While the Ghostbusters brand may be ailing a bit these days after the poor box office performance—and ridiculous internet reaction to—the 2016 reboot, there's no denying that it is still one of the most beloved franchises of the last four decades. Though the original 1984 film remains the unquestioned cornerstone of the entire property, Ghostbusters has endured in various successful forms over the years, from animated series, to toys, to comic books, and more.
What makes the brand so enduring—and the original movie so timeless—is that it's one of the few examples of a truly successful blending of action, science fiction, and comedy. Very few big-budget special effects comedy movies ever work, and that's because it's incredibly tricky to get non-human, effects-based creatures to have the necessary comedic timing to make jokes land. It's especially tricky to get non-human creatures to have the necessary comedic timing to properly play off of comedy legends like Bill Murray, Harold Ramis, Dan Akroyd, and Rick Moranis. It all came together in such a wonderful way that Ghostbusters '84 holds up better today than many movies made 10 to 20 years after it.
And like any beloved comedic property, it can be just as fun to laugh at it as to laugh with it. Ghostbusters parodies have existed for almost as long as the franchise has, and some of the funniest material has come via the brilliant artists who craft hilarious Ghostbusters comics on a near-daily basis.
20 Ring Out
Ghosts and other types of spectral beings are among the most terrifying villains in horror movies, since it seems impossible to actually battle them in any way.
For the Ghostbusters, it's just another day at the office.
One single ghostly girl crawling out of the TV and slowly slithering across the floor? Psh, child's play. The crew should be so lucky that all of their jobs are as easy as sitting back, watching a boring two-minute movie, and letting their pest literally just fall right into the trap.
People often point out how the mere existence of cell phones would've completely broken most of the plots of Seinfeld— that's kind of how it would be if Egon and the gang existed in the worlds of most horror movies.
Comic by egocenter.
19 Supernatural Jumps The Shark
And now, this is our first comic that is another property with a Ghostbusters angle. After being on the air for what seems like an eternity, it's easy to wonder what could possibly be left for the TV series Supernatural in terms of keeping the storylines interesting.
Maybe they'd go for a stunt villain from another brand to spice things up?
Supernatural definitely has a fair amount of humor in it, so a Ghostbusters crossover wouldn't be completely crazy from a tonal perspective. But that crossover probably shouldn't include a battle with a giant marshmallow monster, awesome as it would be to see Sam and Dean take him on in their own unique way. You never know—stranger things have happened, especially on that show.
Comic by deanfenechanimation.
18 You're A Child's Plaything!
As legendary as The Real Ghostbusters is, the toys based on the show are just as famous, but not for the same reason. In a strange creative decision, the guys were all given absurd, exaggerated expressions of terror that look more in line with old Bugs Bunny or Tom & Jerry cartoons than the series they are actually based on.
Sure, millions of 80s kids had these toys and played with them a ton, but that certainly doesn't make them good toys. Kids aren't very discriminating when it comes to the toys based on their favorite things, after all, and were just happy to have little plastic representations of the Ghostbusters crew that could intermingle with their G.I. Joes, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, and Transformers.
Comic by mightyfilm.
17 Who Wore It Best?
For years, fans of the two franchises loved to imagine a crossover between Ghostbusters and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. It seemed like a no-brainer, as both took place in New York City, both were about a team of heroes not fully trusted by the population, and both had a basis in realism but with an exaggerated, fantastical angle.
IDW finally made that happen with a Ghostbusters/TMNT comic book crossover.
There is also one other important thing that the two franchises have in common: jumpsuits. The only thing more legendary than the Ghostbusters' jumpsuits is the bright yellow—and never fully-zipped—one worn by April O'Neil in the original TMNT animated series. And it's easy to imagine that Peter Venkman would use their mutual love of jumpsuits as an opening line to trying to get into April's.
Comic by savagelucy42.
16 Kylie Griffin: Never Scared
Though it wasn't long for this world due to low ratings, the single-season 1997 animated series Extreme Ghostbusters has since been looked at as one of the most underrated branches of the Ghostbusters property and has earned a legion of devoted fans.
It has also inspired a lot of fan art, especially of Kylie Griffin, who later also appeared in the comic series.
Much of that art tends to celebrate Kylie's physical appeal, which many artists have chosen to both accentuate and exaggerate. But that's not the only thing that makes her a popular character— people also love her for her brash, no-nonsense attitude. She definitely seems like a girl who would have scarier things on the posters of her bedrooms walls than she sees on most of the jobs she goes on as a Ghostbuster.
Art by jacky-the-ripper.
15 Don't Cross The Genders
Although a lot of people tried to retroactively deny that their dislike of the 2016 Ghostbusters movie was due to to its all-female cast, there is no question that a large amount of the railing against the film on social media was exactly for that reason. If you truly felt the movie didn't look good and it truly wasn't because the characters had lady parts, fine.
Acting like most of the backlash wasn't because of the female cast and only that was to be in denial.
