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I haven’t written a single Mattel Ghostbusters toy write up before now. Personal events in my life prevented me from buying any of the Matty Collector figures until December 2010. Also, following how I like to organize site content and its updates I wanted to write about every Kenner toy I own first. As I don’t own the Kenner figures I’d like to write about currently, that’s on hold.

With Matty Collector’s next to last 6” Ghostbusters figure for 2012 I felt I needed to step up and give my first impression of Zuul: The Gatekeeper figure.

Shipping: Before I even get to the figure let’s talk about how this latest figure was shipped. I wasn’t originally thrilled when Mattel switched to Digital River to send out orders through USPS. By now I’m use to it, if Mattel has to send my package from California to New Jersey perhaps they could better protect the mailer box that’s suppose to prevent the figure from getting damaged. Should make sense, I bubble wrap my valuable items when selling through a “popular internet auction site.” Mattel’s distributor would rather scrunch up some brown packing paper in the box then secure a mailer box from sliding around for 2,747 miles. Which is why when I could finally open the mailer, (more on that to come) I was none to pleased to see the bottom corner of the blister card dented. I don’t think it left the warehouse that way. As the box wasn’t really secure it couldn’t possibly be handled properly coast-to-coast.

Cost: It might be coincidental this time, while Mattel’s warehouse ships the 6” figures the same way every time I’ve placed an order, none of which have ever arrived damaged, this is the first time the price was raised to $25.00. I was also charged sales tax for the first time.

Mailer: I’d like to say the mailer box didn’t disappoint, it did a little. It wasn’t even the Shandor Building/Temple artwork with creative licensing “Tron” face. Which was used previously with the 12” Ghostbusters. I liked that Mattel was taking a creative direction that made sense. As they made the decision to make The Gatekeeper a SDCC exclusive, it was probably done to make it more “special.” Hopefully this didn’t add to the cost. The problem is this mailer unlike the generic white ones was a little harder to open. All the mailers open by sliding/pulling out a cardboard tab. I struggled with it, having to be careful not to rip the cardboard near the top of the box.

Card: The rooftop design used on every 6” card works really well with Zuul/The Gatekeeper figure. Second to Vinz Clortho. It’s a shame other figures couldn’t have had a front card that fits the “personality” of the characters. I get its a cost saving measure. For display purposes fans aren’t thinking of Mattel’s bottom line.

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Figure Impression: If not known by now I’m the type of toy collector who keeps my figures, vehicles, and other toys in their packaging/boxes. Their are exceptions, not too many.

I knew beforehand this figure wouldn’t exactly look like Sigourney Weaver. I was hoping a little more facial recognition would appear in the final figure. If Mattel didn’t have the correct likeness rights, they could have at least made sure not to have the hair paint bleed a little onto the forehead. It isn’t too extreme on my figure, it’s their. The color of Zuul’s outfit could be closer to the costume, considering it kinda has a color shifting fabric, the paint is close enough.

The Gatekeeper’s scale (as evident by the legs) is on par with Sigourney Weaver’s height, in particular to the scale/height of Peter Venkman and Vince Clortho.

Articulation: I’m not bothered that The Gatekeeper has very little articulation. The reason The Gatekeeper can’t move too much isn’t clear from Mattel. I get for sitting that is the figures purpose, to sit without really moving. Around the waist, that is understandable. Why couldn’t the arm or hand (not facing the front of the packaging) move. Did Mattel even watch the scenes in Ghostbusters this figure is based on? Even sitting The Gatekeeper’s legs should be bendable with articulation at the knees. The head can turn, it’s almost like why bother.

Not sure if this was an afterthought or Mattel wanted to give fans too the option of having The Gatekeeper stand. A second lower part of Gatekeeper is included. Easy to change positions as one would only have to twist/pop the upper half of sitting Gatekeeper. The problem again is standing Gatekeeper can’t bend the legs. Since the arms/hands don’t move, this figure can just stand. I’ve read it doesn’t quite stand without a little help.

Accessory: Mattel chose to provide one single large accessory (I don’t count the second, lower part of The Gatekeeper) instead of smaller ones. The large accessory is a “stone” bench seen on the rooftop in Ghostbusters. For the uninitiated its where The Gatekeeper and The Keymaster prepared for the coming of Gozer. Enough said.

