You Know Who To Call Part 2: A Detailed Look at Recent ‘Ghostbusters’ Toys, Video Games, Comics, and Merchandise

     November 3, 2013

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If you missed You Know Who to Call Part 1, click here.

The heyday of the Ghostbusters failed as a voluminous movie franchise.  The public got two great entries, but when sequels are the talk of the town, no one seems to have quite deciphered the formula that made Ghostbusters work to apply to a new take.  The material must be understood and it takes a proper combination of a grounded sense of scale and a sense of humor.  The genre fusion of sci-fi, action and comedy that Ghostbusters is categorized under has seen its fair share of misses, even from the likes of Ivan Reitman with 2001’s Evolution.  It’s a tricky recipe that even the original creators of Ghostbusters haven’t been able to take to the next step of a third film.  But thanks to licensing, the Ghostbusters have survived. Have they thrived?  More so more recently.  No need to just collect spores, molds and fungus. In the new millennium, the prominent and comprehensive lines of Ghostbusters-themed products have come out of the gates of Mattel and Diamond Select Toys, with an honorable mention from NECA.  The Ecto-1 is running and puttering, so let’s stay on this road of memory lane after the jump.

“Very cheerful, my parents didn’t believe in toys . . . We had part of a Slinky. But I straightened it.” – Egon Spengler

NECA – National Entertainment Collectibles Association

NECA Head KnockerNECA in 2004 did what 88MPH Studios did and celebrated 20 years since Ghostbusters. But instead of building off the old brand, they revisited it with collectible figures and bobble heads branded as Head Knockers. And like 88MPH Studios, their quality was of perfection. The figures included Gozer, Slimer, the Terror Dogs known as Vinz Clortho and Zuul. The bobble heads consisted of Slimer and the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. The precision in detail was remarkable for the pricing to the extent of even taking a sense of realistic texture into account. The two Head Knockers are some of the best bobble heads ever made with pristine sculpts and priceless paintwork. It’s only a shame their price has increased so much with the rarity experienced over the years. Well, a shame for those who didn’t get it at first at least. But with Vinz Clortho and Zuul looking as similar as they do in the pictorial compendium of Ghostbusters, I question whether the two Terror Dogs should have been released in separate packaging as they were. Selling the duo together in a combo pack, at a price only 50% higher than their fellow single figures, would have streamlined the toy line and made them more attractive to buyers.

But as with 88MPH Studios, the line was hampered from going further. The difficulty in licensing the men in jumpsuits just proved too much. The ordeal was especially tough considered the status of NECA. Where 88MPH Studios’ goal was valiant, NECA’s position was valid in the marketplace. It was one thing to have a startup like 88MPH Studios fail, but another entirely to have an established player like NECA not succeed with such a major brand in an anniversary year. 2004 was the year that made fans jump in excitement and 2005 drove a blow into the guts of them. If nothing could kick-start from the 20th anniversary with the quality in the attempts there were, could anything Ghostbusters-related, let alone a sequel, ever stay on its feet?

MATTEL

ghostbusters Mattel Retro-ActionAll was quiet after 2004 and then like the words on-screen at the introduction to Ghostbusters II, “5 years later,” is all it took. Mattel made a big splash in the headlines in 2009 when it acquired the license to produce Ghostbusters action figures. The toy line would become so long that it most definitely got fans excited into thinking there was momentum for a movie building up, many of whom had been waiting for the release of film-realistic figures for 25 years. The first figure, a slimed Egon Spengler with Slimer, was released exclusively at the 2009 San Diego Comic-Convention and received a very positive response from both action figure collectors and Ghostbusters fans alike. This was the same year the new Ghostbusters: The Video Game was released, so all of this was much to the itching of Ghostbusters fans from around the world, and could have been the merchandising world’s pulling technique to convince Columbia Pictures to get its act together and make a sequel already.

