Review: Ghost Rider #35

Ghost Rider #35 cover
Cover by Bob Budiansky and Joe Rubinstein

Ghost Rider #35
Published and © by Marvel, April 1979

Title: Deathrace!
Synopsis: On a suddenly stormy night, Ghost Rider finds himself in a series of motorcycle races against Death himself.

Writer: Jim Starlin
Artist (layouts): Starlin
Artists (finishes): Steve Leialoha and friends

Review: A confession: This reviewer has never been fond of Ghost Rider. Jim Starlin, on the other hand, has often been a favorite, and this comic is a fine example of the master craftsman’s work. The story is a slight one – Death challenges Ghost Rider to three races – and Starlin gets as much mileage as possible out of the notion of “cheating Death.” But it’s the total package that makes this issue, and Starlin’s artistic storytelling chops are on full display. Steve Leialoha’s inks give the art a less-polished look, but the end result is still quite nice.

Grade: A-

Second opinion: “We can see the real advantage of having a writer who can also lay out a page. There is no way two separate people can coordinate pictures and words as well as this.” – Gerald Midgley, BEM #23, April 1979 … “Everything from Starlin’s plot to Tom Orzechowski’s lettering worked beautifully. All in all, Ghost Rider #35 was a helluva way to start 1979.” – Ken Hart, The Comics Journal #47, July 1979 … “Rises above the usual twaddle.” – Frank Plowright, FantaCo’s Chronicle’s Series Annual #1, 1983 … “Jim Starlin’s tale of a cross-country race against Death stands out by default among the assorted demons and other half-arsed satanic clichés.” – The Slings & Arrows Comic Guide (second edition), 2003

Cool factor: You can rarely go wrong with Starlin doing Death. And that Bob Budiansky cover is pretty cool, too.

Notable: Referred to as a “classic” in The Overstreet Comic Book Price Guide.

Character quotable: “I’ve had it with your game, so you can just … EAT HELLFIRE!” – Ghost Rider, somehow thinking Death might might be bothered by such a thing

Editor’s note: This review was originally published by Comics Bronze Age on June 2, 2009.

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