Saturday Sketch Day: Bob Budiansky's Ghost Rider

Today's entry in the regular Saturday Sketch Day, a series in which I look at sketches, preliminaries and other oddities in my own personal art collection, is one of the best artists to ever grace the pages of Ghost Rider - Bob Budiansky.  Bob is one of the reasons why I read comics as a youngster, and it was my desire to know the story behind the stellar run on GR that he did, in collaboration with inker Dave Simons and writers Roger Stern and J.M DeMatties, that saw me seek him out, along with Dave Simons.  I met Dave first and we forged a strong friendship and while Dave was more than agreeable to do a cover recreation of what I still consider to be the finest Ghost Rider cover of all time - that cover being the 'Freaks' issue - I held off, much to Dave's growing amusement.  Then I was hooked up with Bob, via art dealer and all round good guy Jeff Jaworski.  

I interviewed Bob at length about Ghost Rider and I suspect it amused him somewhat as most people who'd contacted since he left Marvel wanted to know about his work on Transformers.  With all due respect to Bob and his Transformers run, along with his other work, I wanted to know one thing - how the devil did he do such fine work on ole Zarathos?  Bob was more than patient, answered my questions and gav a lot of credit to Dave.  At the end of the interview we signed off and began emailing as I wanted THAT commission and had a cunning plan in place.

Bob agreed to the commission - two covers and he stated that the two covers I'd picked were his two favourites of the entire run - the 'Freaks' cover being the all time classic.  I'd reintroduced Dave to Bob and they began to speak about working together again, and this was my plan.  I had Bob send the 'Freaks' cover to Dave.  Dave knocked it out of the park with his inks and sent it back to Bob, who promptly sent it on to me - both men expressed the opinion that this recreation was superior than the original, yet they'd not changed anything.  Having seen the original, I tend to agree.  I'd reunited the classic Budiansky/Simons team once more.  Sadly it was to be the last time they'd work together - despite my best efforts in trying to get them work (each time a small press publisher would email asking if I knew of anyone good, I'd say Bob and Dave before anyone else) it just never happened.  Dave passed away and Bob expressed his regret that the pair of them didn't do more work.  Such is life.

Together again after 20 plus years - 'Freaks' by Budiansky and Simons

The package arrived well before that though, and inside the package was this Bob Budiansky Ghost Rider sketch - pure Bob!  I was delighted, Bob said it was a gift for the entire deal taking a bit longer than expected, but, frankly, I'd waited since 1983 for that cover, so I could wait another twenty years if need be.  It was a kind gesture from a damned fine artist, and if you're ever thinking of getting a Ghost Rider commission, then go to the guy who I consider to be the best Ghost Rider artist EVER - Bob Budiansky.  And he does a decent Transformer too.

Without any further ado, here's my Ghost Rider sketch by Bob Budiansky.  Isn't it just...perfect?


 Sketch status - sorry, this one ain't for sale either.  Eventually we'll find one that is.


Steve Miller said…
Few titles destined for cancellation have enjoyed such a fantastic final run as the "Ghost Rider" title in the 1980s. Great story and great art in every single one of the issues from the retelling of his origin through the final fate of Zarathos and Johnny Blaze. (For me, that panel of he and Roxy riding off will always be the end of his adventuring life.)

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