GHOST RIDER #1-3, MARVEL SPOTLIGHT #12 (1973): 1st Son of Satan

In these early issues, Ghost Rider doesn’t even look as cool as he does later.  Maybe it’s the glowing yellow eyeballs.  I dunno.  But in the scene above, he’s driving a car-not a motorcycle-and I love how his girlfriend understands that he “has so much on his mind.”  Lady, his flesh is gone and his head is on fire.  Way to bring the understatement.

Ghost Rider comics are notoriously awful, so I’ll be compressing a lot of these.  But what’s really interesting is that the first issue of GR was used to launch another new character…

And they’re both pretty boring guys to read about, but they look cool.

Here’s the story: Johnny Blaze goes to exorcist Daimon Hellstrom, who, over the course of the three issues, is slowly revealed to be Son of Satan.  Johnny not wanting to be Ghost Rider becomes the theme for the whole series, and it’s kind of a one-note thing.  Sort of like Hulk.  The difference is, the occult/horror is much harder to make interesting in a comic book than a big green guy who can throw down with every bruiser in the Marvel Universe.

Damian and Ghost Rider are pretty much the same guy: Both are normal dudes whose bodies get used by demons on the regular, and both want to be good.

Think how cool it might have been if Marvel had been willing to embrace true devilspawns as leads in their own stories?

Anyway, Damian goes to Hell to try to save Ghost Rider from Satan (or is it Mephisto?), succeeds, and returns him to Earth.  That’s basically the tale.

Then, he fights a biker gang with a female demon.

Then, in #3, a Native American girl named Littletree teaches Ghost Rider how to make his classic flaming motorcycle.  This surely adds style points, but not much in the way of character development.

Creators: Gary Friedrich, and artists Tom Sutton (GR#1), Jim Mooney (GR#2-3), and Herb Trimpe (MS#12).
Grade: C+

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