Comic Bastards Toolbox: Ghost Rider

With all this Ghost Rider lawsuit business lately I got to thinking about the character and his absence from Marvel’s line-up. Ghost Rider has always been a pretty damn cool character and during the 90’s the design reached critical mass of awesomeness, but the stories… well it was the 90’s. The thing about Ghost Rider is that he’s the poster child for Marvel’s neglected supernatural section of their universe. Forget Doctor Strange since he’s basically been absorbed into the Avengers, GR is the gritty dirty devil and angels section and in a lot of ways the supernatural element of Marvel’s Universe has become like the Cosmic line and just left to fend for itself. Rather than attempt to fix Marvel’s entire Supernatural line, I’m just going to focus on Ghost Rider but don’t be surprised if it ends up repaired as well. Are you ready for this? It’s not going to blow your mind, but it will make sense:

Make him the Incredible Hulk.


I know some people are like that’s dated and tired and frankly you’re right, but only when it comes to the Incredible Hulk. I don’t want to read about the internal struggle between Bruce and Hulk as they wander the desert being hunted by the military and other gamma infused monsters. The thing about Ghost Rider is that his past sucks. Then he was given two reboots in the early 00’s and they both sucked as well.

“Oh he’s a fucking angel not a demon.”

“Oh they’re multiple Ghost Riders at the same time and from different cultures.”

Are you rolling your eyes? You should be because that shit sucked. The thing about Ghost Rider is that he’s two people, but he’s only ever treated as one. I’ve read countless mini’s and ongoings that start off with Johnny or Danny not really sure what’s happening when they make the switch, but eventually they figure it out and take control of GR. At the very least the distinction between there being two characters ceases to exist.

Ghost Rider #1 90's

Well the Spirit of Vengeance should be his own entity and the host should be his own entity. The host should just be stuck dealing with the consequences of the Spirit’s actions once the vengeance is done. It would be a little like Dark Horse’s Dream Thief in which the main character wakes up in a situation, but rather than having the Spirit’s insight and powers the host is left to fend for themselves and figure it out. Of course that’s only interesting for so long, so eventually the Bruce/Hulk aspect would take effect in which the two are aware of each other, but I think the Spirit should be hidden in the recesses of the Host’s brain. I also think that they’re shared mental space should show the Spirit looking very different than the flaming skull. I honestly picture a dude in a three-piece suit and a silver tongue, but it could depend on the gender of the host.

Also I keep saying Host and that’s because I wouldn’t bring any of the previous hosts back to the series. They have too much of a history and eventually the writers or editors decide that it needs to be included in the story and it instantly sucks the life out of the series.

With a fresh host you could reintroduce the classic GR rogues, but do the same thing with them. Give them a new host and have them rediscover their powers. Some of them could even be anti-heroes like GR. I think it would be interesting if all of the villains and heroes of the Supernatural line started at zero and mixed and matched. Basically they wouldn’t know if they were bad or good, but some nagging feeling would force them to fight each other even when working together. Their past is still there, but none of them know it until they all fully tap into their powers.

After at least a year of GR traveling around figuring out who he is you could introduce the old demons and angels from the series past. Once that was introduced you could begin developing a final battle brewing and that’s what all these demons, spirits and angels are waiting for. They’re all friendly with each other, but they’re just waiting for that final battle to figure out who’s the best so not every encounter is life or death.

Notice that I listed three groups. I think that the spirits should be their own group and neutral from the demons and angels. This gives the opportunity to introduce new spirits and also explain why it is that one side has been able to control certain spirits in the past.


My favorite part of this idea is that it doesn’t need the rest of the Marvel U. It can exist in its own bubble and still is a part of continuity, but not forced to participate in events and Avengers appearances. Sure there can be special issues and what not, but for the most part the Supernatural section of the universe operates under the radar of the rest of the universe anyways.

I like Ghost Rider a lot and think that the core of the character is cool and has potential, but I get so tired of reading the same story over and over with the character. If Marvel wants the character to really be a part of the universe and have staying power then they need to build a history for the character outside of Hell. As it stands though he’s destined to come back for a year with the same story line and supporting cast and capture the attention of the same fans that want to believe it’ll somehow be different this time… only to have the series cancelled. Give me a shot Marvel because as much as I’ve given you hear it’s just the tip of the iceberg.