Saturday, August 19, 2017

Inner Demons Episode 11: "Total Eclipse of the H.E.A.R.T."

Unzip your pants and let your tentacle appendages loose for the newest episode of Inner Demons, the 'net's best (i.e. only) Ghost Rider podcast!  This time Brian and Chris turn a critical eye toward Edge of Venomverse # 3, where Robbie Reyes totally tongue kisses Mr Hyde (spoilers ahoy, of course).  Then the classic reviews shine a light on Ghost Rider (1973) # 3, Ghost Rider (1990) # 8, and Ghost Rider (2005) # 3!  Finally, stick around 'til the end of the episode for a very special creator interview with a legendary Marvel Comics creator!

You can listen to the episode at the Vengeance Unbound page on blogspot, or you can download it from either Stitcher or iTunes .  You can also find us on Facebook, just search  for "Vengeance Unbound" and on Twitter under @InnerDemonsGR.  Thanks for listening!

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Lost Spirits of Artwork

I realize that it's been a while since I've posted any new content, and for that I apologize.  I've been taking some time away from blogging/reviewing comics the last few weeks to deal with some personal stuff (not the least of which is impending eye surgery on the 23rd of August, yikes!), so that's why Vengeance Unbound has been relatively quiet of late.

Don't worry, though, because the Inner Demons podcast is still going strong, and in fact we just recorded the 11th episode last night! There's going to be a very cool creator interview in the next ID episode, so everyone be on the lookout for it when it's posted this weekend!  

And, just because I don't want to go TOO long without spotlighting something here on the blog, I thought I'd post a few pieces of artwork for everyone to enjoy.  These were all covers that had originally been commissioned for publication, but for various reasons never saw the light of day.  If this is the first time you're seeing them, awesome!  Hope you enjoy!

This first piece of art is from Salvador Larroca from his time as Ghost Rider artist in the mid 1990s.  Specifically, this was originally the cover for Ghost Rider (1990) # 65, the conclusion of the "Ghost Rider In Chains" story-arc.  That issue's cover (and contents) were altered last minute when the book was drafted into the "Over the Edge" crossover, but the original cover art made its way online.  Awesome!

Next comes this piece from Trent Kaniuga, the artist on the Ghost Rider: The Hammer Lane mini-series.  This art piece was originally the cover for the follow-up miniseries "Ghost Rider: Redux" that was in the works by "Hammer Lane" creative team Devin Grayson, Kaniuga, and inker Danny Miki.  While the series never made it to publication, this fantastic piece of art survived!

Marko Djurdevic was the cover artist during Jason Aaron's run on Ghost Rider in 2008, and this was an unused cover piece by him that was scrapped when the art direction went in a more humorous tone.  There are several other unused cover drawings by Djurdevic, all of which can be seen in the Ghost Rider by Jason Aaron Omnibus!

Finally, there's this awesome cover drawing for Spectacular Spider-Man # 207 from 1994, which was originally supposed by a direct tie-in to the "Siege of Darkness" crossover event!  When the story content changed and Ghost Rider was dropped as the issue's guest-star, the cover had to be scrapped.  Still, it's an awesome piece of artwork!

If anyone has any other unused Ghost Rider cover images they'd like to send my way, please do so and I'll include them here on the blog!

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Inner Demons Episode 10: "No Donuts For Bad Cops"

The tenth episode of Inner Demons comes at you like a flaming chariot pulled by demon horses!  Chris and Brian take a critical look back at Marvel Spotlight (1972) # 12, Fantastic Four # 347-349, Ghost Rider (2005) # 2, and Ghost Rider 2099 # 5.  Highlights include: the Son of Satan living in a heavy metal album, Ghost Rider as Spider-Man and the Hulk's stern older brother, and Ghost Rider 2099 barbecuing his own human body!  Tell me that's not worth the price of admission, folks!

You can listen to the episode at the Vengeance Unbound page on blogspot, or you can download it from either Stitcher or iTunes .  You can also find us on Facebook, just search  for "Vengeance Unbound" and feel free to send us a message.  Thanks for listening!

Thursday, August 3, 2017

31st Century Spirit of Vengeance Chronology

Cover Artist: Jim Valentino
At the request of reader Alex Maki, here's a chronology of Wileaydus Autolycus, the Spirit of Vengeance of the 31st century!  This character is an interesting side-note to the Ghost Rider legacy, and his creation and presence actually say a lot more in subtext than one would think.  Created by Jim Valentino in 1991 during the writer/artist's run on Guardians of the Galaxy, Wileaydus was an alien possessed by the Spirit of Vengeance, making him a future iteration of Ghost Rider.  He lived on the planet Sarka, which was ruled by an oppressive religion called the Universal Church of Truth.  The Church went about policing their world with practices straight out of the Spanish Inquisition, and was actually a priest in the Church in his human guise.  As the Spirit of Vengeance (never called "Ghost Rider", just "Spirit of Vengeance"), Wileaydus fought against the Church's regime but was often just as judgmental and murderous as his enemies.

