Who Ya Gonna Call? An Interview With Erik Burnham

I had the absolute pleasure and honor to interview both Tom Waltz and Erik Burnham regarding their IDW series Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Ghostbusters respectively. Today is part 1 of my interview, which I talked to Erik Burham about the Ghostbusters event Mass Hysteria along with some other Ghostbusters centric questions. Check back tomorrow for my interview with Tom Waltz! 


WTN- Where did you get the idea to bring in Tiamat and make her a relative to Gozer?

Erik-The idea to use Tiamat came up via research. I wanted to use a god of chaos because I didn’t want to have quite the same Big Bad goals (destruction or domination) we’ve seen in the past. When I found Tiamat (an actual, existing old-school deity) I found that they’d used her in Real Ghostbusters — I didn’t remember the episode off the top of my head, but Dan sure did. That sealed the choice.

WTN- Last we saw in Mass Hysteria the Ghostbusters tried their usual last ditch effort to stop Tiamat, but things didn’t pan out the way they were expecting. With Tiamat looking to be on a whole other level than any god level being they’ve faced so far will we be seeing new equipment from the team to take her down?

Erik-Not new equipment, necessarily, but definitely a new tactic.

WTN- I believe for a time you were not allowed to incorporate Dana Barrett and Luis Tully into the comics, if so how has it been to finally be able to write both characters?

It’s been fun! Moranis-as-Louis has been kind of tricky to get a rhythm for, but I like how he turned out. It’s nice to exploit the history these characters have with each other finally.

WTN- Seeing as both series (Ghostbusters and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) are celebrating their respective 30th anniversaries how does it feel to be writing each property?

Erik-It’s been an honor for me to be involved with the Ghostbusters (and, hey, the TMNT too!) at all, but to be in the mix during a landmark anniversary has been — there’s not a better word than blessing. I feel lucky to have played in this sandbox with these toys, and I’m grateful to IDW and Sony for the opportunity, and to Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, Bill Murray, Ernie Hudson, and Annie Potts for the voices in my head. Icing on the cake? Working with Tom, Dan Schoening, and Luis Delgado – gents who love the franchise as much as I do. This is a long winded way to say “the best,” isn’t it?

WTN- Many event books these days hinge on major shakeups when they end. When Mass Hysteria wraps up should we expect anything of that sort within this series? 
Erik-There may be a minor shakeup or two. Tough for me to say much! I have just one issue left to write in the arc; could’ve probably gone another four issues (with some of the stuff Tom, Dan, Luis and I came up with on the fly!)
WTN- Has there been any discussion about having an ongoing Real Ghostbusters series happen? (It was my absolute favorite animated series when I was younger that I still enjoy today). 
Erik-I won’t say whether there was or wasn’t talk of an ongoing for RGB; I will say, at one point, Tom and I discussed the possibility of doing a Ghostbusters Prime meets the RGB crossover. That would’ve been pretty keen! Also, weird. But imagine Dan Schoening cutting loose there.
WTN-Staying on the Real Ghostbusters talk, are there any plans on incorporating any of the major villains from the animated series into your stories, or maybe getting the Extreme Ghostbusters team together? 
Erik-Not the same specific versions you saw in the cartoon. Haunted Horror Days used “A” Bogeyman, but not the RGB Bogeyman, for example. And Peter David did a version of Samhain back in his Haunted Holiday one-shot. As for the EGB, there were no plans at the moment for that team proper. The book is stretched for space with characters as it is! But new ideas present themselves all the time. You never know what the future may hold. Make of that what you will!
WTN-If you could give one of the main Ghostbusters a complete character overhaul who would you choose and what would you change about them? 
Erik-Honestly? I enjoy them as they are. Nothing broke, no need to fix!
WTN-Has there been any talk between you and Tom Waltz about a potential crossover between the Ghostbusters and TMNT, thus making this fan of both series absolutely ecstatic? 
Erik-It’s funny, folks have brought this up almost since both series debuted (the fact that Tom and I both work in both sandboxes might add fuel to that particular fire.)
We were up late one night at San Diego a couple of years ago and talked about how much FUN it would be to write such a crossover… and if it was up to US, we’d probably already be working on a sequel right now! So I wish I could say officially “yes,” but I’m not the guy with his finger on the greenlight button!


Ghostbusters is a monthly series published by IDW and the second half of the event Mass Hysteria will begin in this months issue 17.