Fritz Babbles About Ghostbusters #8:
Extensive Spoilers. Here we go:
Well, okay. I guess I better get to this first or all of my "fans" will wonder what's wrong with me:
Way back in #1, we found out Janine was dating some guy named "Roger" off-camera. A few odd theories went around--a popular one was that "Roger" was just Egon using an assumed name to keep what they were doing secret from Venkman and the others because Venkman would tease them--but this issue we finally meet the guy.
I really hate to sound like I'm gloating, but Ghostdiva and I almost called it:viewtopic.php?p=4199#p4199
(I even thought they might make him look more like RGB Egon for kicks.)
Since you said it, yeah, that's the theory I had that's still seems possible. Consider:
Dan Schoening is an obvious fan of the cartoon, and massively enjoys putting in call-backs to it. Janine dating a guy who looks like RGB Egon would be a huge one.
The latest Janine is a meld of GB1 Janine and RGB Season 1 Janine visually (and who can blame them? Those are the best versions of the character). It would make a weird kind of sense to have her torn between the two matching versions of Egon.
Erik Burhham wrote:
I expect a piece of the internet to break off when he shows up.
I seem to recall him or Dan saying something similar about #5, which ended up featuring the IDW premiere of Kylie Griffin
I think Roger's appearance will shake up the J+E fans.
There are more than one way to parse the word "appearance" you know...
Egon and Roger could be the Betty & Veronica to Janine's Archie!
A redhead as hypotenuse in a triangle between a brunette and a blond? That would fit.
Well, okay, it was EGB Egon instead or RGB Egon, which does sort of match the assumed time frame (sometime post-1992 to as late as ~1994/1995; he even wears a "New York University" sweater, which is one of the names given to the place Egon worked between RGB and EGB), but I still did a little fist pump. Roger's automatically far more Janine's type than Louis Tully ever was. What's up with his name, though? Why did Erik Burnham name him after former Washington Redskins quarterback Sammy Baugh? Is he an athlete or something?*
We start off with what seems like a routine bust at a nursing home. It's the kind of case that ABC wouldn't let the Ghostbusters take--they shied away from any mention of ghosts that were dead people, and with an exception or two (ie Al Capone in "Partners In Slime") they were all monstrous and extradimensional. Class 5 and 7 entities, if you will.
Well, not this time--it's actually a somewhat sympathetic old lady who goes off the deep end when Egon and Winston say they're not her son--she's not on the Other Side because he never came to visit her. Then things get a bit scary--remember how Slimer was hard to catch way back in #1-2? Yeah. It happens again with the old lady. Egon can't take his hands off the thrower to set the trap--fortunately, Ray and Venkman show up just in time for Ray to finish the job.
Winston is a little sad ("If her son had shown up, she'd a been at peace."), Venkman continues criticizing the decor, and Egon is brooding: with Idulnas gone, this PKE surge shouldn't be happening.
But it is. Ray asks why. And then Egon Spengler says the one thing you don't want Egon Spengler saying: "I don't know"
Intent on finding out, Egon works himself raw with little sleep over the next three days (fortunately, his "polyphasic schedule" is helping). Finally admitting he's at a dead end, he goes to the gym at Delgado's Gym (You'll recall it's next to the Casey J's, who's bouncer you really really don't want to mess with), and he steps out just in time for most of the entire Melnitz family to come strolling by. Mom, Dad, sister Doris, Brother (in law?), Grandma, and Janine herself, of course. Everybody but her nephew Victor, it looks like.
Oh, yeah. And Roger.
Egon's so stressed and raw from the whole paranormal situation I like to think him blurting out "I don't have time for this" has multiple meanings. After he's been "snippy" and written a book that seems to have made Janine "aggressive" he ducks out of the potential conflict--I just hear LaMarche saying that "I don't have time for this" line in the same tone of voice he used to say "And what's that? Your jalopy?" in "Robo Buster". (Actually, Maurice LaMarche, in my head, voices two of the three characters in that scene) Janine's basically dating his fetch. I mean, that's gotta creep him out.
And then it hits him: it was at this corner he saw that mysterious somebody three issues ago. It was a friend of his named Eugene Visitor, who died when he was hit by a car nearly twenty years ago--then literally vanished. Egon muses that it was one of the incidents that awakened his interest in the paranormal (I still like to think one of the "several incidents" he alludes to was a giant headed corporeal Class 7 living in his closet and scaring the crap out of him when he was a kid.)
Egon scans again. He seems to find something, and I doubt it has anything to do with Ray Cougar (who's standing at the crosswalk with a few other in-jokes Mrmichealt will point out on GBFans) and goes back to GBCentral, declaring "I need to get to New Jersey!" Venkman continues a long tradition in the cartoon of not missing the opportunity to make fun of the Garden State ("I don't think anyone really needs to get to Jersey") Before explaining any further, Egon hops in the ECTO-1 and drives to Belleville, New Jersey. Alone.
Egon finds Eugene's father there, and sure enough, there's Eugene. This is our month for cutesy nicknames, isn't it? Rager calls Janine "Twinkle" while Eugene calls Egon "Eeg". Which has got to be less demeaning than "Baby Spookums", but Eugene isn't Egon's mother, either.
Eugene is not a lot like Egon--he looks more like a football player than a guy who hanged around with a physics prodigy, but then again, the cartoon at least suggested Venkman was also a football player in his college days. Eugene explains what happened: when he got hit by the car, he saw a vision of Death itself. Remembering an old Russian folk tale, he orders the spirit of Death to get into his bag; he's had Death in his bag every since, but it's disjointed him in time.
Egon's horrified by the implications of this. While it hasn't stopped people from dying (if nobody died anywhere between c-1973-1992, I think we'd notice) Egon realizes it's probably a spirit that syphons abnormal levels of PKE from the Earth plane's ectosphere. Without that syphoning, PKE builds up. Which is bad.
Egon tries to grab the sack and open it, but it doesn't work--Eugene is the only one can open it. Eugene doesn't care what Egon thinks--because if he lets "Death" out he's, well, dead; besides, he thinks Egon aught to thank him because it has to be good for the Ghostbusting business, right?
Having had a long day, Egon slinks off in defeat. It's a problem he can't solve. Yet.
Tristan Jones expands on the legend Eugene mentions in his backup story, which also features the first in-story appearance of John Horace Tobin. Other than the somewhat gratuitous Vigo name drop, it's a fascinating tale. It's not a complete swipe of the Tobin created by the GBI Tobin's Spirit Guide
module (JH looks a little skinnier and hardier than in the GBI artwork, and there's no mention of Tobin's longtime partner Shrewsbury Smith) but it's still neat to see JH make it into a story at last, and t-rex's moody artwork complements the story perfectly.
*--Well, duh, of course I know where he really got that name. I soak in the attention, and get a huge kick out of the vast irony of it: name Egon's new rival after one of Egon's biggest fans.
I eagerly await Venkman getting a postcard from Dana saying she's dating a man named Steve Collins, or Ray hearing Elaine Fuhrman has married Jack Nielson, or Tiyah Clark dumping Winston for Larry Reilly. Maybe the new "Ghost Busters' team that Ron "Jake Kong" Alexander is former will be similarly named after Ghosthead site owners. Let's go Ghost Busters! Larry Benjamin!!! Curly Quick!!! Shemp Stewart!!! Moe Holbrook!!!