Eventually, Wileaydus came into contact with the Guardians of the Galaxy.  This was the original incarnation of the team, the 31st century group with characters like Vance Astro and Starhawk, not the modern day movie star team.  After some expected misunderstandings and clashes, the Spirit of Vengeance became an ally to the Guardians and was drafted into a spin-off group called the Galactic Guardians (original, yes, I know).  This team included other future versions of Marvel heroes, such as Phoenix, Firelord, and Wonder Man.  Following the conclusion of the 90s' Guardians series Wileaydus fell into limbo and has yet to make any more appearances.  But who knows, maybe he'll pop up again in some time travel story down the line?

Most interestingly is what he means to the Spirit of Vengeance concept, that subtext I mentioned earlier.  He's not from Earth, he's an alien with no contact or knowledge of humanity, yet he's possessed by an entity seemingly created by the Christian deity of Earth.  Does this mean Yahweh is the "one true god" of every planet, race, and civilization in the universe and has created Spirits of Vengeance to police all of them?  Does this mean the Spirit of Vengeance somehow made its way across the stars to settle on another world after Earth's near-destruction in that future timeline?    A story that detailed just HOW Wileaydus Autolycus became a Ghost Rider is one I would be truly interested in reading, though the likelihood of ever seeing that is slim to none.

Guardians of the Galaxy (1990) # 13
Guardians of the Galaxy (1990) # 14

Guardians of the Galaxy (1990) Annual # 2

Guardians of the Galaxy (1990) # 34 (cameo)
Guardians of the Galaxy (1990) # 35
Guardians of the Galaxy (1990) # 36
Guardians of the Galaxy (1990) # 37

Guardians of the Galaxy (1990) # 47 (cameo)
Guardians of the Galaxy (1990) # 50 (cameo)
Galactic Guardians (1994) # 1
Galactic Guardians (1994) # 2
Galactic Guardians (1994) # 3
Galactic Guardians (1994) # 4

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Ghost Rider Collected Editions, or the Lack Thereof: Redux

Marvel recently let loose a preview book to retailers that details all of their trade paperback and hardcover/omnibus releases through April of 2018.  Naturally, I poured through the catalog in hopes of seeing some new Ghost Rider collections, because we're damn sure due a few, and lo and behold I found a whopping ONE listing, for the new SPIRITS OF VENGEANCE mini-series.

That pisses me right he hell off, people.

In that same catalog is listings for books like "Werewolf by Night Classic Volume 2" and "Ka-Zar Masterworks Volume 2".  Those are characters that I'm sure have fans of their own, and I'm not trying to knock any attempts to release Marvel's awesome back catalog of comics.  When Ghost Rider gets ignored in favor of those niche characters, though, I am simultaneously disappointed and surprised.  I had hoped that Marvel had more Ghost Rider collections coming, after the release of the "Rise of the Midnight Sons" and "Hearts of Darkness" trade paperbacks, but apparently they think fucking Ka-Zar has more of a chance at selling copies than Ghost Rider.

So, for my own benefit more than anything else, I've put together a list of Ghost Rider collections that Marvel NEEDS to make happen.  How can they expect the character to catch on with a wider audience if there's nothing printed for them to read?  I'm going to break this down into a couple of different categories, and you're going to see some repeats in material.

OMNIBUS EDITIONS - The Omnibus is honestly my favorite way to see comics collected, because they look awesome on a bookshelf and they can pack in a LOT of material in one volume.  However, the price point for most of these, usually $100 or more per book, can turn away anyone other than the most die-hard collectors.  So far, Ghost Rider has had only one Omnibus edition published, which collected the Jason Aaron run.  That should be rectified with the following:

Ghost Rider: Johnny Blaze Omnibus (Volume 1)
Collects: Marvel Spotlight on Ghost Rider (1972) # 5-11, Ghost Rider (1973) # 1-9 & 11-20, Marvel Spotlight on the Son of Satan (1972) # 12, Marvel Team-Up (1972) # 15, Marvel Two-In-One (1973) # 8, Daredevil (1964) # 138
Written by: Gary Friedrich, Tony Isabella, Len Wein, Steve Gerber, and Marv Wolfman
Illustrated by: Mike Ploog, Tom Sutton, Jim Mooney, Ross Andru, George Tuska, Sal Buscema, Frank Robbins, Herb Trimpe, and John Byrne

Ghost Rider: Danny Ketch Omnibus (Volume 1)
Collects: Ghost Rider (1990) # 1-24, Ghost Rider/Wolverine/Punisher: Hearts of Darkness, Marvel Comics Presents (1988) # 64-71, Doctor Strange: Sorcerer Supreme (1988) # 28
Written by: Howard Mackie and Roy Thomas
Illustrated by: Javier Saltares, Mark Texeira, John Romita Jr., Ron Wagner, Larry Stroman, and Chris Marrinan

