Thursday, July 9, 2009

A Short Ghost Post for "Theme Thursday!"


So, the Powers That Be behind Theme Thursday decided that this week's theme should be "Ghost!"

My initial reaction to that was something along the lines of "Gosh darn it!" (And I mean "Gosh darn it!" with a capital "F"!) "I just did a four-part ghost story during the last week of June!"

So... how was I going to handle the same subject without repeating myself, more or less?

A few ways came to mind, but the one I settled on was to re-write -- and hopefully, improve -- an article I did several years ago for the newsletter of my former employer, the Worcester, Massachusetts, pop culture emporium known as That's Entertainment, winner of the coveted Eisner Award!*

(
*In case you're wondering why that sentence included so much detail... It's a running joke around here that I'm always giving T.E. a free plug in my blogs, and it's been a while since I did so!)

This article was about the history of a comic book character called the Ghost Rider.** He was a Western "cowboy" type, not a real ghost, but rather a U.S. Marshal who donned a white costume and pretended to be a ghost in order to scare the crap out of his enemies. The Ghost Rider, created in 1949, was drawn by Dick Ayers.

(
**Not to be confused with the flaming-skulled motorcyclist portrayed by Nicholas Cage in the 2007 movie.)

Ayers had started his comic career working for Siegel and Shuster (creators of Superman) in the late 1940s. And Dick Ayers is a name which should be very familiar to those who have even a casual interest in the early days of what has been called "The Marvel Age of Comics."

So... My plan was to add a whole bunch of cool visual images to my re-vamped Ghost Rider article.

Yeah. That was the plan.

However, as Theme Thursday neared, I had several intrusions from that nasty sumbitch called my personal life, and it also occurred to me that just because I love writing about comic books, not everyone else likes reading about them. And while I've often said that this is my blog, and the first person I need to keep happy is myself, I don't want to push too many of you away by constantly having a comics-related theme.

Having said all that, I'm just going to throw a bunch of "teaser" illustrations at you now. But if you're one of those who does like reading about comics, and/or wants to read a lengthy story about a project I worked on with the one and only Dick Ayers himself... click here to read a series of posts called "The Once and Future Aero!"***

(
***By the way, my multi-part post, "The Once and Future Aero," contains unpublished Dick Ayers art, never seen elsewhere. Let me repeat that, for emphasis: "The Once and Future Aero" contains unpublished Dick Ayers art, never seen elsewhere! So basically, what I'm saying is, "The Once and Future Aero" contains unpublished Dick Ayers art, never seen elsewhere! Got it?)

And maybe some day, I'll take the time to re-work that blasted article anyway!

"The Ghost Rider" was originally published by a company called
Magazine Enterprises. Above is one of their typical "Ghost Rider" covers,
with an appropriate horror theme!

The above cover was drawn by legendary fantasy artist Frank Frazetta!
(By the way, I own a copy of this issue!)

Here's the character's second incarnation, when Marvel Comics
revived him. Ayers once again handled the art chores!

And here's a nifty piece of original art from that period!

Boy! Would I like to get my hands on one of these!

Thanks for your time!

47 comments:

  1. Is there a connection between this particular comic and the Nicholas Cage movie? (Or am I mixing up titles?)

    Kat

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  2. Love the artwork. Scanning your longer story you mentioned Lobster Man, did you know he's a character in a Sam Shepard play, for the life of me I can't remember which one but he's some odd character that shows up out of the blue.

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  3. The graphics are SO cool, especially in your opening pic. Hmm. Maybe I do like vintage comics?

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  4. How do you come up with all your ideas? It takes me 2 to 3 hours just to come up with one post, Sometimes they seem to write themselves, lol. Anyway, enjoyed it as always. You are one sly fox.

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  5. Interesting! I'd never heard of Ghost Rider; but then I didn't really get into comic books when I was a kid, either. Although I do remember The Phantom in the Sunday funnies (O Ghost Who Walks).

