31 Days of Monsters: #25, Famine!


By Shawn Robare




Well, we’re into the last week of the Halloween festivities here at Branded in the 80s; there are only seven entries left in my 31 Days of Monsters Halloween countdown.  As I’ve been reminding you all this past month, in honor of the 25th anniversary of the Ghostbusters franchise, not to mention my love of 80s animation, I’m counting down 31 of my favorite monsters from the Real Ghostbusters cartoon.  These animation cels are culled from my personal collection, and my wife and I tried our best to put them in a not-so-scary to really-freaking-creepy kind of order with the creepiest falling on All Hallows Eve.


Today’s monster has a classic design, the ectoplasmic wraith…





I really like the simplicity in this cel, so much so that I don’t even miss any additional layers of shadow in the coloring, which is something I tend to prefer in well done cel animation.  This is also, for all intents and purposes, what I expect to see if I ever encounter a ghost, and I can tell you right now that I’d poop myself twice if I do see something like this.  I can only imagine the wailing moans that would come out of those decomposing lungs.  I’d like to note that the cel above and the drawing below were both slightly damaged.  There’s a bit of a krinkled warp to the cel and the paper where the wraith is reaching out.

Though I like the simplicity of the one-color palette of this cel, I do sort of lament the nixing of suggestions made by the animator that penciled the original key pose below…





When the pencils were done I think it was the artist’s intent to have the eyes and inside of the mouth around the tongue either different shades of green or in other colors (I’m guessing by those area being highlighted in colored pencil, something I’ve noticed in other cels and their accompanying drawings.)   I think those additions would really have made this cel pop.  Who knows, maybe the overall use of mint green was an error.   Taking these cels out of context as individual pieces of art has it’s drawbacks as they weren’t intended to be viewed as such, but it’s the most visceral connection I have to the cartoons I grew up loving, so that’s what I’m going to do…

Anyway, this is actually the spirit of Famine, one of the four horsemen of the apocalypse.  He appears in episode #49, "Apocalypse – What, Now?" As you can see in the cel below he’s riding a steed and is carrying a scale (as used during times of famine to measure out portions of bread.)  Unfortunately he’s not riding a black steed, but honestly I’m surprised that this sort of content made it to air on an 80s cartoon in general.  I’d love to find some close-up cels of the other riders, War (I’m assuming the blue horseman in the middle), Pestilence (that yellow-orange guy on the right), and Death (following up the herd.)




In the episode, Peter inadvertently wins a mystical book at auction that contains the trapped spirits of the 4 Horsemen.   While looking for some light reading during lunch, Janine unwittingly sets them free to wreck havoc on New York.







If you’re enjoying these daily Real Ghostbusters monster posts, make sure to come back tomorrow for another installment and tell a friend about the 31 Days of Monsters.   If you’d like to read more Halloween-y goodness, you can also click on the Halloween Archive link to the left (the banner with King Kong), as well as heading on over to the Countdown to Halloween to check out lists of a bunch of other sites participating in this year’s Halloween blogging event…