I haven’t been the biggest fan of Mattel’s work in the for-collectors category as a whole. It hasn’t been so much quality. It’s been the offering for the price, which at times has been too pricey. Often enough, you’d be in smarter company opting for something from DC Collectibles like their Batman: Arkham Asylum line, for instance. When it has come to Mattel’s Movie Masters, some series have left much to be desired. The Dark Knight trilogy had its fair share of nice sculpts and accessories that weren’t plentiful, but were understandable, be it a mask or gun. While these weren’t the cheapest, a fan could justify the pricing until maybe when it came to 2012 and after. The figures from The Dark Knight Rises that year were disappointing. They were awkward with poses that stood for nothing. The Toys“R”Us exclusive premium set of three costumed Batman figures from across the Dark Knight trilogy didn’t differ enough in my book, when you factored in their size and visual appeal, to justify asking around $50 for the box. The Man Of Steel figures this year have been plain and lacking any accessories. The costumes they were basing them on to begin with weren’t the most sensational to have replicated on a small scale, but excuses can’t be respected when they ask money for them nonetheless, especially the money Mattel likes to ask.

But the start of the 6-inch Ghostbusters figures from Mattel was superb when the company launched its Ghostbusters lineup. Mattel designed a series based on the original movies with great bundling within in each single package. You got your money’s worth when you had pack-in interchangeable heads, vibrantly-colored spooks, specters and ghosts, and a wide array of characters that encompassed Dana Barrett to Walter Peck and Vigo. It’s a bit shameful to have stalled before getting to the Terror Dogs though. Even the nameless Rookie that you played in the 2009 video game was molded into a 6-inch figure. That’s pretty unique: to have a video game’s avatar be available to offer you the opportunity to pretend the toy was based on you. The only thing that would have made the Rookie any cooler would have been personalized engravings of a customer’s name. What? I can dream.

ghostbusters 6-Inch FigureThe pricing slowly crept over the years to firmly over $20, but really it just reached the level of other collectible figurines. Now, I don’t outright defend the pricing, but I attempt to justify it with a grain of salt. Mattel’s 6-inch offerings aren’t cheap, but not entirely ridiculous in the collectors market. They’re pricey, but are they overpriced? It’s conflicted and so I’d have to say they are a tad. The one-note coloring of each feature on every figure may have made the figures less attractive to more high-end collectors craving that finely crafted artisanship. In fact, the figures seemed like realistic interpretations of the cartoony figures based on The Real Ghostbusters. They could mingle with your old collectible, but were the figures too junior-like nonetheless? That’s up to an individual’s taste. Certainly, based on what NECA released in 2004, that firm would have gone with more elaborate paintjobs and sculpts. What I’m saying is the route Mattel took wasn’t an outright hindrance to the appeal of the action figures, only potentially for some consumers with the price tags attached as the campiness may not have been ideal.

But aside from pricing in relation to taste, think logistics: many lines based on franchises for collectors are limited in the number of figures out there over a certain track of time. Mattel’s expansive Ghostbusters collection of characters was surely the dream of fans from the onslaught, but with the coupling of prices has been difficult for the average person to collect them all, which is often the ultimate goal and often reachable enough. The scope that Mattel committed to over the years with their Ghostbusters toy line does make me wish the presence in retail locations had been more consistent and expanded over that same period. Paying shipping and handling over and over again can get annoying.

The Retro-Action series based on The Real Ghostbusters felt like a poor legacy of the original GI Joe line. You know, dolls with plastic bodies and fabric clothes aimed for boys. The Real Ghostbusters came off too campy in this style and not presentable enough. Their size was around 8-inches, which worked perfectly for what they were, but the products were neither here nor there when compared to the favorable 6-inch and 12-inch lines. The Retro-Action had to be your last of things to want because the sizes below and above offered way more for a shelf. While the 6-inch line didn’t include ghosts as main figures or, to drive sales of character variants, separate accessory packs; it’s The Real Ghostbusters series that should have been the prime catalyst to experiment with action figure releases that featured single versions of characters and ghosts as the main figure in a package. Although from animation, which some high-brows frown upon, the 8-inch size would have even made them great collectible display pieces. Otherwise, the Retro-Action falls short in comparison to what was done in a smaller scale.

ghostbusters 12-Inch FigureThe 12-inch Ghostbusters figures were the genuine legacy of the original GI Joe line. They were limited to the Ghosbusters team of the movies and had some great details only visibly worthwhile and possible in the 12-inch size. Each uniform’s sewing was impressive, the Proton Pack lit up and the distressed paint job lent itself well to what the Ghostbusters are: scruffy, hard-working men who get their hands dirty. The Proton Pack, apart from the dings that come with the occupation of ghost-busting, had individually-colored wires and the smallest of warning labels that were unimaginable to comprehend the intricacy of creating. The Ghost Trap that came with didn’t get skipped over in quality either and featured opening doors at the push of a button and a moving pedal. All in all, it only fell short when it came to containing a real ghost; that and maybe the length of the cable from the pedal to the trap. It was flimsy-short and I think too short to safely operate according to the Ghostbusters handbook. At around $60, these came in at just the right price.

