime after Ghostbusters: The Video Game. The first issue opens with Dr. Raymond Stantz having a nightmare that may prove prophetic...

This series ran from September 2011 through December 2012 for 16 issues. It returned as The New Ghostbusters for a 20-issue run from February 2013 through September 2014. A third ongoing, Ghostbusters: International, ran for 11 issues from January 2016 through November 2016. There were also annuals in 2015, 2017, and 2018.

Through miniseries, they met the IDW versions of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles twice in 2014 and in 2017, The Real Ghostbusters versions of themselves in 2015, the Ghostbusters: Answer the Call stars in 2017, every Ghostbuster evernote  in 2018, and the Transformers in 2019's Transformers/Ghostbusters.

Written by Erik Burnham and illustrated by Dan Schoening, the series are littered with plenty of callbacks for long-time fans of the franchise to spot. The comics and their volume collections often feature supplementary material, such as the P.C.O.C. pages by Tristan Jones. Before a full crossover happened, some issues of the comic also had backup stories set in the continuity of The Real Ghostbusters.

The Answer the Call stars received a miniseries of their own in 2017, written by Kelly Thompson with art by Corin Howell.

For the character page, see here.

Who ya gonna trope?:

  • Abbey Road Crossing:
  • Actor Allusion:
    • All over the place in the comic book from IDW Publishing. In the first issue alone we have Ray being visited by the ghost of Joliet Jake and Peter talking about golf.
    • One of the results of the photo shoot in issue two of "The New Ghostbusters" has Ron Alexander (who's based on Chevy Chase) in a pig suit.
      • Going further, the 'Crossing Over' event reveals Ron's apartment is full of merchandise featuring a cartoon moose, a clear reference to Wally World and it moose mascot from the first 'Vacation' film.
    • Ray's preference for deep-dish pizza is probably a nod to his The Blues Brothers and SCTV roots. (Pizza is Serious Business for New Yorkers, and liking Chicago's is tantamount to treason.)
    • In Ghostbusters 101, it's revealed that Jillian Holtzmann (of Ghostbusters (2016)) has a counterpart in the 1980's universe who's an FBI Agent. Plus Jillian eventually introduces Peter to her mentor, Dr. Rebecca Gorin, who was played by Sigourney Weaver, and he asks Rebecca if she's ever been turned into a dog.
    • It's also mentioned that in one of the alternate universes the Ghostbusters visited via their portal, Peter's counterpart blew up a golf course.
    • In the second crossover with the Ninja Turtles, Peter and Michelangelo end up in an Alternate Universe populated by Funny Animals — including turtle Ghostbusters. Each is apparently named after the actors who played their counterparts in the original films and The Real Ghostbusters; for example, Ray's counterpart is Dan Welker.
  • Almighty Janitor: Janine, technically their receptionist and secretary, falls increasingly into the load of being the Ghostbusters' coordinator and manager as events become crazier and crazier, especially when the team disappears for a while. Eventually, everyone starts unquestioningly treating her as their boss, second to Peck. There's even a bit of official art that depicts her drinking out of a "World's Best Boss" mug.
  • And All I Got Was This Lousy T-Shirt: Referenced but not given out in the fourth issue of the Ninja Turtles crossover. Peter says they'll have to get the turtles a souvenir shirt that reads, "I fought the minions of an uppity Class 7 and all I got was this lousy t-shirt."
  • And Then John Was a Zombie: And then Jenny Moran was a ghost, at the end of Ghostbusters International. She stays.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Egon, full stop. Ghosts, ancient deities, demons, creatures and people from parallel dimensions... sure. But aliens? Absolutely not. The Transformers crossover naturally makes him grow out of that belief.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Inverted by Winston in the first issue of "The New Ghostbusters":
    Winston: Y'all invented a whole new technology, outsmarted Sumerian deities, and managed to never once try to seriously kill Pete here... Those are some big achievements, and it's time to top yourselves, guys.
  • Art Shift:
    • In the first issue of the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Ghostbusters, the two teams live on alternate Earths with their own art styles. For the first pages all set in the Turtles' world, the opening scene in feudal Japan is drawn by Charles Paul Wilson III, the artist assigned to flashback scenes in that time period, and the present day scene by Cory Smith, a regular on the main TMNT title's rotating stable of artists. When the Turtles cross over the the Ghostbusters' world, it becomes all Schoening to the end of the miniseries.