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  6. I learned so much...wow, I missed a lot by not not reading comics as a kid, although now I'm totally fascinated by comic art and particularly enjoy a good graphic novel.

    what about that nicholas cage movie - any good?

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  7. Ah, the best laid plans..... :)

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  8. always up for a good comic post. found a couple of these at a paperback exchange when i was younger. funny i just pulled out some boxes this last weeekend and flipped few a couple...thanks for bringing it back for me...

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  9. Darn, for a minnit I thought you owned these( then I read the fine print ). Not that I wanted to...uh..."borrow" them or anything...ahem. And still plugging T.E.? That reminds me....I think I need to put in an appearance($$$$)...

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  10. I don't remember the comic book, but I was nearly confused by the flaming-skulled motorcyclist portrayed by Nicholas Cage in the 2007 movie.

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  11. Ha,you damn right!You have to satisfy yourself fisrt as it is your blog!Yes i knew about the comic but still think that Nicholas cage is hot which has nothing to do with the subject,that being said..great post!:P

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  12. >... just because I love writing
    > about comic books, not everyone
    > else likes reading about them.

    Yeah, well, those people are weird :)

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  13. You'll never push me away by writing about comics. It is an undervalued genre. I love Franzetta's work. I have a couple of pieces but not any near that old. Will check out Aero.

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  14. Great post. And hey, THAT'S ENTERTAINMENT is my local comic shop! Haven't been recently, but I was there ever week when I was in the groove, had a sub folder and all that. My kids and I still love going in there, just to browse around. Like a treasure chest you can walk in!

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  15. Poetikat, Mouse (aka kimy), Debo Hobo, Candie: I have a footnote about the second Marvel Ghost Rider character, the one later made into the Nicholas Cage movie. He premiered a couple of years after the Western GR's Marvel Comics series ended. I never saw the movie, but I hear there was a character named "Carter Slade," which was the name of the Western character's alter ego in the comics. Maybe I should edit my post to fit the footnotes into the body of the main post?

    Kate: Didn't know about Shepard's Lobster Man, but did some quick research. "Cowboy Mouth" was the play he appeared in, in 1971. I had him beat by about ten years. Think I could sue? (Yeah, right.)

    Willow: Well, if so, you wouldn't be the first woman I've turned on to something she didn't think she'd like... *ahem!*

    Subby: I do have a few original GR issues -- Magazine Enterprises and Marvels -- in my collection, but didn't have time to dig 'em out, clear the two high stacks of CDs from my scanner, and scan them. So I resorted to the 'net.

    Padraig: Hey, you said it, not I!

    Ronda: I love Frazetta's stuff -- who doesn't? -- and have seen a lot of his early comic book work. There's a certain painting of his I've been told about, and looking for for several years...

    Wings: I worked there as de facto manager from 1985-88. (Paul Howley was probably best described as owner/operator.) This was when it was on Chandler St. Were you a customer then? We might even have met. By the way, I mentioned T.E. -- and even briefly used myself and Paul as characters -- in a multi-part story I did about three months ago on this blog called "Meet Mark!"

    Everybody else: Even though I might not have replied to every comment, I read 'em all, and appreciated each one, as always!

    Now, I get to start reading all the good stuff you've all prepared for me on your blogs!

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  16. Nope, before my time. Didn't move to the Worcester area until 1995! Have only known the shop on Park Ave. :)

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  17. In the movie, "Ghost Rider", I think that the western version of of the Ghost Rider, passed the torch onto the motorcycle riding version!

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  18. "Passed the torch?" Oh, so that's why his head's on fire?

    Seriously, how is the movie? Worth seeing?

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  19. Think these comics in any way inspired those responsible for High Plains Drifter and Pale Rider?

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  20. Like the vintage comic graphics...The fashion and style and cycle of it all.
    -Jayne

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  21. People pretending to be ghosts, it's just not right, is it?

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  22. Well, I like reading comics, reading about comics, and discussing comics, so this was just dandy.

    And I agree, who doesn't like Frazetta, and Vallejo too while we're at it!

