The Real Ghostbusters

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Name: The Real Ghostbusters
Abbreviation(s): RGB
Creator: J. Michael Straczynski (head writer, season 1-2 only)
Date(s): 1986-1991 (140 episodes)
Medium: animation, television series
Country of Origin: US
External Links: IMDB
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

A cartoon based on the popular Ghostbusters movie, The Real Ghostbusters had a strong team/friendship dynamic that lent itself to fandom, especially hurt/comfort and smarm.

Canon Overview

The animated series followed the first Ghostbusters movie, continuing the adventures of the Ghostbusters team of four, Dr. Peter Venkman, Dr. Egon Spengler, Dr. Ray Stantz, and Winston Zeddemore; along with their secretary Janine Melnitz, and their mascot/pet, Slimer. The characters were toned down somewhat from their movie characters, to be more child-friendly and more likable in general, but still retained their basic personalities. Most RGB fans consider the first movie to be part of the canon; the second movie (produced in 1989, after the cartoon was well underway, and acanonical to the show) is disregarded by some fans, as is the Extreme Ghostbusters cartoon.

While a Saturday morning cartoon, the first two seasons of RGB (78 episodes) featured clever writing (courtesy of story editor J. Michael Straczynski, pre-Babylon 5), in regards to the comedy and the character development, as well as the ghosts and monsters, many of which were influenced by mythology as well as the likes of Poe and Lovecraft. The later seasons saw changes in the voice actor cast, as well as a general dumbing-down of stories and characters, that were not liked by all fans.

Fandom Overview

The first Real Ghostbusters fandom was pre-internet and zine-based (possibly the only Western cartoon with a zine fandom). Several fan creators later moved to internet fandom, and posted their zine fanfiction and fanart online. In the 1990s and early 2000s, the fandom maintained a small but steady following, mostly on mailing lists[1] and BBS boards. However, most of the prominent later fans have moved on, and the fandom itself does not seem to have made the jump to livejournal.[2] With the decline of lists, as well as the losses of several major homepages, RGB's role in media fandom fell mostly dormant during the mid-2000s. However, it has seen resurgence in recent years due to an influx of newer fen. The new focus is less on fan fiction and more towards art, decries the smarm and h/c themes of before, and is more interested in the source material as opposed to fan interpretations. Activity has also moved to more active forums such as DeviantArt and Tumblr.

A significant part of RGB fandom was gen, particularly h/c and smarm-focused, and some of the earlier mailing lists and communities were strictly gen-only, even discouraging canonical het pairings. Some of the fandom was actively anti-slash; on the fic archives, some fans rated all slash fic lower, while others decried this practice even if they were not slash fans themselves.[3]

The primary slash pairing is Peter/Egon, and the primary het pairing is Egon/Janine. Despite Janine's het pairing with Egon, many smarm authors felt she interfered with the relationship of the four male characters. As a result, her place was behind her desk and away from the Ghostbusters themselves, who in turn were written in a borderline romantic manner. There was some limited Peter/Dana Barrett (played by Sigourney Weaver in the movies), but as that character never appeared in the cartoon, she is found infrequently in fic and fanart.



There are no resources on the cartoon alone, though the below sites include the cartoon shows, in addition to the movies and franchise as a whole.

Sites active as of 2016:

  • Ghostbusters Fans (Newsfeed, message board and overview of the Ghostbusters universe. Includes a large community section with chat room and message board.)
  • Ghostbusters News (updates about the movies and related merchandise of the Ghostbusters franchise)
  • Spook Central (ep guide, production info)

Historical/Less Active Sites

Mailing Lists

(These are mostly inactive now, but have members-only message archives, as well as open-access fic archives)

Significant Print Zines

For all the zines listed on Fanlore see Category:The Real Ghostbusters Zines

Arranged in alphabetic order



  1. ^ In 2000-2001, the RGB Slash list averaged 100-200 posts a month, and in 2001 RGBSmarm had between 250-700 posts a month (accessed 1/28/2009)
  2. ^ Only 7 lj comms list "the real ghostbusters" as an interest as of January, 2009.
  3. ^ "The slah did bring it down and that's not what the characters were meant to be. Sure it's always going to be around but we don't have to read it. We should just let those sick pervs have thier fun writing this junk. But when it comes to ratings and reviews, we can really tear them apart." --SuperEgonFan14 and "I really don't like the idea of gay Ghostbusters. But I won't berate someone's story if it has them." -- Boo's Nightmare, posting in ATTN EGON FANS EVERYWHERE, Aug 13, 2002 (accessed 1/28/2009)