ExtraComicular Activities #2: Mars Attacks the REAL Ghostbusters!

From the Comixology description:
Something even stranger is in the neighborhood when the restless spirits of some merciless martians are stirred from their slumber to attack again! It’s up to the REAL Ghostbusters to save New Jersey from this angry red threat. Well…if they must. Written by: Erik Burnham with Art by: Jose Holder and Ray Dillon

In 1996, Tim Burton revived Mars Attacks! and brought it to a worldwide audience. I was working at the local movie theater when it was released and it was one of a string of films during that time that I remember loving, but it didn’t seem to catch on. Although it broke even at the box office, it’s largely seen as a disappointment, except to many of us geeks and Tim Burton fans. But, it turns out these aliens have got a lot more to say than just Ack, Ack, Ack!

The inspiration for the movie was a series of controversial trading cards that debuted in 1962. Apparently, alien invaders wreaking havoc was very controversial in the ’60s, OK? Other than merely knowing that the series existed, I never became acquainted with the Mars Attacks! on again off again comic book series that spawned from the trading cards. But, one thing I am vastly familiar with is Ghostbusters! Whether it’s live action, Filmation, or the REAL guys, I’ve been crazy about them since I was a little kid. To have the chance to read a comic book that combines these two entities sounded immediately appealing to me.

Presently, the comic company IDW prints an all new Mars Attacks! series, but back in 2013, they pulled off a pretty epic mini-series consisting of one-shots that pitted Mars Attacks! aliens invading five other IDW comic book properties such as Transformers, Judge Dredd, Popeye, and even my favorite rock band of all time, KISS. The issue I wanted to read even more than the KISS issue though, was Mars Attacks the REAL Ghostbusters.

Released January 1st 2013, Mars Attacks The Real Ghostbusters actually ties in four concepts, not only two as the title suggests. The third aspect of this book includes a recurring War of the Worlds theme. You know what that means: it takes place in New Jersey! Of course, it’s not much of a stretch to have the Ghostbusters drive over the bridge to bust some ghosts in Jersey, but weaving in the Mars Attacks! aliens with War of the Worlds was pretty f’n cool. And last but not least, the nod to War of the Worlds also alludes to my favorite holiday because the historic radio broadcast that they parody here was a Halloween special that aired on mischief night in 1938.

A showdown where our cartoon heroes The REAL Ghostbusters attempt to take down some alien scum instead of a class 5 full roaming vapor might sound weird to you at first, but check it out for yourself because there’s a couple of cool twists along the way. As whacked out as some of the ghosts and villains on the REAL Ghostbusters cartoon were – angry, big-headed aliens in space suits fit right in.

This comic one-shot isn’t too highly rated, and it won’t blow your mind or prompt you to write a thesis on it, but this was a quick, amusing read and I recommend it if you are looking for light comic fare that depicts the REAL Ghostbusters with alien opponents that will only happen in this book and probably never again.

Things to look out for:

– The Mars Attacks! aliens crash land in Elmo’s Hill, NJ. This is a play on Grover’s Mill, NJ the site where aliens crash landed in the War of the Worlds radio broadcast. One part Sesame Street Muppet + rhyming word = parody alien crash site.

– I always loved the REAL Ghostbusters TV bumper where the ghost in the No Ghost sign welcomes us back to the REAL Ghostbusters. He does just that in this comic, a nice little touch to make it feel like an episode of the animated series.

Bob The Goon: Jersey’s Number One Guy!

Henchmen, for some reason, were always available and willing to abet The Joker. There must’ve been a waiting list to become one of Joker’s indistinct thugs, but why? The job of Henchman didn’t bring glory or kudos, it didn’t get their name in the Gotham Globe, and it undoubtedly lead to their demise. Whether it was thug #1 or Yock and Boff, they won’t be remembered for any of their dirty deeds against Batman or Gotham City. The Joker was the one who got all the press, save for one exception, and he actually had a name. His name was Bob, and motherf-cker even had his own action figure. It was from Toy Biz, but still an action figure nonetheless.

As if being known as a nondescript “henchman” was bad enough, Bob was known as ‘The Joker’s Goon,” or “Bob The Goon.” He was the highest level henchman The Joker had, hence “THEE GOON,” this guy wasn’t 2nd GOON or 6th GOON. That title was officially bestowed upon him when the Joker told Bob that he was his “Number One Guyyy.” Bob was a shabby man who looked as if he was freshly plucked from catching some zzz’s in a dumpster in a Crime Alley. Coming from those humble beginnings, having the Joker take him on as his henchman infused him with confidence. He felt like he could conquer the world, or at the very least, finally get his G.E.D. He was as loyal as they came, and he possessed a shimmer in his eye that showed us that a little part of him wished someday he could be half the criminal mastermind that The Joker is. He clung to that hope, even if it was all in vain.

When you’re down on your luck and you want some direction in your life, being the right hand to a super criminal like The Joker seems like an appealing and prestigious position. I’m almost positive The Joker didn’t offer any health benefits, and definitely no 401k. Perhaps dental? He did have one helluva smile. Love that Joker! In the case of Bob, The Joker granted him as much vacation time as he could ever possibly imagine when he blew him away point blank.


All other goons and henchman owe Bob a huge debt of gratitude for being such a superior role model. Bob was an icon, a go getter, and when he did hire a prostitute, he treated her with respect. It’s a shame that Bob was never able to take advantage of his fame. If he lived, he may have been able to ride the lucrative personal appearance circuit. Who wouldn’t want a B&W 8×10 of Bob signed “Bob, The Joker’s One and Only Muthaf–kin’ Goon!”