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  23. Hey, you should blog about what makes you tick. Forget all others. That's why most of us started blogging in the first place. Thanks for sharing the comics. I'm that familiar with them. Now, I feel like I learned something new.

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  24. See, if I came here more often I'd know you were a comic freak:

    I had several intrusions from that nasty sumbitch called my personal life,

    You have a life! Well done you!

    Actually I'm a sucker for any man on a white horse so nice touch Foxy, nice touch!

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  25. David,
    Man! i used to love that place...That's Entertainment! 244 Park Avenue, Worcester , Ma 01609.
    I make it a point to go there almost every time I get to Worcester! Whatever happened to the owner of that incredible collectible store?

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  26. @P....er Cousin Saul, I think the owner of Jelly Beans bought him out! KIDDING!!! That reminds me, my box is prob'ly getting full about now...I'm off( to get my comics )!!!

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  27. Subtorp,
    Thanks! I could use the money!

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  28. Cousin Saul: In answer to whatever happened to Paul Howley, owner of the Worcester, MA, pop culture emporium That's Entertainment... I found a recent photo online: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/thumb/1/18/Scroogeswim.jpg/175px-Scroogeswim.jpg

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  29. @S.F.-LMAO! Good one! The resemblance is just ducky HA! What?

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  30. Love a good comic! Do you by chance collect them...or just enjoy writing about them?
    I long for the days of a GOOD, CLEAN, WELL ROUNDED hero!!

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  31. By the way...I've actually posted a new chapter on my blog today!

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  32. [Silver Fox gasps for breath, clutches chest, falls to floor]

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  33. [Subby finds S.F., recognises the situation for what it is and calls 9-1-1. Then breaks out his handy portable defibrilator...."clear!"]

    S.F. , I know, I know...Cousin Saul shouldn't sneak up on you, like that!

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  34. All kidding aside, Subby, Cousin Saul's latest post is very touching.

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  35. "Gosh darn it!" with a capital "F" indeed!

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  36. S.F., haven't been over there in a while ( marks it down to check, o'er the week-end )....

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  37. Kitty: Either or both are possible, I suppose.

    Baino: How about a man on a black horse? That's more my style.

    Jill: I do have a collection, but it's kind of fallen by the wayside since 75% of it was stolen a few years ago. I don't keep up with the new titles, really. I don't care for the modern look & treatment, I guess. I've read them, collected them, sold them (old & new ones), written a few, and written numerous articles about them. You might enjoy checking out that link to "The Once and Future Aero," if you haven't already.

    Kurt: Glad you liked that.

    Everybody else: Thanks for all your comments.

    I FINALLY got through all the Theme Thursday posts! Too much to do this week!

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  38. I find it interesting to see old comic books. These are really old, I know. I only read Archie comics. I guess I'm not an afficionado. But they are fascinating, particularly the cult status they hold today.

    I'm still wondering when I'll find a "Ghostbusters" post.

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  39. You're right. The first three illustrations (plus the ad at the end) were from the early 1950s. The Marvel Comics Ghost Rider #1 cover and the page of original art were from the late 1960s.

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  40. One gotta love Marvel Comics lol Thank you for the pics, they are fantastic!

    Have a great weekend
    xoxo

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  41. a great post. Frazetta really rocked!

    i like reading about comic books. Not as much as my uber-comic-geeky husb., but still...

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  42. Now that was a great story! And not bad to re-write/re-use :-)

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  43. Okay, you all win! In the near future, I will post a re-write of my ancient article about the Ghost Rider's history!

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  44. i never heard of the ghost rider. nice take on the theme

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  45. Before you write an article, make sure you see me and get updates (I got the handbook entry).

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  46. Oh, Lord, in the 20+ years since I wrote the original article, I can only imagine the changes that the character's been through! Thanks for the "warning." Will do.

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  47. Actually, you'd be surprised that there aren't a lot of changes, basically speaking. Western characters aren't as popular, especially with the newer writers.

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