Before I could see the figure or accessory in person I thought the stone looking bench was smaller. If Zuul/Gatekeeper could only stand I could take it or leave it. I know its plastic, a darker stone texture would have added to the look. This would have helped make a display better. The cost of a bench could have added to the cost of this next to last figure. I would have preferred medium to smaller accessories. ie: ice box, carton of eggs that open with some cooked eggs or a small bag of Stay-Puft marshmallows.

Overall: Mattel could have marketed this 6” figure as more of a display, small statue with lack of articulation. With only one accessory, the extra $3 might have been understood by fans. Even without exact likeness, I’m glad Mattel created a Dana/Zuul/Gatekeeper figure. It’s probably the only one we’ll ever see.

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From NOW™ – March 1992

Story: Barry Petersen (first story), Richard Alan (second story)

Pencils: Neil Grahame (first story), Anthony Lacrombe (second story)

Inks: Jim Brozman (first story), Anthony Lacrombe (second story)

Colors: Suzanne Dechnik (first story), Zed (second story)

Letters: Andrea Albert (first story), Zed (second story)

Editor: Joan M. Weis

Editor-in-Chief: Tony Caputo

Cover: Uncredited

Scanned and restored in July 2012 by Richard Roy

“Poltergeist at the Pentagon” Part I

“Strange happenings are going on at the Pentagon, and it’s not your usual cover-ups! A poltergeist is causing havoc in the nation’s second-most secure building, so the president decides to call in the Ghostbusters. It’s up to them to clear the building and prevent the playful spook from accidentally pressing…THE button!”

“Siren”

”Janine’s on vacation and the Ghostbusters are looking for a temporary receptionist. They get an applicant, Wanda, and Peter falls instantly in love with the beauty. However, there’s something fishy about their new receptionist…something that could wound Peter extremely deep!”

1992 Annual information. (from NYGB Comic Guide)

The Real Ghostbusters 1992 Annual. (Ghostbusters Firehouse)

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From NOW™ – February 1992

Cover Price: $1.75

Story: Barry Petersen (first story), John Paul Catton (second story)

Pencils: Neil Grahame (first story), Martin Griffiths (second story)

Inks: Jim Brozman (first story), Dave Harwood (second story)

Colors: Suzanne Dechnik (first story), Stuart Place (second story)

Letters: Patrick Williams (first story), Stub (second story)

Editor: Joan M. Weis

Editor-in-Chief: Tony Caputo

Cover: Phil Elliott & Cam Smith

Scanned and restored in July 2012 by Richard Roy

“Tobin and the Maze of Time” Pt. V

The Ghostbusters’ quest draws to a close as Tobin’s hologram leads them to his work chamber. There, they find Tobin near the end of his life and Janine mysteriously with him. Now, the Ghostbusters must figure out once and for all how to get home, save Tobin, and why Egon is about to blast Janine with a proton pack!

“A View to a Chill!”

The Ghostbusters are called to the Metropolitan Art Gallery to take on a ghost that was haunting one of their new paintings. They’re taken on a merry chase through the hallowed halls of fantastic art as the picturegeist jumps from painting to painting. Only Egon’s genius will pull the ghost out into clear view once and for all and allow the boys to blast and trap it!

Volume 2, Issue 4 information. (from NYGB Comic Guide)

The Real Ghostbusters Volume 2: Issue 4. (Ghostbusters Firehouse)

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From NOW™ – January 1992

Cover Price: $1.75

Story: Shannon McCutcheon & Barry Petersen (first story),

Pencils: Neil Grahame (first story)

Inks: Jim Brozman (first story)

Colors: Suzanne Dechnik, Holly Sanfelippo & Kelly Kinsey (first story)

Letters: Joseph Allen (first story)

Editor: Katherine Llewellyn & Barry Petersen

Editor-in-Chief: Tony Caputo

Cover: Brian Williamson & Dave Harwood

Scanned and restored in July 2012 by Richard Roy

“Tobin and the Maze of Time” Part IV

“Ray rejoins the group, regaling them with his tale of facing off against the Loch Ness Monster armed with only a…bagpipe? Peter pops up as well, telling the guys how he helped a very dead Joan of Arc in her final mission. Now, they all have a piece of some kind of puzzle which may either lead them to Tobin, or to something far worse.”

