Sunday, February 13, 2011

Ghost Rider #4: "Death Stalks the Demolition Derby"

Probably the only comic-book hero inspired by the once popular crooner Vaughn Monroe, the original Ghost Rider first galloped onto the scene as a backup feature in ME's Tim Holt #11 in 1949. In reality he was Rex Fury, a federal marshal in the Old West who dressed up in a luminous white outfit that included a glowing cape and Stetson. Eventually he added a skull mask to his ensemble, and the sight of him mounted on his glowing white stallion was sufficient to scare even hardened owl-hoots out of their wits.

Marvel proved that bikers were more popular than cowboys with their next version of Ghost Rider. In 1973 they introduced a contemporary Ghost Rider who rode a motorcycle. Johnny Blaze was a clean-cut, blond young cyclist who became the unwilling host of a spirit named Zarathos. When Zarathos was in ascendancy, the hapless Johnny turned into a demon biker with a blazing skull instead of a head. When in this mode, much like the Hulk, he didn't take any crap from anybody. More successful than any prior Ghost Rider, he survived for eighty-one issues until the spring of 1983.

Script: Gary Friedrich
Pencils: Jim Mooney
Inks: Vince Colletta

  • in Original Ghost Rider, The (Marvel, 1992 series) #12 (June 1993).
  • in ESSENTIAL GHOST RIDER (Marvel, 2005 series) Vol. 1 (September 2005).

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