A Little 5-Year-Old Girl

For those of you who don’t know, I’m a preschool teacher. I get to spend my day making crafts and playing ukulele. Not a bad gig. Except for if you take into account the pay. Then it’s the absolute worst gig.

Anyway, I was checking my phone the other day, when from behind me I heard a little voice say, “Hey, that’s Ghostbusters.”

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I turned around to see a little bespectacled girl who had just turned 5. I was surprised to hear that anyone younger than 10 had seen these movies, much less 5. Kid’s movies today are so far removed from the ones of my youth. Don’t get me wrong, I loved Wreck-It Ralph. But when I was growing up, kid’s movies had swears and fucked up monsters. Everything today is so PlaySkool and rounded edges and messages about how everyone is special and all that junk. Sometimes I want a movie with a story, not a message.

I’m in charge of the summer program at this school, too. Which means I have kids from kindergarten through 8th grade all day. A couple years ago, we were talking about movies, and it came out that none of them had even heard of Ghostbusters or Back to the Future. I decided on our next scheduled movie day, I was going to remedy this. Well, about 10 minutes into BttF, he utters the “serious shit” line, and I had to quell a sea of “ummmmm’s” and reactions. Then Marty calls the Libyans bastards and I’m freaking out again, knowing I’ll probably be hearing from some parents now.

I was so bummed out, though. I mean, these movies were pillars for my generation growing up. And now I can’t even show them to kids without fear of getting in trouble? And now here we are seeing Lorraine Baines undress down to her bra and panties while George McFly spies on her from a tree branch. Again, another wave of sniggers and “ooohs.” I turn off the movie. “Fine, go play.”

As I touched on in the first post, as a kid, all you’re focused on is the ghosts and marshmallow men. You even know that Venkman is the funny one, even if you don’t get half of his jokes. Only when you get older do the good jokes really come to the surface. Movies from back then are like infinite wells. They evolve and become more complex and unfold in new ways as your brain develops. There aren’t movies like that for kids anymore. I know Pixar movies come close, but only because their stories and characters are so deep. But even at what I think is Pixar’s best, WALL-E, that same feeling isn’t there. I’ll watch Ghostbusters until the day I die, and hopefully keep finding new things to like and laugh about. But can we say the same about our kids? Will they watch Kung Fu Panda or Despicable Me or Monsters Vs. Aliens as they grow older and have new appreciations for more complex emotions?

I think more movies aught to have things that scare kids. Or at least make them feel something. If The NeverEnding Story was made today, I bet you Artax wouldn’t be fucking dead by the end of that movie. But how many of us can say that that scene was a pivotal emotional moment for us growing up? How many of us are terrified of Hexxus to this day? Hell, I remember being terrified of Vigo at the end of Ghostbusters II. But today, studios don’t really treat kids like they can understand emotions. It’s all fucking goofball stuff with a mild suspenseful threat, all wrapped up with a dance number to a 70’s hit – just to make sure you’re leaving the theatre in a good mood so you’re sure to tell other people you liked it. I want animated movies to challenge kids about what they feel – what they’re okay with. The Secret of NIMH was dark as hell, man. Full of death. But it felt real. You felt good about, well, being good. Without really scary, dark stuff, we don’t know what true good is. Like Walt said:

“Life is composed of lights and shadows, and we would be untruthful, insincere, and saccharine if we tried to pretend there were no shadows. Most things are good, and they are the strongest things; but there are evil things too, and you are not doing a child a favor by trying to shield him from reality. The important thing is to teach a child that good can always triumph over evil, and that is what our pictures attempt to do.”

That’s why I think the greats like Walt Disney and Don Bluth and Jim Henson stand the test of time obviously. Dark Crystal wasn’t afraid to tell us its story, no matter how dark it got before it did. Maybe the closest we’ve got to that stuff today are the Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movies. Which almost don’t count being based on something else to begin with. (I know, I know. So was NIMH and NeverEnding Story, but that was back then, and I’m talking about now.) I think if kids are allowed to watch those today, they’ll get even more out of them as adults than if they were just exposed to them when they were older. Good parents let their kids get scared, and then talk to them about why they’re scared or sad or upset. Kids are complex and can handle more than we give them credit for.

So, obviously I had her draw me a Ghostbuster.

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There you have it. It’s really gonna be hard to top this one. Here we have all 4 Ghostbusters, standing in the pink slime river. Peter is rolling a purple ghost trap under Slimer, while the other three blast the ghosts with slime. Let’s see any of you other artists match that kind of complexity. Oh and there above Slimer is the Ghostbusters’ logo.

Who’s your favorite Ghostbuster?

The one who says all the funny stuff.

Peter?

*shrug*

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Goauchebusters

I had some leftover dried up goauche on my palette, so during lunch today I decided to use it to work up a few ghosts. Happy with some, unhappy with others. But I guess that’s how it goes. Also, the cardstock I was using was shitty and started getting all  warpy and peely. I need to remember to invest in some quality watercolor paper before doing these again. I couldn’t come up with something to do with a couple of these, since I ran out of time. Maybe someone else has an idea. As usual, click to enlarge. (56k be warned.)