    • The same happens in Ghostbusters: Get Real with Schoening illustrating both worlds (Burnham doubled as artist for the earlier backup stories). In fact, every time The Real Ghostbusters appear, they're lovingly done in a perfect reproduction of their art style. Ditto for the Extreme Ghostbusters.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: How the second volume ends. Luckily for the world, Tiamat was only interested in thoroughly kicking her brother Gozer's ass (she does), and checking out/screwing with the humans that did it themselves once before (does she ever - see the Bittersweet Ending entry above). When all is said and done, she just... leaves, satisfied with her work.
  • Beard of Evil:
    • Referenced in Get Real. IDW Peter feels like one of their counterparts ought to have a goatee.
    • And in Ghostbusters 101, Patty references Star Trek's take on this trope as an explanation for their universe noticeably overlapping with that of the 1980s Ghostbusters. Jill reminds the rest of her team that "this isn't anything like a TV show" and after they look in her direction, that they'd "better not be looking for facial hair."
  • Bears Are Bad News: The boys have to deal with a possessed bear (specifically, the Wall Street bear statue in NYC) that's running through Times Square.
  • Berserk Button: Don't deprive Egon of junk food. "I told you not to eat the rest of his twinkies. If he blows something up, it's on you."
  • Beware of Hitchhiking Ghosts: During the "Haunted America" arc, there's a multi-issue side story where Peter picks up a young woman named Laura whose car was totaled by a haunted 18-wheeler that's been terrorizing a certain non-New York local road. He captures the ghost trucker and drops Laura off at her house, though she disappears without getting out of the car. And when he goes to her house, her elderly mother says that Laura was killed in an accident on that road twenty years earlier. Then again, the ending was essentially spoiled already by the story's title, "Who Killed Laura Parr?".
  • Big Applesauce: Like the movies.
  • Bittersweet Ending: The world is safe at the end of the second volume... only because Winston kills himself as a sacrifice to Tiamat. Then Tiamat decides that's "too easy", brings him back to life, almost kills his wife Tiyah, but then gets an even better (to her) idea. She makes Tiyah, and the entire world - except Winston, forget they were ever married!
  • Borrowed Biometric Bypass: Gozer wants his lost power back, and possesses Ray, trying to use him to open the containment unit. This also happened with Peter back in The Real Ghostbusters, although this time, the Ghostbusters have security measures in place to prevent this.
  • Broad Strokes: While the movies are the main basis of this continuity, the events of the 2009 video game which had different versions for different consoles and some stuff from the Real Ghostbusters cartoon are also part of the backstory.
  • Canon Welding:
    • The different versions of the Rookie from the different versions of the 2009 video game are all acknowledged as existing in the comics, though the realistic version's Rookie (given the name Bryan Welsh) is the only one who gets more than a passing mention.
    • Kylie Griffin from Extreme Ghostbusters is employed at Ray's Occult Books and later becomes part of the "New Ghostbusters" team. Eduardo Rivera from the same show (sporting black hair instead of brown) later fills in for her at the store. Later, the actual Extreme continuity is revealed as an Alternate Universe in Get Real, seperate from The Real Ghostbusters.
    • Among the alternate universes glimpsed in Get Real are Filmation's Ghostbusters, Hulk Hogan's Rock 'n' Wrestling (which did a Ghostbusters parody at one point), Tokyo ESP (which featured knockoffs of the Ghostbusters as one-off characters) and numerous Ghostbusters video games.
  • Child Hater: Ron Alexander, who throws chairs at elementary school kids when a school appearance goes poorly.
  • Composite Character: The Peoplebusters are reimagined as a group of demons known as the Collectors that make deals with humans to kidnap people of their choosing to purgatory, taking on the forms of Evil Knockoffs of their preys as they hunt. They return in TMNT/Ghostbusters 2, this time summoned by the ghost of Darius Dunn to capture the Turtles, turning them into the IDW incarnations of the Dark Turtles from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003), biologically-cloned Turtle Psycho Rangers working for Dunn.
  • Crossover: And all of them canon, coming in both Intercontinuity Crossover and Intra-Franchise Crossover flavors.
    • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Ghostbusters, running from October 2014 to January 2015, serving as the debuts of Pantheon member Chi-You on the TMNT side and the Ghostbusters' universe portal on the Ghostbusters side that will enable nearly all the crossovers below.
    • Ghostbusters: Get Real, from June through September 2015, with The Real Ghostbusters.