All that aside, this comic —which predates not only the reboot but its announcement by nearly a decade— re-images the Ghostbusters as women as a result of a beam-crossing mishap. It also theorizes as to what an all-girl Ghostbusters might have looked like had it happened in the 80s, as evidenced by the shoulder pads, scrunched socks, and neon-colored tights.
Comic by Martgritte.
14 The Obligatory Unfair Vehicle Level
There's a term, "Nintendo Hard," which is used to describe games of the NES era that were ridiculously difficult—often to cheap extremes. One of the many dirty tricks that 1980s game developers loved to pull on young gamers was to have levels that took place on fast-moving vehicles and required almost superhuman reflexes to dodge the various hazards.
The Angry Video Game Nerd helped to make Ghostbusters II for NES "famous" for this reason.
Right up there with such infamously tough levels as the hoverbike stage in Battletoads came the Ecto-1 stage in Ghostbusters II, which gave gamers in the 80s worse nightmares than any scary movie of the era. Worst of all, most stages of this type aren't fun to begin with, so you don't even enjoy the pain.
Comic by theEyZmaster.
13 Ray's Got A Brand New... Ray
Even though Egon is arguably the biggest nerd of the group, Ray strikes us as being the one who geeks out the most over his job and all the fun parts of it. He's always been a fun character because he comes across like a big kid—which is fitting, because Dan Akroyd seems to be that way as well, and he very clearly wrote the character with himself in mind to play it.
In a lot of ways, this comic is the physical manifestation of Ray's personality, depicting him as the wide-eyed, excited teenager that he seems to be. If anything, Ray is the most believable Ghostbusters character in this way, because how could anyone not geek out like an excited kid when they get to shoot lasers at ghosts for a living?
Art by Irie-mangastudios.
12 Ghostbuster Of The Opera
For this list, we mostly wanted to focus on actual Ghostbusters-based jokes and humor rather than other properties being view through a Ghostbusters filter—and there is a ton of that on the internet—but this Phantom of the Opera parody was too good to leave out.
If only Raoul had access to a Proton Pack.
Here we see the jilted Raoul teasing The Phantom for living his life as a spectral entity, much to the annoyance of Christine. The Phantom, not being a real phantom, can't just be zapped and sucked into a trap—but that's not really the point here. The point is that Raoul thinks that mocking The Phantom will win Christine's heart, a plan that totally always works for jerks in stories like this...
Art by lady-voldything.
11 Revenge Is A Dish Best Served Roasted
It might not seem like a big deal to take a marshmallow, put it on a stick, hold it over an open flame until it's charred black, and then eat it. But when you think of that marshmallow as a piece of body, it puts the whole act of roasting marshmallows into a much more twisted light.
It becomes something out of the darkest horror movie.
It's frightening—but also a lot of fun—to imagine the sinister atrocities that could've been committed by the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man had he been allowed to live and exist as a full-on villain in the vein of The Joker or Lex Luthor. Put in that context, watching him "roast" his own hand is really just something to see.
Art by biotwist.
10 He's Chevy Chase, And You're Not
It's a well-known fact that Bill Murray was the main hold-up for there never being a Ghostbusters 3. In fact, he barely even wanted to do Ghostbusters 2—and depending on who you ask, he was right in his hesitation on that one.
It's a miracle he actually agreed to participate in the 2009 video game.
But let's be honest here—an O.G. Ghostbusters project just wouldn't have been the same without him, as this comic serves to illustrate by proving that you can't just take any SNL star from Bill Murray's era and plug him into the movie to replace the legendary Murray. Especially not Chevy Chase, who hasn't made a good movie in about 30 years—and when he does luck into a decent project anymore, he self-sabotages his role in it (cough Community cough).
Art by Andy Kluthe.
9 Spectral Channeling
One of the issues of the IDW Ghostbusters comic book series features a character called The Ghost Kid, who kind of resembles Tiny Tim from A Christmas Carol. Among his powers is his ability to control television channels.
It's a foregone conclusion what the power to control cable TV would be used for.
As we previously mentioned, there is a lot of fan art featuring Kylie Griffin in various states of undress—and with a focus on her lovely lady lumps—as seems to be the most common way to draw her. So it's nice to see her taking on an opposite role here and shutting down such things, rather than being a part of them. Let's just hope that The Ghost Kid doesn't try Google image searching her.
Art by DaCommissioner.
8 Go With The Flo
The Stay Puft Marshmallow Man was born out of Ray trying to think of the most harmless thing he could, and his brain going to a seemingly innocent brand mascot. As a later Simpsons Halloween episode would further prove, advertisements can be quite dangerous when they come to life.
This cartoon plays with that idea by imagining what might happen if Ghostbusters took place today, in the real world, and Ray was told to quickly think of the first harmless thing that came to mind. That thought would very likely turn to Flo, the ever-present fictional character that has been hawking Progressive Insurance for years. Let's just try not to think about what she would explode into when she was defeated—it certainly wouldn't just be marshmallow fluff.
