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.

New Jersey’s Great Pop Culture Moments Vol. 32: The Secret of the Ooze

new jersey,bayonne

If you’re looking for toxic sludge in order to transform a wolf and a turtle into two monstrous mutants, then look no further than Bayonne, NJ! There’s plenty of ooze here thanks to the work of Techno Global Research Industries, or TGRI, a company who, for 15 years, has been dumping their noxious waste in Jersey no less. I guess they figured, “Why not dump it in Jersey? Oh sure, the state is filled with garbage anyway, so bury it over there!”

“…Reporting live from Bayonne, New Jersey, this is April O’Neil, Channel 3 News, back to you…”

This wasn’t just any ordinary waste, it was chemical ooze that could mutate anything into a jumbo version of itself. Unlike all the spam e-mails you get, this stuff could actually work miracles for a certain male appendage or even females with negative A cups. The only drawback is that after you lather up in it, you’d probably have to live the rest of your life ridiculously ripped and grow to 10 or 11 feet tall. If you’re cool with that and you have some sort of Guiness Book of World Records freak fetish, then by all means, go to Bayonne and find yourself some ooze! Just a warning though, you may have to dig through some of the alien carcasses that appeared in 2005’s War of the Worlds.


In an attempt to improve the company’s public image, TGRI tries to clean up much of the waste they have buried through the years of ecological incompetence. This ruise is not much different than some campaigns rolled out by many high profile companies in the last several years to “go green.” It’s common for companies to exploit the angle that they are being conscious of the environment to cover up a lot of their other shady operations. Just think, without this ooze, yeah maybe we wouldn’t have the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but more importantly, we wouldn’t have Tokka and Rahzar!

At one point, as he’s being in interviewed by April O’Neil, Professor Jordan Perry (David Warner) even claims the sludge was non toxic! Oh yeah…of course. It was as non toxic as Crayola crayons! I don’t think so! Can you ever trust the man known as the voice of Ra’s al Ghul? I think not Detective…

Mutated giant dandelions, now do you understand why we’re called The Garden State?