MARVELous Monday

Let’s make Monday MARVELous by journeying back to 1972, where we point the spotlight on Ghost Rider.

Each week I’m going to read a classic Silver or Bronze age Marvel book and do a spotlight on the issue. This week is none other than Ghost Rider’s first appearance in Marvel Spotlight #5.

This is a classic key book for most hardcore collectors also being one of my all time favorite Marvel characters. I still haven’t really jumped on the whole Cosmic Ghost Rider, sticking with the classic is more my style.

Johnny Blaze’s father was killed in a motorcycle accident when Johnny was young. His mother married a stunt rider named Crash Simpson who ran his own stunt show, so Johnny followed into his step-fathers footsteps into cycling as well until during a practice session his bike went up in flames and exploded, taking his mother as a victim. Before she dies, she asks Johnny to promise her he will stop riding. 5 years later he’s riding again.

Johnny then finds out that an upcoming show at Madison Square Garden will be his step-fathers last as he has cancer. Johnny is determined to keep his father from dying, so he summons Mephisto (who he thought was Satan) after searching through some occult books. In exchange to spare Crash from cancer, Johnny gives up his soul to Mephisto.

(Mephisto’s first appearance was in Silver Surfer #3).

Weeks later, Crash Simpson tells Johnny he’s going to attempt the world record jump, which he ultimately fails and crashes, dying in the process. Johnny is angered by the accident and attempts the same jump, making it and breaking the world record.  Johnny was under the impression his exchange would keep Crash safe but Mephisto stated he only kept cancer from killing his step-father and now he was back to claim Johnny’s soul and take him to hell later after the jump.

Unbeknownst to Johnny, Roxanne his love interest was reading up on the books Johnny read that summoned Mephisto. As he, Mehistro was prepared to take Johnny to hell, Roxanne shows up and banishes him with her own soul, learning how to send the devil away.

Later on in the next night, Johnny starts to burn with fever until his head exploded into a flaming skull, thus turning him into the Ghost Rider every night since.

This book held no special trivia or small interesting tidbits beyond it being Ghost Rider’s first appearance and origin.

7 thoughts on “MARVELous Monday”

  1. Damn. I’d have loved to read that fresh from the newsstand with no prior knowledge (or the Nick Cage films bouncing around in my head)/

    1. Heh, same here. While I was reading it I had flashes of Nicholas Cage enter my mind.. slowly but surely I’m getting him out of my mind that he was the first big screen Ghost Rider. We really do need a redo.

  2. I’m going to get my copy graded it’s probably a 3.5 to 4.5 but I figure that a grade like that for such a key issue isn’t too bad.

  3. I bought my copy of Marvel Spotlight #5 way back in the late 80’s when collectors didn’t care quite as much if there was some color touch on comics. At least it wasn’t as big a deal as it is now. Anyway, it looks VF/NM, but it does have a couple spots that were touched up. Funny thing is, if the person didn’t do that it would still probably have been a VF or so. Even back then I personally would stay away from books that were touched up, but this was the only dealer in driving distance that had one an he did lower the price a little. Still looks nice.

  4. favorite character to collect as a kid in the 90’s. a couple years ago i sold the vg copy i had from back then. wish i could have held onto it but i wouldn’t have sold it unless i had to at the time.

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