    • Ghostbusters 101, from March through August 2017, with Ghostbusters (2016).
    • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Ghostbusters 2, running through the month of November 2017; a Sequel Episode to the Ghostbusters Collectors arc and an epilogue to the TMNT "Chasing Shadows" arc.
    • Ghostbusters: Crossing Over, from March through November 2018, with The Real Ghostbusters, Extreme Ghostbusters, Ghostbusters (2016) and Ghostbusters: Sanctum of Slime as well as cameos from a few other Ghostbusters.
    • Transformers/Ghostbusters, from June through October 2019. Unlike the TMNT storylines, this crossover does not involve a dimensional breach with the universe of the then-concurrent Transformers (2019) but instead posits that the Transformer race has always existed in this Ghostbusters universe, driven to near-extinction by Gozer before the comics began; the last Autobots just never set foot on Earth until they detected the emergence of the ghost of Starscream.
  • Cross Through: 2011's Infestation was one between Covert Vampiric Operations, Zombies vs. Robots, the Hasbro Comic Universe (specifically the 2009 Transformers ongoing and G.I. Joe), the Star Trek Expanded Universe (specifically, the Original Series), Ghostbusters, and Pocket God Comics. Zombies from the Zombies vs. Robots universe invade the CVO universe, through which they spread out into other universes and attempt to obtain these universes' native powers via assimilation; in the Ghostbusters universe they sought out Gozer's essence. IDW used this as the introduction to their Ghostbusters comics.
    • 2013: The Mars Attacks! characters invaded other IDW universes, albeit with no real explanation, including The Real Ghostbusters thanks to fan demand.
    • 2014's X-Files: Conspiracy had The Lone Gunmen investigating the Ghostbusters, the Ninja Turtles, a present-day version of Transformers: Hearts of Steel and The Crow for clues to help stop a powerful virus from destroying Earth.
  • Cryptic Conversation: The ghost that speaks to Ray in his dreams, but only when he's warning Ray that something bad is about to happen. "The Third is coming."
  • Cute Monster Girl: Jenny Moran, after she dies. As befitting everyone's Seen It All mentality, the only people who bat an eye about it are the interns.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Drs. Peter Venkman and Egon Spengler, as usual.
  • Do I Really Sound Like That?: Played with in Get Real since Real!Janine wasn't voiced by her movie actress. Movie!Ray uses his team's trans-dimensional portal to enter the "Real" dimension to try and get some readings that could help the situation. He also has a video camera that sends footage to their computer, and gets Real!Janine on camera. Upon hearing the latter's voice, Movie!Janine then has this exchange with the "Real" versions of Egon and Ray:
    Movie!Janine: Wait, is that me? That can't be how my voice sounds. Is it? (next panel, looking annoyed) Well?
    Real!Egon: Ah, that depends.
    Real!Ray: Would you yell?
  • Dope Slap:
    • Peter gives one to Ray in the third issue of the "Haunted America" arc:
      Peter: And how did you know telling the aliens they weren't aliens would work, Ray?
      Ray: That? Oh, I didn't. I just guessed.
      Peter: ...*THWACK*
    • And Egon gives a rather ironic one to Peter in the first issue of "The New Ghostbusters" after all four of them have been kidnapped and sent into limbo:
      Peter: And the first person to make a "Peoplebuster" comment gets a whack to the back of the—
      Egon: *THWACK*
      Peter: —Hea-OW!
    • In issue 4 of "Mass Hysteria", Peter gives one to Ron after he says "Get her!" twice while the Ghostbusters are blasting Tiamat and she knocks them back with ease.
      Peter: There's a reason we never say "Get her!".
  • Doppelgänger Crossover: A story where the teams from the 1984 and 2016 movies meet eachother. Erin notices the '84 team look identical to their Remake Cameo characters from her movie.
  • Dream Sequence: The opening of the first issue. It may not seem too suspicious that the Ghostbusters are on a talk show hosted by Janine, but the minute Gozer stands up in the middle of the audience (in the form "he" was first seen in) and raises her hand, it's far too surreal to be believed.
  • Evil Orphanage Lady: As mentioned briefly by Egon and Ray and in the P.C.O.C. files for the third issue, Ellen Gold, headmistress of Wander Hills Orphanage was this in both life and death. She abused children under her care, was arrested, and showed advanced signs of dementia but that was purged from the record by her brother, a local politician. She locked them in their rooms during a lightning storm and neglected to unlock the rooms when the orphanage caught fire during the storm and burned to the ground, killing all who were inside. As a ghost, she manifested along with the childrens' ghosts in a time-warp haunting that recreated that storm, and she flung the childrens' ghosts at the Ghostbusters while crying "NAUGHTY!" over and over.
