Jan 10, 2017

The 40 Years of Comics Project - Day 685: Ghost Rider #24, June 1977

http://www.comics.org/issue/31122/

I've yet to finish watching the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. episodes from this season that feature Ghost Rider. He's never been one of my favourite characters, but the effects, and portrayal, of the character on the show are pretty great. I think what's always put me off of the character is that he's quite remarkably emblematic of the 70s-era Marvel, but not in a way that I feel is translatable to subsequent eras. Indeed, the cool biker motif was really something that was even beginning to feel played out by the late 70s, kind of like the grim 'n' gritty vigilante of the mid to late 90s. Some characters have their moment, and it's a pretty good moment, but are only of limited story potential. I'm sure there's people out there who would disagree, but the lack of an ongoing Ghost Rider series in the last 20 years (I think) says something.

Some lovely art in this issue by the immensely talented Don Heck - he's deceptive in some ways, as his art comes across initially as very much in the "Marvel" style (no surprise, given that he was one of the figures who defined that style), but then occasional flourishes, which I mostly noted in the characters' faces, distinguishes his style from the house style he influenced. Shooter's script is a bit clunky, making ample use of the very 70s thought bubble exposition, though in this case, when juxtaposed against Ghost Rider's speech bubbles, it offers us an interesting contrast between the words of the Hell-spawned Rider and the thoughts of the mortal man that houses it.

And, as often happens, as I write this, the character becomes more interesting to me. Perhaps I'll give some more Ghost Rider a go tomorrow. Onward!

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