Review by Elizabeth C. Bunce
When the ghoulish green trade paperback bearing the familiar title Tobin’s Spirit Guide arrived in this month’s Nerd Block, I immediately turned into Gollum: “I loves it.” I half-crooned, half-hissed, clutching it to my chest and waving away efforts by our intrepid editor to even catch a glimpse of it. I then slinked away for a cover-to-cover read of this beautiful new edition of the Ghostbusters classic guide to the other side.
An in-universe tie-in by IDW Publishing Ghostbusters comic book writer Erik Burnham and “co-authors” Dr. Ray Stanz and Dr. Egon Spengler, illustrated by Kyle Holz, Tobin’s Spirit Guide: Official Ghostbusters Edition gives fans of the classic movies, the new film, and general ghost afficionados a rare look at the franchise’s specters. According to a foreword by Dr. Stanz, this is an abridged edition of the multi-volume reference relied upon by our haunt-hunting heroes, “boiled down to the essence” into a handy field guide for the layperson. From Slimer to the angry librarian, the undead taxi driver to Prince Vigo, the book covers some four dozen entities, with special focus on the key players from the original 1984 film, Gozer, Zuul, and everyone’s favorite: The Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man.
The book’s focus is firmly within the Ghostbusters universe, and most of the entries reflect that, offering firsthand insights by the team of its encounters with the various creatures. But also included are familiar figures from folklore, mythology, and classic fiction, such as the Bogeyman, Babylonian goddess Tiamat, and Lovecraftian monster Cthulhu. The overall design of the book, including black-and-white illustrations throughout by Kyle Holtz, is decidedly retro, calling to mind classic ghost story collections from the 1960s–the ones you might recall pulling off the shelf at your own local haunted public library. (I know that wasn’t just me.)
Here are some preview pages:
Our ghostly green trade paperback seems to be a Nerd Block exclusive, but non-subscribers can get their hands on the regular devilish red hardcover at Amazon here, just in time to follow along with Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters 2 this week on AMC or a streaming service near you.