Ghost Rider: Robbie Reyes Omnibus
Collects: All-New Ghost Rider (2014) # 1-12, Ghost Racers (2015) # 1-4, Ghost Rider (2016) # 1-5, Ghost Rider X-Mas Special # 1, Secret Wars: Secret Love # 1
Written by: Felipe Smith and Method Man
Illustrated by: Tradd Moore, Damion Scott, Juan Gedeon, Danilo Beyruth, Felipe Smith, and Anthony Piper

MARVEL MASTERWORK EDITIONS - These are the really high-end collections of Marvel's Silver and Bronze Age comics.  These hardcover editions usually come with restored pages and in some cases touch ups on color and print quality.  The only Masterwork collection to feature Ghost Rider to date has been last year's Champions collection, and it's a shame that such a seminal character of the 1970s has been neglected in this format.

Marvel Masterworks: The Western Ghost Rider
Collects: The Ghost Rider (1967) # 1-7, Western Gunfighters (1971) # 1-7, and the back-up stories from The Original Ghost Rider (1992) # 3-5, 7-13, & 15-20
Written by: Gary Friedrich, Len Wein, Dan Slott, Tom Brevoort, and Mike Kanterovich
Illustrated by: Dick Ayers

Marvel Masterworks: Ghost Rider (Volume 1)
Collects: Marvel Spotlight on Ghost Rider (1972) # 5-11, Ghost Rider (1973) # 1-9, and Marvel Spotlight on Son of Satan (1972) # 12
Written by: Gary Friedrich and Tony Isabella
Illustrated by: Mike Ploog, Tom Sutton, Jim Mooney, and Herb Trimpe

OVERSIZED HARDCOVERS - These are the same size dimensions as the Omnibus editions, but generally collect a much smaller amount of comics.  These can fit side by side with the Omnibus volumes on a bookshelf, though, and would be the perfect format for the following books:

Ghost Rider by Garth Ennis & Clayton Crain HC
Collects: Ghost Rider (2005) # 1-6, Ghost Rider (2005) Director's Cut # 1, Ghost Rider: Trail of Tears (2007) # 1-6, and Shadowland: Ghost Rider # 1
Written by: Garth Ennis and Rob Williams
Illustrated by: Clayton Crain

All-New Ghost Rider HC
Collects: All-New Ghost Rider (2014) # 1-12
Written by: Felipe Smith
Illustrated by: Tradd Moore, Damion Scott, and Felipe Smith

EPIC COLLECTIONS - These are high-end trade paperbacks, which collect a LOT of comics in chronological order, printed out of sequence (so you could have a "volume 4" of the back catalog printed first, for example).  These have the goal of printing all of Marvel's evergreen/tent-pole titles in a recognizable numbered order, sort of like color versions of the Essential books from years ago.  Naturally, a Volume 1 of Ghost Rider would include the same material as the first Masterworks volume I listed above, so I'm going to go another route:

Ghost Rider Epic Collection: The Curse of Jonathan Blaze (Volume 5)
Collects: Ghost Rider (1973) # 63-81
Written by: Michael Fleisher, Roger Stern, and J.M. DeMatteis
Illustrated by: Luke McDonnell, Jack Sparling, Tom Sutton, Don Perlin, and Bob Budiansky

TRADE PAPERBACKS - Naturally, there are some comics that need to be collected, but either a) don't warrant an expensive hardcover or omnibus or b) wouldn't fit within the confines of the Epic Collections.

Ghost Rider: Danny Ketch Classic Volume 3
Collects: Ghost Rider (1990) # 21-27, X-Men (1992) # 8-9, and Ghost Rider/Wolverine/Punisher: Hearts of Darkness
Written by: Howard Mackie and Scott Lobdell
Illustrated by: Mark Texeira, Ron Wagner, Jim Lee, and John Romita Jr.

Spirits of Vengeance: Midnight Massacre
Collects: Ghost Rider/Blaze: Spirits of Vengeance (1992) # 7-13, Ghost Rider (1990) # 39-40, Nightstalkers (1992) # 10, Darkhold: Pages from the Book of Sins (1992) # 11, and Morbius: The Living Vampire (1992) # 12
Written by: Howard Mackie, Dan Chichester, Chris Cooper, Larry Hama, and Gregory Wright
Illustrated by: Adam Kubert, Joe Kubert, Ron Garney, Vince Giarrano, Kirk Van Wormer, Rurik Tyler, and Ron Wagner

Ghost Rider: In Chains
Collects: Ghost Rider (1990) # 56-66
Written by: Howard Mackie
Illustrated by: Salvador Larroca

