The Great Gambonnos

 In: Characters
 Posted: 2003
 Staff: Al Sjoerdsma (E-Mail)
File Photo



Look exactly alike right down to their handlebar mustaches.


Black (if you can judge by their mustaches).


5'7" (Approximate.)


150 pounds (Approximate.)


Great acrobatic talents, trapeze experts.


Trapezes, large net, gymnastic rings.


Can't tell them apart. Pretty much left to climbing all over each other without their trapezes.

Strength Level:

Norman human.


A mace, lead weights, rifles.



Created By:

Stan Lee, Steve Ditko

Current Occupation:

Either on the loose, in the can, or in the hospital. Take your pick.

Dual Identity:

Known to authorities.



Former Aliases:

The Great Gambinos, The Flying Gambonnos.

Former Bases:

All over the US and Europe.

Former Groups:

The Circus of Crime, The Masters of Menace.

Former Occupation:

Circus acrobats, Kings of the Trapeze.

Known Allies:

The Circus of Crime (The Ringmaster, Cannonball, The Clown, Princess Python, Ulik, Blackwing, Live Wire, Bruto the Strong Man, Rajah, Iron Jack Baker, Fire Breather (Fire-Eater), Teena the Fat Lady, Terrax the Tamer, Dragon Man), The Masters of Menace (The Clown, Cannonball, Princess Python).

Known Confidants:

Each other.

Known Relatives:

Each other.

Legal Status:

Wanted by the police or maybe incarcerated or maybe hospitalized.

Major Enemies:

Spider-Man, Daredevil, Hawkeye, Quicksilver, The Scarlet Witch, Thor, the Black Panther, Luke Cage, Black Goliath, Howard the Duck, Iris Raritan, Sub-Mariner, Shroud, The Thing, Iceman, Johnny Blaze, the She-Hulk, Power Pack, Ben Reilly, Generation X, Devil Dinosaur, Moonboy.

Marital Status:


Place of Birth:


Real Name:

Ernesto and Luigi Gambonno

Usual Bases:

Either California or prison or the hospital.


Ernesto and Luigi Gambonno are Italian acrobats and aerialists. It is never said that they are identical twins but they certainly do look exactly alike. (I defy anyone to pick out which is Ernesto and which is Luigi at any given time.) Though they, presumably, joined up with the Ringmaster early on, they did not make an appearance in the Circus of Crime's run-in with the Hulk. And though they think of themselves as the "Kings of the High Trapeze", they are defeated pretty easily by Spider-Man and Daredevil who prove to be superior acrobats to the both of them.

Frustrated by this defeat, the Gambonnos are more than willing to throw in with the Clown, Princess Python, and Cannonball. They kick the Ringmaster out and become the Masters of Menace. Unfortunately, the group robs an art gallery, which takes the Gambonnos away from their trapezes. They are reduced to picking up Cannonball and using him as a battering ram. When Spider-Man attacks the Masters at their hideout, the Gambonnos have a set of gymnastic rings to swing from but they are clobbered by the web-slinger all the same.

Now calling themselves "The Flying Gambonnos", Ernesto and Luigi rejoin the Ringmaster when he tries to lure Hawkeye, Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch into the group. One Gambonno is defeated by Hawkeye's twirling wire arrow, the other by Hawkeye's hi-intensity sound arrow.

The Circus of Crime returns when the Ringmaster hypnotizes the Mighty Thor into helping to steal the extremely heavy Golden Bull. Not only is the Gambonnos only job in this caper to leap around to try to confuse the police but the rest of the Circus seems to have forgotten their name; calling them the Gambinos. When the plan goes wrong, they manage to escape with the rest of the Circus.

When the Circus attempts to disrupt the wedding of Yellowjacket and the Wasp at Avengers mansion, the Gambonnos are thumped by the Black Panther. When Thor battles Ulik the Troll at the Circus, the Gambonnos are simply grabbed and nabbed by the police. When they next face Daredevil, they have changed their acrobat outfits from blue to green. When they face Luke Cage, they stop talking like they're from Newark and start talking like they're from Italy. (They also get crushed into unconsciousness inside Black Goliath's giant hand.) By the time they meet up with Howard the Duck, their accents are REALLY thick, one seems to think the other is named "Vito", and they get clobbered by Howard's friend Iris Raritan.

And so it goes for them against the Sub-Mariner, the Shroud, the Hulk, Iceman, Johnny Blaze, the Hulk again, the She-Hulk, Power Pack, the Ben Reilly Spider-Man, Howard the Duck (with their new kinky-sex outfits), Generation X, the Peter Parker Spider-Man, Devil Dinosaur, and Moonboy.

In the end, the Gambonnos move to Hollywood, change their acrobat costumes to black, and join the Clown, Cannonball, and Princess Python in a little armed robbery. Whether they are in prison, in the hospital, or still on the loose after being clubbed with a Big Top tent pole by the Hulk has never been made clear.

Image Gallery


Cover Date Appearance Information
Sep 1964 App: Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #16
  First Appearance.
Mar 1965 App: Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) #22
  The Masters of Menace.
Nov 1965 App: Avengers (Vol. 1) #22
Oct 1967 App: Thor (Vol. 1) #145
  Called "Gambinos".
Nov 1967 App: Thor (Vol. 1) #146
Dec 1967 App: Thor (Vol. 1) #147
Jan 1969 App: Avengers (Vol. 1) #60
Feb 1970 App: Thor (Vol. 1) #173
Feb 1975 App: Daredevil (Vol.1) #118
  Change to Green Costumes.
Date TBD App: Power Man #25
  Develop Italian Accent.
Date TBD App: Howard The Duck #25
Date TBD App: Howard The Duck #26
Date TBD App: Howard The Duck #27
Oct 1976 App: Super-Villain Team-Up #8
Nov 1977 App: Incredible Hulk (Vol. 1) #217
Jun 1981 App: Marvel Two-In-One #76
Sep 1982 App: Ghost Rider #72
Oct 1982 App: Ghost Rider #73
Feb 1984 App: Incredible Hulk (Vol. 1) #292
May 1989 App: Sensational She-Hulk #1
Oct 1990 App: Power Pack #59
Dec 1996 App: Spider-Man Team-Up #5 (Story 1)
Date TBD App: Generation X #32
Year 1998 App: Amazing Spider-Man (Vol. 1) Annual 1998
Date TBD App: Incredible Hulk (Vol. 1) #470
  Resort to armed robbery.
Date TBD App: Incredible Hulk (Vol. 1) #471
 In: Characters
 Posted: 2003
 Staff: Al Sjoerdsma (E-Mail)