It’s not just the movie theaters being assailed by endless reboots as the 80’s revisit their glory days on modern audiences. It’s a trend now appearing in your local comic book store! Paradoxically, I’m totally psyched by that news.
First, it seems this 80’s revival is mostly being fueled by a single company, IDW Publishing. It’s a comic book company that has made the easy route of comic printing of going with established properties. I can’t blame them; unless you’re one of the big boys, DC or Marvel, it can be very difficult to be successful in the comic book industry with original content.
First there’s the Godzilla series. Yes, I know that Godzilla is not tied to the 1980’s. But throughout my childhood, in the 80’s, I have fond memories of watching the big G stomping cities and monsters on the local Fox affiliate on weekend afternoons. I bought the first issue of this series and read through it in something like 2 minutes. It had a running gag of people saying “you’ve got to be f—ing kidding me!” in reference to Godzilla’s resistance to their attempts to destroy him. The gag wasn’t that funny. Also I think they killed a couple of children at the very start. Overall it … made me not bother buying any additional issues.
Then there’s a new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. This was a weird thing to read. It was a reboot of the series, throwing together various versions of the characters’ origins with new twists. The whole thing felt bizarrely accelerated.
After that was a new Ghostbusters series. What drew me to this series was the art, which was an eye-catching amalgamation of the actors from the live-action movie and the designs of the Saturday morning cartoon series, The Real Ghostbusters. I’ve pondered the Ghostbusters fandom in the past; they focus too much on the films (and even then, usually ignoring the sequel which was, by all accounts, inferior) while ignoring the fact that much of what’s canon to the series was established in the cartoons. Much the same way that the majority of what people like about Predator (their iconic weapons and connection to the Alien franchise) came from the much maligned Predator 2. If you were a kid in the 80’s and a fan of the Ghostbusters, it was because you watched the cartoon with pavlovian devotion each week, and not because of the movie. On top of that, NOW Comics‘ Real Ghostbusters series was the first comic book series I read, so I have a certain affection for the series.
Anyway, I liked the more cartoon-like art. Previous series have leaned too heavily toward moody, dark art that concentrated on the horror aspect of the Ghostbusters to the point of completely neutering the comedy. This series looks like it will stick to being lighthearted enough to not go that route. I’ll look forward to reading the series as TPBs.