Book Review: Tobin’s Spirit Guide: Official Ghostbusters Edition

Tobin’s Spirit Guide: Official Ghostbusters Edition
Written by: Dr. Raymond Stanz, Dr. Egon Spengler, and Erik Burnham
Illustrated by: Kyle Hotz
Published by: Insight Editions

A review by Stacy Dooks

Back when I was a kid in the before time of the long long ago, I remember being a lot more together as a person than I am now. As an adult in the relative dumpster fire that is life in the 21st century, I find myself facing a great deal of uncertainty and doubt as I grow older. But back then? I knew exactly what I was going to do with my life: I was gonna be a ghostbuster.

I first saw Ghostbusters in the mid-80s on VHS, and I fell in love with the world-building and the mythology of the quirky, intensely quotable horror-comedy. I read the comics, played the god-awful video game for the original Nintendo Entertainment System. It was also during this period that I first encountered books like TSR’s Monster Manual for Dungeons & Dragons, The Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe, and DC Comics’ Who’s Who. These books were filled with nothing but crunch and detail about their respective fictional worlds, providing the reader with stats and descriptions of a character or entity’s given background, weapons, and abilities. To this day I absolutely love a good source book detailing the intricacies of a fictional world, and if you set that document within the universe its depicting? I am in like Finn. So imagine my delight when I discovered that publisher Insight Editions had released a copy of  Tobin’s spirit guide, the famed-in-universe occult handbook of the ghostbusters. Needless to say, I had to have it. Now that I’ve had a chance to read it, does Tobin’s Spirit Guide: Official Ghostbuster Edition provide a haunting good time or should it be tossed into the depths of the containment unit?

What’s interesting about the book is that it not only incorporates all the ghosts from the original 1984 film and its sequel, but also includes some of the ghosts and demons from The Real Ghostbusters cartoon as well as the video game Terminal Reality released in 2009 (which is a lot of fun and about as close to a Ghostbusters 3 as we’re going to get given the untimely passing of Harold Ramis). The entries provide some interesting background to the big bads like Gozer and Cathulhu (From ‘The Collect Call of Cathulhu’ episode of The Real Ghosbusters. It’s off the deep end good), to the slightly more tragic examples such as the librarian ghost of the first movie (also known as the Gray Lady). The various ghouls and goblins are described in genuinely creepy detail by Burnham and the illustrations by Hotz are top-notch (with Ivo Shandor, Slimer, and Mr. Stay Puft all being favorites). The foreword and afterword pieces by Ray Stantz and Egon Spengler are well done, and really evoke the inflections and personality of the characters from the film.

Verdict:
Buy It!
If you’re a Ghostbusters fan, Tobin’s Spirit Guide: Official Ghostbusters Edition is a must-have accessory that adds some pleasantly creepy depth to all the humorous business of the films. Whether to appreciate it as a standalone piece or work it into a tabletop RPG as a potential prop it’s a fun tome that’s worthy of a place on your shelf.

Stacy Dooks is a writer and assorted pop culture fanatic whose childhood fixations on the works of Jim Henson, George Lucas, and DC Comics laid the groundwork for his current status as a pop culture junkie chatterbox. He currently resides in Calgary, Alberta while he waits for his TARDIS coral to finish growing. For more of his observations on popular culture, check out The Fanboy Power Hour: http://tfph.libsyn.com/

Stacy Dooks

Stacy Dooks is a writer and assorted pop culture fanatic whose childhood fixations on the works of Jim Henson, George Lucas, and DC Comics laid the groundwork for his current status as a pop culture junkie chatterbox. He currently resides in Calgary, Alberta while he waits for his TARDIS coral to finish growing. For more of his observations on popular culture, check out The Fanboy Power Hour: http://tfph.libsyn.com/

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