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Talking Ghost Rider With Daniel Way & Axel Alonso

Written By Stephen Eli Harris on Wednesday, March 01, 2006 | 3/01/2006 01:09:00 pm

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A good hype friend of mine found an excellent article yesterday that had a tonne of information on upcomming Ghost Rider comic releases. We've been hearing bits and pieces about this (some directly from the mouth of the very talented artist Javier Saltares) for the last month but, no solid information... until now.

This article talks specifically about 2 titles that are in development right now and is due to release later this year. The first of which is another 6 issue miniseries that will reteam those who brought Ghost Rider back to the mainstream with thier latest 6 issue incarnation entitled "Road to Vengeance". I'm talking about the brilliant artist Clayton Crane (whose art for the series you can see to the left) and very well respected writer Garth Ennis.
(From the article)Something that is connected, Way and Alonso freely admitted, is the six issue Ghost Rider: Trail of Tears miniseries by the previous (read: limited series) Ghost Rider team of Garth Ennis and Clayton Crain set to debut later this year.

How are they connected? Day was direct: "It's simple: there has always been a Ghost Rider."

"Loosely" set in the Civil War (the 1800s one, not the Spider-Man vs. Captain America one coming up) era Marvel Universe, according to Alonso, Ennis and Crain's story is a Western, starring the earlier version of Ghost Rider.

"Garth and Clayton's miniseries will function as a prequel not only to the recent Ghost Rider limited series, but the Ghost Rider legend as a whole," Alonso said. "The story focuses on the Spirit of Vengeance, which of course predates Johnny Blaze or Danny Ketch."
So, that's pretty exciting right? Apparently, they have 3 more mini's to come after this as well but, that's not what the rest of the article talks about. Something way more exciting than that is in the works.

8 years after the last Ghost Rider ongoing series ended, we're finally getting a new one. Not a mini, not a one shot, not a Trade Paperback. This is an ongoing series and one that hopefully will never be cancelled. I mean, one can never tell what'll happen but, I truly would love to see this series at least crack the 100 issue milestone; something a GR series has never been able to achieve.

Whats even better than actually getting an ongoing series once again is who is actually doing the series. This ongoing will feature a reteaming of 2 of my most influencial artists, 2 artists who are diretly responsible for my addiction to the character. Those 2 are none other than Mark Texiera (who's art for the upcomming series is to the left) and Javier Saltares (who chats with us on the Hype, by the way). The writer is someone I'm not exactly familiar with Daniel Way.
(more from the article)
"We begin where the current miniseries ends," Way explained, "with Johnny Blaze/Ghost Rider trapped in Hell."

So why's Johnny Blaze in Hell in the first place? Hey, this is serialized fiction, after all…

"I'm sure the fans of the character would like to know this, as well," Way continued. "I mean, if Ghost Rider is trapped in Hell, and Ghost Rider is 'bonded' to the soul of Johnny Blaze, and Johnny Blaze's soul is postmarked for Hell via his 'deal with the devil' way-back-when, then this equals one thing: At some point, Johnny Blaze died. But how? And more importantly, why? This is something that we'll be covering later in the series because, from the get-go, Ghost Rider has more pressing issues to deal with."

Or, as editor Axel Alonso described the opening of the series: "To get things rolling, we're going to bust the Ghost Rider out of prison, so to speak. Call it the ultimate jailbreak. And he might take a friend or two along for the ride."

And just to nip any confusion in the bud, the new, ongoing Ghost Rider series is set in the Marvel Universe proper. As such, Way is going to be working to make sure it all works.

"The goal of the first arc will be to set up the Ghost Rider good and proper," Alonso said. "Daniel is going to go back to the character's origin and explore some stuff that a lot of us have been wondering about. Certain questions emerge: How did a grease monkey like Blaze develop and interest in the occult in the first place? How did he get so good at conjuring up spells so damn fast? Why does the Ghost Rider always seem to be battling the forces of hell, and not heaven? These questions will be answered in due time."
So, it looks likey they're finally going to try and answer the questions a lot of us have been asking for years. Exciting... but there's more!
(Again, from the article)
Of course, those questions are just the tip of the iceberg, Alonso agreed. What about things like the nature of the Ghost Rider side of Johnny Blaze (is it Zarathos or Noble Kane?) Did the original Ghost Rider series happen? Did Danny Ketch exist and are he and Johnny still brothers?

