Marvel UK Flashback: The Real Ghostbusters

Marvel UK's The Real Ghostbusters Issue 1 - Cover

Phil Boyce, who runs a wonderful blog devoted to the humour comic, Oink, is running a series of ‘Beyond Oink’ features, charting his comic reading down the years. He’s just posted an item on Marvel UK’s The Real Ghostbusters comic, the brainchild of Richard Starkings, these days better known as the creator of the brilliant Elephantmen and the founder of the digital fonts and lettering company, Comicraft.

The Real Ghostbusters was just one of a number of hugely successful Marvel UK titles Richard edited that featured a huge amount of originated material by creators who have since gone on to do plenty of memorable strip work elsewhere.

At its height, it was selling over 1000,000 copies an issue – and was the first comic to feature stories written by me on a semi-regular basis.

In the piece, Phil notes the regular creatives included writer Ian Rimmer (editor of IPC’s Scream throughout its run, editor of Transformers and writer on titles such as Hulk, Zoids, “Roy of the Rovers” and Spider-Man), artist Brian Williamson (“Tharg’s Future Shocks”, 2000AD, Judge Dredd, Doctor Who), myself (Doctor Who, Thundercats, Warheads, “Black Ops Extreme”),  writer Dan Abnett (co-creator of Marvel’s Knights of Pendragon and writer of – deep breath – 2000AD‘s “Judge Dredd”, “Anderson Psi-Division”, “Strontium Dog”, “Rogue Trooper” and Judge Dredd Megazine‘s “Lawless” –  amongst many, many more!).

“This is just the tip of the iceberg,” Phil continues, and he’s right. john Carnell, Andy Lanning, David Hine, Bambos Georgiou, Helen Stone, Lew Stringer and Anthony Williams are just some of the talented people who worked on the book, which featured original stories up until Issue 171 before limping along to its final issue as a reprint title.


One of several covers homaging well-known US comics!

One of several covers homaging well-known US comics!

“With a comic which lasted 193 issues and with so many stories to tell, the pool of talent it collected together was immense,” Phil States, and he’ll get no argument from me.

“The regulars did later state they had a blast with it though. For a licenced title they had a lot of freedom and sometimes the joke was thought of first and the story built around it! It worked though. Beautifully.”

Phil’s article has made my day and brought back some happy memories of my time at Marvel UK. For me, Dan Abnett, John Carnell and Andy Lanning were the undoubted power houses on The Real Ghostbusters so I’m honoured that Phil has given one of my stories a spotlight as part of the piece, alongside much deserved praise for the trio of creators I’ve highlighted.

It’s great to see how our work brought so much enjoyment to a reader all those years ago. Thanks, Phil.

• You can read Phil’s article here:

Real Ghostbusters comic wikia

• There’s a great Facebook group devoted to all things Ghostbusters – Spook Central – which has a gallery of the Marvel UK comic covers (and its Swedish reprint!)

Categories: British Comics, Classic British Comics, Creating Comics, Featured News, Features

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2 replies

  1. Thanks so much for sharing this John, you’ve made my day too with your kind words. Always interesting to read further insights into the making of this wonderful comic so it’s been a delight to read you all chatting about it on Facebook too.

    • You’re more than welcome, Phil. It’s inspired me to dig out some of my “Ghostbusters” work not imprisoned on old Amstrad or floppy disks I can’t access. Will post a follow up as time permits.

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