  • Fantastic Racism: Averted when Egon tries using a gris-gris bag from New Orleans to save Janine's soul from Viking ghosts and one of said ghosts accuses Egon of using magic against them.
    Egon: I didn't use magic, I was merely concerned that an evil spirit may have bewitched the woman and brought forth a protective talisman as a precaution.
    Viking Ghost: Do we look like evil spirits to you, Sorcerer?
    Egon: That would be profiling.
  • Foreshadowing: While researching the park case in issue 6, Kylie gets a fortune cookie fortune that reads, "Much happens to the west." Three issues later, the "Haunted America" arc begins, where the Ghostbusters travel westward across America to deal with urgent out-of-state cases.
  • Friend to All Children: Winston. He does free investigations and captures for them frequently, which exasperates Venkman.
  • Funny Background Event: In issue 3 of the first Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles crossover, when a spectator tries calling for help during a ghost attack, the human versions of Bebop and Rocksteady's '80s incarnations are behind him.
  • Ghostly Animals: A couple ghost animals have been encountered in the comic:
    • Issue 14 and 15 of the original comic had the Ghost Smashers take on a Goast (a ghostly goat).
    • In the first issue of Ghostbusters International, a cursed statue in the St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park in Florida began to manifest ghostly alligators.
    • In the fifth issue of Ghostbusters International, the team face off against a herd of ghostly buffalo, who had been summoned by the presence of buffalo hunter Edward Quinn.
  • His Name Is...: Downplayed and Played for Laughs in the 2015 annual. After their encounter with the Sandman, Egon (who's been eschewing sleep more than usual) says the entity was correct about one thing. When Winston asks him what, Egon doesn't answer, because he's just fallen asleep.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard:
    • Ron Alexander competes with the Ghostbusters by claiming his Ghostsmashers will destroy ghosts, thus removing the need to spend time and money on containment equipment. He honestly believes he's improved on the Ghostbusters' tech to do this, but it's the end of the Ghostsmashers, as well as the start of Ron's jail sentence, when it not only doesn't work but leads to a major catastrophe.
    • Bryan Welsh finds his "Rookie" name tag is a great way of handling angry clients. Ron later finds that Bryan's "Rookie" nametag is a great excuse to pretend he's the boss in front of clients. Later loops around to bite Ron back when Bryan, tired of Ron's attitude, goes on a rant about it during a bust... comically unaware that Ron has been swallowed whole by the ghost.
    • Idulnas eventually possesses Janoz Poha and uses him as a means of summoning the demonic Collectors to send the Ghostbusters into limbo. Much later, Kylie eventually drives a wedge between the two and Janoz changes the painted spell so that the Collectors abduct Idulnas instead.
  • Hulk Speak: Egon, in response to Venkman's request to use small words:
    Egon: Energy big. Make ghosts on steroids. Me and Ray am have to adjust packs.
    Peter: Thank you, Professor Tarzan.
    Egon: Ungawa.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: During the events of "Crossing Over", this is Walter Peck's reaction to finding out about multiple Ghostbuster teams from across the multiverse currently in his home dimension.
    Peck: And... And how many of them are Peter Venkman?
  • Ink-Suit Actor: The characters' likenesses are patterned after their actors from the original movies (Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, Ernie Hudson, etc.) unlike in The Real Ghostbusters, with the exception of Janine who is a mix of Annie Potts and her cartoon design. Dana Barrett and Louis Tully also appear in the second series with the likenesses of Sigourney Weaver and Rick Moranis. This is also exploited for new characters who are modeled after actors associated with the Ghostbusters cast:
    • Ron Alexander is modeled after Chevy Chase, specifically his appearance in Caddyshack, which also starred Murray and was co-written and directed by Ramis. Chase was part of the original Saturday Night Live cast together with Aykroyd and when he left he was replaced by Murray. The series presents Ron and Peter as rivals; Chase and Murray notoriously had a bitter feud and, on one famous occasion, came to physical blows backstage during an SNL appearance by Chase as guest host. Chase was also one of the celebrities in the Ghostbusters music video.
    • When Ron starts the rival Ghost Smashers, two of the members are modeled after Donna Dixon and Vanessa Angel who appeared alongside Chase and Aykroyd in Spies Like Us. (The fourth member is based on Halle Berry.)
