The motorcycle rider with a flaming skull, known as Ghost Rider, will get a high-profile revamp from Marvel Comics this month — one that sees the character with a new ride of choice.
Film fans are most likely to know the Ghost Rider as Johnny Blaze, the stunt rider who makes a deal with Mephisto to save his father from cancer.
He's tricked by Mephisto, however, into becoming the spirit of vengeance, Ghost Rider. Nicolas Cage played Johnny Blaze in two “Ghost Rider” films.
The most popular run of Ghost Rider comics, in the 1990s, actually featured another Rider: Danny Ketch, who became the Ghost Rider when he touched a medallion on a motorcycle he found.
In 2011, a Nicaraguan woman named Alejandra briefly became the Ghost Rider, but the character finds a new host again in Marvel NOW's latest relaunch. “All-New Ghost Rider” No. 1 is written by Felipe Smith and drawn by artist Tradd Moore.
According to a news release from Marvel Comics, the new Ghost Rider is 18-year-old Robbie Reyes, raised in an East Los Angeles neighborhood of violence and drug trafficking.
“His vehicle of choice, the automobile, very clearly sets him apart visually,” Smith said in an interview with Marvel.com. “In comparison to his vengeance-seeking predecessors, he's very young and inexperienced in most aspects of life. But as the product of a harsh inner-city upbringing, Robbie's street smarts, overall distrust for most people and clear contempt for his violent surroundings make him the perfect host for a Spirit of Vengeance.”
According to Marvel, Reyes has the ability to turn any vehicle into a “flaming engine of retribution.”
His interest in cars also has drawn the interest of Lowrider Magazine, as Smith draws the character on the cover of the April issue.
“The lowrider community is a largely Hispanic-dominated culture whose influence was born out of the Los Angeles lifestyle,” said Joe Ray, editor of Lowrider Magazine, in a news release.
“With the new Ghost Rider being of Hispanic descent and out of East L.A., many of our readers and fans will instantly have a connection with him and want to explore a comic that echoes their own unique Los Angeles and auto-enthusiast lifestyle.”
Some in the comics community aren't as thrilled with the change of ride, however.
Brian “Buck” Berlin, of New World Comics, 6219 N Meridian Ave., said he thinks putting Ghost Rider in a car takes away some of the character's visual appeal.
“You can't really see a flaming head in a car, especially one with a roof on it,” Berlin said.