“Hide & Squeak!”

“It appears Slimer is up to his old ways again, eating the Ghostbusters out of house and home. However, it turns out it’s actually a ghost mouse eating all the food…an invisible ghost mouse! Slimer must expose the uninvited houseguest before the Ghostbusters get fed up with him and give him a time out in the Containment Unit!”

Volume 2, Issue 3 information. (from NYGB Comic Guide)

The Real Ghostbusters Volume 2: Issue 3. (Ghostbusters Firehouse)

US Original Card

US Original Card

Before I expanded what was The Real Ghostbusters sub site into Ectocontainment and began collecting M.O.C Kenner The Real Ghostbusters figures in 2011 I’d search on-line for detailed The Real Ghostbusters packaging. Which included the figures card backs. With running a The Real Ghostbusters site that has Kenner figure write ups my intention was to include detail card backs, straight from the toys.

It took longer then I originally anticipated, using my own collection I’ve scanned the back of my first series hero and ghost figures. Unfortunately they’re not all first run or even all American. Frequent visitors to Ectocontainment know my Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man was originally sold in Germany.

Each scan is high res and comes in at about 6MB per picture. I may provide more scans from other Kenner The Real Ghostbusters card backs in a future update.

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In the mid to late 2000s (at least in the United States, can’t speak for other countries) The Real Ghostbusters aired on cartoon networks (not THE Cartoon Network, I always thought it should have) and on demand. I was practically thirty and knew it wouldn’t be aired as it was in 1986. I also have the complete Time Life set and had little reason to sit through kid promos and commercials.

Between then and now life altering events occurred in my life and as I was getting older anyhow I gave zero thought into 80s cartoons re-airing or re-re airing. However as things have settled down I do like to see that today’s kids and “children of the ‘80s” can turn a TV on and watch their favorite Saturday morning cartoons without a box set.

Which brings us to this Summer. TV Network, FEARnet is going to air The Real Ghostbusters as part of their Funhouse lineup. No word yet if episodes will air in season order. Hopefully they’ll air complete and not be edited as episodes were during the Fox Kids run years ago.

The Real Ghostbusters begins airing on Saturday, August 18, 2012 at 10:00 AM on FEARnet and their On Demand channel.

Photo Credit: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

I’ve been meaning to post about this, prior to a mid week Independence Day I’ve been putting a lot of time into a new site I’m developing.

I’d like to thank Paul Rudoff from Spook Central for contacting me in regards to IDW Publishing announcing an upcoming The Real Ghostbusters omnibus. Which threw me as like most fans I would have never thought that NOW’s The Real Ghostbusters comics would ever see a new printing. I originally had mixed emotions about it as I’ve invested petty cash and my time into preserving each issue.

It’s only half of Volume I’s run and most likely won’t contain letters to the editor and the additional content which today makes NOW comics great. Which is why I’ve concluded (I think) if the comics find new fans (again) or somehow brings people to Ectocontainment™ to find the original run complete with letters, games, and advertising I’m ok with it.

The Real Ghostbusters Omnibus, Volume 1

James Van Hise, La Morris Richmond, John Tobias, Phil Hester, Evan Dorkin, Howard Bender (w)

Forget Egon’s rules – the streams have been crossed, the dead have risen, and a free-roaming apparition is part of the gang! It’s The Real Ghostbusters, ladies and gentlemen, and in this first volume omnibus collection you can score issues #1-14 of the classic NOW comics series. Be there as Ray, Peter, Egon, and Winston keep doing what they do. After all, they ain’t afraid of no ghosts!

TPB * FC * $24.99 * 354 pages * ISBN 978-1-61377-493-9

IDW’s The Real Ghostbusters Omnibus, Volume 1 is scheduled for November 2012.

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Dan Flarida at Kenner Collector has a great post looking at the origins of Kenner, the toy company. As part of their Kenner Collector’s Kenner Tour of Cincinnati feature.

