Ghost Rider is the name of multiple comic book titles featuring the character Ghost Rider and published by Marvel Comics, beginning with the original Ghost Rider comic book series which debuted in 1967.
Marvel Comics debuted the character Carter Slade in its western title Ghost Rider #1 (cover-dated Feb. 1967), by writers Roy Thomas and Gary Friedrich and original Ghost Rider artist Ayers. The comic lasted 7 issues, until Ghost Rider #7 (October 1967).
Following the western title, the first superhero Ghost Rider, Johnny Blaze, received his own series in June 1973, with pencillerJim Mooney handling most of the first nine issues. Several different creative teams mixed-and-matched until penciller Don Perlin began a long stint with issue #26, eventually joined by writer Michael Fleisher through issue #58.
Tony Isabella wrote a two-year story arc in which Blaze occasionally encountered an unnamed character referred to as “the Friend” who helped Blaze stay protected from Satan. Isabella said that with editorial approval he’d introduced the character, who “looked sort of like a hippie Jesus Christ and that’s exactly who He was, though I never actually called Him that….” At the story arc’s climax, Isabella had planned that Blaze “accepts Jesus Christ into his life. This gives him the strength to overcome Satan, though with more pyrotechnics than most of us can muster. He retains the Ghost Rider powers he had been given by Satan, but they are his to use as his new faith directs him.” However, Isabella said, Jim Shooter, then an assistant editor,
took offense at my story. The issue was ready to go to the printer when he pulled it back and ripped it to pieces. He had some of the art redrawn and a lot of the copy rewritten to change the ending of a story two years in the making. ‘The Friend’ was revealed to be, not Jesus, but a demon in disguise. To this day, I consider what he did to my story one of the three most arrogant and wrongheaded actions I’ve ever seen from an editor.
Blaze’s Ghost Rider’s career ends when the demon Zarathos, who inhabited Blaze’s body as Ghost Rider, flees in issue #81 (June 1983), the finale, in order to pursue the villain named Centurious. Now free of his curse, Blaze goes off to live with Roxanne. Blaze occasionally appeared in the subsequent 1990–1998 series, Ghost Rider, which starred a related character, Daniel Ketch. This series revealed Blaze and Roxanne eventually got married and had two children.