I never read any Speedball during its initial run. I was in high school and likely thought it looked a little silly and juvenile. I was an idiot. I now look for charm whenever I go comic book shopping. I quite like the series as it does capture some of that Marvel Age magic. This cover is also a real throwback as Ditko seems to combining the work he did for Marvel, DC and even Charlton in the 60s here. Sure, there's a lot going on, but I really like a cover that tells a story. As far as late 80s and early 90s Ditko covers go, this one is a keeper.
So there I was last night, reading my copy of Lone Ranger's Companion Tonto #17, when it dawned on me. I love this series and I have never talked about it. If you have spoken to me about comics over the years, you'll know that I am a huge fan of Dell's Lone Ranger series and am nearing completion of a run of painted covers. I am also a big fan of the spin-off series starring Tonto. In fact, it may be one of Dell's most consistently great series. Ever. What's so great about it? Well, let's start with the painted covers. As with the Lone Ranger, these beautiful covers are provided by the likes of Ernest Nordi and Don Spaulding. If you think they look great one your computer screen, wait until you hold one of these in your hands. If Dell is guilty of anything, it is that often the interior artwork and storytelling do not measure up to their covers. That is not the case with Tonto as the stories by Paul S. Newman are engaging and the artwork by the great Alberto Giolitti is stunning. If you do not recognize that name, flip through your old issues of Turok. That's the man's artwork. It is a beautiful marriage of detailed pencils and textured inks. I need to put together a full run of Tonto, pronto!
What a great time era for The Avengers. I feel like I hopped aboard at the perfect time as there were some fantastic stories in the 150-200 stretch. I particularly love this one. I sat down to read it again the other night and I was surprised by how many images were permanently burned in my brain. This one is jam packed with heroes as the Guardians of the Galaxy are along for the ride. There are also a ton of cameos; everyone from Two-Gun Kid to Doctor Strange. The tension over leadership styles between Cap and Iron Man was also very believably written by shooter. The best moment, however, is when the team is humiliated by Gyrich due to the lack of security at Avengers mansion. Within a few panels, he becomes the character you love to hate. I just adore it.
I recently re-read this one for the first time in 20+ years. This particular stretch of Ghost Rider issues really appealed to me when I was a kid. It has aged quite well, and this particular issue is a standout. Roger Stern borrows a page from Todd Browning and brings some 'freaks' to the Quentin Carnival. The story packs an emotional punch as the carnival's tragic 'Cave Man' Jeremy is a wonderfully fleshed out character. When you're a kid, you don't necessarily track the creators. It's amazing how many of my favourite stories and images from the late 70s and early 80s were drawn by Bob Budiansky. The richly textured panels work wonderfully here, as they truly add some atmosphere to the tale. This is a great one!