Monday, April 16, 2007


I know I said the other day that I wasn't in a position to comment on the Gary Friedrich/GHOST RIDER lawsuit that's been the talk of the comics blogs but this morning, that changed. As I'm lying in bed with my fever dreams (see previous post), I suddenly remembered THIS guy! HELL-RIDER ran two issues from Skywald in 1971, part of a failed attempt at expanding their line beyond black and white horror mags like PSYCHO and NIGHTMARE. Gary Friedrich was at the helm and in the accompanying piece details the character's creation. Now the back story is completely different but it's hard not to look at HR physically as a GHOST RIDER prototype!

Skywald was run by former Marvel man Sol BrodSKY and legendary cash-in publishers Israel and Herschel WALDman. Their horror line was actually pretty good and introduced us to artists such as the prolific Pablo Marcos (who went on to illustrate children's classics!). HELL-RIDER tries to be adult-nudity, the ocassional "dirty" word, a plot based on heroin smuggling and folks doing recreational drugs. It still hedges its bets a lot. The artists though include the ever-popular Ross Andru and Mike Esposito (who had worked with the Waldmans doing new covers for their unauthorized IW/Super Comics reprints a decade earlier.), Rich Buckler, Dick Ayers (whose name is misspelled. OH! The indignity!), golden age CAPTAIN AMERICA artist Syd Shores and "special effects by Bill Everett and Carlos Garzon! Not bad at all. It's an interesting failure and I can't help but think that Gary took the basic look of the character straight to Marvel and made GHOST RIDER. Food for thought for all of you comics blog Nancy Graces. Uuuuugh! Back to my sick bed now!

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous7:38 PM

    When I discovered this comic magazine at the local newstand,
    I thought (at the tender age of
    15-16, this Hell-Rider was really
    HOT stuff! (Pun not intended...)
    After all, it LOOKED like a super-hero comic, but the semi-naked chicks actually showed a little
    nipple! And the story content was
    rougher, definitely NOT approved
    by The Comics Code Authority!
    Boy, I snuck this one past my
    parents like it was an issue of
    Of course, looking at it now, it's
    as corny as hell and that motorcycle helmet/mask is just plain dorky. What was I thinking?
    (I mentioned my approximate age
    earler, so you won't take my offical Comic Book Historian certificate away from me!)
    And those "special effects?" Weren't they just the grey tones
    brushed on the black-and-white artwork to give it a bargain basement Creepy/Eerie look?
    Yeah, this little forgotten gem
    is NOT in the Watchmen/Maus category of all time classics!