Without toy history knowledge or some “internet encyclopedia site” most of us wouldn’t know that Kenner came about because the Steiner brothers, (not Rick and Scott) worked on Kenner St. prior to selling toys. There’s more to it that isn’t common knowledge.

If you’re into collecting, toy history, and/or a fan of Kenner I’d definitely give it a read.

Photo Credit: Dan Flarida/Kenner Collector

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From NOW™ – December 1991

Story: Shannon McCutcheon & Barry Petersen (first story), Jonathan Bernstein (second story),

Pencils: Neil Grahame (first story), Phil Elliott (second story)

Inks: Jim Brozman (first story), Paul Marshall (second story)

Colors:  Suzanne Dechnik, Kelly Kinsey & Holly Sanfelippo (first story), Stuart Place (second story)

Letters: Joseph Allen (first story), Paul Marshall (second story)

Editor: Katherine Llewellyn & Barry Petersen

Editor-in-Chief: Tony Caputo

Cover: Anthony Williams & Bambos

Scanned and restored in May 2012 by Richard Roy

“Tobin and the Maze of Time” Part III

“The Ghostbusters find themselves split up and face-to-face with beings and creatures out of mythology and legend; Winston runs for his life from the Minotaur with Daedalus and Egon is faced with the riddle of the Sphinx. If both men can’t keep their wits about them, they may not live long enough to find the others and save Tobin.”

“Little Devil”

”Janine is surprised when she finds a baby with a note on her doorstep. She brings Little Hank (as the note calls him) to the firehouse where the guys are instantly smitten. However, Janine’s good fortune turns into a serious misadventure in babysitting when the guys learn the hard way there may be more to Hank than they all thought.”

Volume 2, Issue 2 information. (from NYGB Comic Guide)

The Real Ghostbusters Volume 2: Issue 2. (Ghostbusters Firehouse)

Closer to finish.

Closer to finish.

With word coming down the line that Mattel is going to stop making 6” Ghostbusters figures after this year the chances of getting a Matty Collector Gozer is growing smaller. I don’t even want to think about “Van Horne” Station Winston…

While we’ll always have N.E.C.A’s Gozer, ghosthead and toy sculptor who goes by the handle Spiff still wanted to do one better. I’ll let him explain:

“I’ve been working on this for the past couple of weeks. With a few holes left in both the RGB line from Kenner back in the day and the Matty line now that it’s coming to a close, I decided to do some work myself and thought it was a good time to show something to the community now that I had something presentable. Here’s what I’ve got so far and I’m curious as to what you guys think.

My goal for the look is between an animated style and realism like Don Bluth or Dan Schoening, who I love for making GB’s in what is essentially my favorite animated style. This nimble ‘lil minx should be sized well with the Matty GB’s and the Kenner figs (though slightly larger for them). She also has some arm movement for positioning.”

I’m really liking it myself and will follow Spiff’s progress. Perhaps another toy company, Diamond Select will take notice as well.

Photo Credit: Spiff

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From NOW™ – November 1991

Story: Shannon McCutcheon & Barry Petersen (first story), John Carnell (Second story)

Pencils: Neil Grahame (first story), Brian Williamson (second story)

Inks: Jim Brozman (first story), Cam Smith (second story)

Colors: Suzanne Dechnik, Kelly Kinsey and Holly Sanfelippo (first story), Stuart Place (second story)

Letters: Caren Skibell (first story), Hel (second story)

Editor: Katherine Llewellyn and Barry Petersen (first story)

Editor-in-Chief: Tony Caputo

Cover: Andy Lanning & Dave Hine

Scanned and restored in May 2012 by Richard Roy

“Tobin and the Maze of Time Part II”

The Ghostbusters are trapped in dreamspace, and they must find their way in order to help Tobin. However, things get hairy when the boys are separated and confronted with creatures straight out of mythology!

“Full Haunted House”

The boys are playing a mean game of poker and Peter’s cleaning house. The others go to bed, but Peter’s still raring to play. That’s when he’s visited by Satan, Death and the See-Through Kid, willing to give him the game of his life. And the stakes? His very soul!

Volume 2, Issue 1 information. (from NYGB Comic Guide)

The Real Ghostbusters Volume 2: Issue 1. (Ghostbusters Firehouse)

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