    • Ray's spirit guide looks like John Belushi as he appeared in The Blues Brothers, which starred Aykroyd and Belushi as brothers Elwood and Jake.
    • In Ghostbusters Get Real #4, the desk clerk at the U.S. Embassy in Tokyo looks like Gilda Radner's Emily Litella character from SNL.
    • This gets a hilarious Lampshade Hanging in Ghostbusters 101, when Patty Tolan mistakes Winston for a younger version of her uncle...
  • Killed Off for Real: Played with. After a Disney Death storyline involving Egon, Jenny stops the godlike being who brought him back from forcing them to give it an Artifact of Doom. In outrage, the being obliterates her, but instead of passing on she continues to help the Ghostbusters as a Class 4 spirit.
  • Loophole Abuse: How the Chicago franchise finally gets another pair of hands - Bryan can't hire locally, so he's sent Ron, who is employed by the main office in New York.
  • The Men in Black: FBI Agent Melanie Ortiz and her partner play this role when the Ghostbusters investigate alien ghosts in Roswell. To everyone's disbelief, she hits it off with Peter. Later she becomes a member of the "New Ghostbusters".
  • Multiverse: Alternate universes were introduced with the Ninja Turtles crossover and the Real Ghostbusters crossover cements it, with stuff like the Filmation cartoon, the Extreme cartoon, the promo-pilot for the Real cartoon (which had different uniform colors and character design for Venkman), and the Slimer! Retool of the the Real cartoon making an appearance. Interestingly, according to Joliet Jake, the entire multiverse only has one afterlife (which is why the second TMNT crossover occurred: a dead TMNT villain emerged as a ghost in the Ghostbusters afterlife). The reason he's been helping Ray is because he's the alternate universe counterpart of his brother, Elwood.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • When Bryan and Ron, the Chicago branch, do a school visit, the kids are not impressed; they were expecting the real Ghostbusters.
    • During the talk show portion of Ray's dream in the first issue, Gozer appears in the audience and asks Ray if he's a god. Having learned his lesson from the first movie, Ray says "Yes"... but gets called a liar and sent flying anyway.
      Ray: There is no right answer to that question!
    • Janine briefly dates a man who looks exactly like Egon's cartoon counterpart (specifically the older version from Extreme Ghostbusters). Egon calls her out on picking men who resemble him to make him jealous. This gets a Call-Back when they meet the actual cartoon Egon (the Real Ghostbusters version).
    • The fourth issue of "The New Ghostbusters" has a subtle nod to Louis Tully from the movies (who eventually appears in person) combined with a Shout-Out to Scooby-Doo when Egon says the group has to split up:
      Ron Alexander: Do you guys also have a talking dog?
      Ray: Not since our accountant left New York.
    • One of the cover variants for the second issue depicts the "We're ready to believe you" part of the first movie's in-universe commercial in the comic's style, framed by a TV. Winston is included in an inset, adding "...monthly!" to the line.
    • The comic also contains numerous references to Dan Aykroyd's original script and other cut content, including:
      • The man with the dogs whose room Ray bursts into as he tries to trap Stay Puft is the original version of Louis Tully as played by John Candy.
      • The name of rival ghost hunting company, Ghost Smashers, was originally a working title for the first film.
      • The ghost in Ray's dreams is based on John Belushi, who was supposed to play Peter Venkman before he died.
    • Despite the fact that The Real Ghostbusters takes place in a separate continuity, Dan Schoening sneaks in a lot of these:
      • Ray's prophetic dream features Buster the Ex-Tooth Fairy (Episode 206: "Buster The Ghost") and Shanna O' Callahan (Episode 233: "Banshee Bake A Cherry Pie") in the audience.
      • Ray sleeps with a dog plushie (Episode 106: "The Boogieman Cometh").
      • The toilet ghost in Jim Silver's bathroom was from the official toyline, although it never actually appeared in the show.
      • When the Ecto-1 needs to have its tire changed on the bridge, there's a troll on one of the wires in the background (Episode 105: "Troll Bridge").
      • When the bear statue is rampaging through Times Square, there's another picture of Shanna, an ad for a Brand X version of Hi-C Ecto-Cooler, an ad promoting a performance of "Ride of The Valkyries" (Episode 231: "A Fright At The Opera"), and two advertisements for Jim Venkman's various scams, including the unmeltable black ice with Hob Anagarak inside (Episode 232: "Cold Cash and Hot Water").