But if your budget wasn’t an issue, the prop replicas were fantastic and could have easily been your accessories for a night on the town. They were modestly priced when their uniqueness and authenticity were factored in, but maybe you’d like more figures for the same price of one replica. Each replica came packaged in colorful crate-like cardboard boxes with humorous warnings wrapped all over. Then inside: how can you beat a film-accurate Ghost Trap with a pedal activator and removable carrier, which had a prop-mode and scary interactive-mode, featured light and sound effects? It actually shook to simulate when a ghost was trapped inside. If that wasn’t enough, the box came with both red and silver interchangeable side power bars to switch between Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II. Whoever thought up that replica was a madman. So mad that their only soul mate in life could come from the mad mind behind the PKE Meter replica, which featured light sequences from both of the original movies, adjustable LED and screen animation speeds, three reenacted screen displays as seen in the film, oh yeah, and opening wings. This PKE Meter’s sound element differs a bit from the original movie. Its tone is more of a beeping than a buzzing. Don’t laugh, that’s enough to destroy some people. Maybe Mattel decided on that sound to fit better with its volume, which does seem louder than what’s in the movies. For $70; not too shabby.

And then Mattel, when it was doing so well, also revisited the reason I’m not such a fan of theirs all the time.  Through its Hot Wheels Elite brand, they brought out an Ecto-1 and Ecto-1A in 1:43-scale and priced both at a point range only the 1:18 scale should exist in. Why? Because if the 1:43 is between $50 and $100, guess what a 1:18 would cost. Better yet, guess what a vehicle scaled to Mattel’s 6-inch figures would cost you. I’ll tell you: a whopping $215. That’s right; MattyCollector.com released a new video as recently as August 3, 2013, that revealed some more details about the possibility of their upcoming Movie Masters Epic Creations Ecto-1 vehicle from Ghostbusters. Did you notice I mentioned only a possibility of that product happening? That’s because fans can only currently pre-order the Ecto-1 from MattyCollector.com. And only if the minimum number of pre-orders is met will the vehicle then go into production for a fall 2014 release. But you do get a prize for your faith and loyalty. An exclusive pre-order bonus poster of the Ecto-1 schematic will arrive for you if the vehicle is made. But it’ll still be a tough pill to swallow if the threshold of orders isn’t met after you convinced yourself to commit to a hefty price tag of $215. Don’t forget shipping and handling.

GHOSTBUSTERS: THE VIDEO GAME

ghostbusters video game cover2009 was a year of resurgence for Ghostbusters. Some would even say a minor renaissance as in the same year Mattel had brought out collectibles toys, Ghostbusters: The Video Game was released to an excited reception and generally positive reviews. The game’s plot was set two years after the sequel, around Thanksgiving of 1991, with the Ghostbusters team training the player’s character, the Rookie, while investigating paranormal activities in New York. It may as well have been a third movie although it relied heavily on the source material (i.e. I doubt Stay Puft would have ever or will ever make an appearance in another sequel). With familiar places like the Sedgewick Hotel, the New York Public Library and the Museum Of Natural History, it was really more of a throwback to experience the old movies in a fresh context than best them as a real sequel usually attempts. Many of the principal cast members from the films were involved in the game’s production. The Ghostbusters reteamed for the first time since the late 80’s as voices and in digital likeness: Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, Bill Murray and Ernie Hudson. In with the mix were also memorable characters reprised by William Atherton, Annie Potts Brian and Max Von Sydow as the voice of Vigo The Carpathian.

