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.