Ghost Rider 2099 Volume 1
Collects: Ghost Rider 2099 (1994) # 1-12
Written by: Len Kaminski
Illustrated by: Chris Bachalo, Mark Buckingham, Peter Gross, and Kyle Hotz

Ghost Rider: The Last Temptation
Collects: Ghost Rider (1990) # 87-93, Ghost Rider (1990) # -1, Venom: Sign of the Boss # 1-2, and Ghost Rider: Finale
Written by: Ivan Velez Jr.
Illustrated by: Javier Saltares, Karl Kerschl, Josh Hood, and Tom Derenick

Ghost Rider by Rob Williams: The Complete Collection (New Printing)
Collects: Ghost Rider (2011) # 0.1 & 1-9, Shadowland: Ghost Rider # 1, Amazing Spider-Man/Ghost Rider: Motorstorm # 1, and Venom # 13, 13.1-13.4, & 14
Written by: Rob Williams, Rick Remender, and Jeff Parker
Illustrated by: Matthew Clark, Clayton Crain, Lee Garbett, Sana Takeda, Tony Moore, Emanuella Luppachino, Dalibor Talajic, Brian Ching, Lan Medina, and Julio Totino Tedesco

There you go, Marvel, there's your marching orders.  Seriously though, I realize that many of these are longshots, especially stuff like "In Chains" and "The Last Temptation", but it sure would be nice to see those get collected for new readers to discover.  I'm telling you, Marvel Collections Department, you are underestimating how many fans there are of Danny Ketch and Ghost Rider 2099, you might just be surprised by how well some of these would actually sell.

Rant over!

Monday, July 24, 2017

Upcoming Comics: October 2017

Last week Marvel released the solicitation info for the books being released in October 2017, and while I already covered the pertinent stuff regarding Spirits of Vengeance and Iceman in an earlier post focusing on the Marvel Legacy initiative, there are still a few interesting tidbits in the rest of the solicits.  Along with Spirits of Vengeance # 1 (which has a Mark Texeira variant cover!) and Iceman # 6, Ghost Rider also makes an appearance in Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur # 24.  Also, there's the Daredevil: Shadowland Omnibus, which featured Ghost Rider as one of the featured characters of that (admittedly terrible) crossover.  Check out the info and images below!

LH Variant Cover by KEN LASHLEY
Legacy Headshot Variant Cover by MIKE MCKONE
Trading Card Variant Cover by JOHN TYLER CHRISTOPHER
A dead angel. A silver bullet. A kept promise. For ages, the war between Heaven and Hell raged in the unseen corners of society, both sides in delicate balance that could topple if the right weapons were in the wrong hands… When an undercover angel is murdered, Johnny Blaze, the Ghost Rider, must find the killers and punish them…But this time he won’t do it alone: A deadly team must rise from the darkest depths of the Marvel Universe to form an unholy alliance – HELLSTORM! SATANA! BLADE! They are the SPIRITS OF VENGEANCE! PLUS: Includes 3 bonus MARVEL PRIMER PAGES! Story by Robbie Thompson and a TBA artist!
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99

LH Variant Cover by MICHAEL RYAN
Legacy Headshot Variant Cover by MIKE MCKONE
ICEMAN, one of the most powerful mutants within the Marvel Universe, discovers his powers and his outlook on life evolving. He needs to lead the charge with a team who stand proudly by his side in the war to “protect those who can’t protect themselves.” Hercules, Ghost Rider, Black Widow, Darkstar, and Angel re-unite with Marvel’s fearless frozen fighter setting ICEMAN on an all-new path. As more unexpected enemies emerge, can Bobby mature into the warrior he’s destined to become? Hope he survives the experience! PLUS: Includes 3 bonus MARVEL PRIMER PAGES! Story by Robbie Thompson and a TBA artist!
32 PGS./Rated T+ …$3.99

After the earth-shattering events of issue #23, Moon Girl needs a new partner! Lunella takes three candidates for a test drive, but who will be the lucky hero to become her newest sidekick? Guest stars galore! Ghost Rider! Daredevil! The X-Babies!
32 PGS./Rated T …$3.99

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Inner Demons Episode 9: "The Self-Righteous Spider-Man!"

E-Mail the Body Banks and get 'em ready for rush hour, Inner Demons is back with a new episode!  Brian and Chris talk about the Marvel Legacy announcements and what it means for future Ghost Rider comics by giving an impromptu math lesson!  On the review docket this episode are Ghost Rider (1973) # 2, Spider-Man (1990) # 6 & 7, Ghost Rider (2005) # 1, and Ghost Rider 2099 # 4!

You can listen to the episode at the Vengeance Unbound page on blogspot, or you can download it from either Stitcher or iTunes .  You can also find us on Facebook, just search  for "Vengeance Unbound" and feel free to send us a message.  Thanks for listening!