Dave came onto the classic Marvel book Ghost Rider late in the title's run. He was originally approached to ink long time Ghost Rider penciler Don Perlin on his last issue of the book. Then the title was relaunched in spectacular fashion. Issue #69 saw the multi-talented Bob Budiansky was assigned to the book, initially as penciler, but soon became heavily involved with the plots. Roger Stern wrote the first few issues to be followed by the equally as brilliant J.M. DeMatteis. Forging a strong alliance with Budiansky the creative team created some of the best books that Marvel published in the early 1980s.
"When we came on Ghost Rider," said Dave, "it was either improve or get cancelled. When we took it voer it was at it's lowest point ever."
DAVE SIMONS: "The ‘Freaks’ issue sold great and after that the sales began a steady decline. When that started happening you’ll notice that the last few issues are not inked by me, and that’s why. I knew that if a book’s sales continued a steady decline then it wasn’t long for this world, so I went and did something else. Especially since that was right around the time when the royalty system was kicking in and people were starting to get their royalty checks. Anyone who worked on an X-Men anything were starting to get these massive royalty checks. I was looking at that thinking ‘Oh, I’m getting screwed here.”"
BOB BUDIANSKY: "(issue #68) was a conscious effort to relaunch the book. The editor at the time, I think, was Tom DeFalco. Roger Stern was the writer, he was the new writer and the new artist, me. It was a conscious effort to give it a new look and a new breath of life or whatever, and it worked, actually, because sales throughout at least the first half or so of my run kept rising. People took notice, and then after Roger Stern left Marc DeMatteis came on the book and we still kept rising, and the only speed bump we hit in this whole thing was when Dave Simons, who of that team is the unsung hero, left. He used to come to the office dressed in leather. I mean, this was not an act, he’d come dressed in one of these black leather, zipper jackets.
"I don’t know if he also wore leather pants. He might have worn them. But anyway, the point is, he knew how to ink leather, which was really important for Ghost Rider.
"So when he left the book we never really were able to replace that look that he gave the book. The rest of the team was all somewhat saddened by his departure. Anyway, the book was cancelled, I think it was issue 81, which was about maybe five or six issues after he left."
Highlights of the run are hard to pin down as the entire run is one large highlight. Never had there been such a demonic interpretation of the character in all of Marvel's history. The schizophrenia between the Ghost Rider and it's human host, Johnny Blaze, was explored like never before.
GHOST RIDER #74, page 3
Pencils by BOB BUDIANSKY, inks by DAVE SIMONS
GHOST RIDER #76, page 31
Pencils by BOB BUDIANSKY, inks by DAVE SIMONS
Team America was a short-lived title, consisting of 12 issues in all. Based around the adventures of a motorcycle racing team it was inevitible that they would eventually meet Marvel's premiere biker, Ghost Rider. When this happened it made perfect sense to get one of the Ghost Rider artists to draw the character. At a time when people weren't exactly lining up to work on the Team America title, Dave Simons stepped forward.
I had lobbied to draw this book. This was the penultimate issue. I got to show what I could do on Ghost Rider solo, and draw lots of motorcycles. Pencils and inks on the story were by me, too.
DAVE SIMONS GHOST RIDER CHECK-LIST
Dave's inks over Bob Budiansky, unless noted.
Issue 67: Interior Inks (over Don Perlin)
Issue 69: Cover and Interior Inks
Issue 70: Cover and Interior Inks (Freaks)
Issue 71: Cover and Interior Inks
Issue 72: Cover and Interior Inks
Issue 73: Cover and Interior Inks
Issue 74: Cover and Interior Inks
Issue 75: Cover and Interior Inks
Issue 76: Cover and Interior Inks (over Don Perlin)
Issue 77: Cover Inks Only
Issue 78: Cover Inks Only
Issue 79: Cover Inks Only
Issue 80: Cover Inks Only
Issue 81: Cover Inks Only
Issue 11: Cover Art (Pencils & Inks); Co-Plot; interior pencils and inks (Ghost Rider appearance)
Copyright 2009 The Estate of Dave Simons. All Rights Reserved
Ghost Rider #70 cover pencilled by Bob Budiansky. To the left is the original art, below is a recreation done in 2007 by Bob Budiansky and Dave Simons. I was very happy to be able to re-unite the art team of Budiansky and Simons for one last hurrah. I felt it was long overdue and the resulting commission was worth every cent.
This has become the classic cover. I wonder how many readers knew the Tod Browning film? (Regarding the 2008 commission) Actually, there are spots where I think it's improved over the original cover inking. I'd like to think I learned something in 20+ years.