      • The ghost containment unit is the same design as in the cartoon, although Ray's new mega-trap has the design from the sequel series, Extreme Ghostbusters.
      • In the first issue of "The New Ghostbusters", Peter threatens to Dope Slap the first person to make a "Peoplebuster" (Episode 402: "Flip Side") comment.
      • In the 6th issue of Mass Hysteria, Gozer tries to open the containment unit while possessing Ray. Something similar happened to Peter in "Mrs. Roger's Neighborhood" (Episode 103).
      • The whole concept of Ron starting up a rival business with stolen tech, his method of dealing with ghosts (dispersing instead of trapping), stealing business from the Ghostbusters, and the end result of the dispersals is a variation on the plot from "Robo-Buster" (Episode 406).
      • When fighting Gozer in Volume 2 Issue #19, Tiamat transforms into her five-headed Draconic Abomination form that debuted in "I Am the City", as well as into Necksa, Proteus, and Quetzalcoatl.
    • References to Filmation's Ghostbusters abound. Janice dares Peck to "replace them with a talking gorilla", and Spencer Tracy is the protagonist of a movie she and Roger watch briefly.
    • When travelling to Ellis Island, Patty Tolan is listening to Winston, and states that he sounds and looks very similar to her uncle, but vastly exaggerates the age difference.note 
    • Aside from the ones mentioned above in Actor Allusion, the comic is also chock full of references to the various comedy films and television shows associated with the cast of the original film. These include, but are not limited to, a group of ghosts haunting a diner who are made to look and act exactly like the "Olympia Cafe" sketch from Saturday Night Live, and a pair of Canadian ghosts riding a giant monstrous moose, referencing Rick Moranis' famous McKenzie Brothers sketches from SCTV.
  • Non Sequitur Environment: In the third issue, the Ghostbusters take a call at a house that was built over an old orphanage that burned to the ground during a lightning storm. It's stuck in a time-warp that recreates the night of the storm, which is haunted by the ghosts of the insane headmistress and her charges.

  • Noodle Incident: Something recurring for Egon.
    Eugene: C'mon, Eeg. Pop caught me up. He told me what you do for a living now... you tryin' to tell me this is the weirdest thing you ever came across?
    Egon: No, that involved an emu.

  • Obstructive Bureaucrat:
    • Walter "Dickless" Peck is still this. The kicker: he finally acknowledges that the Ghostbusters are not frauds, and outright states that he simply can't stand them. One of his conditions for not confiscating all the equipment and shutting down the business after the Ghostbusters go missing is that Janine and her replacement team can't take "time off" to search for them, they have to keep the business running as normal while trying to figure out what happened, which is already enough of a challenge for amateurs trying to fill the Ghostbusters' shoes. Another condition is that they have to comply with a marketing consultant he soon hires to make their image easily sellable, so the city can make money off of merchandising, special events, etc.
      • To his credit, his time with the team has taught him how important their work is, and when absolutely necessary (like, say, five minutes away from the apocalypse) he will step aside and let them do what needs to be done, legality be damned.
      • He admits to Janine near the end of Crossing Over that he's pulled this trope with the P.C.O.C. as well, frequently waylaying attempts by the Comission or the City to shut the Ghostbusters down or seize their equipment and tech. Less because he likes them, but more because he's acutely aware the team tends to be the only ones who know how to operate and maintain ghost catching technology in ways that generally won't result in explosions, holes in reality, etc..
    • The Chicago franchise has to deal with one that would make Peck proud: the franchise, in fact, consists solely of Bryan Welsh for awhile because he's deliberately waylaid with absurd regulations preventing him from hiring anyone. He has to improvise whenever he gets a job he can't do solo. This also means he's way too busy to leave Chicago and help Janine when the Ghostbusters go missing.
      Bryan: I'm not allowed to hire locally until there's a training program, which I'm not allowed to start. [...] I got a couple temps out of Minnesota, for when something big comes up. And I hire some schmucks to sit around as bait every once in a while when I need that, so I make do.
  • The One Guy: Ron Alexander is the only guy in both the Ghost Smashers and New Ghostbusters.
  • O.O.C. Is Serious Business: In the third issue of "Mass Hysteria", Peter takes a phone call for help while discussing the current problem with Walter Peck and immediately leaves via motorcycle without a word, much to Peck's surprise. Considering the caller was Dana Barrett, it's understandable.