Some are mistakenly under the impression, mostly because of the original clever marketing bunk, that the video game was written by the films’ original writers, Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis. In fact, they only aided in some script doctoring to bring the original tone and vernacular to the new material after the script was sent to them one by one. A few years before the game’s release, executives convinced the right people that the Texas-based game developer Terminal Reality had the right blend of technical and creative know-how to make a game based on the frozen franchise for the first time since the 1990’s. What was risky is that it had to stand on its own in the competitive gaming market, even without a new film to tie it to. After some tense moments when the original publisher went through a merger, some got worried the video game would get one step further than a third movie ever had, but one step short of being available. But eventually, the game got published through Atari and available on all major platforms.

In 2011, Ghostbusters: Sanctum Of Slime made less of a splash on Microsoft Windows, PlayStation Network and Xbox Live Arcade, but it seems to me slime is too mucus-like to make much of a splash in little supply. While Ghostbusters: The Video Game didn’t have anything to tie itself to during initial development, it did have some indirect linkage by the time of final release with the Mattel figures during the Ghostbusters merchandising resurgence. Instead of being based on a third movie, the game had its own Mattel figure based on its new recruit.

IDW PUBLISHING

2008 IDW Publishing Ghostbusters The Other SideAlso in 2009, IDW Publishing celebrated its first full year of Ghostbusters at its disposal. In 2008, it had done what 88MPH Studios did four years prior; make Ghostbusters contemporary. This time, it lasted more than a few issues. Ghostbusters: The Other Side was a 4-issue miniseries that ran from October of ’08 to January of ’09. Then a few months later, the 4-issue Ghostbusters: Displaced Aggression ran from September to December of the same year. The color schemes of these issues weren’t stimulating and it seemed like IDW had a hard time fleshing out the characters, which was the challenge as they weren’t holding the same animated baton that NOW Comics held. The likeness of characters to one another proved a bit of a distraction. Their facial lines made them blend together so much that it was left to a pair of glasses or a hairstyle being the thing that truly distinguished them from the rest. It really felt like these new renderings were just different versions of one Ghostbusters template.

2010 was the year of one-shots at IDW that included Ghostbusters: Past, Present And Future, Ghostbusters: Tainted Love, Ghostbusters: Con-Volution, Ghostbusters: What In Samhain Just Happened?! and Ghostbusters: Haunted Holidays. From miniseries to one-shot, everyone was getting teased of a possible full-length series. Sure enough, that’s what 2011 brought. From September of that year to December, 2012, an ongoing series ran, but it was only 16 issues nonetheless. Against all of that, the most tickling release, or should I say re-release, was the set of omnibus volumes that IDW Publishing started in 2012; making available the original stupendous material from NOW Comics.

Then February 2013: IDW begins its ongoing series entitled The New Ghostbusters. Yes, IDW Publishing threw its hat into a sequel to the original story. It took its cue from the 1990’s Extreme Ghostbusters, establishing that the old team is missing in an unknown astral plane and one remaining veteran is tasked with spearheading a new group, this time: Janine Melnitz. While the Extreme Ghostbusters was a direct sequel to the old 1980’s cartoon, the New Ghostbusters is a sequel within the entire universe. There’s no independence to the extent of mutual exclusivity. It’s a mish-mash. Heck, Kylie Griffin is part of the New team. Melanie Ortiz and Ron Alexander are familiar faces to IDW-readers. And why was Janine Melnitz chosen? Maybe because she had Proton-Packing experience from The Real Ghostbusters. This updated series is a nice mix of comic canon and cartoon lore. With its heavily exaggerated character designs and colorful style, the New resembles the style of the Real Ghostbusters more than the grittier miniseries IDW originally pursued. The only complaint I will muster of the New series is the simplification of Kylie Griffin. She was the coolest addition to the universe in Extreme Ghostbusters with attitude, a past, intelligence and undeniably fashionable equipment. She pushed and earned her way onto the team after a little studious and mischievous dabbling in the paranormal where as The New Ghostbusters had her starting as a store clerk at Ray’s Occult. I know you gotta start somewhere, but did it have to be there?

