Erik Burnham Chats The Ghostbusters Getting "Real" in New IDW Comic

Worlds will collide.

Solicitations in Previews and a social media announcement today revealed the IDW Ghostbusters are about to meet up with their Saturday morning counterparts, The Real Ghostbusters for a four issue mini-series titled, "Ghostbusters Get Real".

Written by Erik Burnham, with art by Dan Schoening and Luis Delgado, the series will re-team the same creatives from the popular IDW on-going series. The first issue will hit comic shops June 17th, and series writer Erik Burnham was kind enough to take time to discuss with Ghostbusters HQ.

GBHQ: Were any seeds planted for this cross-over in Mass Hysteria or any of the other runs? If they haven’t already read ‘em (and let’s be honest, they should have) should readers go back and revisit some of the previous issues as a primer leading up to June?

Burnham: Not directly; though we had considered the possibility in place of a TMNT crossover (if Nickelodeon had passed). That said, the Interspatial Teleportation Unit in the TMNT/GB crossover should take some pressure of the Ghostbusters (Real and otherwise) -- they have a direct way home. OR DO THEY? (He says with a smile).

GBHQ: The creative team has been peppering in quite a few Real Ghostbusters visual in-jokes and references throughout your run at IDW, will any of those come into play as these worlds collide?

Burnham: I did think of one way to tie those easter eggs in. I may not wind up with the page space to make it explicit; if it comes down to that, though, I'll share with everyone in the backmatter.

GBHQ: How, if at all, did the success of the TMNT/Ghostbusters cross-over impact this four issue series?

Burnham: TMNT/GB was a bonafide HIT. Issue #4 even outsold issue #3, which is RARE. A hit makes it easier to do another one. (So obviously, I hope Get Real also does well!)

Plug: Pre-Order, please! APR150362 is Dan's cover (which interlock with #2-#4) and APR150363 is a variant by Erica Henderson (of Squirrel Girl fame!) /plug

GBHQ: What are some of the challenges or pitfalls of cross-over stories, and how do you avoid some of those issues?

Burnham: Crossovers have certain expected elements. Some are cliche (because they work so well they're practically a shorthand). Readers both do and don't want to see some of these cliches. I try to spin that stuff on its ear when I can. 
It comes down to a way to get characters together, a way to put the toys back in the box, and something for them all to do in between. (Sometimes that's a fight, sometimes it's a chat.)
In this case, we had an easy way to get everyone together from the Real Ghostbusters cartoon itself: folks, go watch "Janine Melnitz, Ghostbuster" and you'll see some clues as to how this story comes to pass (we flesh it out from other angles on the page, so it won't totally spoil the comic!).

GBHQ: Between the years with the on-going and these additional series, how have you, Dan and Luis developed a shorthand in your production process?

Burnham: If someone has a different idea now, they'll often just DO it (they'll mention it to me if it requires writing tweaks!). We do have that trust. (Any shorthand may also be because the guys prefer shorter emails from me.) I used to see every version of every page. Now, I see layouts and then the final proof, nothing in between.
Seriously, Dan & Luis are fantastic, and don't think I'm not aware how fortunate I am to have worked with - and still be working with - these two. They work harder to make sure every page is better than the last.

GBHQ: TMNT, Ghostbusters, X-Files, Simpsons, Galaxy Quest, and now The Real Ghostbusters, you’re getting to explore some of the most beloved characters and franchises in pop culture. What is it that you love the most about getting to play in all these sandboxes?

Burnham: The fact that they keep letting me! Seriously, this is what I've wanted to do my ENTIRE life, and to enjoy every project as much as I have (from Venkman to Homer to Wolverine). I am seriously pinching myself over this, and lucky in my collaborators.

GBHQ: Thanks for your time, can’t wait to read ‘em!

Burnham: Thanks, Troy!

GBHQ's thanks to Erik Burnham for taking time out of his busy schedule to answer our questions. Burnham can be seen later this month at the Emerald City Comic-Con March 27-29.