Friday, 29 November 2013

The REAL Annual (can't think of a snappy title for this one, sorry)

Next on the pile... This one!

It's the 1990 (as in, 1989) Real Ghostbusters annual, and this one actually DID arrive on the 25th day of December, all those years ago. Ghostbusters and its related media seems to be one of life's constants, at least in my experience. Early exposure and all that. And out of the four Real Ghostbusters annuals I've got over the years, this is the one that stands out for some fairly unique reasons...

It's another one published by Marvel, based on their Real Ghostbusters comics (which lasted for a LONG time), which in turn were based on the also long-running cartoon series. As American as you can get then, BUT - there's a running "theme" throughout this annual, that theme being that the Ghostbusters are visiting the UK on a "Bustman's Holiday" (really, that's what they call it).

So there's all the usual spookiness that one would expect the Ghostbusters to encounter, such as haunted shop dummies:

Then there's the more UK-specific stuff - encounters with the Loch Ness Monster (drawn by John Geering!), a haunted roller coaster in Margate, Slimer getting excited about meeting Beefeaters (in a strip lifted from Marvel's It's Wicked comic), even a night spent at Borley Rectory:

Plus this nice-looking encounter with a kelpie:

All this while Janine (you know, the receptionist played by Annie Potts) is stuck at home minding the phones:

It's a Marvel comic and she's a woman, of COURSE she's drawn in a "sexy" way.

The highlight of the whole book though, no doubt, is this mini-masterpiece titled Stonehenge Revenge. It's got ridiculous puns, drug-based jokes, references to the film (even lifting and semi-altering lines from the film!), and a monster almost as fun to look at as the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man is. For these reasons, here's all five pages of the thing:

The rest of the book's filled with what you'd expect from a TV show tie-in annual - board games, craft projects, character profiles, text stories and so on. It does end on a massive high though, with the Ghostbusters reaching the end of their ghoul-hunting tour of the British isles:

Followed by a picture that soaked up more of my eyeballs' attention throughout childhood than almost any other page in any other book, save for perhaps the cutaway of a boat in Richard Scarry's What Do People Do All Day? - just LOOK AT THIS:

If the annual was just one big piece of paper that folded out into that picture, it'd be amongst the ten best-selling books of all time, and that's completely without hyperbole.

In summary:

Marvel doing their own superhero things = Nah.

Marvel doing stuff based on other properties = Makes me feel good.

A little Ghostbusters joke there, ho ho etc.


  1. I used to work on the comic - sure I did on an annual too, but obviously not this one.

  2. Love the Ghostbusters, Loved the REAL Ghostbusters and the comics, having visited both Stonehenge and LOCH Ness this year naturally this annual was on my mind :)

    1. You scared me then, thought I'd wrote "LOCK" Ness by accident!

      It's a shame the other annuals are no-where near as good as this one, but there we go - sounds like you've had a good year. I stood outside the fence surrounding Stonehenge back in 1995, and I've never been to Scotland. Both of these things need to be corrected or updated.

    2. Did I really write “Loch” in capitals? Can’t think why I did that! Sorry!
      It has been a good year though, the Stonehenge visit was my second but it took me 30 years to make the first, 33 to make the trip to Loch Ness and that was my first time over the Scottish border. Although I can’t boast an adventure in the vein of the Ghostbusters I do agree with you about visiting both sites!

      Thinking about it there, I have been to 3 locations in the annual! I visited the original fire station a couple of years back!

  3. Is this annual softback? I swear I remember reading "Ghostbusters comics" when I was younger, but they must have been this annual instead. That "GET OUT" writing in the bathroom came right back to me.
    Is there also a text story about a house full of holes which tiny ghosts come out of, but the larger the hole gets, the bigger the ghosts?

    1. Nah, it's a hardback one. Although it's possible some of the strips may have been pulled from the Ghostbusters comic?

      As for the hole ghosts, you really are getting mixed up there. That's an episode of the cartoon called The Hole In The Wall Gang. It's on YouTube:

      It's not a text story in THIS annual, but it could be in another one, I suppose.