    Walter Peck: Ms. Melnitz, after taking that phone call, Peter Venkman ran out of here without a single smart-assed remark That kind of character inconsistency is, in my experience, the reddest of red flags.
  • Perky Goth: The comic's version of Kylie.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Jim Silver of F.Z. Foods, pre-possession.
  • Sassy Secretary: As always, Janine Melnitz.
  • Sealed Evil In A Sixpack: In the fourth issue of the "Happy Horror Days" arc, the Ghostbusters used multiple traps to contain the Bogeyman. The entity couldn't be permanently contained like a normal ghost because Egon was worried that their presence would contaminate other the specimens in storage and potentially allow for a breach. The traps were put in crates that were then filled with cement and sent to a watery grave "until [the Ghostbusters could] find a better solution".
  • Shout-Out: Among others:
    • After a possessed giant monkey statue is blasted in half and both halves get back up:
      Peter: That's not an Indian curse — it's the friggin' Black Knight.
    • To The Wizard of Oz:
      Peter: [to the phantom of the park] We come loaded for bear.
      Ray: And monkeys.
      Egon: And horses.
      Peter: Oh, my.
    • There's a scene in the Mass Hysteria storyline in which a lot of cars are levitating. One of them is a DeLorean DMC-12. The specific DMC from Back to the Future Part III appears in another story.
    • After Egon uses a boson dart to finish off a possessed bear statue, Peter says, "Well, I think we found that kaboom."
    • The same bear statue appears to flip K.I.T.T. in a news broadcast after it is first animated.
    • A clown at a haunted amusement park is identical to Pennywise.
    • The A-Team pass the 'Busters on the bridge, and B.A. Barracus yells "You suck!" at them.
    • Egon notes that a paranormal phenomenon that can make buildings Bigger on the Inside is referred to as "the TARDIS effect".
    • Two of Nick Runge's covers for Volume 1 are homages to Abbey Road and "Bohemian Rhapsody".
    • One of Tristan Jones' covers for Volume 1 is an homage to the poster for Army of Darkness, with Egon as Ash, and Janine clinging to his leg.
    • One of Erik Burnham's covers for Volume 1 is a reference to the opening credits for The Brady Bunch, with the boys, Janine, Slimer, Walter, Idulnas, and the Logo Ghost.
    • In September 2013, several of IDW's comics used "animation" as a cover theme, so Dan Schoening drew The Real Ghostbusters in a pose from the Title Sequence of Scooby-Doo, Where Are You!.
    • In May 2014, the boys, Janine, Slimer, and Stay-Puft were drawn as characters from Angry Birds on the cover of that month's comic, to celebrate the release of IDW's first issue of the licensed Angry Birds comic.
    • From the 6th issue of "Mass Hysteria", regarding Ray being possessed:
      Winston: He's got wings now.
      Peter: Well, he always did like Paul best.
    • In the first issue of the Ninja Turtles crossover, a fly pesters the scientist working the teleporter controls and Casey remarks, "Uh, Dude, I seen this movie before. It don't end so good."
    • In the fifth issue of "Mass Hysteria", while they're trying to figure out how the ghosts escaped containment, Melanie says, "So let's just get involved til the mystery gets solved."
    • In the first issue, when Peter and Winston take a call at a haunted apartment building, the former tries to figure out which apartment the ghost moved to and references Let's Make a Deal:
      Peter: Okay, you messy little bugger. Which door is it? Door Number One? Door Number Two? Maybe I should just keep what I've won, Monty.
    • The 2017 annual has Dan Schoering appearing on a cameo chased by the monsters of the opening sequence of The Real Ghostbusters.
    • There's a rather subtle example toward the bottom of the Las Vegas FBI case file featured in Volume 2 of Ghostbusters International: A secondary report is mentioned, saying that while most of the untrapped ghosts faded away, a particular ghost described as "crazy hair, and wearing a black and white suit" promised to return in the near future to "shake things up."
    • In Ghostbusters 101, Peter asks where "that little blonde gremlin" (Jillian Holtzmann) is and if he has to "say her name three times or what".
    • Also during Ghostbusters 101, the interns mistake the transdimensional portal for a Stargate.
      Evan: Holy $#@% they have a Star Gate. Just like MacGyver.