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Jimmy Grist

I met Jimmy Grist at Planet Comicon 2013 – a whole year after I started collecting drawings. Another Kansas City native, Grist’s booth caught my eye when I saw him drawing a killer rendition of Finn & Jake. Then I saw that the artwork he had on display was all watercolors. I’m a sucker for watercolors – always have been thanks to Bill Watterson and Calvin and Hobbes. So of course, I had him draw me a Ghostbuster. GBGrist You’ll come to see that for Planet Comicon, 2013 was the year of the female Ghostbuster. Turns out, Jimmy Grist is a big fan of Calvin and Hobbes, too. And it shows in his webcomic, Dinosaur Kid.He’s been making his comic for about almost half a year now.

It’s about a kid who’s a dinosaur, growing up and going to school and trying to do the right thing. The comic is only 5 months old, so a lot of things are still changing and’ll keep changing. But I love making it. As he goes through little adventures with Octopus Kid and learns about existing, I learn about techniques, materials, publicity, and website construction.

Who’s your favorite Ghostbuster?

I’ve always enjoyed Ray’s innocence, I started to appreciate Venkman’s sardonicism a lot more as I got older, and I think Winston is criminally overlooked — but when it comes to a favorite, I gotta go with Egon. I was a kid with glasses. I was Billy the Blue Ranger, Donatello the Ninja Turtle, Chuckie Finster: always the smart kid with weird anxieties. I never went so far as to collect spores, molds, and fungus, but I’ve always understood why a person would.

Check out Dinosaur Kid over at jimmygrist.net or follow him on twitter @jimmygrist.

Levi Hoffmeier

Most of the drawings you’ll see here are commissioned from artists at Planet Comicon here in Kansas City. Meaning, most of the people you’ll see featured are local KC people which is awesome because Kansas City is the best place in America and St. Louis can shove it. One of those local KC people is Levi Hoffmeier. I met Levi at Planet Comicon in 2012. His booth drew me in because he had a lot of artwork featuring stuff from Halo. He’s done work for official Halo and Shadowrun books, and he even made a popular webcomic set in the Halo: Reach universe called A Fist Full of Arrows. So, of course, I had him draw me a Ghostbuster.

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This was my first commission of the convention, and I was blown away. I didn’t know what to expect starting this project last year, and this drawing got me pumped to see where else the drawings would take the idea. I could see this guy working right along side Master Chief and he wouldn’t seem out of place.

I caught up with Levi at Planet Comicon 2013 and asked him about his latest projects. He’s just about to launch his newest graphic novel titled “Mayflower,” which comes out later this year.

“Mayflower is an original comic book hearkening back to the golden age of optimistic science fiction from the twentieth century. Though the world the main character, a scientist named Roger, is thrust into might be ruled by an oppressive society, it is still a part of a solar system full of color and innovation. It’s the future, but we’re rewinding back to the ideas that sci-fi takes for granted now: the discovery of faster-than-light travel, of rayguns, and more.”

Who’s your favorite Ghostbuster?

“I’m going to say my favorite Ghostbuster is Winston. It’s actually Venkman, but Winston never gets the credit he deserves!”

True ’nuff. You can find a lot more stuff over at his website or follow him on twitter @Leviwastaken.

No job is too big. No fee is too big.

I’m Patrick. And as far back as I can remember, Ghostbusters has always been my favorite movie. There was even a short period in my youth when I only answered to “Peter.” When I was four or five, I brought my barber an ad for Ghostbusters II I ripped out of a magazine. “Cut it like him,” I said, pointing to Peter Venkman’s thinning and receding hairline.

When I was a kid, they were just goofy movies with cool looking ghosts and fire poles. As I got older though, I began to understand more of the subtle humor. The movies grew up right along side me. The lines I quoted changed. My favorite Ghostbuster changed. But both movies still remained an important part of who I was – comically, creatively, artistically – everything. Which, as I’m writing this, sounds kindof silly to say about a movie with a 110-foot marshmallow man. But everyone has their defining piece of art. Whether it be Abbey Road, or The Iliad, or van Gogh’s Starry Night. Everyone has that one thing that they connect to more than anything else. For me, it’s a couple of movies from the 80’s about 4 guys crackin’ wise and bustin’ ghosts.

Which I guess brings us to the whole point of this thing. As an illustrator and geek, I find myself attending a comic book convention or two. While there, I get the pleasure of meeting a lot of other illustrators and geeks. And while I’m at it, I ask them to draw me a Ghostbuster. (Hey, that’s the name of the site!) I give them no direction or specification other than the initial idea and see where it goes.

Here I’m going to be posting all of the drawings I’ve received. I’ll be talking to the artists about what their “Ghostbusters” are in their lives. About art and influences and what they’re into lately. Talking about their latest project, what they’re working on, or just what they happen to be up to at the moment. I’m really excited to show you what I have so far. I haven’t been disappointed once. I’ll leave you with one I did last month, as an exercise to start getting more into working with markers.

Anyway, thanks for reading all that – and I hope you dig all the stuff I have to show you. Oh, and if you’re an artist, or know an artist that would like to get in on this, you can catch me on twitter @patrickfedo.

– Patrick

(click to enlarge)

(click to enlarge)