Chains and Hellfire: Ghost Rider
Ghost Rider just can’t seem to get a break. The property’s foray into the movies did not really amount to anything larger; it has had a lot of iterations in the comic books after the second volume of its series wrapped up, which just proves it can’t hold a long enough series of its own these days; and perhaps the best rendition of the spirit of vengeance with the flaming skull head, and its most recent, as a supporting character in Marvel’s Agents of SHIELD TV series was sadly cut short thanks to the production team’s budgetary limits. It’s just a bit sad to see such a character that is truly full of potential not get its due popularity.
Well, there are a lot of reasons why perhaps Ghost Rider just can’t seem to get that much needed footing, regardless of which media it is appearing in. For one, this is not the 90s anymore, which was the same decade that Ghost Rider truly hit its stride when it had an ongoing series that lasted until issue 98. Afterwards, though, the character has become more or less sporadic with its appearances. Don’t get me wrong, though: Marvel and a host of some of the best writers and artists have tried their best to make the Ghost Rider, well, ride again (I am not apologizing for that. Ha!)
You see, Ghost Rider’s first appearance in the comics was initially met with a lot of positive response from fans. Gracing the pages of Marvel Spotlight #5, which was the publisher’s way of introducing new players to their fictional universe back then, the first (or second, if you count the cowboy one from the Golden Age, if I’m not mistaken) one to hold the mantle of spirit of vengeance was the character Johnny Blaze. Immediately after that, the self-titled series that would run up until around 1998 would be published by the house of ideas. During this time, though, a second skull head was introduced in the character Johnny Ketch, who would also hold the mantle for some time. In fact, by the time Ghost Rider’s second volume wrapped up, it was Ketch beneath the flames.
Everything got rocky for the character after this, though. So much so, that Marvel had performed a couple of initiatives to revitalize the franchise, which just goes to show they can see this fiery potential cash cow in Ghost Rider. Unfortunately, both of those attempts failed, too. The first one, which occurred around six years ago, saw the Marvel U try to introduce a third Ghost Rider. This time, they turned her into a woman named Alejandra Jones. For some reason, it just didn’t click and the character was soon taken out of the picture shortly after its launch. The second attempt, though, would have had a lot of success if Marvel’s relationship with artist Tradd Moore, who created this 4th Ghost Rider along with scribe Felipe Smith, had not soured due to tight deadline schedules. There, Robbie Reyes was introduced, whom you might be familiar with as the version of the character appearing on Agents of SHIELD.