The 1980s. A wild time, right?
If you were a Saturday morning cartoon junkie like me, it sure was: Transformers, Thundercats, G.I. Joe, He-Man, Voltron, Silverhawks...the list goes on and on. Such a wealth of absurdist, toy-selling action.
One cartoon, in particular, needs a bit of extra credit: The Real Ghostbusters. While the cartoon was only middling quality, at best, it did introduce me to Venkman, Spengler, Stantz, and Zeddemore. Characters who I ended up spending a lifetime hanging out with, as unbeknownst to me at the time, Ghostbusters would become one of my top 5 movies of all time.
The original Ghostbusters film is pure genius. I tried to guess at the number of times I've sat in front of that movie..had to give it up. Let's call it "countless." I have so many memories tied to everything about Ghostbusters. Struggling to play my friend's dad's soundtrack on vinyl while strapped to the toy proton pack he (my friend, not his dad) scored for his birthday. Or terrified, all alone, on a stormy night, in my grandparent's Detroit home watching the less-than-stellar sequel at way too young an age. I could keep going...
So when LEGO released a new Ecto-1 set geared for adults...I was all in. This was such a fun build. Everything about this set screamed a love of Ghostbusters that matched my own.
One thing to know up-front: this set was designed to reflect, not only the original but also the version in Ghostbusters: Afterlife. So there are a few action/play elements unique to the new movie. They don't detract from the set at all. My kids thought they made it that even cooler. LEGO also included an abundance of rust stickers to age it appropriately. I chucked those right out. I want my Ecto-1 pristine, thank you very much.
The fidelity of this set is outstanding. I was amazed at everything from the detail of the engine block to the bag of Stay-Puff marshmallows sitting on the front seat. Even at its most challenging moments, this build had me smiling from start to finish.
While we're here, let's talk a bit about Ghostbusters: Afterlife. When this was announced, I was super nervous. While the sequel scared me as a child, it became comically bad when watched as an adult. The 2016 Ghostbusters reboot was...fine. It had its moments. It just didn't seem to have the same heart as the original. So, like I said, I was nervous.
But then I started hearing details. The director, its story direction, the inclusion of Paul Rudd. I began to hope. Then the first trailer dropped. I was sold. Almost. What put me over the edge was Adam Savage and his YouTube channel, Tested. They did some embedded reporting from the set thanks to an invitation from the film's director, Jason Reitman (the son of the original's director, Ivan Reitman). There were some fantastic moments of giddiness over how much love was going into the making of the film.
Thanks to 2021 being what it was, COVID, and minor organ removal, I didn't get a chance to see Afterlife in theaters. Turns out that was a big miss. While not necessary, it sure would have been fun. I know there's some negativity out there about all the ground that seemed to be retread in the new film. I think Reitman and his team walked a tough line between the celebration of the old and introducing new blood to the mythos. And did it with great aplomb. And enjoyment. Go watch it. It's a gas.
Keeping on this 80's kick, I want to introduce you to Paper Girls. Easily my favorite Brian K. Vaughn story. I know everyone is head-over-heels in love with Saga and Y the Last Man. But for me, this tale of four girls on a paper route that goes sideways takes the cake. If you couldn't tell from previous Transmissions issues or the general theme of Meteor, I'm a sucker for time travel and weird sci-fi. This book pushes those buttons. Hard.
I was able to get my hands on the collected editions that pack all 30 issues and a heap of extras into three extraordinarily beautiful tomes of awesome.
I didn't intend a back-to-back Cliff Chiang fan party between Issues 008 and 009 of Transmissions, but sometimes you just have to shout out the greatness of such a talented individual. The consistency of his art through this run is superb. I don't know how he balances the "gritty" reality of 80's suburban life and the craziness of what the four main characters encounter. And let me tell you. Things get crazy.
Amazon is bringing Vaughn and Chiang's story to screen sometime soon. I have no idea how faithful they'll be, so go out and read this. I'd hate for it to get spoiled by something less-amazing than Chiang's gorgeous visuals.
Last but not least, a gorgeous cover of Just the Two of Us, originally by Bill Whithers and George Washington, Jr. I've been aware of Joseph Solomon for a few years now, but only recently discovered a wealth of covers he's released to YouTube. Super-simple, stripped-down versions that give a very different spin to the originals. Coincidentally I discovered the original by Whithers and Washington was released in 1981. Guess that makes this a 4 for 4, 80's themed issue. Take a listen. Enjoy.
See you back here in 2 weeks for Issue 010. Double digits!