DIAMOND SELECT TOYS

Ghostbusters Neon DarkMattel has fascinated in the variety in characters and different types of figures that offer different things for different people within the same group. That is, their products are narrow in basically figures and props. They’ve just brought great depth to those categories. Diamond Select Toys allures through the variability in the wide net of products. Their line has included things like coin banks, resin statues, a prop replica of the original license plates of the Ecto-1 and Ecto-1A, a 12” neon sign of the Ghostbusters logo, a Slimer gelatin mold, and a silicone tray for ice cubes, chocolate treats and gelatin treats in the shape of the franchise logo. The prop replicas and neon sign haven’t grown past their initial product releases where as the gelatin mold is a 2013 offshoot of the silicone tray that started that category.

At $35, the license plates were appropriately priced. They luckily weren’t identical to one another in the movies, leading to a nice juxtaposition and companionship for us. In hand, they’re unique and you won’t find anything like them, so now all you need is the actual cars to mount them to or you’re wall and shelf will have to do. The paint job is pristine and it genuinely looks screen-accurate right out of the 1980’s. The neon sign is at a list price of about $125, and that again is a reasonable price. It may not be doing you any favors, but it’s also not ripping you off. It’s about 12” across and 15” high with the base. I would love to see a bigger version at that price, but when working with neon, fragility does increase with size. This is a nice and manageable set of dimensions.

When it comes to the gelatin mold and ice tray, they’re those small trinkets you leave a store with without feeling guilty. The Slimer gelatin mold is a bit cheaper on a per-size basis at a shared list price of $14.99, but at the same time it’s for a different use than its predecessor, the Ghostbusters logo silicone tray. It’s a fun-sized item as wide as a small child’s face that produces edible, non-terminal repeating phantasm measuring 9”x5”. It didn’t even come to mind at first, but the back of the package suggests hiding treats inside the belly to make it more like the real thing, which makes so much sense for a gimmick based on your recipe that wouldn’t necessarily make sense with other characters. I think the average person will find the tray for ice cubes more-often used. Rather than the identical price it is, the Ghostbusters logo tray could afford to hug closer to $10 and it might, depending on retailer. The design forms shockingly well in ice. The face is reliably frozen every time. I’m surprised how well the features come out without meticulous chiseling. The other line requiring distinction is the bar across the ghost and it pops alongside the finite eyes and mouth. The only disappointment comes when the ice melts.

ghostbusters minimatesMinimates, think more-versatile LEGO figures, from Diamond Select Toys, is their star brand with the greatest depth. Originally created by Art Asylum, the company’s Minimates property was eventually acquired. Now, Diamond Select Toys makes everything through that trademark and they didn’t hesitate with Ghostbusters, be it villains, the main team from the movie or original animated series. It’s quite a wide range and not overwhelming enough to break the bank of parents. Adults collect them, but at the plastic hearts these 2-inch figures with a pair or two in every box-set, they’re really an entry-level junior-collector’s item for kids. Regardless of which you fall under, with that age-defying fan base and 14 points of articulation, the block-style miniature action figures can be played with or posed together on a shelf. The beauty is kids can expand their Minimates shelves with the many franchises Diamond Select Toys invests in. The price from the company of $17.99-$19.99 per four-pack rightly peaks by the skin of its teeth under the $20 mark.

Coin banks are another cornerstone of what Diamond Select Toys regularly makes based on franchises. These are about $20 and appropriately enough don’t force you to break the bank to get them. There’s been a few manufactured: one in the shape of the franchise logo, one of Slimer and three variants of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man. Consumers have had the regular happy-go-lucky soft-white Stay Puft, an angry-pink Stay Puft ready to explode and the New York Comic-Con exclusive glow-in-the-dark version of the first. The shame in the bank generalized as the Ghostbusters logo is the fact that it’s actually a little more specific than that. It is the logo, but it’s specifically modeled after the double-sided business sign hanging outside the Ghostbusters’ base of operations. What would have made this coin bank worthwhile is if it had been accompanied by a small bracket to optionally hang from on the wall to be film-accurate. As it is, this aspect of the place-of-business signage is just lost sitting on a shelf; almost as if seemingly focused on portraying the sign in storage somewhere or as a memorabilia purchase from an out-of-business auction. So it could be perceived as faithful in that respect, if we were all willing to stick to that fabricated story. Nay, I find the core highlights of the banking sector the Slimer and the regular Stay Puft Marshmallow Man with, once you have these, everything else being optional.

