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IDW's Tom Waltz Talks Ghostbusters: Get Real

If you're a child of the 80s, then you knew the answer to the question of "Who you gonna call?" The answer, of course, was Ghostbusters. A runaway hit at the box office. And the sequel helped cement Ghostbusters in cinema/pop culture history. But as the 20th century gave way to the 21st century, IDW Publishing picked up the license to publish Ghostbusters comic books, and they haven't looked back since. Now in this PREVIEWSworld Exclusive interview, Ghostbusters Editor Tom Waltz tells us what's cooking for the future of the guys that eradicate pesky poltergeists.

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PREVIEWSworld: Tell us a bit about your role as editor on IDW's Ghostbusters titles?

Tom Waltz:  Honestly, my role as the Ghostbusters editor has been far more joy than work.  Our long-time creative team (writer Erik Burnham, artist Dan Schoening, colorist Luis Antonio Delgado) have such a strong grasp on the iconic property -- its characters, its crazy science, the ghosts, ghoulies and extensive lore -- that my main priority is to just make sure things are getting done logistically.  Meaning, I wrangle scripts and artwork, get those things to our production staff for final lettering, etc., work with the good folks at Sony to make sure everything’s copasetic with them… but beyond that, I just sit back and marvel at how well Erik, Dan and Luis handle their duties month after month.  I was a fan of Ghostbusters when I was first handed the editorial reins… and my creative crew has made me into an even bigger fan as the years have passed and our Ghostbusters comics have grown and evolved.  I’ll occasionally throw an idea their way (or a challenge), fully confident they’ll take my tiny nuggets of advice and turn them into big, giant gold bricks of ‘busting goodness!

PREVIEWSworld: Do you have a favorite series or storyline you've worked on in the Ghostbusters comics universe?

Tom Waltz: I love everything, but I have to say that I’m particularly fond of the NEW GHOSTBUSTERS arc (ongoing Volume 5, MAY130306) because that was a big risk we were taking, replacing the main team (Ghostbusters Prime as Erik calls them these days) with a nearly all female team for awhile.  But it was something we were really motivated to do -- we had these fantastically strong and cool female characters (Janine Melnitz, Kylie Griffin, and Melanie Ortiz) who all deserved the spotlight and we found a way to shine it on them… and make it work so successfully with fans and critics that we continued to use them beyond the NEW GHOSTBUSTERS arc as active members of the overall ghost-busting operation… and have big plans for them in future stories as well.  Beyond that, my work as a co-writer on the TEENAGE MUTANT NINJA TURTLES/GHOSTBUSTERS crossover (FEB150402) was definitely a special treat, as was the time I spent writing for the GHOSTBUSTERS: SANCTUM OF SLIME video game a few years back.  I still have hopes we’ll get to see some of the characters we created for that game making special appearances in the pages of our comic books someday. 

PREVIEWSworld: Ghostbusters Get Real #1 (APR150362) puts forth a dream scenario that Ghostbusters fans have waited years to see: Movie Ghostbusters (or comic versions of the movie Ghostbusters) meeting the cartoon Real Ghostbusters. What was the most fun aspect of getting to work on this crossover?

Tom Waltz:  As always, reuniting with my talented team -- Erik, Dan, Luis -- is what ultimately makes all this so satisfying for me.  But, also, it’s been a blast to watch how Erik and Dan are balancing the Ghostbusters Prime with the Real Ghostbusters… finding ways to give both teams plenty of screen time and highlighting their similarities as well as their differences.  Erik does such a wonderful job of nailing the different nuances in the dialogue, giving each ‘buster a unique personality amongst so many redundancies.  His Venkman Prime is different than his RGB Venkman, and yet there’s no denying the two share many commonalities… and so on with the other characters.  Plus, Erik’s found a really cool way to tie in this story to canon from both worlds, something we also did successfully in the TMNT/GB crossover.  Geeks love canon, continuity and for stories to actually count, and we (Erik, Dan, Luis and I) are no different.  And wait till everyone sees how Luis is coloring this puppy -- two distinct palettes that add to the overall crossover fun!

PREVIEWSworld: Can you share any details as to what's bringing these two universes together? Will the two Ghostbusters teams be forging an alliance or fighting against each other?

Tom Waltz: This is set during (and between) the events of the Real Ghostbusters cartoon episode, “Janine Melnitz, Ghostbuster.” In that episode, the Real Ghostbusters are captured by the god Proteus, and Janine tracks them down to rescue them. Our story will run concurrent to that episode as the Real Ghostbusters spent much of it off screen… giving us the opportunity to show fans exactly what happened to them during that time.  Like I said -- continuity and canon abound!

PREVIEWSworld: Will characters other than the main team meet their Real Ghostbusters counterpart?

Tom Waltz: Yes!  No spoilers here other than I promise you many fun cameos from throughout Ghostbusters lore.

PREVIEWSworld: Ever since Erik Burnham and Dan Schoening's Ghostbusters ongoing series ended with the Mass Hysteria event (JUN140357 & OCT140469), it seems their take on Ghostbusters have been living on in comics through crossover events. As an editor and Ghostbusters fan, do you have any dream crossovers you'd like to see?

Tom Waltz: Oh, yeah -- lots!  Some that jump immediately to mind would be a GB/Dr. Strange crossover (let the boys in grey loose on the Sanctum Sanctorum), GB/Fantastic Four (because Egon and Reed Richards having a scientific conversation would be worth the price of admission), GB/Daredevil (imagine them ‘busting lost souls in Hell’s Kitchen), GB/Spider-man (it’s a New York thang), GB/Superman (trapping ghosts from Krypton), and GB/Batman (because I think there’s a moving story in there involving Bruce Wayne’s dead parents). 

PREVIEWSworldWith two new Ghostbusters films slated for release in near future, do you see the Ghostbusters comics shifting their focus toward these new teams, or can Ghostbusters fans rest easy that the original Ghostbusters will live on in the world of comics?

Tom Waltz: I've spoken to Sony generally about this but not specifically as of yet… and never in terms of our comic book team going away or being replaced by the new movie teams.  Sony continues to be very happy with our IDW comic books and they are very supportive of our efforts.  I love the relationship we as a company -- and myself personally -- maintain with the studio and will be extremely proud to do our part to nurture and grow the Ghostbusters brand over the coming months and years.  I honestly believe Ghostbusters as a whole is about to enter a new golden age.

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