"We will be explaining it all, while raising some new questions," Alonso said. "And yes, the original Ghost Rider series did happen, and we're acknowledging that. Barton Blaze, Crash and Mona Simpson -- they all figure into his back story. I've consulted with Ralph Macchio and Tom Brevoort about the twists and turns we're proposing, to make sure we get it just right. So far, so good."
Okay, so Blaze's story happened. We know that but Dan Ketch BETTER have existed. If they try and pull a stunt like saying the 90's series didn't happen then, this is going to be one angry Ghost Rider fan. I got into Ghost Rider because of that series and I've always liked Dan Ketch better than Johnny Blaze. To remove his story from the universe would be enough for me to boycott Marvel.
(Back to the article)
As for why he's taking his time to make sure his upcoming Ghost Rider works with what's come before, rather than, tell new stories that may or may not fit with past continuity, Way's rationale was simple...

"It matters to us because it matters to the fans of the character-which all of us - me, Tex, Javier, and Axel happen to be. That aside, I want to tell stories that draw people in and that'd be damned-near impossible if I left all of the old continuity glitches and unresolved storylines lying around to trip readers up and knock them out of the box."

Even though he has plenty of Marvel's main mutant on his plate with writing Wolverine and Wolverine: Origins, Ghost Rider and his ilk fill a void that a dude with retractable claws or a winged guy just can't.

"Mystical heroes, or in the case of Ghost Rider, anti-heroes, have always provided a rich counterpoint to the mutant/superheroes of the MU, and I think it's time to get some of that back," Way said. "These guys play at a different level-I mean, can you see Ghost Rider being pressured to sign (or even being concerned in the least about) an 'Occult Being Registration Act?'"
I think it's about time we got some of that back too Daniel. My entire comic collection revolves around all things mystical in the Marvel universe and I too believe it's lacking these days. Bring it on!
(again, a little more of the article)
"Anyway, to get back on track, yes, there is more to Ghost Rider. A lot more. For starters, there's the mystery of both what this thing is...and why this thing exists. On the other side of the coin, there's Johnny Blaze, a man. Why is he the Ghost Rider? How does he deal with it? How has his time in Hell affected him? How will coming back to earth affect him--and those he left behind?

"And that's just the internal stuff. Obviously, if a being like Ghost Rider can exist, there's no telling what else is lurking out there, both in this world and the next."

Back to the concerns of the upcoming series' storyline, as Way mentioned earlier, don't expect Johnny Blaze to figure out why he was in Hell for a while at least. "He has more immediate problems," Way said. "There will, however, be a 'throughline' that leads him through the over-arching story which will be established at the end of the first issue."

Alonso added a little more…

"There's a cost to him breaking out of hell, and he'll have to deal with that first. That'll be the focus of the first arc," the editor said. "After that, he'll take a look behind the curtain and discover stuff about himself that will be very eye-popping. Oh, and just so it doesn't get lost in all of this, I need to point out that Tex and Javier had a pretty respectable run on this character, and they're pushing themselves to do even better this time."

Speaking to the larger Ghost Rider picture, Way reiterated what Marvel Editor in Chief Joe Quesada said at this weekend's New York Comic-Con, that is, the series has nothing to do with the Ghost Rider film, due out next year.

"I'm essentially maneuvering around it, avoiding any major contradictions so that any possible 'crossover fans' will be able to get in and ride without much confusion," Way said. "Since I'm relatively sure that the movie will follow the 'standard' formula for comic book superhero flicks - hero in action leading into origin sequence leading to confrontation with 'bad guy' ultimately leading into end result of victory/resolution, I'm just going to avoid most of that stuff-at least, for now.

"As far as the commonalities though, both will have Johnny Blaze, Spirit of Vengeance, mystical/occult/biblical powers, flaming skull, bad-ass motorcycle, wicked chain, Heaven, Hell, angels, demons, shady deals, shadier deals…you get the idea."
Now this is news and once again my anxiety attacks as I wait for July and this series launch.

Please take the time to head on over the Newsarama and check out the remainded of the awesome article. Most of it is posted here but, not all of it, so go and check it out.

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