Bob The Goon was portrayed by Tracey Walter in the 1989 Batman film. It’s no secret that Jack Nicholson is a Jersey boy, but Walter also hails from the Garden State. He was born in Jersey City, NJ, and according to his IMDB bio, he “was working in a car parts store in Jersey City when he stumbled upon acting…” Walter’s impressive resume includes appearances in over 150 popular films and TV shows.
For more on Bob’s Toy Biz action figure, check out Cool Toy Review.

New Jersey’s Great Pop Culture Moments Vol.8: Batman and New Guernsey Purrrfect Together!

Before Gotham City set up shop in Chicago in The Dark Knight, it was always widely thought to be inspired by New York City. Even though never explicitly defined, Gotham was similar to New York City and Metropolis seemed to be a mirror of Chicago. No matter where these imaginary cities are actually intended to be is up to the imagination of the comic book writers and their readers. The same goes for superhero adventures on the big screen and in this case, full color Television!

The ’60s live action Batman TV series frequently threw in parodies on names of real people and places. To the west of Gotham City was “New Guernsey,” which served as the New Jersey of the Batman dimension. New Guernsey is shown on a street sign in the episode “Scat, Darn Catwoman,” which aired in January of 1967.


Julie Newmar can sit on her golden cat throne forever because she’s the sexiest, most seductive, and sly Catwoman to ever play the role. How could we allow such feline failures in the past? Was there any reason for the Lee Meriwether’s, Eartha Kitt’s, and Halle Berry’s when we could’ve just reused old footage of Julie Newmar? If it wasn’t for Tim Burton resurrecting Selina Kyle as some kind of Cat-Zombie, Pfeiffer would be on the exact same level as Newmar. What can I say, I’m traditional, I don’t enjoy my women as much after they get eaten by cats.


I’m sure millions of simultaneous wet dreams ensued in 1967 as all the pubescent boys watched Catwoman as she was running and climbing stairs all over this episode. As you know, running leads to bouncing, and climbing leads to great ass shots. Thanks for everything Julie Newmar!


At the end of the episode we get to see Batman and Catwoman having one of their classic heart to hearts:

Batman: I’ll do everything I can to rehabilitate you…
Catwoman: Marry me
Batman: Everything except that, a wife no matter how beauteous or affectionate would severely impair my crime fighting!
Catwoman: But I can help you in your work…as a former criminal I’d be invaluable. I could reform honestly I can!
Batman: What about Robin?
Catwoman: Robin? Oh I’ve got it, we’ll kill him!

Was Catwoman possibly clairvoyant?

Batman Party Invitation

It’s July 13th which means The Dark Knight is only a short 5 days away! It will actually be shorter for those of you seeing sneak previews on Wednesday and Thursday. You lucky bastards! I’m trying to torture myself even more by waiting until noon on Friday, but that’s how I’ve done it since Batman Returns. For the Batman premiere in ’89 I had to wait until my parents could bring me so I couldn’t go until a packed evening showing. I’ll never forget that night because it was so unbelievable to me. Even before the movie started there was this feeling of excitement going through the theater. The theater we went to in town had lines wrapped around the building to buy tickets and each showing was sold out. Several years later the the theater turned into an Office Max. Apparently now it’s going to become an Irish Pub. Damn real estate! That building should be listed on the historic registry as “THE BUILDING WHERE JAY SAW BATMAN ON OPENING NIGHT IN 1989.”

As Casey Kasem used to say….”And now…On with the Countdown…”

I already covered Batman birthday cakes so far in the Dark Knight Countdown so now let me backtrack to the invitation. This is a Batman party invitation from 1989 which I kept as part of my collection. This is the comic book version of Batman who I grew up with. I always loved this version of Batman the best especially since I was introduced to him way before the Tim Burton version was even thought of. All throughout Batmania of the late ’80s and early ’90s this was still the “go-to” Batman who appeared on everything from t-shirts to party plates to puffy stickers. Forget about continuity, Batman wore gray and blue in the comics and black whenever he was on the big screen.

The Batcut

Harry Potter has been a phenomenon with young kids and adults for years now, but does that mean people have been going to their local hair salon and asking for “The Potter?” Kid and Play and Vanilla Ice have had influence on trendy hairstyles but neither of them had the type of impact to make a guy do THIS:
Aside from Beatlemania, I doubt anything will ever be bigger than Batmania. I’m glad I was around for it. Sure, we’re all eagerly anticipating The Dark Knight’s release but the feeling is nowhere near the feeling that came over the world in 1989 when Batman starring Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson was released. It could have been that it was almost 20 years at that point since Batman was blasting onto the small screen. The Batman TV show was cancelled in 1968 and Tim Burton’s version didn’t hit theaters until 1989. It’s almost legendary how bad producers in Hollywood wanted to get a Batman movie going after the success of the Superman saga.

Like Tom Petty once said, “…the waiting is the hardest part” and I guess finally getting what we were waiting for made us do some pretty outrageous things like shaving bat symbols into our heads. It’s possible I might get reprimanded at my job if I pulled a stunt like this, so in honor of The Dark Knight’s release I’ll continue to obsessively write Batman related entries until the films release. Pictured above is a clip I scanned from my collection. It was printed in a local newspaper in ’89.