    • In the 2011 holiday special "What in Samhain Just Happened?", there's a variety of shout-outs in the form of party guests' Halloween costumes, including: Dana Barrett ala the "There is no Dana, only Zuul." scene from the first movie, Stay Puft, Bugs Bunny's witch costume from "Broom-Stick Bunny", Red and the wolf, Michael Jackson dressed in his "Thriller" outfit along with other zombies, Garfield in his pirate costume, two of the Lonesome Ghosts, Ichabod Crane and the Headless Horseman (sans horse), Charlie Brown and Lucy in their Halloween costumes, Scott (in werewolf form) and Boof, and the witch from Disney's Halloween Treat.
    • During the Crossing Over miniseries, one of the Sanctum of Slime Ghostbusters suggests that they simply travel back in time as a surefire way to prevent the current disaster, only for another to remark that that sort of thing goes wrong for Barry all the time.
  • Start My Own: Ron Alexander starts his own "Ghost Smashers" team solely for financial gain, building his own gear from stolen specs. When a mission goes wrong, he's put in jail, but later he's employed by New York as part of the "New Ghostbusters" team when the originals go missing.
  • Stripperiffic: Invoked, but downplayed. The marketing consultant doesn't deny that the new (mandated) outfit for the female Ghostbusters is to make then "look better", but the actual outfits are basically the coverall tops with really short shorts. Janine initially assumes they're costumes for photo shoots... and then it turns out the consultant has had the coveralls sent to storage so they have to wear the short shorts as uniforms. Naturally, Janine pointedly makes a good argument on why such a design for her, FBI Special Agent Melanie Ortiz, and Ray's assistant/employee Kylie Griffith is impractical for their line of work after coming back from an unexpected bust with cuts all over their legs.
  • The Tape Knew You Would Say That: Invoked in one issue of Ghostbusters International when we see Egon making an audio recording of his research regarding part of what the others are dealing with overseas.
    Egon: I believe someone has found... ...The Rauoskinna. At this point of the recording, Venkman will likely make a comment about the book's name or pronunciation, with an outside possibility he's referenced the Norwegian flight attendant who punched him out in grad school. Get it all out of your system, Peter. This is quite serious.
  • Technobabble: Named by Venkman, although Egon was using jargon with actual meaning at the time.
  • Timey-Wimey Ball: Discussed in Crossing Over, when events cause Ghostbusters of several dimensions to work together, including the Extreme Ghostbusters (set 10 years in the future of The Real Ghostbusters), and the Sanctum of Slime Ghostbusters (set 20 years in the future of the Prime!Ghostbusters).
    Prime!Ray: First off, the transdimensional portal is not a time travel device.
    Extreme!Garret: It's not? Pull the other one, Doc. Heck, pull both.
    Extreme!Kylie: We were trained by Egon Spengler.
    Extreme!Eduardo: Yeah- [points to Real!Egon] -that Egon Spengler. The blonde one who looks a lot younger than the guy we know.
    Real!Egon: Er... thank you?
    Extreme!Roland: An element of time travel only makes sense.
  • Twerp Sweating: When Roger arrives to take Janine to the opera, Peter engages in a form of this for laughs, with Ray and Winston joining in.
    Peter: Y'know, I think maybe you should explain yourself, mister. Just what are your intentions with our Janine?
    Roger: Well, my intentions tonight were to take Janine to Don Giovanni over at the Met, and then-
    Peter: A-ha! Opera season's over, bub. Winston, grease up the iron maiden.
    Janine: It's a special performance. For charity.
    Peter: Yeah, that's what I would have said, too. Just look at this guy! I totally get an "It puts the lotion in the basket" vibe from him.
    Winston: Could be, man. Like I always say, never trust a white guy with a ponytail.
    Ray: Wise words. And what do you do for a living, sir?
    Roger: I'm a professor of literature at CCNY!
  • Unsatisfiable Customer: Bryan gets enough of these to warrant a mention; he deals with them by never replacing his "Rookie" nametag; irate customers see it and stop yelling at him so they can call and yell at his non-existent supervisor.
  • We Help the Helpless: Janosz's nephew can't pay the fee for a de-ghosting, so the kid's mother sends along an entire box of her delicious baklava instead. Winston gratefully accepts.
  • You Say Tomato: The variant version shows up in Issue 7 of the initial run when Peter is arguing with the Phantom of the Park inside his own mind over whether or not the latter has built up a soul addiction over the centuries. The phantom repeatedly denies his need to feed on souls is an addiction, to which Peter says, "Well you say potato, I say spud."

Alternative Title(s): Ghostbusters IDW, Ghostbusters