The sculpt, casting and paint job on the 8-inch Slimer are beyond fantastic. There’s such a gritty texture dynamically blending levels of green, black and a sponging of yellow, dirty teeth and raw inner-mouth. The character’s roundness doesn’t deter from stability with the flattened portion beneath to place on a surface. You can put it on the shelf and it’ll look like an affluently-priced collectible figurine. It would be if it wasn’t for the slot on the back to deposit coins. The 11-inch Stay Puft Marshmallow Man doesn’t afford the same opportunity to fascinate people with detailed textures as each coin bank had different factors to consider. It’s a pillow-white finish with faint-blue outlining rolls of chubbiness and prominent features. It’s the clean-cut and large size that grabs your attention. An empty Stay-Puft isn’t as stable on its feet as Slimer, so you might want to put the bank to use and insert some coin to bog it down a bit. While the Slimer has an interlocking cap at the bottom to release coins, Stay Puft’s head pops off to grant you access to your money. Both are one of, if not the best, depictions of their respective characters in the marketplace. Slimer easily doubles as a statue. The 11-inch Stay Puft Marshmallow Man easily mellows alongside any action figures if coin collecting isn’t your thing. Their sizes complement each other perfectly with the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man being an ideal and comfortable size for play or display.

ghostbusters StayPuft Bank BoxAnd finally, this segment has brought me to what I consider Diamond Select Toy’s most luxurious division of its Ghostbusters line, its 6.25-inch high-end collectible statues with built-in lighting to amaze in the dark while other statues sleep. With a numbered certificate of authenticity and matching numbered base, each one is limited to 1,984 pieces in honor of the original movie’s year of release. Across the board, expect to shell out about $70 for each. There’s one of the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, but I honestly have to say, given the size of the coin bank, I’d suggest anyone to go for that option to put on your shelf more than the statue priced 2.5x higher.

No, if you want statues, go for Slimer and the Terror Dog. Photos do not do the line justice. Glancing at product photos upon first inspection, I was very skeptical of the statues and one-step away from dismissing them. Yes, they had a light-up function, but Slimer, the first statue from Diamond Select Toys, came off very transparent in pictures and thus a little cheap. I immediately got thinking of Dark-Knight-Trilogy bust statues of this size from DC Direct with intricately sculpted bases and life-like opaque figures that naturally translate cognitively into being solid and heavier. Then with a price tag of $70 attached, it was at this point that the Ghostbusters statues were all but dead to me. I’m more of the belief statues of this type should more often than not top-off at $50 from manufacturers.

But whatever, I got mailed to me a promotional Slimer statue: #199 of 1,984. I thought, “My Lord, it’s far heavier than I expected.” The mold and transparent green are gorgeous in person. Though the green is one-tint, the mouth shares the similar staining of the coin bank. The base with the printed name of the film and logo fit well on the smooth-black of the base that is reminiscent of a slightly altered hockey puck. While the statue is empty, the base is heavy enough to compensate and exceed the weight of similar statues from other companies. And remember, it’s hollow for a reason: the light-up action is great after you slip in the 2 AAA batteries that come with. The translucent green glistens when the lights inside turn on. I will say that maybe the mouth could have been given some translucency to come alive at night. But it’s a trade-off. The mouth stands out so well in daylight with its coloring, it’s only at night that the light behind it can’t get through and it turns into a black void. This statue and the coin bank fundamentally have the same sculpt, and only differ in size, function and the lighting effect. But even with the vast price difference, I still can’t recommend one over the other. They’re both marvelous pieces and despite their identical sculpts, they different enough in size, color and function to justify having both side by side.

ghostbusters statuesBut I must say, the light-up ability got even more superior on the third statue from Diamond Select Toys, the Terror Dog: #18 of 1,984 for me. I’m not sure which one it was specifically based on, but let’s not get too picky. Now, the Terror Dogs on their own aren’t often produced in any form, but short of a live-size replica, I can’t imagine it getting any better than this statue. The statue’s claws cling to the edge of its base and its finish doesn’t even make you aware of the possibility of light passing through it. That only becomes feasible when you turn it on and the light filters through its skin, most prominently in the belly and most brightly in the demonic eyes that, despite their unassuming existence during the day, seem to pierce the air the most as the Terror Dog pears.