Art by Gulliver63.
7 Trap King
We break our rule for a second time by featuring a joke from another property being re-framed in the Ghostbusters mold, but again, it was too funny to leave out.
One of the most famous quotes from a secondary Star Wars character is the catalyst for a great gag here.
Admiral Ackbar delivers his classic quip—perhaps famous most recently for being attempted by The Big Bang Theory's Sheldon Cooper in a gut-busting scene—by holding a literal trap, and what better trap to hold than the Ghostbusters'? Somehow, we just don't think a mouse trap, bear trap, or any other kind of trap would've been nearly as clever, especially since it wouldn't have given us the awesome image of Ackbar in a Ghostbuster jumpsuit.
Comic by Stalk.
6 And A Real Hero
One of the great things about Ghostbusters fan art is that it gives people the opportunity to bring the various Ghostbusters universes together in interesting ways. Sure, often times that just involves shipping the characters, but people also use it in much cleverer ways, too.
Here, artist noelzzz takes an actual still from the movie scene where the police bring Vinz Clortho to Ghostbusters headquarters, and overlays it with the Real Ghostbusters versions of Egon and Janine, delivering the same dialogue from the film.
It's a really cool juxtaposition, and sets the imagination buzzing with other similar mash-ups that could be done in a similar vein. Maybe the opposite approach could be done as well, where a familiar scene from the animated series could have the actors from the movie inserted into it somehow.
Comic by noelzzz.
5 A Date From You-Know-Where
One of the most hilarious scenes in Ghostbusters is watching Bill Murray as Peter Venkman trying to keep his cool as Sigourney Weaver's Dana Barrett is taken over by the demonic Zuul— and trying not to find it extremely alluring how Zuul has turned Dana into an aggressive seductress.
Why are the evil versions of female characters always more attractive?
Without using any words, this comic perfectly sums up Peter's heartbreak at how he finally landed a date with the elusive Dana, only to have it be ruined by her being possessed and forcing him to treat it like a mission instead of a romantic rendezvous. Of course, he still gets to enjoy Weaver looking as amazing as she has ever looked, which was ultimately a win for the viewers as well.
Comic by juhaszmark.
4 Spengler Hearts Miyazaki
So what exactly does a super-serious super-genius watch during his free time? Lots of documentaries about science and the paranormal, certainly. But would Egon ever venture into fiction, and if so, what would he be into?
The magical worlds of Hayao Miyazaki are a strong possible Egon fan choice.
One might assume that Spirited Away would be Egon's anime of choice, with its focus on a whole separate plane of existence inhabited by spectral beings. The artist here decides to go for a less-mainstream choice—probably fitting for a hipster like Egon—by taking it all the way back to the director's second-ever animated feature. Considering Nausicaä came out the same year as Ghostbusters, the artist here may very well have just been going for chronological accuracy over anything else.
Comic by AjnosFTW.
3 Pet Peeve
One of the things that The Real Ghostbusters did to forever changed the property was appropriate a fairly minor character from the movie. This character only appeared in a single scene and they basically made him the mascot for the entire franchise.
He's as much of an ambassador to the brand as the famous logo.
But having a ghost for a makeshift pet is always going to be a dicey proposition, and sure enough, Slimer was always causing all kinds of mischief for the crew. Peter in particular seemed to have a conflicted relationship with the green ghoul, and it felt like he would've been happy to see him go if he were to ever run away. Maybe they should've just stuck with the tradition of the building they were in and just gotten a dalmatian instead.
Comic by Dean Rankine.
2 But Is It David Prowse Or Hayden Christensen?
Fiction is filled with all types of ghosts and ghostlike creatures, many of them of the friendly variety. And no, we're not just talking about Casper. Actually, the whole idea of a small ghost is way too depressing to even make a joke about—although, we kind of just did exactly that, didn't we?
As a saying that we just made up goes, one man's spirit guides are another man's payday.
The visual of the Ghostbusters coming in and attacking Anakin, Obi-Wan, and Yoda with their beams before sucking them into a trap is a pretty hilarious one, especially if you follow that up with one of Mark Hamill's legendary "Nooo!" cries. It would just depend on which version of the Star Wars trilogy you were watching which versions of those characters you'd see—our vote is for Hayden Christensen to be on the receiving end of the attack.
Art by MattMoylan.
1 This Is Why You Don't Allow +1s
We didn't find a single piece of artwork that contained elements of more different Ghostbusters universes than this one, and to have it framed as an anniversary celebration they are all attending is the perfect excuse for the massive crossover.
And on that same token, who better to provide the comic relief for the scene than the ever-mischievous Slimer!
Slimer would of course take it upon himself to attack the cake before anyone else was able to have a slice. We would love to see artist WolfenM do an updated version of this to include the crew from the 2016 movie, as there is far too little art out there that allows the gals to co-exist with the original crew—and what does exist is largely to mock the former, unfortunately.
Comic by WolfenM.