Ghost Rider


Release Date: 21 February 2007
Director: Mark Steven Johnson
Running Time: 1hr 50 mins
Cast: Nicolas Cage, Eva Mendez, Wes Bentley, Sam Elliot, Peter Fonda
Comic Artist: Mike Ploog (writers Roy Thomas & Gary Friedrich)
First Appearance: Marvel Spotlight vol. 1, #5 (Aug. 1972)


Ghost Rider is the name of several fictional, supernatural anti-heroes in the Marvel Comics universe. Marvel had previously used the name for a Western character whose name was later changed to Night Rider and subsequently to Phantom Rider.

The first supernatural Ghost Rider is stunt motorcyclist Johnny Blaze, who, in order to save the life of his mentor, agreed to give his soul to Satan (later revealed to be an arch-demon named Mephisto). Instead, his soul was bonded with the entity called Zarathos. When emitting Zarathos's powers, Blaze's head became a flaming skull and he wielded a fiery motorcycle and trademark blasts of hellfire from his skeletal hands. He starred in an eponymous series from 1973-1983.

The subsequent Ghost Rider series (1990-98) featured Daniel Ketch as a new Ghost Rider. After his sister was injured by gangsters, Ketch came in contact with a motorcycle which had somehow been mystically enchanted to contain the essence of a "Spirit of Vengeance." This spirit had originally been a Puritan man named Noble Kale, an ancestor of both Blaze and Ketch. Johnny Blaze reappeared in this series as a supporting character and was revealed to be Ketch's brother.


Is the world ready for a flaming Nicolas Cage? After a long string of financial flops, this idiosyncratic actor is placing his faith in a comic-book character with a combustible body and an addiction to jelly beans. In “Ghost Rider” Mr. Cage is Johnny Blaze, a daredevil biker who once made a deal with Mephistopheles (an orange-eyed Peter Fonda) and is now required to hunt down wayward demons while shooting flames from every pore. No wonder he listens to the Carpenters. With its sequel-ready resolution, “Ghost Rider” embodies franchise hopes that may be dashed by a central character who’s more funny than frightening. As for Mr. Cage, the only thing he should be firing is his manager.

© Jeannette Catsoulis, The New York Times

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