I am still under the impression that 6-inch statues should be capped at $50, so by logic, you would think the $70 list price of the Ghostbusters statues would automatically have them fail under my scrutiny. Not necessarily because that’s a criticism of the entire industry and I can’t single this out as a fault here. In relation to the current market, these statues from Diamond Select Toys are priced quite competitively, even better than what I thought a series limited to 1,984 pieces would ask to fetch. The light-up features can’t be ignored as a very unique offering. Even under my system, the statues would still slightly exceed the cap because I really think they’re a more excitingly though-out creation. They’re more than comparable to something like the 6.25-inch bust statue of Bane from The Dark Knight Rises courtesy of DC Direct of 2012, but Diamond Select Toys gives you the entire character representation where as you’ll only get from the waist up courtesy of DC. Neither is to be neglected in appreciation or mocked in terms of quality though. The DC Direct statues of similar type are photogenic, and while the Diamond Select statues don’t photograph as well, they feel better with a good weight to them, they look better on a shelf day or night and they’re more fun to look at.

FirehouseStatue1Consequently, overall Diamond Select Toys has focused heavily on different types of products limited to mostly the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, Slimer and the franchise logo. I think they’ve done all that can excitingly be done with their single-product Ghostbusters neon sign category. I’d love to see more quirky replicas from them beyond the license plate. I’d also love to see more statues. A new one comes out later this year of the firehouse, aka Ghostbusters HQ. That’s thinking outside the box, most definitely, and I want to see more. I challenge them to get some more characters out. Wouldn’t Gozer look great beside the Terror Dog all lit-up after all?

NECA

Product Line Rating: 5/5

Variety: 1/5

Pricing: 4/5

MATTEL

Product Line Rating: 4/5

Variety: 4/5

Pricing: 2.5/5

DIAMOND SELECT TOYS

Product Line Rating: 4/5

Variety: 3/5

Pricing: 4/5

“Well, better late than never.” – Dock Supervisor

ghostbusters video game

Successful brands possess a great organization and follow-through. Ghostbusters has lacked that defined network and hierarchy, and its licensing has bounced between firms all trying to do their own thing or simply piggybacking off the established. Against the odds and as a testament to its validity, the Ghostbusters franchise has survived, if not lived a full life, to the present day despite a lack of sequels. Who doesn’t know the answer to, “Who you gonna call?” Some plans have crumbled because they were meant to with cracks from the get-go, but others have disappeared because the foundation of the Ghostbusters franchise as a business has been flawed from Columbia Pictures itself having not known what to do with the Ghostbusters. Even its home video Blu-ray catalog has only included the first movie in a plain-Jane case.

The studio hasn’t taken much responsibility. The franchise’s expansion and penetration from the start was due in a large part to the animated show and licensing connected with that. It is further difficult to believe how the Ghostbusters would have fared without the aggressive techniques and plans of Caputo Publishing Inc. pushing its way and diversifying in the market. Was Caputo Publishing the end all and be all? No, but they had the right idea. Columbia Pictures has been relying on the Hail Mary ideology that for the first time the licensing located downstream of the chain-of-command would ignite a franchise back into the mainstream. It starts from the other end of the line and that’s just how it is. So will it be?

The continuation of the Ghostbusters movie franchise has been teased for many a year now. Plenty of news and rumors have come out. Some have gotten people charged. Others have gotten people to cringe. Ghostbusters may be the one franchise that successfully crossed over between median realms as almost comic-book-like and yet not based on a comic. I do share concern about what direction the Ghostbusters would take in a third film. Would new minds completely change the franchise and have it take itself a little too seriously? Next year’s the 30th anniversary of the first film. That would have been a great year to have a third film released, just as the second was released on the 5th anniversary. Instead of reinventing a whole new team, a third film should simply dive into the franchise’s archives and look at what Extreme Ghostbusters did. Those characters would be perfect to utilize and nicely meld the cartoon and live-action worlds together into a firm cohesive brand.

The most appropriate way the news of a third film could officially be released is by a secretary at Columbia Pictures, possibly resembling Janine Melnitz, though it’s not a necessity, dropping down a telephone receiver, standing up straight in exhilaration to scream out, “We got one!” And then, yes, did I just hear that? Was that… Was that the firehouse bell?

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